Weekend Chef’s Book Review: Why We Get Fat

Book Review- Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It  by Gary Taubes

I included this book in my September favorites post a few weeks back. Nancy picked it up from the library and asked me to read it for a post. I thought I would battle through it as it certainly looked like a fad diet book, one which I had little interest in reading. I was certainly surprised to find that the format of the book is historically driven and scientifically backed, both good things. And it’s really not a diet book at all. Gary Taubes is a journalist and merely reports the facts as supporting evidence to a larger truth. He had previously written Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. As I understand, the book was as long and dry as the title suggests. He was inspired to cut the book down so more people could access the valuable information he presented. The first book was just too much for most people to dig through.

The follow up, Why We Get Fat supports the same basic argument: carbs and sugar are the root of obesity and a host of illnesses. He provides the science behind this claim and looks to dismantle the arguments against it:  Eating less food and increasing exercise is a popular however frustrating way to try to lose weight because it chemically just doesn’t work, eating fat has never been proven to increase belly fat, the list goes on. I know it all sounds pretty crazy. Just eliminate starch, carbs and sugars of all kinds and eat as much of the correct foods as your want, no calorie restrictions. The book has really hit home for me. After getting back from Disney World in August, I really felt like a mess and I blamed it on the excess calories as we’re taught to do. What I think the real problem was, in hindsight, was the desserts at every meal including the doughnuts at breakfast. My mom is diabetic and it’s a path that I’m trying to avoid. Looking back, she always had ice cream every night and started using Weight Watchers to get back on track 20 years ago.

The one ask I have is for everyone to read the book and make their own decision about food and the science of what really makes us fat.  In an upcoming post, I’m going to share some of the book-inspired changes that I’ve made to my diet for the long term, not as a quick fix. A little preview: I’m missing chocolate and ice cream but unlimited bacon makes up for it.

Please share any of your thought or experiences in the comments section.

-The Weekend Chef



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