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November 19, 2008

More Taubes

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Dr. Michael Eades sponsors an ask-Gary-Taubes session.

Taubes' paradigm-shifting "Good Calories, Bad Calories" is a fascinating (if exhausting) read for many reasons, including a number that have nothing to do with food and obesity. The tale he tells is, in a general sense, of experts (and their advice and guidance) going awry and becoming destructive under the sway of bad research, egos, p-r, and commercial and political pressure.

This tale seems to me to parallel a lot of other tales that we've witnessed in recent decades. How did we wind up with building and space-making practices that so often result in sterile structures and dead spaces? How did we develop an un-nourishing "literary fiction" world that almost no one cares about? How did our financial, political, and economics elites create and lead us into our current mess?

Taubes' long, detailed and meticulous dissection of how we wound up with a health-tips establishment that's handing out bad, even lethal, advice couldn't be more different in tone from Tom Wolfe's short, snappy and dazzling "From Bauhaus to Our House" and "The Painted Word." But, like them, it's a major contribution to the "How on earth did we get to this crazy place?" genre. It can help you make a whole lot more sense of the world around you.

Related: Low-carbin' force of nature Jimmy Moore podcast-interviewed Gary Taubes here and here. Explore Jimmy's huge and valuable collection of audio interviews here. Steve Sailer shares some musings about the "What is art?" question.



posted by Michael at November 19, 2008


If Taubes is right, shouldn't there be a Tsunami of legal suits against the quack (= conventional) doctors and dieticians. And similarly for the statin promoters?

Posted by: dearieme on November 19, 2008 6:54 PM

I mentioned on Roissy's blog that the diet industry is a load of crap. I didn’t link to a study so of course the folks there ate me up. Why are the people of Paris on average thin or of average size irrespective of income or race & ethnicity?

Every four years or so, the health diet industry comes out with a new way for us to eat to be healthy. First, it was low fat, then high fat-low cal, now low carb high protein diet. All of it is pure bs. Eat less of everything, eat fruits and vegetables, don't drink most of your calories and walk(no gym needed)and you will be thin.

Posted by: Chic Noir on November 19, 2008 10:13 PM

dearieme -- Wouldn't you think? In fact the question has come up a number of times among those critical of the conventional health-tips industry. I wonder what a sensible lawyer would say about the question. Why the U.S. govt has set itself up as an authority on health and eating -- and why the public generally hasn't thrown a lot of mud and tomatoes at it for doing so -- is something I'll never be able to figure out. Governments must meddle, they simply must - something like that?

Chic -- Fun to see you here. You might be tickled to know that the title of Gary Taubes' book in its English and Aussie incarnation is "The Diet Delusion," a phrase you might almost have coined. All that said, his research did leave Taubes convinced that the cause of overweight isn't too much fat, it's probably too much sugar and too many refined carbs, both of which wreak havoc on the insulin system.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 20, 2008 9:06 AM

Speaking of insulin system Michael, fructose corn syrup wrecks havoc as well. Most of our foods and drinks contain FCS. In soft drinks and fruit juices, FCS is often the second ingredient. It's used as a substitute for sugar.

I think I read somewhere that France does not allow FCS to be used in it's soft drinks. While in Paris, I had a few cokes because they taste so much better than the crap we drink here in the states.

Posted by: Chic Noir on November 21, 2008 10:13 PM

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