Okay, so you tried to get your Aunt Martha to read Good Calories, Bad Calories before she joined Weight Watchers for the 13th time, but she handed it back after two weeks and said she couldn’t get through it. That’s no knock on Aunt Martha. GCBC is a ground-breaking book, but heavy on science and therefore not an easy read. I remember reading some sections three times before I felt I’d fully grasped them. 

A lot of us who did enjoy the book were nonetheless hoping Gary Taubes would write a follow-up that would essentially be Good Calories, Bad Calories Lite: reads great, less taxing. Apparently Taubes had the same idea, because eventually he announced he was working on a consumer-level book that would focus mostly on weight gain and loss — which, like it or not, is probably the topic that most motivates people to read up on nutrition. (Cancer? Yeah, yeah. Diabetes? Whatever. Just tell me how to get rid of all this flab, already!)

The new book, Why We Get Fat And What to Do About It, was in the box of mail waiting for us when we returned from Christmas vacation, and I read the whole thing in a couple of weekend afternoons. That is, of course, exactly what I was hoping for: a book I can recommend to people who want to learn some of the science behind weight loss, but whose eyes glaze over if you hand them a 500-page heavyweight.

Why We Get Fat is just over 200 pages. But reading 200 pages of this book isn’t like reading 200 pages of Good Calories, Bad Calories. A lot of the same science is there, but Taubes went to great lengths to explain it as simply as possible. He uses more examples and analogies than in GCBC, and the writing style is less academic and more conversational. Here’s a sample paragraph:

The correct way to think about fat tissue is that it’s more like a wallet than a savings or retirement account. You’re always putting fat into it, and you’re always taking fat out. You get a tiny bit fatter (more fat goes into our fat cells than comes out) during and after every meal, and then you get a tiny bit leaner again (the opposite occurs) after the meal is digested. And you get leaner still while sleeping.

Even when it’s necessary to delve into a bit of biochemistry to explain a concept, the language is simple and direct:

The fact that fat is flowing into and out of our fat cells all day long, though, doesn’t explain how the cells decide what fat gets to come and go, and what fat has no choice and is locked away inside. This decision is made very simply, based on the form of the fat. The fat in our bodies exists in two different forms that serve entirely different purposes. Fat flows in and out of cells in the form of molecules called “fatty acids”; this is also the form we burn for fuel. We store fat in the form of molecules called “triglycerides,” which are composed of three fatty acids (“tri-”) bound together by a molecule of glycerol (“glyceride”).

The reason for this role distribution is again surprisingly simple: triglycerides are too big to flow through the membranes that surround every cell, whereas fatty acids are small enough to slip through cell membranes with relative ease, and so they do. Flowing back and forth, in and out of fat cells all day long, they can be burned for fuel whenever needed. Triglycerides are the form in which fat is fixed inside fat cells, stashed away for future use. For this reason, the triglycerides first have to be constructed inside a fat cell (the technical term is “esterification”) from their component fatty acids, which is what happens.

There’s even a drawing accompanying that paragraph to clarify the process further.

Since the book focuses on weight gain and loss, many of the topics covered in Good Calories, Bad Calories — cancer, dietary fiber, Ancel Keys, the McGovern committee, Alzheimer’s, diabetes — either don’t make an appearance or are discussed only briefly. Taubes does cover the Lipid Hypothesis, but mostly for the sake of assuring readers it isn’t supported by the scientific evidence, which means we can swap fat for carbohydrates in our diets without inducing heart disease.

After the introduction, Why We Get Fat explains what didn’t make us fat: prosperity leading to gluttony and sloth. Obesity has been common among populations who were poor beyond our imaginations, even among those who worked long hours at manual-labor jobs. The scientific research shows that exercise may be good for our overall health, but does little to help us shed excess body fat. And of course, low-calorie diets have an abysmal track record — even the obesity “experts” who promote them admit as much in private. In other words, after 200 years of our existence as a nation we didn’t — in one generation, mind you — become fatter because we decided that since we’re well-off now, we should start eating too much and moving too little.

For those who never bothered to read Good Calories, Bad Calories and believe Taubes failed to consider the laws of physics when writing it (which would be pretty strange, since he has a degree in physics and a master’s in aerospace engineering), there’s a section titled Thermodynamics For Dummies, broken into two chapters. Considering that he’s been lectured on the laws of thermodynamics by jocks with certificates as “personal trainers,” I’m guessing he smiled when he named those chapters. There’s nothing in the hypothesis he presented in Good Calories, Bad Calories (or in this book) that would require energy to magically disappear. I’ll write about that in an upcoming post.

From there, Taubes moves on to explain what he calls the alternative hypothesis: hormones tell our bodies to store more fat, and our bodies listen, whether we like it or not. Most of what he covers here was included in Good Calories, Bad Calories, but now it’s presented in an easy-to-understand section titled Adiposity 101, which makes up the majority of the book. You already know the basics — the wrong quantity or quality of carbohydrates drives up insulin, which drives fat storage — so I won’t go into detail here. For the details, buy the book.

I was pleased to discover a fair amount of new information in Why We Get Fat as well. Taubes includes some recent studies, and writes quite a bit more about the biological effects of consuming too much fructose. He also takes a bit of a paleo perspective in one chapter, discussing what we can learn from the diets of the 229 hunter-gatherer societies anthropologists were able to examine before civilization moved in. (Bottom line: heavy on meats and organ foods, and the fattier, the better.)

I was also pleased to see that throughout the book, Taubes pounds home a message that needs to find its way into the brains of public-health activists, doctors, and government busybodies: Obesity isn’t about character. It’s about biochemistry.  We aren’t going turn fat people into thin people by shaming them, shoving calorie counts in their faces, or building more bike paths near their homes.

Most obese people hate being fat and have tried many times to lose weight. As Taubes points out, if shedding excess body fat were really as simple as cutting 100 calories per day, pretty much every fat person would do it. The trouble is, most of them have done it, only to find it didn’t work. Meanwhile, people who’ve never been fat and regularly eat until they’re full expect obese people to spend the rest of lives feeling half-starved so they can become lean.

But of course, the message of Why We Get Fat is that we don’t have to spend our lives feeling starved or horsewhip ourselves into jogging every day to fix the biochemical imbalances that make us fat:

We’ve been told for so long, and believed for so long, that a fundamental requirement for weight loss is to eat less than we’d like, and for weight maintenance that we eat in moderation, that it’s natural to assume the same is true when we restrict carbohydrates …

It’s true that people who restrict carbohydrates often eat less than they otherwise might. A common experience is to give up fattening carbohydrates and find that you’re not as hungry as you used to be, that mid-morning snacks are no longer necessary. But that’s because you’re now burning your fat stores for fuel, which you didn’t do before. Your fat cells are now working properly as short-term energy buffers, not long-term lockups for the calories they’ve sequestered.

Note to the celebrity personal-trainers who never got around to tackling the chapter in Good Calories, Bad Calories about energy balance and thermodynamics: read the paragraph above again. Nothing in it says calories magically disappear on a low-carb diet.

Although Why We Get Fat is mostly a consumer-level look at the science of weight gain and loss and not a diet book per se, the appendix does spell out a low-carb diet that was originally designed by the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University. It so happens that clinic is run by Dr. Eric Westman, one of the three doctors who wrote the latest Atkins diet book.

So in fact, you could read this book to understand why you may need to change your diet, then refer to the appendix for ideas on how to implement those changes (although I still think you’ll want to pick up a good low-carb cookbook). But just as importantly, this is the book you can give to people who want to understand the science of why you’re finally losing weight … without being hungry and miserable doing it.

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43 Responses to “Review: Why We Get Fat … And What To Do About It”
  1. JayCee says:

    Thank you so much for the review Tom. Definitely going to get a copy and then phone a few book stores to order them so others can see it too…

    You’ll enjoy it. Good read.

  2. Discostew says:

    My copy arrived yesterday.

    Tom, to better understand GCBC, what areas should I be delving into (eg Biochemistry, Nutrition)?

    In my spare time I study exercise physiology, anatomy, and resistance training.

    Stewart

    My guess would be biochemistry.

  3. Markus says:

    It’s nice to see, that Mr. Taubes Work is catching on in the skeptical communtity,

    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/11-01-05/#feature

    however lots of comments still induce that head -> wall desire.
    Guess how they begin? Riiiight:
    “Losing weight is really simple, it all comes down to thermodynamics, eat less,
    exercise more”

    Anyway thank you for the review Tom. I’ve read through WWGF in half a day and was pleasantly surprised how the book was simpler to understand yet not dumbed down

    PS: In case your blood pressure ever drops to low my “favorite”
    “There is no question that the science of nutrition needs critical review, but Taubes is just wrong. Calories-in-calories out is the law of thermodynamics. ”

    Arrrrgh. Nothing he wrote in either book would violate the laws of thermodynamics. What you eat (calories in) affects your metabolism, body heat, and activity level (calories out). Calories in and calories out are not independent of each other. Amazing how many reviewers don’t get that, since he spelled it out pretty clearly.

  4. Markus says:

    Oh, I forgot.
    Are you going to write a rebuttal to
    http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2010/12/insulin-wars-vii-tom-fat-head-movie.html ?

    Thinking on that one. It might be better to ignore her misinterpretations of what I wrote, rather than provide publicity.

  5. Gina says:

    Aloha Tom!

    I have been waiting for this book. Thank God Gary actually wrote it. Eyes glazed over when I suggested to clients they read GCBC. (I on the other had loved it but I’m a nutrition nerd from way back and love reading Taubes and shouting yes! yes! yes! keeps the neighbors wondering what I’m up to.)
    I hope to lay my hands on “Why We Get Fat” soon (tomorrow?) and cover it in my blog.
    For now I’ll RT this review (which is excellent BTW) and hope for the best.

    Thanks for being a voice of sanity in a cuckoo diet world.

    Happy New Year (yes I’m still saying it).

    Aloha~
    Gina

    Happy New Year to you, and enjoy the book. I know you will.

  6. Aaron Curl says:

    I started reading the above carbsanity post but couldn’t finish. Yah, I say don’t give her the publicity. Some people have no clue and no matter what others say, nothing will ever change their viewpoint. Anyway, I’m glad you liked the book (I was going to get it regardless) it’s good to know a like minded individual gave it a good review.

    I’m leaning in the don’t-bother direction as far as a response, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the review. When I was trying to explain the concepts to my dad (scientific mind), he threw the Laws of thermodynamics back at me. All it took was a gentle reminder that delta E = Energy in – Energy out IN A CLOSED system, which the body is not. I could almost see the light bulb go on. Amazing how the “calorie hypotheses” people tend to forget that last part…

    Bingo. Not only is the body NOT a closed system, but the calories out (metabolism, body heat, activity) is clearly affected by the calories in.

  8. Ashley says:

    This is my first time visiting your blog. Very interesting and great review.

  9. gallier2 says:

    A propos hunter-gatherer and their diet, Kurt Harris has blogged about it recently (halleluja). It’s a must read!
    http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/1/5/guest-post-professor-gumby-essay-001.html

  10. Elenor says:

    I answered that thread cause I was so disgusted by all the: “I haven’t seen either movie — but here’s why they’re wrong.” My comment:

    ==============
    MsArchangel said…
    I’m always astonished that people will have long ‘discussions’ they preface with: “I didn’t see the movie or read the book — but let me tell you why it’s wrong/what’s wrong with it.” And then others chime in about how their view supports or differs — even though they TOO have not seen the movie or read the book.

    I do not believe you can POSSIBLY add anything of value to a discussion of someone’s position, when you have not actually looked into that person’s position! To the guy who hasn’t seen either movie but can diagnose why it’s okay that Spurlock won’t release his food log: Spurlock’s rules were he’d only supersize IF ASKED. He was asked only 9 times in 30 days — so twice a week his meal (lunch or dinner) supersized — only!

    If you’d seen Naughton’s movie, you’d see that it is NOT possible to make up 5,000-kcal meal without, as Naughton puts it: McStuffing himself.

    Spurlock’s doctor keeps raving about his “high-fat” diet trashing his liver. Except he only had 13 pounds of fat and *30 pounds* of sugar over the month. (He shows all his meals laid out in the movie — he had refused to release his food logs to Naughton and all the journalists who asked!) A pound of sugar every day for 30 days will most assuredly trash your liver. A half a pound of fat? Not so much.

    But since y’all are discussing this topic without actually knowing what was promulgated — in either movie — you are shooting at illusions and misconceptions of either movie!

    It’s really hard to respect that, or take your comments seriously.
    ====================

    Well said.

  11. Lori says:

    “It might be better to ignore her misinterpretations of what I wrote, rather than provide publicity.”

    Glad to see you’re taking your own advice on arguing with idiots.

    LOL. She’s clearly not an idiot, but did manage to come up with some odd interpretations of what I wrote.

  12. Bullinachinashop says:

    My only problem with the book is I would have liked to see some new information (other than the appendix with the guidelines).

    For instance, my wife’s biggest obstacle to accepting this idea is that her oncologist told her to avoid red meat because of the hormones they inject in cattle. I don’t know if this is a valid concern or just part of the anti-meat zeitgeist. Of course she’s terrified of that coming back so she sticks to the “balanced meal” idea, and believes we absolutely should have a starch with every meal.

    This would have been a nice topic (I don’t remember reading about that specific issue in GCBG).

    He didn’t write about cancer much in this book, since he was focusing on weight loss. There’s some information about read meat and cancer in GCBC starting on page 210.

  13. Jessica says:

    “So in fact, you could read this book to understand why you may need to change your diet, then refer to the appendix for ideas on how to implement those changes (although I still think you’ll want to pick up a good low-carb cookbook). ”

    Have suggestions for one of those cookbooks where soy and whey protein aren’t thrown into everything? I, at least, am allergic to both — I can only have full-fat milk/yogurt/ice cream without being sick and I’ve yet to manage not getting sick when soy protein was involved (or anything with added whey protein). This has often hindered me when trying to go low-carb.

    I’ll post links to a couple of my favorite cookbooks.

  14. Amy Dungan says:

    Thanks for the review Tom. Looks like I need to get a couple extra copies of this to hand out along side of Fat Head. I can’t recommend GCBC to most of the people I know. The number of pages alone would make their eyes glaze over.

    This is definitely the one to hand out. GCBC was just too intimidating for a lot of people.

  15. Tracee says:

    I’m so glad to hear there is an easier version. My dad, an engineer, and I are the only two I know who care enough to read a tome on the subject. I know some others who might enjoy an easier version. Now if he could only dumb it down to a poster with a shape and cartoons on it, that would work even better.

    If he dumbed it down to grade-school level, more doctors would probably read it.

  16. Djarno says:

    You recommended getting a good low-carb cookbook. Any suggestions?

    I’ll post some links so everyone will see them.

  17. TonyNZ says:

    Three things, two off topic;

    On-topic: Thanks for the review. Not to be a party-pooper with the laws of thermodynamics thing, but we do have certain bodily functions that remove unprocessed foodstuffs. Nothing says that every calorie is removed first. Not a pleasant image, but one worth considering for the “laws of thermodynamics say…” crowd.

    Off topic: Sat through the credits for Fat-Head the other day and noticed the easter eggs. “Daughters produced by Chareva Naughton”. Hilarious.

    Wildly off topic: I really hope they screw that guy that was proven to have tinkered with his data on vaccinations causing autism. Yeah he’s lost his license. Yeah he’s lost his credibility to most. But his research will still be cited and the anti-vaccination seed has been planted in so many places. If there’s a Rubella outbreak in the western world it will be on his head.

    The guy who tinkered with his data should be sued, if not prosecuted.

  18. Dave says:

    Great review. One thing I like about WWGF is that Taubes obviously took many of the criticisms of GCBC and addressed them with strong evidence and basic logic. It won’t change the minds of “true believers”, but at least gives those on the fence a fighting chance of making a rational choice, rather than being stuck with a “he said, she said” coin flip.

    @Discostew: here’s a good book on metabolism and associated biochem (though watch out for the cognitive dissonance as Frayn tries to reconcile well-established biochemical pathways with the usual high-carb nutritional recommendations):

    http://www.amazon.com/Metabolic-Regulation-Perspective-Keith-Frayn/dp/1405183594

    I noticed you received a thank-you in the book. Whatever you did to help, thank you from me as well.

  19. Laurie says:

    Gary Taubes changed my life positively with GCBC and this new book is spectacular. I found it almost completely different and with a lot of really informative high-fat food for thought additional explanations. I’m giving out copies like no-sugar candy.
    I’ve taken chemical thermodynamics and, while he certainly does not need kudos from me, he’s correct— of course. No laws of thermo were harmed in his writing or thinking. For the ill-informed, under-educated critics, a few buzz words and phrases are dangerous, annoying-to-the-rest-of-us, things.
    So here’s a buzz phrase from me. Vegetable ‘oil’ swill is polyester Frankenstein ‘fat’. The polyester label has the triple advantage of being chemically correct (mostly), a polymer fabricated-in-a-lab plastic, and inedible.

    Coming soon … Mazola’s new polyester bread spread.

  20. gallier2 says:

    bullinashop you should definitly read Don Matesz’ take on the hormone issue in meat. In short, forget about it, it’s negligible, even in conventional meat.

  21. gallier2 says:

    And here the link, sdo that you read it yourself (sillly me forgot it)
    http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2010/12/practically-primal-perspective-on.html

    As usual, a logical and well-written piece by Don.

  22. Bullinachinashop says:

    Thanks gallier,

    I’ll check that out and discuss the issue with her and maybe even her doc.

  23. Ellen says:

    File this one under the Clueless category: There’s a company offering a desk that attaches to a treadmill, so people can get their recommended 10K steps in while they work..

    “Product x” allows individuals the opportunity in achieving their 10,000 steps in as little as 3-4 hours. “The Product”, a full sized, height adjustable workstation attaches to any existing treadmill allowing individuals the opportunity to walk slowly through the day while they work…”

    Totally insane; I laughed out loud when I realized they were serious. These people need to read Gary’s books.

    Lordy … I exercise, and I work, but my client wouldn’t like the results if I did both at the same time.

  24. Galina L. says:

    I am waiting for my copy to arrive. Thank you for your revise because I was sort of scare to get something to simplified to be interesting. I couldn’t get enough from GCBC and wouldn’t mind to be it twice thick. I bet,you know that feeling when you are enjoining some book and are dreading the approaching of the final page, then finally had to read the “introduction” because there is nothing left to read. I had no medical background, only a degree in engineering, besides, I started to learn English only at 32 (I am 50 now).

    There is a tendency now-days to dumb down a medical advice. I used to watch Dr. Oz’s show even though I disagree with his nutritional ideas. All information got simplified more and more till it reached the kindergarten level. Looks like it suits his audience just fine. Dr. Oz is not a stupid gay when he doesn’t go into nutrition. Looks like he got pressured too much to have the broadest possible appeal. I would hate it if it happened to Gary.

    I think Gary is determined to keep spreading the word. This book simpler to read, but he hasn’t changed his basic message.

  25. Walter says:

    I was going to provide the link to Don’s great post on hormones and meat, but I see someone beat me too it. So I’ll just also add that I too found information in WWGF that is not in GCBC. Describing it as GCBC light does not do it justice.

    Easier read, but definitely a good presentation with some new information.

  26. Debbie says:

    I just began reading the new book yesterday, and am enjoying it. Of course a lot is familiar since I’ve read GCBC three times. Unfortunately I think this new book is *still* way too technical for the people I’d most like to reach with the message. I don’t think any of them would get past chapter one.

    I suppose there’s a limit to how much you can simplify the science, but I found this version much easier to read.

  27. Sarah says:

    Y’know what kinda sucks? (This is totally off topic.) But I love the Penn and Teller BS show. They talk about major issues and debunk them with science and government bias and all that. When it comes to diets, he asks a doctor about atkins and he says ketosis is a dangerous state of starvation. =/ Hello?!

    Yeah, I had that same reaction. Love the show, love their libertarian take on issues, but they’re a little too trusting of conventional medical advice.

  28. DiscoStew says:

    I’ve just finished reading WWGF and think it’s a masterpiece. It should be compulsory reading for all Doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, health authorities, and, most of all, politicians. Hell, everyone should read it!!

    DS

    Amen to that.

  29. Discostew says:

    I’ve now bought/read/watched:

    GCBC
    WWGF
    The Primal Blueprint
    The Paleo Diet
    The Paleo Solution
    The New Evolution Diet
    FatHead

    All I need now is my own cave, some stone-age tools, and an internet connection and I’ll be set….

    DS

    Warning: those paleo computers were way slow.

  30. Tammy says:

    Well I did read GCBC a while back and although it was excellent, it did take me a month to get through. This past weekend I finished reading WWGF and loved it !! Now I just need to figure out how many copies to order to hand out. Taubes new book is like a neat, straight forward culmination of a whole bunch of books I’ve read over the past two years. And I did enjoy the information from the newest studies.

    I believe that’s the reason this book stands a good chance of catching on with a much wider audience: you can read it in a weekend.

  31. KarenW says:

    Hey Tom, I just want to share something awesome. I was at the dentist this morning, and they had the latest issue of Reader’s Digest on the rack. On the cover was a smiling plate of bacon and eggs (remember the frowning bacon and eggs on the cover of Newsweek?) I though, “Wow, this looks like something positive.” And it was – an interview with Gary Taubes! The entire article was in support of him and his book, and in the interview he made all of his usual points – about how fat is essential, carbs especially sugar make you fat, how dieting and exercise are futile – the works! It absolutely made my day.

    Outstanding!

  32. Jennifer says:

    Just an F.M.I. Have you seen “Edwardian Supersize Me” with Restaurant critic Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins? It was broadcast in Great Britian in June 2007. I’d be interested in reading your take on it, if you have.

    Never heard of it.

  33. Kat says:

    ^ Alright Reader’s digest!! I’m gonna have to get my hands on that article.

  34. Kat says:

    i don’t understand how people find gcbc hard to read and complicated!!! I was 21 when i read that and I finished the book in about 5 days! yes, my friends, you read correctly. 5 DAYS. Now if a 21-year old can finish a book like that in such a short span of time, and most of the poeple commenting here are over 30, i’m sure you can finish it too.

    I’m guess you’re either more curious than most people, more comfortable with scientific topics, or both.

  35. Jalal says:

    Tom, I really love Fat Head (picked up and recently finished GCBC but need to reread) and have been on a nutrition mission since then. I’ve been curious about potential side-effects of elevated NEFA/FFA and how that might have longer-time health consequences when going to a low-carb diet. Have you looked into this area, is there any information you can glean from the Eades or other doctors you trust?

    Plenty of books out there that would put your mind at ease. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, any of the books by Uffe Ravnskov, GCBC of course, the newest Atkins book, Primal Body/Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas, Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.

  36. Discostew says:

    Tom, are you aware of any studies, and the like, where people lost weight/fat without reducing the calorie intake? For example, a person goes from eating 2500cals a day of crap (ie lots of fattening carbs) to 2500cals of “healthy” food (ie no fattening carbs) yet loses weight/fat. This would surely put to bed the calories-in/calories-out debate.

    DS

    Not specifically, but there have been some clinical studies in which people on low-carb diets who didn’t count calories lost more weight than people on low-calorie diets who did. As Gary points out in his current book, it’s not uncommon for people on low-carb diets to spontaneously eat less because they’re able to mobilize body fat for fuel. To me, that’s really the point of giving up the carbs: you don’t have to feel hungry all the time to lose weight.

  37. Rocky says:

    Actually, the “In the face of contradictory evidence” piece that was featured here a while back does touch upon that. Quoting from page 917:

    “The NEL contains evidence that is not consistent with this
    conclusion; several included studies show that a low carbohydrate
    diet can produce significantly greater weight loss
    than a low-fat diet, even when caloric intake is held constant
    between diets [15–18].

    [15] Volek JS, Phinney SD, Forsythe CE, Quann EE, Wood RJ, Puglisi MJ, et al.
    Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic
    syndrome than a low fat diet. Lipids 2009;44:297–309.
    [16] Buscemi S, Verga S, Tranchina MR, Cottone S, Cerasola G. Effects of hypocaloric
    very-low-carbohydrate diet vs. Mediterranean diet on endothelial
    function in obese women. Eur J Clin Invest 2009;39:339–47.
    [17] Halyburton AK, Brinkworth GD, Wilson CJ, Noakes M, Buckley JD, Keogh JB,
    et al. Low- and high-carbohydrate weight-loss diets have similar effects on
    mood but not cognitive performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:580–7.
    [18] Keogh JB, Brinkworth GD, Noakes M, Belobrajdic DP, Buckley JD, Clifton PM.
    Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial
    function and markers of cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with
    abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:567–76.

    Thanks for the references.

  38. Jalal says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’ve looked more into Dr. Ravnskov’s work and started an email exchange with him, his replies (to my NEFA/FFA/markers-to-look-for questions) are below:

    “High serum levels of NEFA/FFA are most of all seen in people who eat much carbohydrates. All carbs are converted to glucose in the body and if you do not use the excess glucose, for instance by exercizing, glucose is either converted to glycogen, or, if the glycogen depots are full, to FFA”

    but then further conversation stopped after these questions:

    “Ok. Is there some recommended maximum level of serum NEFA/FFA?

    So in the case of dietary fat, does it not raise nefa/ffa levels as severely as carbs? How would I know if it’s too high?

    Can you suggest what proportion of PUFA , Sat FA, MUFA, etc to have as total fat in the diet or does it matter?

    What testable markers can I rely on to determine my overall health? C-reactive protein, HDL/triglyceride ratio?”

    I’m trying to get a bit more quantitative than simply saying ‘less carb, more fat is healthier.’

  39. Galina L. says:

    To Debbie:

    I could relate to you post myself. My weight loss followed the same pattern with at list 2 years long plateau. I moved from it by 1. going into ketosis all the time(use the strips), 2. limiting frequency of my meals to 2 or 3 a day by eliminating snacking, breakfast and eating after 6 p.m.(in order to limit) When I feel hungry, green jasmine tee with thin slice of lemon without sweetener does the trick. For me it is the magic combination. My guess is that black unsweetened coffee with lemon is the thing that may do the same.

  40. Galina L. says:

    Sorry, I unintentionally hit the SUBMIT. I understated how annoying it is. But I believe that staying in ketosis all the time may prevent the weight regain. Just in case,if you want to try my food regimen, my breakfast consist of 3 soft boiled eggs + bacon, dinner is the palm sized stake with 1 – 2 cups of very low carb vegetable. Nowadays I am newer hungry between meals, but it took time and couple migraines to readjust.

  41. Catya says:

    Check out new mouse study that proves all calories are not equal. Mice forced to eat at times that are not their biorhythm
    gained more weight that those eating at natural biorhythm times, (the exact same food of course.) Science News either Nov or Dec 2010.

    Interesting, and I’m pretty sure the mice weren’t capable of violating the laws of physics.

  42. Jocey says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great review. I just recently read this book and it made soooo much sense. I am trying to get everyone I know to read this book; I am definitely sharing your review on fb/twitter!
    Thanks a lot!
    Jocey

  43. Cathy says:

    I did read gcbc, but i dont think many medical professionals would have that kind of time available to get through it. Im looking forward to the shorter version wwgf,
    for myself, my husband, but especially doctors who might actually take the time to read the short version.
    One criticism of low carb eating i find amusing is when people say they could never
    Eat that way long term ( as if they have been able to eat low fat low calorie long term and stay thin – it hasnt happened). I think we all agree that the middle aisles of the grocery store are junk. Why is it so difficult to convince people that bread and pasta and sweets are fattening – mother knew it years ago!

    I’ve been eating this way long-term. It’s easy.

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