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Publisher's Summary

In this groundbreaking book, the result of seven years of research in every science connected with the impact of nutrition on health, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet with more and more people acting on this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues persuasively that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, easily digested starches) and sugars - via their dramatic and longterm effects on insulin, the hormone that regulates fat accumulation - and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. There are good calories, and bad ones. 

Good Calories
These are from foods without easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. These foods can be eaten without restraint.
Meat, fish, fowl, cheese, eggs, butter, and non-starchy vegetables.

Bad Calories
These are from foods that stimulate excessive insulin secretion and so make us fat and increase our risk of chronic disease - all refined and easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. The key is not how much vitamins and minerals they contain, but how quickly they are digested. (So apple juice or even green vegetable juices are not necessarily any healthier than soda.)
Bread and other baked goods, potatoes, yams, rice, pasta, cereal grains, corn, sugar (sucrose and high fructose corn syrup), ice cream, candy, soft drinks, fruit juices, bananas and other tropical fruits, and beer.

Taubes traces how the common assumption that carbohydrates are fattening was abandoned in the 1960s when fat and cholesterol were blamed for heart disease and then - wrongly - were seen as the causes of a host of other maladies, including cancer. He shows us how these unproven hypotheses were emphatically embraced by authorities in nutrition, public health, and clinical medicine, in spite of how well-conceived clinical trials have consistently refuted them. He also documents the dietary trials of carbohydrate-restriction, which consistently show that the fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be. 

With precise references to the most significant existing clinical studies, he convinces us that there is no compelling scientific evidence demonstrating that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, that salt causes high blood pressure, and that fiber is a necessary part of a healthy diet. Based on the evidence that does exist, he leads us to conclude that the only healthy way to lose weight and remain lean is to eat fewer carbohydrates or to change the type of the carbohydrates we do eat, and, for some of us, perhaps to eat virtually none at all. 

Good Calories, Bad Calories is a tour de force of scientific investigation - certain to redefine the ongoing debate about the foods we eat and their effects on our health.

©2007 Gary Taubes (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“If Taubes were inclined to sensationalism, he might have titled this book The Great Low-Fat Diet Hoax. Instead, he tackles the subject with the seriousness and scientific insight it deserves, building a devastating case against the low-fat, high-carb way of life endorsed by so many nutrition experts in recent years. With diabetes and heart disease at stake as well as obesity, those ‘experts’ owe us an abject apology.” (Barbara Ehrenreich)

Good Calories, Bad Calories is a remarkable accomplishment. From a mountain of diverse scientific evidence Gary Taubes has drawn an amazingly detailed and compelling picture of how diet, obesity, and heart disease link together–and how some of the world’s most important medical researchers got the story colossally wrong. Taubes proves, I think beyond doubt, that the dietary advice we’ve been given for the last three decades by the federal government and the major medical bodies rests on, shall we say, a slender empirical base.” (Charles C. Mann, author of 1491)

“A brave and bold science journalist . . . Taubes does not bow to the current fashion for narrative nonfiction, instead building his argument case by case . . . much of what Taubes relates will be eye-opening.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Fascinating . . . Mr. Taubes has a gift for turning complex scientific principles into engaging narrative.” (The Wall Street Journal)

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  • Jason Harkness
  • 30-01-2021

Wordy but good info

Very wordy for an audible. This book could conveyed same information in half the time. However this book did provide good content and compelling issues!

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  • Nathan Shapiro
  • 30-12-2020

Way to detailed

Book has good information but it takes the author so long to get to the point every time he is sharing history or a study. This book is 23 hours but could have been done in half the time. It might be a great book for experts but not at all the casual reader or general public. I gave up after about 5 hours and skipped to the end

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  • Tom
  • 12-02-2021

Great book!

Loved this book. It is very informative and well written and the narrator is excellent. I highly recommend this book to anyone new to keto or anyone struggling with metabolic syndrome.

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  • Peter Chan
  • 14-01-2021

Robust evidence

Thank you for the most informative and objective explorations around evidence, and justifiably criticised expert behaviour which might have contributed towards worse health outcome contrary to believe and expert opinion.

For critical thinkers and impartial decision makers, this literature is a valuable companion and invaluable guide.

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