Taubes in NY Times Sunday Review

For such a talented writer and thinker as Taubes, it’s a shame that we don’t get to read more of his work more often. Thankfully, however, he published recently in the New York Times Sunday Review. His article, Why Nutrition Is So Confusing, explores familiar territory while maintaining a sense of profound urgency.

First off, if Gary Taubes is not a familiar name to you, go read and watch all you can of his works. We have a pretty solid collection of Gary Taubes’ public talks, his articles, and his books, so start there.

For those already familiar with Taubes, his latest NY Times post will recapitulate some familiar themes:

Current dietary advice isn’t even based on scientific experiments. In fact, much of the advice is based on predictions about what the actual experiments would have revealed, had they been done:

Since [the 1960’s], advice to restrict fat or avoid saturated fat has been based on suppositions about what would have happened had such trials been done, not on the studies themselves.

In fact, this approach is not generally recognized as “science” at all! Taubes calls it “sort-of-science”:

As it is, we have a field of sort-of-science in which hypotheses are treated as facts because theyโ€™re too hard or expensive to test…

As a result, the conclusions we can draw from such approaches are rather ridiculous and unhelpful:

Obesity and diabetes are epidemic, and yet the only relevant fact on which relatively unambiguous data exist to support a consensus is that most of us are surely eating too much of something. (My vote is sugars and refined grains; we all have our biases.)

So…there’s not really a lot in this article for someone who is already low carb literate. Why then am I excited to see it in the Times?

Mainly because it gets the message out. For every one of us reading this blog, or one of Taubes’ books, or any of the thousands of excellent low carb resources out there, there are millions of people who consider low carb to be fringe, dangerous and a fad.

If nothing else, Taubes is one of the few voices around that can successfully enter a public arena as visible as the New York Times Sunday Review and engage in the debate. Even if it seems familiar to us, he’s raising important issues about nutrition, obesity and healthy eating that most people are simply unaware of…even as their waistlines increase.


6 Responses to “Taubes in NY Times Sunday Review”

  1. Hello! Another uber quotable passage from Taubes article is “The 600,000 articles โ€” along with several tens of thousands of diet books โ€” are the noise generated by a dysfunctional research establishment.”
    he is indeed a very incisive clear writer. I have read Good Calories/Bad Calories (the Diet Delusion here in the UK) twice and intending to read it again and also read in a few days Why we get fat. I ahve recommended his books widely and lent the shorter one (But not GCBC!!). He will certainly be credited as officially starting the deitary debate in the 21st century. You cannot read GCBC and then carry on as normal (& if you do there must something wrong in what you eat ;-). THis book will make you question all conventional wisdom not jsut established nutrion because it makes you realise that opinions and thoughts can become wide spread and established as facts for years/decades in the absence of an objective testing methodsthanks to uncritical press dissemination/repetition of unproven facts & rumors and. Thanks for this I ahve shared on FB ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. On the note of learning to burn fat have you seen this really thought provoking synthesis of current literature on metabolic flexibility at the cellular level. I think it fits in very well with the Seyfried’s Lamarckian view of metabolism and cancer management as well…….It is really amazing what can transpire from existing data if one takes hte time to join the dots. http://www.gnolls.org/3637/what-is-metabolic-flexibility-and-why-is-it-important-j-stantons-ahs-2013-presentation-including-slides/
    Se what you think ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • PaleoFastUK:

      Whoa! Thank you for sharing this!

      > It is really amazing what can transpire from existing data if one takes the time to join the dots.

      I can’t think of a better way to put it. I’m really enjoying Stanton’s work, and will feature it soon (with props to you for sharing it).

  3. Thank heaven for the re-establishment of actual fact-based science via courageous people who challenge lazy and dangerous establishment conventional pseudo-science. Thanks to all who contribute here. (Saved my life.)

  4. My spouse and I have actively promoted GC,BC; it shines the light on what was for us a very confusing and complex issue: how to know who/what to believe about diet and health. Our generation was sold such a bill-of -goods about low fat, whole grains, cico, exercise, and sadly we babyboomers are showing how bad all that pitch was. Diabetes is rampant, being the main terrible outcome.


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