Why We Get Fat

Gary Taubes

Why We Get Fat



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For decades, we have been taught that if we eat a little, and exercise a lot, we will maintain a healthy weight. Meanwhile, obesity and diabetes are constantly on the rise. The problem is not the quantity, but the quality of the calories we take in. Certain types of carbohydrates are the main cause of obesity-related diseases; not fat or an excessive calorie intake. In Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Gary Taubes aims to dispel the most common misconceptions surrounding nutrition, explaining why low-calorie diets do not work in the long run, and also providing a nutritional plan based on the latest scientific findings.

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Analysis and key concepts


It is a common misconception that we get fat because we take in more calories than we burn, and in any case, low-calorie diets almost never work in the long term


While regular physical activity is important, exercising more will not prevent us from being overweight


Insulin makes us fat, and carbohydrates control insulin production


Our bodies are unable to cope with the amount of carbohydrates contained in our modern diets, so they make us fat and lead to disease


In order to lose weight, or to avoid getting fat, we have to cut out carbohydrates




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Dispel the most common misconceptions about nutrition and fat.
  • Learn how carbohydrates make us fat.
  • Discover a science-based method for weight loss.

Gary Taubes is a correspondent for Science magazine, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation investigator in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers, and his articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire and The Best of the Best American Science Writing. He currently lives in Oakland, California.

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