Taubes - Chapter 13 - What We Can Do

- POSTED ON: Jan 01, 2011


 Being born with a tendency toward fat is beyond your control.

Taubes says

“It’s carbohydrates that ultimately determines insulin secretion
and insulin that drives the accumulation of body fat.

Not all of us get fat when we eat carbohydrates,
but for those of us who do get fat,
the carbohydrates are to blame;
the fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be.”

He compares this with cigarettes.

“Not every longtime smoker gets lung cancer.
Only one in six men will, and one in nine women.
But for those who do get lung cancer,
cigarette smoke is …the most common cause.

In a world without cigarettes,
lung cancer would be a rare disease, as it once was.
In a world without carbohydrate-rich diets,
obesity would be a rare condition as well.”

 Taubes says a crucial point is that not all foods
containing carbohydrates are equally fattening.
The most fattening foods are the ones with the greatest effect
on our Blood Sugar. He then talks about Blood Sugar issues,
and the Glycemic Index.
Taubes thinks fruit is “worrisome” because

“it is sweet to the taste precisely because it contains a type of
sugar known as fructose, and fructose is uniquely fattening
as carbohydrates go.

Fruit doesn’t have to be processed before we eat it;
it’s fat-free and cholesterol-free; it has vitamins and antioxidants,
and so, by this logic, it must be good for us. Maybe so.
But if we’re predisposed to put on fat, it’s a good bet
that most fruit will make the problem worse, not better.”

He says 

“The very worst foods for us…are sugars – sucrose (table sugar)
and high-fructose corn syrup in particular.
I refer to both of them as sugars,
because they are effectively identical.
Sucrose—white granulated sugar—is half fructose and half glucose.
HFCS is 55 % fructose, 42% glucose, and 3% other carbohydrates."

 Taubes then talks about the way the body digests the carbohydrates
in sugars and starches, and the problems that occur in our bodies.

He says that although fructose has no immediate effect on Blood Sugar
and Insulin, that -- over time – it is a likely cause of insulin resistance.

“It is quite possible that if we never ate these sugars
we might never become fat or diabetic, even if the bulk of our diet
were still starchy carbohydrates and flour.

This would explain why some of the world’s poorest populations
live on carbohydrate-rich diets and don’t get fat and diabetic,
while others aren’t so lucky. The ones that don’t (or at least didn’t),
like the Japanese and Chinese were the ones that traditionally
ate very little sugar. Once you do start to fatten, if you want to stop
the process and reverse it, these sugars have to be the first to go.”

 I do agree that tolerances of carbohydrates differ between people.
In fact, I find all of these Concepts very believable.
Many of them I’ve experienced in my own life,
and have frequently observed in others as well.

I think it’s interesting the way that Taubes believes
that many bodies change over time
due to exposure to excessive carbohydrates.
This makes a lot of sense to me.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Feb 18, 2011 wrote:
That last chapter was depressing. I'm not going to reflect on how I may well have predisposed that precious daughter of mine to a lifetime of obesity. Instead, I'll go on. Taubes says………………."It's carbohydrates that ultimately determines insulin secretion and insulin that drives the accumulation of body fat." (p. 134). …………………….."The human body, and particularly the liver, never evolved to handle the kind of fructose load we get in modern diets." (p. 137). …………………………………………………………………….I will take to heart the idea that insulin is affected by carbohydrates, and yet I am wondering if a meal timing effect can allow the insulin level to go down. I listened to an interview of a doctor who wrote a book called Symptom W and her plan was to have people put off consumption of carbs to evening. I think there might be an impact on the body even with a 12 hour fast (breakfast to dinner) or a 24 hour fast. …………….Is there any study that shows the impact of insulin levels due to fasting? Maybe there is. Anyway, one thing I have noticed is an increased desire for pop. I seem to want carbs when I am eating. Maybe this is part of the adjustment to lower carbs. ………………………I still maintain that the body's desire for quantity of food consumed needs to be honored, and there should not be a commandment to eat anything. I don't want to be told I need four servings of vegetables per day, which is what this woman who was promoting a Symptom W diet was advocating.

On Feb 19, 2011 Karen925 wrote:
I think it’s interesting the way that Taubes believes that many bodies change over time due to exposure to excessive carbohydrates. **** My body changing over time is something I seriously address in my ongoing maintanence plan. How I can see this process unfold before a few pounds becomes many, many pounds. Excessive carbs is a variable, what does this mean for each individual? For me, the answer is keeping a food journal (thus knowing my cal/carb budget) and daily weighing. Sure the cal/carb counts vary but if I record them similarly over time, the errors randomize. All I need are ranges not absolute values to be successful.

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