Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease

Gary Taubes, Author . Knopf $27.95 (601p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4078-0

Taubes's eye-opening challenge to widely accepted ideas on nutrition and weight loss is as provocative as was his 2001 New York Times Magazine article, “What if It's All a Big Fat Lie?” Taubes (Bad Science ), a writer for Science magazine, begins by showing how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease. Deeper examination, he says, shows that heart disease and other “diseases of civilization” appear to result from increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: sugar, white flour and white rice. When researcher John Yudkin announced these results in the 1950s, however, he was drowned out by the conventional wisdom. Taubes cites clinical evidence showing that elevated triglyceride levels, rather than high total cholesterol, are associated with increased risk of heart disease—but measuring triglycerides is more difficult than measuring cholesterol. Taubes says that the current U.S. obesity “epidemic” actually consists of a very small increase in the average body mass index. Taube's arguments are lucid and well supported by lengthy notes and bibliography. His call for dietary “advice that is based on rigorous science, not century-old preconceptions about the penalties of gluttony and sloth” is bound to be echoed loudly by many readers. Illus. (Oct. 2)

Reviewed on: 08/27/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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