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Friday, February 25, 2011

Fat Friday - Gary Taubes Discusses Why We Get Fat

"Why do you call your Friday nutrition posts 'Fat Friday' Mike?" asks a friend of mine at Fitness Forum, located across the street from Wegmans in Fayetteville NY, with the best, most knowledgeable trainers in the greater Syracuse area. (selfish promo!)

When we hear the word "FAT" negative emotions instantly invade us. But why? Why must we instantly think unhealthy when thinking about dietary fat? It is a long held belief that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease. But does it?

Please watch the following video. It is a little over an hour long, but is well worth your time.

Gary Taubes discusses why we get fat and are unhealthy. He challenges conventional wisdom and gives compelling evidence to support his claims.

Highlights of the video...

  • Mal-Nutrition and Obesity in same population: There are many examples of this around the world. This goes against conventional thinking. People are overweight because they overeat or are sedentary, right? Then how is it possible that Mal-Nourished people become obese?
  • Energy In and Energy Out are not independent variables: Conventional wisdom says that if you increase Energy in (Calorie intake) and decrease Energy out (activity) then you will gain weight and vice versa. Sorry, it does not work that way. If you increase activity (energy out) then you will become more hungry therefore consume more. If you restrict Caloric intake, then an animal will become more sedentary. Does a 10 year old boy grow bigger because he is eating more, or does he eat more because he is growing bigger? Is an alcoholic an alcoholic because he drinks too much or does he drink too much because he is an alcoholic? A person with more fat cells will eat more, because fat cells are active cells, not passive cells...
  • Eat Carbohydrates- blood sugar goes up- body releases insulin- insulin tells your body to store fat: The job of hormones is to tell your body to do something. The job of insulin is to tell your body to retain fat. When insulin levels drop fat escapes fat tissue. So, Gary Taubes argues, Carbohydrates Make You Fat!
  • The "American Medical Association Council on Foods and Nutrition" statement on low carbohydrate diets: "bizarre concepts of nutrition and dieting (that) should not be promoted to the public as if they were established scientific principles." "Fat is mobilized when insulin secretion diminishes." HUH? In order to decrease insulin secretion you must reduce carbohydrate intake. They have refuted their own statement within their statement!
I know, this is all very sciency and controversial. I am not trying to push a low carbohydrate diet on you. I am simply trying to get people to open their minds and look at fat from a different perspective.

Other interesting phenomenon to consider when thinking about diet...
Two very different diets with similar cardiovascular health results. One high in fat and low in carbohydrates, one high in carbohydrates but low in fat. What is the common link between these two cultures? Both of their diets are 100% Natural! No processing and no preservatives. These people literally live off the land. They eat what is available in their environment.

The reason I enjoy reading and listening to Gary Taubes is that he asks questions and makes you think. That is exactly what I am trying to do with this post. I am not trying to tell you what is right or wrong, because I honestly have no idea! I am simply throwing some ideas out there and I am interested in what your opinion is.

So what exactly is leading to poor health in our society? Is it Fat? Is it Carbohydrates? Is it processing? Is it low activity level? What do you think about Gary Taubes' lecture? What do you think about low carbohydrate, or low fat diets? Let me know what you think in comments...


A family member that has diabetes has always said that things like pasta and pizza realy spike his blood sugar and in a non diabetic their insulin level. He also eats oatmeal every day for breakfast. There realy should be little difference between the seed from a wheat plant and the seed from an oat plant. It's pretty clear to me that the more processed foods are the worse they are for you. So im leaning more pro whole grain than no carb.

also read another blog where guy ate only potatoes for 60 days. Lost a bunch of weight and lowered LDL. My take is he lowered his total calorie intake. Maybe our overall health would benefit if we didn't consume such VOLUME.

I'm antisocial in case you were wondering why I post comments on a blog with no other readers.

Two great points Drake! I believe the more processed a food is the worse it is for us. I would never recommend a low carb diet to anyone. To eat low carb you would have to cut out a lot of fruits and vegetables from your diet. To me this would be foolish. I would rather people cut out things like pasta, pizza, sugar... Simple carbohydrates with no fiber, vitamins or minerals.

As far as the potato diet. I read about that experiment and I agree with you. What he did was essentially a starvation diet. I would like to see how his strength, stamina, and overall fitness was affected. There have also been studies done on fasting. There is a lot of evidence to show that intermittent fasting may be beneficial to your health.

And... Thank you for visiting my site and taking an interest! The site is still in the infant stages, but hopefully I get some more followers down the road!

I agree that processed foods should be avoided. Try reading what the ingredients are in some of this stuff.

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