[...] Because the ultimate goal is to identify the environmental triggers of obesity, experiments should, ideally, be directed at elucidating the processes that lead to the accumulation of excess fat. But obesity can take decades to develop, so any month-to-month fat gains may be too small to detect. Thus, the first step that NuSI-funded researchers will take is to test the competing hypotheses on weight loss, which can happen relatively quickly. These first results will then help determine what future experiments are needed to further clarify the mechanisms at work and which of these hypotheses is correct.
Today a new article by Gary Taubes was published in the British Medical Journal. It’s entitled, “The science of obesity: what do we really know about what makes us fat?“, and it’s a good one.
Gary Taubes has a great article in today’s Columbia Journalism Review. He covers a few topics related to the coverage of obesity, and writing about health and nutrition…most notably, he takes on the central question of how multiple writers covering the same topic (obesity), and using the same research, can come to such different interpretations.
I’m not a fan of Dr. Oz, usually. Mostly because of his dogmatic approach to nutrition that seemed to ignore newer research in favor of the typical orthodoxy. An example of this can be seen in the episode where he had Gary Taubes on as a guest (Segment 1, Segment 2, Segment 3). His smug condescension is almost palpable, and so I wrote him off as a largely well-meaning but misinformed guy.
If Why We Get Fat is written for the lay-person, this 640 page behemoth is written to satisfy the health professional: exhaustively sourced and referenced, professional yet approachable. It tackles the familiar themes of obesity as the result of excess carbohydrate consumption and posits the insulin hypothesis as the explanation for what ails us. Along the way, he uses arguments and evidence from the domains of anthropology, nutrition and medicine. Really, this is the book you would write if you read every piece of research on nutrition and obesity that was ever written.
Gary Taubes saved my life. Or at least, that’s what I tell him.
This book came at a critical point in my life, and reversed an insidious trend of out of control weight gain and mounting health problems.
Written for the lay person, it gives a history of nutrition and obesity, and proposes a new theory as to why modern Americans are predisposed to obesity…except, it’s not a new theory at all: up until World War II, we pretty much knew that sugar and other carbohydrates drove obesity. After World War II, politics forced a rewrite of our understanding of obesity (based on dubious work by Ancel Keys), and we convinced ourselves that fat drove obesity and disease.
Gary Taubes’ excellent talk, “Calories vs. Carbohydrates: Clearing Up the Confusion Over Competing Paradigms of Obesity”, from the Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12). Of particular interest to me is his discussion of the competing paradigms of obesity: the result of an individual’s failure to regulate consumption vs. a problem of adipose storage mechanisms. Well worth watching.
Note: If you have trouble with the video below, try viewing it here. It seems like there are some problems with hosting permissions that vimeo/AHS needs to work out.
Calories vs. Carbohydrates: Clearing Up the Confusion Over Competing Paradigms of Obesity by Gary Taubes at the 2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12) from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.
We’ve been fighting this notion that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” for some time now, but it looks like the establishment may be finally understanding the implications of its own research. In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors discover that when calories are consistent across people, the group on a high fat, low carb diet burned 300 more calories per day and had a significantly higher resting energy expenditure (REE):
Gary Taubes writes a cover treatment in the latest Newsweek and lambastes the conventional wisdom regarding the causes of the US obesity epidemic and the addled recommendations that are proposed to rectify it. In his cross hairs are the usual suspects: too many carbohydrates (in the form of sugar), a scientific establishment that is all but derelict in their duty, and a dogmatic (though unsupported) belief in the weight-loss benefits of exercise in combating obesity.
In his recent article, writing for Discover, Gary Taubes takes Harvard School of Public Health and UC San Diego researchers to task for impersonating actual scientists and making dietary recommendations.
…every time that these Harvard researchers had claimed that an association observed in their observational trials was a causal relationship—that food or drug X caused disease or health benefit Y—and that this supposed causal relationship had then been tested in experiment, the experiment had failed to confirm the causal interpretation—i.e., the folks from Harvard got it wrong. Not most times, but every time.