Why We Get Fat

And What To Do About It
by Gary Taubes | 288 pages

Why do we get fat? It’s a surprisingly simple question that surprisingly few nutrition experts answer with attention to scientific rigor. Enter: Gary Taubes, a brilliant, award-winning science journalist. In this Note we’ll explore some Big Ideas on the importance of the hormone insulin, why carbs are kinda like cigarettes and the Stanford A TO Z Study that showed low-carb diets outperforming others.


“In more than six decades since the end of the Second World War, when this question of what causes us to fatten—calories or carbohydrates—has been argued, it has often seemed like a religious issue rather than a scientific one. So many different belief systems enter into the question of what constitutes a healthy diet that the scientific question—why do we get fat?—has gotten lost along the way. It’s been overshadowed by ethical, moral, and sociological considerations that are valid in themselves and certainly worth discussing but have nothing to do with the science itself and arguably no place in the scientific inquiry.”

~ Gary Taubes from Why We Get Fat

Why do we get fat?

It’s a surprisingly simple question that surprisingly few nutrition experts answer with attention to scientific rigor.

Enter: Gary Taubes, a brilliant, award-winning science journalist with a ruthless commitment to drilling past the common myths propagated over the last several decades into the scientific research underpinning what we know about why we get fat. (And, as the sub-title suggests, what we can do about it.)

The short answer: It’s the carbs.

Taubes’s first book on the subject was Good Calories, Bad Calories (see Notes) in which he painstakingly walks us through a comprehensive review of the scientific literature over the last couple hundred years. That book is 600+ pages long—150 of which are Notes and references.

This book is a still rigorous but much quicker-reading look at the issues.

Unless you’re already familiar with his argument, the book will almost certainly challenge your current ideas. If your mind is open, it’s hard to argue with the central theme Taubes presents.

The book is packed with Big Ideas and studies. We’ll barely scratch the surface but I’m excited to share some of my favorite Ideas and I hope I inspire you to dig deeper into what’s driving our society’s (and perhaps your!) challenges with obesity. (You can get the book here!)

Let’s jump in!

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About the author

Authors

Gary Taubes

Journalist, author, and co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative