Taubes - Author's Note

- POSTED ON: Jan 01, 2011


Good Calories Bad Calories was a lengthy book.
Dense with science, historical content and annotations.
Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It is shorter,
a book that doesn't require such an investment of time and effort.

Taubes says:

"I offer here the arguments against the conventional wisdom
distilled down to their essence."

He goes on:

My one request is that you think critically while you’re reading.
I want you to keep asking yourself as you read whether what I’m saying really makes sense. To steal a phrase from Michael Pollan, this book is intended to be a thinker’s manifesto.
Its goal is to refute some of the misconceptions that pass for public-health
and medical advice in this country and around the world, and to arm you with the necessary information and logic to take your health and well-being into your own hands.”

So, I’m beginning with a comment about reading the book.

People are full of opinions which have been formed
by their exposure to information and personal experience.
Everyone who starts a new book brings those opinions with them,

To be open-minded, doesn’t mean we have no opinions.
People who are open to learn new things are faced with the task
of recognizing their own biases
and then mentally working to put those opinions aside,
while they read and assimilate new information.

For most of our lives, we have been exposed to the “calories-in/calories-out” theory.
The medical profession, the government and the media have presented it to us as a True Fact.
Therefore, almost everyone who reads “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About it”
when they first start reading the book.
will have the belief that “calories-in/calories-out” is true
and that Obesity is CAUSED by Gluttony and Sloth.

When presented with a new idea, some people literally “close their minds”,
and refuse to allow the idea inside, refuse to mull it over, and refuse to wonder about it.
They “know what they know” and that’s it.

Other people, work to “open their minds” to the idea, think about it,
and try to fit the idea together with their current knowledge and experience.
“Maybe it’s correct…maybe not…let’s see why the author believes this.”

While I agree with the idea of discussing this book Chapter by Chapter,
I think a careful reading of the entire book…and maybe more than once…
is necessary before one can firmly grasp the concepts it presents.

the idea of reading the book is to take into the mind and thoroughly comprehend new information.
While the mind absorbs that new information it works to piece the information
together with past information, and….perhaps…the result can be the formation of a New Opinion.
However, it is quite a task to force one’s mind to assimilate ALL the new information,  
rather than to receive it selectively. Our minds tend to naturally accept information that supports our current opinions, and instantly reject…by skimming quickly past…any information that seems to oppose those current beliefs.
This is something each of us has to struggle with in order to be open-minded enough to learn new information that will lead to a new way of thinking about familiar concepts.

This task is no easier for me than it is for others.
My reason for reading this book,
and for being willing to consider the concepts that Taubes presents,
is because the way I’ve been eating and exercising aren’t working as well as I’d like.

I’ve lost a great deal of weight,
and I’ve been maintaining my weight in a normal range for the past 5 years,
however, it is a constant struggle that requires extreme vigilance.

While I find the various methods and tools that I use to be helpful,
I am often hungry, and I constantly crave sweets and starches. 
If there is a better way to maintain my small size,
while avoiding the hunger and cravings,
I want to find it. 

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Feb 14, 2011 wrote:
So glad to see this site running. Please let your web designer know how nice it is:-) I think Taubes has written a book that will be a game changer in the world of health- not just for losing & maintaining weight, difficult as that is, but for so much of Metabolic Syndrome maladies. Thank for taking the time to dissect his writings and making it accessible to a wider audience. Do you plan on having a forum where general questions can be posted?

On Feb 14, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks, I'm looking forward to it. I'm a novice at blogging, but I've been posting on forums for a very long time. I don't plan on adding a forum at this time, but I welcome general questions. I check my e-mail regularly, as well as the comment sections. It's okay to ask me a general question at any time in any blog; EXCEPT I would like to keep these first 22 blogs, which are for the Why We Get Fat book discussions, specific to the issues of the book. That's the reason I lumped them together as the very oldest posts. You can more easily access these chapters through the header link, BOOKTALK. I believe that will be the primary way people make comments on them.

On Feb 18, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
I am reading this book thoroughly, but more to evaluate what can be applied to fasting, than what it says about a low carb approach. I recognize that as a result my reading will be very biased.

On Feb 27, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Despite one's primary motivation for doing so, I think WWGF is a book worth reading.

On Feb 19, 2011 TexArk wrote:
I appreciate your work on this project. I read Good Calories Bad Calories, then I worked through this condensed book. Taubes first caught my attention and changed my way of thinking with his article in the New York Times several years ago--What If It's Been a Big Fat Lie..or close to that title. His work demands rereading and rethinking. I always told my students that they didn't really understand a concept until they could teach it to someone else. You are demonstrating your understanding with this Book Talk. I hope to join in so that I can better explain to others these concepts. TexArk

On Feb 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             TexArk, I know that you have thoroughly read GCBC, and successfully applied some of those principles to your life. I look forward to seeing your comments on WWGF here.

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