Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Comments on Tom Naughton's Interview with Taubes on Why We Get Fat

Why We Get Fat: Interview With Gary Taubes - Tom Naughton

This is a pretty long interview, so I'm not going to address all of the points, but just a few of the exchanges.

GT:  I’m always asking myself, “How can I explain this to a general audience? How can I simplify the science to the point that it is barely noticeable?” In fact, often the best science writing has no noticeable science at all.
OK ;-)

Fat Head: I found those critiques rather odd, considering that Good Calories, Bad Calories includes an entire chapter titled Conservation of Energy, in which you wrote at length about the laws of thermodynamics and how nutritionists misinterpret them. How do you deal with criticisms of your books coming from people who clearly haven’t read them?

Gary Taubes: The knee-jerk response is always to assume that the people who criticized the book haven’t read it, and I try to avoid the knee-jerk response. Still, I always want to ask them, “Did you read the book?”  Because it usually seems pretty clear they didn’t. It happens all the time.
I have a chapter in the new book discussing how it is quite possible that anyone who loses weight on a diet does so because they reduce either the quantity of carbohydrates consumed or improve the quality — even on low-fat, low calorie diets this is likely to be the case, counter-intuitive as that may seem.
Then I get a review in the health section of the New York Times from a physician, and she ends the review with this pat response that humans come in wonderful variations, so some diets work for some people and other diets work for others. And I wanted to call her up and ask, “Did you read the chapter on why diets work? Do you really have information that I don’t have that makes you certain what you’re saying is true? Because it very well may not be …” 

In response to Tom Naughton, I would say that those who believe the human body does not get to defy the laws of physics simply don't buy that nutritionists are misrepresenting this basic fact.  It's not that folks haven't read that chapter in GCBC, it's that it doesn't make much sense.  On the one hand, Taubes argues that calories don't count, while on the other hand he argues that CICO is valid but tells us nothing about the direction of causality.  Indeed a major thesis of GCBC is that fat accumulation (energy stored) drives increased CI and/or decreased CO, not vice versa as is supposedly erroneously claimed by conventional wisdom.   He offers up no real evidence for this.  Indeed he uses the word "excess" in reference to calories, fat calories, fatty acids, carbs whatever, repeatedly in the book and his lectures.  So how does the accumulation "come first" driving the energy balance?   How does the first law tells us that changes in body mass will drive compensatory actions on the energy terms??

Apparently Taubes is still in thin skinned denial.  He wants to avoid the knee jerk reaction but just can't he'p himself.  The NYT reviewer could simply not have actually read his gobbledegook and just not buy it. (I haven't read the book, and if the chapter he refers to differs significantly from his nonsensical blog post - Calories, fat or carbohydrates? Why diets work (when they do).  - please let me know).  Even taking those dietary records on face value, as I've discussed previously, (and commented on over on GT's blog), proves nothing and contradicts both theories if it could be taken at face value.

So ... which is it??  Calories don't count?  Fine, but then GT's bass ackwards energy balance theories are ever the more absurd.  But just about every LC "guru" that argues against the first law ends up making first law arguments in defense of their theories (e.g. thermogenesis, metabolic cost of gluconeogenesis, futile cycling and uncoupling would all fit perfectly well on the "out" side).   
Fat Head: In addition to having a background in physics, you’re a rather tall and athletic person who played college football. Do you ever want to just haul off and smack some of these people?
Gary Taubes: I boxed, too, as an amateur. Painful, short, ugly career. ...

WOW.  Sorry gang, but never in a million years would I have pegged GT as a former athlete.  I'm just going to leave it at that ;-)
Fat Head: Why We Get Fat includes a fair amount of new information, so obviously you’re continuing to study the latest research. Have you changed any of your beliefs or conclusions since Good Calories, Bad Calories was published? If so, what?
Gary Taubes: I’m not actually studying the latest research as much as I’d like. I have two small children now, and they tend to take time away from obsessive research. I have come to realize that some of the details I discussed in GCBC were incorrect, and I’m sure I’ll learn about more as time progresses. Other than that, nothing much of significance has changed. That could either mean that the data continue to support what I say, as I believe they do, or that I’m so close-minded that I’m not paying attention to the evidence refuting my ideas.
As GT puts fingers in ears and goes "la la la" when presented with any of those pesky little details.  I suggest the last statement is closer to the truth.  Hey ... he suggested it!
Fat Head: ... Do you ever lie awake at night worrying that any of your fundamental conclusions will turn out to be wrong?
Gary Taubes: Yes. But not as often as I lie awake at night worrying about other things. ...
Easier to ignore I suppose ....
Gary Taubes: Actually, there’s an old line I like from a physicist and philosopher of science named John Ziman, who said something to the effect that 90 percent of the stuff in the scientific journals is wrong and 90 percent of the stuff in the textbooks is right, and the process of science is distilling the truths from the former into the latter.
First, wouldn't you at least look to more current texts, than say those that are 20, 30, 40 and more years old?  The core of his insulin hypothesis is from a 1965 physio text!!  But apparently Ziman and perhaps Taubes, never studied from the softer science texts.   My freshman bio text was outdated by my senior year.  They were full of "this theory" and "that theory" and even if "this" was prevailing concensus at publication, often we were taught that new evidence points to "that".  Texts are often 5 even 10 years behind the times which is why they are almost never used as references in even undergraduate term paper type research.   And of course, apparently that 90% rule failed GT on the glycerol phosphate by his telling of the story (even though it didn't really, he just didn't read the text fully and/or represent it accurately).  Thing is, there is a LOT of good recent science out there, much of it in summary form.  GT just refuses to acknowledge it.
Fat Head: Dr. Robert Lustig insists it’s fructose that makes us insulin resistant, not starchy foods. If he’s right, then it was the Coca-Cola and Captain Crunch that turned me into a fat kid, not the mashed potatoes. But as an adult, I’ve avoided sugar yet found that starches most definitely make me gain weight. So assuming for the sake of argument that Lustig is correct, would you say that once fructose has done the damage, we lose our tolerance for carbohydrates in general? If so, why?

Gary Taubes: That’s exactly the possibility I’m discussing. Once you become insulin resistant, your body responds to carbs by secreting more insulin. So it is quite possible — and laboratory work backs this up — that sugar causes the initial insulin resistance because of the effect of the fructose on the liver. So if we never had sugar, we’d be able to eat the other carbs with relative impunity. But being possible doesn’t mean it’s true. I suspect it is, but I’m not sure exactly how this can be tested.
And I agree with you: the world is full of obese and diabetic people who know enough not to eat sugar, but remain obese and diabetic. I could avoid sugar and go back to eating starches and put on 20 pounds of fat effortlessly. I’ve done it in the past — distant past. So I don’t buy the idea that avoiding sugar is enough to make an obese person lean again. And the people I know who believe that all tend to be somewhat plump despite their beliefs. In fact, I recently heard Dr. Lustig give a talk in San Francisco, and he acknowledged that he still has a weight problem, but doesn’t know what to do about it. Hmmm…

{... in a later response }  ... the way I describe it is this: if I grew up in a hunter-gatherer environment — and my mother did as well, because there are effects that are passed from mother to child through the uterus — I’d probably weigh around 175 pounds, even as an adult. Had I stopped eating carbs in my late teens, I might naturally weigh about 190 or 200, which was my football weight in high school. The fact that I not only kept eating carbohydrates into my forties but gorged on them during the low-fat, you-can’t-get-fat-if-a-food-doesn’t-have-fat-in-it years of the late 1980s and early 1990s means the best I can do now, even eating virtually no carbs at all, is about 220. And there’s nothing I can do to go lower, short of starving myself. Semi-starving myself doesn’t work. I tried that long ago.
Okey dokey.  So Lustig just looks at sugar and weight and GT "hmms..." his wondering what to do about what appears to be a small weight problem.  Lustig doesn't appear to buy into the whole insulin thing much from what I can gather from his interviews/lectures.  Yet GT is, by his own account, able to do no better than 20-30 lbs overweight even eating VLC.  I won't even "go there" with the scads of low carbers (myself included) for whom carb restriction works only so far.   But that is an interesting acknowledgment there because although he says semi-starving himself didn't work, he holds out that starving himself would make his weight go lower.  Funny how one twists in the wind bucking reality.
Fat Head: One of the anti-Taubes articles going around the internet claims that we don’t need insulin to store fat, and that insulin is an appetite suppressant. Can we store any significant amount of fat without insulin? If so, why do untreated type 1 diabetics waste away?
Gary Taubes: Short answer, probably not. We don’t need insulin to burn glucose for fuel, but if we don’t have insulin, we don’t store fat.
I presume this is James Kreiger's series here.  Taubes goes on about the whole insulin thing.  But its a moot point.  Even zero carbers produce insulin.  T1's produce NONE, and without it they die.

The rest is about the book etc. How well it will do, yada yada.

Before I leave this, I jumped ahead over this one exchange:

Fat Head: In Why We Get Fat, you wrote that some people might have to give up dairy products and nuts to lose weight. Dr. Mike Eades has also mentioned that nuts and cheese seem to inhibit weight loss in some low-carb dieters. What is it about those foods that can stall weight loss? Is it just that they’re so calorically dense, or do they produce a higher insulin response than their low carbohydrate content would suggest?
Gary Taubes: I think the caloric density thing is nonsense. Remember, I’m trying to get every last one of us away from thinking in terms of calories as the variable of interest. What we want to know is whether these foods stimulate insulin secretion, or cause insulin resistance, or have some other effect on the storage of fat in the fat tissue or the oxidation of fatty acids by other tissues in the body. So nuts still have carbs in them, and for some people they might contain too many carbs. Same is true for nut butters.
Dairy products can stimulate insulin secretion beyond what you would expect from the carbohydrate content. I don’t know if this is true of cheese because I’ve never seen data on this, but it is possible. And some cheeses could be better than others — hard cheeses, for instance, may be better than soft cheeses. 
So, despite blasting the likes of Shai for shoddy analysis in failing to address the variable of carbohydrate consumption, GT ups the ante -- he wants us all to ignore the variable of calories completely!!  Oh never mind that data.  Ignore all those studies and flat out observations that when we measure expenditure and match it, we remain relatively stable, when we restrict, we lose, when we overfeed, we gain.  Ignore all that inconvenient stuff.  Calories are simply not even a variable worth considering anymore.  How very scientific!  Given that (mutual friend of both Naughton & Taubes I believe) Dr. Eades actually believes it's the calories one wonders what GT must think of his belief in such nonsense! 


M. said...

This is the last paragraph from the Eades link:

“The low-carb diet is a wonderful, healthful way to lose weight quickly, but you do have to watch your calories as well to a certain extent. If you’re plugging along losing away, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you quit losing, take a look at your cheese and/or nut consumption. Cut those out, and I’ll just about guarantee that your weight loss will pick up again.”

By asking the specific question concerning nuts and cheese, Tom opened the door and invited Taubes to take a step into a less nonsensical view of calories, but instead Taubes pulled the blinders down and slammed the door shut. That was one of the main things that stuck out to me as I read the interview.

Another thing that stood out while reading the interview was the whole idea that if your weight loss stalls while doing low carb, then that’s it – you are at your destined weight and can’t do anything about it because counting carbs is king and calories don’t count.

As far as the Taubes, Naughton, and Eades thing, that kind of leads to one of the more annoying aspects of Taubes guru-ism - everybody in the “Taubes camp” reinvisions Taubes to their liking.

Cheesy said...

My first post here, but I have been reading for a while. Love the blogs...very enlightening for me. I was first introduced to the low-carb way of eating about a year ago. I had of course heard of the Atkins diet and always thought it was some sort of fad (as the media calls it) until I came across William Davis' blog when researching vitamin D supplementation. It really blew my mind because I didn't know low-carb had such a following in the scientific community. I began researching more and of course came across Sisson, Eades, Taubes, etc. It's hard for the average person not to get brainwashed by all the things written by them because unless you have a strong science background the science presented by these people can seem very logical. However, I have realized, in part from your blog, that the science may sound right, but is actually way off. I'm really enjoying learning more about the actual science behind low-carb diets. I don't really follow a LC diet myself, but I find most of my calories come from fat rather than carbs (although it can change on any given day). Still, the science is interesting and I am entering the field of nutrition, so I want to learn as much as possible. =)

Razwell said...

Manuel Uribe would die before he became lean. His body would ravage his muscle, bone and organ mass if he was starved while giving up very little fat.

Sorry but calories in/out is wrong for FAT LOSS and the treatment of morbid obesity.

The Laws of Thermodynamics do NOT and NEVER WILL explain fat cell receptors chemically.

I suggest you, James Krieger and Colpo realize this important fact.

Razwell said...

Calories are only one factor among literally dozens upon dozens affecting obesity and fat cell dysregulation.

Leo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leo said...


What you say doesn't make any sense at all.
The body stores fat because it is neeeded for survival as the most ready available internal energy source or in better words because it KNOWS that it will be used.

The hypothesis that the body is more likely to sacrifice vital organs and muscles rather than the fat WHICH IS THERE TO BE USED, is the most irrational think the human mind could even conceive.

Castaways, war prisoners, lost children they all lose mostly body fat before even losing an ounce of muscle.

Yes, if you're a bodybuilder who built a lot of extra (and unneeded in nature) muscle, some of it will go away but before the body can even start to catabolize organs and most of the mucles mass the fat mass must be almost totally consumed, to the point that your BF% is 2%

Then and only then the MINIMUM VITAL BODY FAT will be safeguarded at the expense of muscles and organs. But all the extra body fat is there just for a reason: to be burned when food is scarce! It doesn't have any other purpose except as a source of energy to be used when necessary, the body will never hold onto it exactly in the circumstance that it was stored in provision of.

It's the only purpose of that fat and it's absolutely ridicolous to even ponder about the theory that the body might prefer to kill you slowly by consuming vital parts than by burning something it stored for the veru purpose of being burned as soon as burning it becomes necessary for survival.

Let me repeat it again: you don't need that fat! All the fat you need is a 2-3%. All the extra fat is stored there IN CASE you might need it and trying to lose weight, going without food and following a diet is the EXACT situation where you need it and the body knows it.

Burning muscles and organs instead of fat would be like saving money in a bank to buy a new car and when there's enough money to buy the car, selling your clothes and walking naked instead just not to touch those money that have been stored there for that purpose alone.

marchwinds said...

You seem to have an almost personal hatred for Gary Taubes. I find it bizarre. Why do you get so angry just because you don't agree with his ideas? At least he doesn't hide behind a pseudonym and pick on people.



Leo said...

I lost my comment, can you post it again?

scall0way said...

LOL, I am have admit that I'm pretty much a Taubesian, not because I believe blindly in everything he says, but because reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" totally changed my entire life - for the better naturally. If for the worse I'd hardly be posting this.

It doesn't mean I have to agree with everything he says or does, but I think a lot of people can point the way to truths without any single one of them having the entire truth. If there is someone out there who has every single answer I have not been able to winkle them out of the herd yet, though I follow a ton of nutrition-related blogs. And various bloggers whom I respect disagree with one another on more than one topic! Gary is no exception to that. Yet it seems you "have it in" for him more than anyone else. Maybe you don't and I'm just sensing that as I have only read recent blog posts. At any rate I look forward to hearing your podcast on Jimmy Moore's show, even though I am more of a reader and much prefer to read things than to listen to them.

Leo said...


It's called "educating"
If someone knows that Gary Taubes is deceiving people by making his wrong theories and reasoning mistake sound scientific while they're not, he/she has a moral duty to show the counterevidences and a different more scientific perspective. Only sheeps would gladly remain misinformed and deceived while blaming on those very few who are trying to empower them with real factual information.

marchwinds said...

Of course you want to critique him, and a great many do just that. But they don't make personal jabs and they IDENTIFY themselves. It's the basis of healthy debate.

marchwinds said...

BTW, it's "sheep." Not "sheeps." :-)

CarbSane said...

@Marchwinds, I've explained why I use a pseudonym. It's always ME posting under this name whenever and whereever I post on the internet, instead of as Anonymous and such. If it makes you feel better you can call me Persephone Jones from Baltimore. Does that change a thing?

Why should GT be immune to "personal jabs"? He takes them all the time (did at me in our email exchange) when he mocks and denigrates anyone who doesn't buy into his nonsense. This became somewhat personal for me when instead of answering the various questions of factual errors, he prefered to lob a few attacks of his own, pick up his toys and go home. From what I can gleen from the reviews I've read, he's ratcheted his mangling of the science up another notch with theories that have already been disproven. WHY would ANYONE support this?

GT does not want to debate. This is evident from his not answering the questions on the science. Here, in email and on his blog. Not only by me, but by others. And I don't like his arrogant sneering at his critics in interviews instead of setting the record straight. You see, he has no choice, because he doesn't have the facts on his side. If someone "attacked" me in a manner I felt warranted a response, I would respond with an evidence-backed reply to "clear my name". He can't, so he doesn't. And he hopes enough people in his echo chamber won't notice.

Welcome to the Asylum! I do hope you'll check out some of the Taubes v. Frayn, GCBC Fact Check and GCBC Reference Check posts.

CarbSane said...

@M. re: By asking the specific question concerning nuts and cheese, Tom opened the door and invited Taubes to take a step into a less nonsensical view of calories, but instead Taubes pulled the blinders down and slammed the door shut. That was one of the main things that stuck out to me as I read the interview.

It struck me this way as well. GT has answered reader questions on Eades blog before, Eades has strongly defended Taubes against Bray and others on his blog as well. Surely GT is familiar with Eades position. His response demonstrates EXACTLY what he's ranting at scientists about as being "poor" -- he wants us all to just ignore calories. *sigh*

@Cheesy: Thanks for the kind words on my blogs :-) When I first found the LC web I was quite impressed by the education and science of the arguments put forth by many of the laypersons. However some things started to sound "off" to me and didn't jibe with what I remember learning in my Anatomy & Physio classes. So I started looking to the experts they referenced. I've come to describe this as an echo chamber, and what I was seeing was a lot of what I call circular referencing. For example, Taubes cites a 1960's text in GCBC as regards excess sugar converted to fat. Sisson then makes the same claim on his blog (and perhaps in his book?) and cites the same text and Taubes. One of these days I'll finish up a post I have started to compile on myths/claims and the actual source of them.

Welcome to you both! Thanks for reading and contributing :)

CarbSane said...

@Leo: I presume you reposted. Thanks for the comment. At this point I do feel that GT knows on some level that he's wrong about this but is so deeply entangled in this for his living he can't see the forest for the trees and is fooling even himself. How else to explain his blog post citing Shai data?

I think Jimmy Moore hit on it best once in a comment he made about GT. Paraphrasing, it went something like 'say what you might about GT, he almost single handedly rescued the low carb movement'. This says a lot. LC was on the sharp decline after the 03-04 boom and GT threw it a lifeline. Many don't care that in terms of the obesity parts of the book he's pretty much been shown wrong. It doesn't matter because "LC worked for me!" and "Gary saved my life".

I would like to see LC gain mainstream acceptance, and I believe this will be through the likes of Drs. Westman and Dansinger, not diet book gurus. (And although it's not too over the top, I wish Westman had not written a "diet book" bearing the Atkins name that required some gimmicky stuff).

Welcome to the Asylum!

CarbSane said...

Perhaps Leo meant sheeples ;-)

marchwinds said...

Well, you don't say what you specialize in, where you live, what you do, what your credentials are, or anything else that would constitute identifying yourself, so I have not way of knowing who you really are, or why I should care what you say.

And if Gary Taubes insults and denigrates others when he debates, then he shouldn't do that, because it will reduce his credibility. And if he does insult and denigrate others, that does not mean we should respond in kind. I thought we were all supposed to have learned that in Kindergarten.


marchwinds said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Krieger said...


I'm having trouble understanding why you place so much importance on who CarbSane is, rather than on the arguments, logic, and evidence she presents.

Who she is is completely irrelevant to the validity of her statements. There are people out there with a huge amount of credentials, yet who have been extremely wrong about things, and then there are people who don't have much in the way of credentials, yet are correct.

Arguments stand or fall on the evidence provided for those arguments...not on who makes the arguments.

CarbSane said...

Jennifer, as with James, I, too wonder over your obsession about my identity. In my profile I discuss my background and it is far more appropriate to "educate" anyone in the field of metabolism than GT's. I've taken numerous undergraduate and graduate level classes in biochem, physiology, thermodynamics and kinetics. I've also actually been a research scientist and written and been published in prominent peer review journals. Do I have to give you my resume? What does where I live have to do with anything? I live in the Northeast USA. What difference would it make if I told you I lived in Manhattan? Would that change your opinion of what I write? Or would you require my street address.

If my identity is such that you don't know if you should listen to what I say, then I guess my answer is don't listen then. Taubes has almost no relevant education on this topic and it shows in his writing and research methods, and shows even more when he speaks extemporaneously.

I have refrained in more recent posts from speculating on the man's motivations and let the facts I present speak for themselves. But I remain entitled to my opinions and will share them every now and then w/o regard to internet Miss Manners or the "cry ad hominem" police. Taubes has an extremely thin skin. I've received a few emails from other critics who have received similar hissy fit emails in response to their critiques. Taubes simply WILL NOT address the science/facts and distracts from this fact by crying "ad hominem". He even accused one critic of countering him over some girl they both dated in college. Yeah, I'm sure that's it.

There never WAS evidence to support the G3P part of his theories in GCBC and subsequent lectures. It stated just the OPPOSITE in his own reference. That is indisputable. Who cares the identity of blogger who exposed that? Does it matter that I'm in my PJ's at the moment?

MM said...


Did you catch this?
Taubes: "I have a chapter in the new book discussing how it is quite possible that anyone who loses weight on a diet does so because they reduce either the quantity of carbohydrates consumed or improve the quality(.)"

Improve the quality?? I thought his whole message was that all carbs make people fat regardless of "quality". Just thought it was strange he said that.

CarbSane said...

Yeah, this struck me as odd as well. IF it is insulin, then there's very little difference between whole grains and white flour, etc. I guess what he's getting at is reducing fructose consumption, but, again, that doesn't provoke insulin. He's all over the map on this one!

CarbSane said...

Leo ... I think I found that Razwell comment in my spam. It's posted now!

There are RARE cases of people with lipid oxidation problems. Such folks can get fat literally starving to death because they can't properly oxidize fats. Those folks would fare even more poorly on a low carb diet BTW. But otherwise, you are quite correct that this "starving the body" to hoard the fat nonsense is just that ... nonsense!

Lucas Tafur said...

As much as I respect Taubes and Eades, they are right for the wrong reasons. Its not insulin raised by dairy and/or the trace amount of carbs in nuts. Both foods are very calorie-dense so its easy to overeat. Overconsuming nuts is specially harmful, because it increases calories easily and its most w6PUFA, which has nasty metabolic effects.

M. said...

Lucas->“As much as I respect Taubes and Eades, they are right for the wrong reasons”

Actually, I don’t think that Taubes is actually right at all. He is not really the one suggesting that people should cut down on nuts and cheese if their weight stalls. That suggestion comes from Eades, and Naughton just asked Taubes about it.

All that Taubes is really saying in this interview is that if cutting out nuts and cheese does happen to work, then it must be something other than caloric density at work. One of Taubes’ central tenets is that you can gluttonize all the fat and protein you want as long as you keep your carbs low.

The other thing is, Taubes’ books only real purpose is to explain the reasons. But he gets the reasons wrong way too much for it to be a useful contribution. He gets it wrong so much and so strongly, his book is a negative contribution.

At the end of the day, many of his defenders are left saying “Well…he is against sugar and refined carbs...”

CarbSane said...

Hey Lucas, I think this is the first comment of yours that made it to publication so I wanted to welcome you! I will get to that Nutrient Fates comment you emailed me as soon as I can. Re: Eades here, he DOES get that these foods are calorie dense. What he seems a bit hooked on is that you won't gain eating these foods because of futile fat cycling and/or uncoupling and I disagree with that. Folks tend to overeat nuts in the same way they overeat chips and crackers. If I don't think about it, I could eat an entire can of smoked almonds w/o stuffing myself. When I eat nuts it's almost always a handful on the way out the door or a single serving bag b/c I know I don't need to binge to OVERDO!

I still struggle with the O6 contribution to obesity per se. One of these days I hope to track down the review article I once came upon that pretty much concluded this was overblown as pertains to inflammation induced obesity.

CarbSane said...

@M.: Taubes is starting to spin a very tangled web. He's hung his hat entirely on insulin now -- because he had to recant the parts of his theory directly attributable to carbs: (a) excess carb turned to fat and (b) G3P levels controlling fat deposition. This leaves him with even more gaping contradictions, and in trying to explain away one (Japanese eating a supposedly low GI diet for instance), he sets up an even worse case scenario to explain the next one. Nuts and cheese are quite low GI foods ... try again!

Lucas Tafur said...


I dont think it is a negative contribution. His book has opened many MDs and scientists eyes. Even if his central hypothesis is wrong (which I believe so) it has generated debate in the medical community. I dont like discussing much about weight loss because the equation is simple, you eat less you lose weight. But I argue there is so much beyond obesity that I try to keep weight loss issues out of my arguments and off my blog. Obesity is not a disease, its a symptom. You can treat the symptom in a million ways, not necessarily by optimal ways. You can lose weight eating 80% calories as carbs or 80% as fat. Personally, I think the latter is healthy and the former does not, as my optimal diet (again, which targets overall health and metabolic regulation) is a ketogenic diet with fasting periods. This doesnt means that you cant lose weight on a high carbohydrate diet.


Thank you for the welcome! Calorie-wise, yes. But health-wise I dont agree. I must remark that nuts are overrated BTW. By nasty metabolic effects I didnt refer only to weight gain.

CarbSane said...

@M.: I'm going to do a post on the deteriorating bases of Taubes original hypothesis and how insulin alone (which is all he has left) cannot stand. He argued in one interview that the Japanese don't get fat b/c they eat low GI brown rice and virtually no sugar. As my friend said to me in an email: Someone needs to take GT to a sushi bar! But nuts are not particularly insulinogenic and are low GI (lower than brown rice for sure!)

M. said...

Lucas -> “I dont think it is a negative contribution. His book has opened many MDs and scientists eyes. Even if his central hypothesis is wrong (which I believe so) it has generated debate in the medical community.”

I don’t know if the scientific debate trumps the guru-ism that also spawned.

His supposed purpose was to bring some science to the issues, but it has ended up with a lot of people defending bad science. He said some pretty stupid things in this interview, but Naughton and most of the commenters gushed all over it. (Naughton even deleted some of my comments).

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