Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes.
I love Why We Get Fat. Why? Because Why We Get Fat explains why and how we get, wait for it, fat. Why We Get Fat is not afraid to challenge conventional nutritional dogma. In fact, it is the goal of the book, which is one of the reasons why I like this book, a lot. But is Why We Get Fat controversial and groundbreaking, or is it just another rather predictable diet book?
It is controversial only if you still believe that there is no difference between, say, 100 calories from protein or 100 calories form sugar. In other words, the source of calories is irrelevant – i.e., a calorie is a calorie. I do not think the book is groundbreaking, at least for me it is not. I mean, I have been talking about the importance of sugar detox and things like the weight loss breakfast for longer than I care to remember. What is groundbreaking about that? Nothing! It is old news, as far as I am concerned.
Of course it easy to gain weight by consuming carbs. Of course it is easier to lose weight when you cut carbs out of your diet. Of course quality proteins and healthy fats are good for us and sugar is bad. And finally, of course moderate exercise is important for an overall health, but without understanding why we get fat (no pun no pun intended) – hint: it is all about controlling your insulin and blood sugar levels – no amount of exercise will help you lose weight. In fact, too much exercise might make you eat more, which will lead to a weight gain, not a weight loss.
None of it is new or groundbreaking, but Why We Get Fat does an outstanding job explaining how all these things work, and why the mainstream medical community still does not get it. And they really still do not get it, which is scary and frustrating.
So what is the solution? What do we need to do to prevent weight gain in the first place, and what should we do to lose weight? According to Why We Get Fat, we should not be afraid of consuming healthy fats and proteins. We should stay away – far away – from simple carbohydrates, think sugar, soda, cakes, cookies, white rice, most breads, pasta, and fruit. That’s right, fruit, which contains fructose.
What is wrong with consuming fructose? It spikes your insulin and blood sugar levels just as well, if not better, than white bread, which leads to fat storage and high triglyceride levels. Eating fiber-rich fruits (in moderation), such as berries and apples is okay, but some people are sensitive even to small amounts of fructose. Fruit juices are the worst, by the way, and need to be avoided just like soda.
Instead of eating fruit, pasta, bread and other carbs, we need to eat at least three cups of fiber-rich vegetables and leafy greens, a variety of proteins and healthy fats. As for exercise – as shocking as it might sound – according to Why We Get Fat, there is very little scientific evidence to support the idea that the number of calories we burn during exercise has any meaningful effect on how overweight we are. In short, the book is extremely informative. It contains a lot of practical information about weight loss, dieting and heart disease and is a very easy read.