UPDATE: Label Change for GCBC Fact Check

Since he has the new book out, I've decided to use a new label to categorize posts that refute various Taubesianisms:  Gary Taubes Fact Check.  Taubes hasn't disappointed from the get go with Why We Get Fat (WWGF) - that thanks to a benevolent reader, I now have a copy of!

I hope any who find this place from links to my old label will see this post and check out the new label link below for more updated information.  Cheers!

Gary Taubes Fact Check


I haven't read the book thoroughly enough to know if Taubes addresses calories or insulin and lifespan or not, but recently a question popped into my head: what do the groups of people with the longest lifespans share in common with respect to their diet? Is it regulation of insulin? Or rather, is it moderation of protein, fat, carbohydreate, or could it be - calories?
Frank said…
I'm often thinking about this, too BE.

Calorie restriction is the only intervention that has been found to increase lifespan in various species consistantly.

If calories were so off base, that would not work, would it?

I'm on Imminst and the calorie restriction list, on which there are many calorie restriction practitionner, and as far as I know, all of these people are on a high carb, moderate fat, low protein diet, calorie restricted. Most of them are highly educated individual who usually know what they are doing. If carbs restriction was the way to go, they would do it. If calorie did not matter, they would certainly not do all this work to restrict them.

I'm long past the point where i'm going to consider again that carbs and insulin are the end point of everything.
And if you take a step back and look at Taubes, Taubes is a journalist, meaning he is more likely paid to write controversial work than to actually find a solution for obesity. He didn't choose a career in research or medicine - why is that. As long as he can fabricate an argument, and people will listen, then why not...
Sanjeev said…
(taking a break from exam cramming ... blessed be the holy caffeine plant)

Been a while since I researched it but best as I recall, according to the ethics of the profession he's supposed to be impartial.

bluetooth.Enabled wrote
> Taubes is a journalist ... paid to write controversial

being controversial per se really doesn't matter much to me ... He COULD have been impartial and controversial. Who could have a beef then? But that's not what he chose.

If there is any impartiality there it's kind of hard to see it ... that axe he's grinding is so big it blocks one's view.
CarbSane said…
That's a good point about calorie restriction. Given my relatively (though not absurdly) high protein consumption I wonder over that aspect being restricted as well. Even the higher fat VLC'ers are getting a fair share of protein unless they're eating a diet "tested" on no known culture!

@BE: It's funny when I think about it sometimes that Taubes is the quintessential contrarian if nothing else. What's a contrarian to a contrarian? LOL. He also has the scientific method hopelessly bass ackwards. It's encumbant on him to provide the evidence in support of his hypothesis, not for everyone else to have to (despite it being plentiful) come up with evidence to refute it or else it's accepted.
James Krieger said…
It's encumbant on him to provide the evidence in support of his hypothesis, not for everyone else to have to (despite it being plentiful) come up with evidence to refute it or else it's accepted.

Taubes is committing the "shifting the burden of proof" fallacy

CarbSane said…
Not only that, but he is the confused one. He confuses scientific hypotheses with statistical testing hypotheses (yeah that's a long post!). Two very different things.
Frank said…

It looks like high protein diet are not the best thing longevity wise. It always depend what you want tho'. Extremist over at Imminst want to live long enough to enjoy the anti-aging medicine, so their main goal is to live as long as they can. There's a lot of myth surrounding CR that I don't adhere to, but there's one reality that I don't want to live with, and it's very low BMI - and also constantly restricting my food and calculating everything day in day out. I'd rather take the chance to live 5-10y less but enjoy my life a little bit more. That being said, you can't restrict PRO too much. They aim for the RDA, and they try to reduce methionine and leucine as much as possible.

But I think the fact that CR works so well is a strong counter-argument to everyone who dismiss the importance of calories, based on stuff such as the old Atwater factor or other things like this.
@Frank I'll certainly a low BMI can be difficult to achieve, and maybe live with, but not impossible. Maybe LC/VLC diets make this somewhat easier.

Peter (at hyperlipid) seems to often claim that a higher BMI is associated with lower all-cause mortality. But let's review the definition of all-cause mortality. Including deaths from accidents seems like irrelevant data. It seems like he's blindly citing statistics without applying any reasoning. Now, here's only one study that doesn't provide just data, but at least includes a discussion:

The role of fat depletion in the biological benefits of caloric restriction.

@CS, I'm on a high-protein diet myself. Triglycerides/LCTs, from my experience at least, have a strong tendency to go to fat tissue, so I keep it that to a minimum. It's also calorie-dense, and I don't really see the benefit it pushing my fat up to the levels Peter or kwasniewski suggests. Oh well, guess I won't need to read those articles on Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed.
CarbSane said…
@Frank ... yep ... hence my concerns. When it all boils down for me, I guess, is if restricting protein spoils my appetite/maintenance nirvana, I'll take where I'm at over ballooning back up or being miserable for a very long time!
CarbSane said…
@BE & Frank: It seems that being in slight autophagy (scavenging for loose change) mode tends to promote longevity - not to mention a lean body tends to put less stress on all organs to maintain. So one is less likely to succumb when lean. However, there's no guarantee one won't fall ill - and when one does, especially as one ages, a few extra pounds tend to work to one's advantage.

I know my mother in law was quite thin, and when she got ill, she became emaciated = frail. Were my own mother to fall ill in similar manner, she would likely stand a better chance of surviving. My MIL did not. :(