Taubes op-ed in LA Times: Why do we get fat?


Why do we get fat? And why is conventional dieting such a dismal failure?

Gary Taubes bets he has the answer in this op-ed. Do you want to bet against him?

LA Times Op-Ed: Why do we get fat?


The Biggest Loser FAIL and That Ketogenic Study Success

More with Taubes

The Cause of Obesity and Diabetes – Gary Taubes
Why We Get Fat – Gary Taubes


How to Lose Weight

The Scientific Basis of Low-Fat Dietary Advice? “Best Guesses”

Ooops, We Made People Fat

New US Dietary Guidelines “A Recipe For Disaster” and “An Evidence-Free Zone”


  1. Douglas
    I do appreciate Gary Taubes' column about the the Biggest Loser study. I would like his opinion on another recent study that claimed to disprove part of his insulin theory of diabetes.

    I like Gary Taubes. I do suspect, however, that he tends to overemphasize the metabolic advantage of low carbohydrate diets. Low carbohydrate diets work, I suspect, mainly due to people's hunger going down when eating fewer carbohydrates, with increased metabolism playing a smaller role.

    By the way, I see a problem with his wagering idea: Traditionally, after a nutrition study is done, there is an argument over what it really means. After his proposed study is done, there will be a big argument over what it really showed.

  2. BobM
    I think he's right -- the hormonal/metabolic hypothesis is correct. In particular, insulin goes down on low carb and that's one of the causes of decreased hunger and this also allows the body to use the fat that's been stored. Intermittent fasting (IF) helps this even more, as protein causes an insulin response. IF further reduces insulin. For those of us who are insulin resistant, IF and low carb are godsends.

    I'm reading The Obesity Code by Dr. Fung now. I think Dr. Fung is also mainly correct, and his ideas dovetail with Gary Taubes's ideas.

    I think this is also why some people lose astounding amounts of weight very quickly on low carb and some (like me) don't: if you're less insulin resistant, you can lose weight faster on low carb because the reduction in insulin is significant for you. However, if you're highly insulin resistance, eating 5+ meals a day and/or eating protein means you're still keeping insulin relatively high (though not as high on high carb), and these people have more problems losing weight, even on low carb. IF helps that (or at least the combination of low carb, eating more fat, and IF has helped me).

    I'd bet that Taubes and Fung are correct. The hormonal theory is the only theory that makes sense to me. CICO (calories in, calories out), low fat, high fiber, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, etc., none of them make sense.

    Now, are Taubes and Fung 100% correct for everything they say and for all people? Probably not. I'm sure there are exceptions (some people seem to be able to eat low fat with few ill effects, for instance). But I think they're way, way, way more right than wrong.

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