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The Big Fat Surprise

Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
Narrated by: Erin Bennett
Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (123 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dish up the red meat, eggs, and whole milk! In this well-researched and captivating narrative, veteran food writer Nina Teicholz proves how everything we've been told about fat is wrong.

For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full of "bad" saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional guidelines to eat "heart healthy" fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet the nation's health has declined. What is going on?

In The Big Fat Surprise, Teicholz reveals how 60 years of nutrition science has gotten it so wrong: how overzealous researchers have made basic scientific mistakes that, through a mix of ego and bias, allow dangerous misrepresentations to become dogma, and how scientists who dared oppose this consensus have been ostracized. For eight years, Teicholz has pored over the massive research literature and interviewed hundreds of leading experts to unravel the shockingly distorted claims of nutrition studies. She brings these researchers to life and shows how their ambitions, loyalties, and rivalries have undermined a field of research already full of difficult pitfalls.

With a lively narrative style akin to Michael Pollan's in The Omnivore's Dilemma and the scientific rigor of Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories, Teicholz convincingly upends the conventional wisdom about all fats. Her groundbreaking claim is that more dietary fat leads to better health, wellness, and fitness. Science shows that reducing the saturated fat in our diets has been disastrous for our health as a nation, and we can, guilt-free, welcome these "whole fats" back into our lives.

©2014 Nina Teicholz (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Big Fat Surprise

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well Presented and informative

Really enjoyed this intellegent presentation of facts and the lack of bias in its entirity

5 people found this helpful

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Amazing highly critical and balanced analysis

I rarely write reviews but this book is a must read! I thoroughly enjoyed the depth of analysis, level of critique and support of questions that I, myself have been pondering for some time. I love the logical progression of the book and the continual build up of detailed information. it really helps to offer direction and stimulates your own critical thinking and reflection of everything you thought you knew about nutrition. I purchased this book after hearing about it in a review of The Obesity Code by Dr Fung, which I also highly recommemd. These 2 books are a breath of fresh air in a highly biased and somewhat narrow minded topic. Overall the performance is fantastic and so is the writing. It is a book that will encourage you to question everything you thought you knew about a healty diet and open your eyes to the engrained bias decades of questionable research has instilled in you.

4 people found this helpful

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This book changed my life

I urge every health professional and member of the public who is interested in their health to read this book. It has changed my life

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long winded

Lots of history information but only in the last chapter did it explain what it all meant.

2 people found this helpful

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Roll on Ketogenic eating.<br />

Here is a whole lot of evidence for Low carb, High fat, Moderate protein, eating.
This book covers all the evidence for this way of eating as opposed to low fat.
We are just getting sicker, something has to change and why not what we eat.
Full fat everything. Enjoy.

2 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking and well researched

Such an interesting read. who would have thought that there is so much data to support a diet rich in fat when we are all told to eat less fat. intelligently written and well researched this book has definitely made me think twice about the food I eat.

1 person found this helpful

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Not quite what I was hoping for

This is a really great book if you are looking for the background of how we have been screwed over for many years by the so called experts. The author has done an excellent job on bringing all the studies and story behind it all in this book. It would be a fabulous read for any health professional. As a layperson, I was just after some info on how to incorporate fat into my diet, which the author does discuss but only at the very end of the book. I am certainly not sorry I listened to this, I did enjoy it and at least I know where all the BS came from now but if you are after diet advice, look elsewhere. Narrator did a great job and made this book very listenable.

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Amazing work put into this. Very surprising!

This book is perfect for anyone that has studied nutrition even at the most basic level at school! The story is fascinating and the facts are surprising! It leaves you questioning any form of health advice in the name of science... It is important to understand that healthcare workers derive their knowledge from the research presented to them and the opinion of experts in their field... The results of research are always interpreted by the authors themselves in the discussion and it is from these interpretations (and ultimately opinions) that these “experts” develop the basis of their health advice given to the public. These opinions are also highly likely to be subject to pressures of finding relevant results to the industry funding the study to promote their own product and for the scientist to boost his own profile in the field. Nina Teicholz unpacks the results of the most well renowned research studies in the last century that have shaped our current guidelines of healthy eating. Upon deeper examination of the results, Nina reveals the surprising truth that red meat, milk, butter and eggs are in fact good for us and for these high fat foods to be bad can only mean to promote a money making and unhealthy carbohydrate heavy diet.

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so true, i tried keto diet, it works

battle against establishment is always hard,hope more people know what is true, great work, i tries keto, i lost 14kg in 2 month without exercise. i feel a lot better, do not have the urge to eat all the time. and i make me sleep like a baby which i never experience before, i recommend keno high fat diet to my friends but they always gives me a " are you out of your mind" look. anyway, i really like this book. great work

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Fascinating and eye opening

Packed with startling revelations. Will be listening again to better remember some of the detail.

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  • Ted
  • 08-07-2014

Great book. Challenges your belief system.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it to a friend because it addresses "numero uno" : health.

What does Erin Bennett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She is one of the best narrators I have heard. I have heard the author speak in a podcast and Bennett brings her persona into the story. In this way she is like a good actor.

Any additional comments?

This is one of those books that changed long-held beliefs and reset my worldview. Every few years I run across one. The last time was "Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy" by Gwyneth Cravens. It overthrew decades of received wisdom--what I thought I "knew."
"Big Fat Surprise" does the same thing for the energy source used in our bodies.

This book, like the other, doesn't just make assertions. Seemingly paradoxical ideas are backed up with a lot of convincing history and evidence. Along the way you will learn some nutrition science. And some science history-- including the political corruption of science. If you are disposed to have popular orthodoxies challenged and overturned this is a great book. The kind of book one reads several times.

51 people found this helpful

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  • Cole
  • 15-04-2015

Helped me lose 37lbs

Tons of great information I really enjoyed this book and it really has help me change my life for the better I'm down 37 pounds and 15% body fat thank you Nina

50 people found this helpful

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  • TJ
  • 11-12-2014

Most accessible book on the most screwed up field.

I've read a lot of books on nutrition, having dealt with weight problems my entire life. It wasn't until I started learning the actual science of nutrition that I was able to lose weight, keep it off, and become healthy. There are a handful of books I would recommend as starting places for others who want to follow that path, and, at the top of the list, is The Big Fat Surprise.

Understanding why we are so healthy requires a 50 year dive into history as scientists decided how they thought the world was, stretched the numbers in their experiments to make it look like they were right, then used political persuasion to push those beliefs in an experiment on hundreds of millions of people. The low fat diet, so beloved by dietitians and nutritionists everywhere, was NEVER tested in a controlled fashion before being dumped on the American people, and, with half of the country obese, the results speak for themselves.

Erin Bennett does a great job narrating, keeping the material fresh and interesting throughout. Reading this book is much like peeking behind the Wizard's curtain, and, once you do, you can never look at nutrition the same again.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Happy
  • 13-01-2015

The Big Fat Surprise

Read several books on this subject, food, from veganism to all protein. Was a vegetarian at one time and have since gone the other way. Since neither vegetables or meat are a religion with me, I decided on the food that made me feel good. This book explains why meat, with its fat is good for you. After experimenting, I agree with the author because I feel better, my memory is better, glucose levels are better and not hungry all the time. This is not a diet book, just a book that explains why fat may not be the devil and why vegetables may not be angels.

39 people found this helpful

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  • mark s. zumhagen
  • 15-02-2015

2 reasons this is a must read!

Like many MDs across the country I have been astounded at the research that is invalidating the low fat diet dictum that has been embraced for so long. Ms Teicholz' book admirably and accurately shows us the validity of the low carb approach to improved health, but just as importantly shows us how we came to embrace such a misguided viewpoint about saturated fat consumption. Science is valid, but we quickly come to realize how easily it is manipulated by competing interests and agendas. You must read this book for your health, your family's health, and the health of mankind. Mark Zumhagen MD

11 people found this helpful

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  • KellysHero718
  • 02-02-2015

Big Edible Oil Worse Than Big Oil

Just as it ought not to surprise any of us that health in America has declined since 1960, so ought it not surprise us that a low-fat, high carb diet is the cause. Everything the heart-diet hypothesis was designed to protect has been made worse. Some will be surprised at the culprits this author claims are behind this tragedy, but it seems pretty obvious in this interesting and well-researched book.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 29-06-2014

A big fat lesson in corporate and scientific corru

What made the experience of listening to The Big Fat Surprise the most enjoyable?

The book isn't afraid of chipping away at the misinformation, corruption & outright lies against the American people by those who are supposed to have our best interests at heart (no pun intended).

What did you like best about this story?

The in depth research of old studies showing their flaws.

Which character – as performed by Erin Bennett – was your favorite?

N/A

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

As a physician, I was shocked to learn that most, if not all, I had been taught to tell my patients is most likely incorrect.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Corbin
  • 20-05-2014

Must read!

Outside the books of Gary Taubes, she has written a definitive book covering the history of nutrition, especially lipids. She goes into areas previously uncovered. It is presented in an organized, glowing way. This should be required reading for anyone who offers nutrition advice. Great book!

35 people found this helpful

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  • Kathleen
  • 10-03-2015

Eye Opening information

Book was very well researched. I had some knowledge on the topic before reading but was blown away by the overwhelming research the author presented in support of her conclusions. I am more than convinced. Excellent, life changing book and well worth taking the time to listen carefully.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lance
  • 13-07-2014

Politics aside, some folks respond to LCHF diets

If you're one of these people, this book is great as a resource so that you can understand more of how we all got to this point in time.

How you may have eaten what was inappropriately labeled "healthy" food in the grocery store and found yourself with a number of illnesses. How you might start to explore finding a diet that could cure your illnesses (she mentions a number of researchers such as Volek and Phinney). How you can understand why your doctor who seems pretty reasonable can be so completely against a system that is working for you.

There is so much in this book. I have not read Taubes. But if you are one of the multitude of Americans who are realizing that they must take responsibility for their health, I would highly recommend this book. Shocking to hear how the trans-fats became outlawed, even more shocking to realize that whats next is not necessarily tried and true. The establishment has banished saturated fat and is sticking to the story, come hell or high water. You also get the inside story on the Mediterranean diet, olive soybean and palm oil. You can't make this stuff up. Although many are attacking the author for exactly that. Reality always trumps fiction. Science is settled despite the rapidly increasing obesity rates. You want to know why healthcare costs so much? This is a great book to start to understand that government and doctors have duped the public into a system that values conformity of message over adversarial scientific truth seeking. This is all about to change and this book will help you understand why.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-08-2014

Excellent Book. Easy listen.

What did you like most about The Big Fat Surprise?

Such an easy listen despite the material contained. As soon as I finished I listened to it over again. Very informative.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Anonimo Nonlodico
  • 21-04-2016

Fantastic!

An excellent book! Well written, interesting, covering an extremely important subject and doing it well. Truly life-changing. I have listened to it several times and gave away at least 10 copies of this book. A must read!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Lyra
  • 10-03-2016

Everyone should read this book!

I had read Taubes on the subject of low-fat vs low-carb diets and thought both his books very good. This one is even better. Nina Teicholz does a wonderfully methodical job of reviewing the history of the diet-heart hypothesis and explains complex endocrinology ideas extremely well.
Everyone should know what the science (or rather, lack thereof) is behind the advice to eat low-fat diets, and what the facts about carbs really are. Excellent book. I throughly recommend it.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-07-2016

eye opening and informative

quite long, but a very informative book that shows the history of almost corrupt science that has lead to the obesity epidemic we have today.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Allan Hviid Jensen
  • 18-05-2016

Good science

Excellently researched. Time to change the popular misconceptions on dietary fat which contrary to popovers belief, are not backed up by science.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen Sharp
  • 20-07-2015

A must read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes. This book is full of information dispelling the illusion that fat is bad for us. Dietary fat is not the problem we were lead to believe.

5 people found this helpful

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  • T R
  • 23-03-2015

Well researched

Fantastic book, flying in the face of the dogma we are subjected to daily. I highly recommend this to any and all who are finding out the truth.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-10-2016

A surprise for all

Probably one of the best books I've ever read & should be a must read for all. Maybe then we'd all be living happier, healthy life's. It's made me think again about the full implications of diet, not just to focus on weight.

4 people found this helpful

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  • sandra
  • 30-07-2016

Fascinating, eye opening, really makes you wonder

Would you consider the audio edition of The Big Fat Surprise to be better than the print version?

Audio easier I would imagine

Who was your favorite character and why?

Gary Taubes is mentioned. I read his book "Why we get fat" after reading this book. Another great listen.

What about Erin Bennett’s performance did you like?

Very easy to hear and it sounds like she is actually interested in what she is talking about.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 14-02-2015

And the truth shall set you free!!

brilliant. I knew the basics of where it all went wrong but really informative and detailed as to how western world nutrition descended into such a mess!

6 people found this helpful