439 (Part 1): Gary Taubes Responds To His Critics


Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It is our guest today on The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore!

Today’s episode is Part 1 of a special two-part episode where Jimmy and Gary talk about the process of writing a book like the 2007 New York Times bestseller Good Calories, Bad Calories and a direct response from Gary to those who question his integrity. Listen in as they discuss the general phenomena of online haters, cranks, and even (gasp!) legitimate criticism.

Some of the topics covered in Part 1 include: coconut butter, cooking with coconut oil, the Readers Digest’s coverage of the new book, Dr. Eric Westman, blogger Peter from HyperLipid, Physical Education as child torture, critics James Kreiger (of Weightology) and previous podcast interview guest CarbSane, and so much more. Do NOT miss Part 1 and Part 2 of this rare, candid interview with Gary Taubes discussion his latest book Why We Get Fat.

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Gary Taubes bio
Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It
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– RELATED PODCAST: Gary Taubes Update With Preview Of ‘Why We Get Fat’ (Episode 401)

70 Responses to 439 (Part 1): Gary Taubes Responds To His Critics
  1. Zuckdawg
    January 27, 2011 | 2:00 pm

    I want part 2 now! Jimmy breaking this interview up over two days is cruel! It is like the General Lee is in the air and Jimmy is Waylon Jennings saying “looks like them Duke boys may not make it home for dinner”.

    • Jimmy Moore
      January 27, 2011 | 2:11 pm

      LOL! It was a LONG interview and we wanted to leave you wanting more…glad it worked, Zuck! 😀

  2. Vesna
    January 27, 2011 | 2:56 pm

    I’m at minute 24 right now and LOVING every second of this interview! Favorite quotes of the moment: “It’s difficult to watch children being tortured … and not want to do something about it.” “It’s as though people thought that you could take a Basset hound and put it on a treadmill and if you kep it on … long enough, you’d turn the damn dog into a greyhound.” Gary, if you ever decide to learn to cook, come on over an’ visit my site. :)

  3. Jimmy Moore
    January 27, 2011 | 3:07 pm

    YEP! Don’t miss tomorrow’s Part 2!

  4. Sonya
    January 27, 2011 | 5:23 pm

    Anxiously waiting for Part 2!

    What a class act! And great information to boot!

  5. Amy Dungan
    January 27, 2011 | 6:01 pm

    Fantastic and can’t wait to hear part 2!

  6. Julia
    January 27, 2011 | 6:07 pm

    Women do sports these days, they both work and come home and care for house and kids, if anything, they do more than their urban grandmothers did for the most part, so that is pure baloney. They are putting fructose and sugar into everything and getting us used to feeding on snacks of grains and yukky transfats and then they blame us for our bodies going to diabetes and all the stress of the modern world doesn’t help either, esp. for women.

  7. Steve
    January 27, 2011 | 6:19 pm

    I am agree CarbSane is a stalker and really does not get what Gary is saying. Calories in and Calories out does count, but it is not the cause of the weight gain, rather it is the symptom of the weight gain.

    When I read CarbSane’s blog it is clear she lacks the ability to understand this simple concept.

    I would like to thank Gary for his books, because they saved my life. I would never have brought into the low carb way of eating without understanding the science behind the low Carb way eating. In fact, I found myself really angry for being mislead for my 30 years of trying to lose weight. No wonder I weighed 305 pounds and gaining at age 50, everything I thought was true about losing weight was wrong.

    A year and a half ago, I was on the path to an early death and now I expect to see my son get married and hold my Grandchildren. I get tears in my eyes just thinking what a wonder gift your work has been to me. So thank you, Gary Taubes, for caring enough for sharing your life saving knowledge with people like me.

    PS Jimmy a preview option would help with editing.

    • Jimmy Moore
      January 27, 2011 | 7:28 pm

      Preview option?

      • Steve
        January 27, 2011 | 8:52 pm

        Wow, I thought you would know what I meant. The preview lets one see their post in whole before posting. This window makes hard to see and edit your post for people like me. The preview window lets one see their post w/o scrolling. It is easier to review your material that way. Many sites have this option.

        I guess this is more important for bad writers like me.

        Thanks for asking.

        • Jimmy Moore
          January 28, 2011 | 6:37 am

          Sounds like something for Kevin. I don’t know anything…I just work here. 😛

    • Dana
      January 30, 2011 | 12:21 am

      Plus people think food is some kind of glorified biological gasoline. It’s not. It’s both gasoline AND parts, if we must use a machine analogy. And every bit of the food that we use to maintain lean tissue has caloric value. If you put amino acids into your muscles, that constitutes “calories out” but hey, it’s gonna be weight gain, too. But those aminos are not going into the adipose tissue.

      I hate calorie theory. It oversimplifies to the point that nobody understands what is going on. And what about the ketones you don’t burn, if you’re in ketosis? You can’t store them again. But you aren’t burning them. They’re still calories out!

  8. Michelle
    January 27, 2011 | 8:12 pm


    I’ve never commented before but I felt I had to after listening to the first part of this interview. Carbsane came across as well, kind of insane, not necessarily in her desire to analyze, but more her desire to willfully tear someone down on a personal level. I’m glad you gave Gary a platform to defend himself against his critics, and he did so in a very classy way.

    I have been listening to your podcast for more than a year now, and the science and other people in the field you have introduced me to have proved to be more than I could ask for. The deeper science behind why it works, and the reasons that we should be eating this way, just make sense.

    Keep up the good work, and looking forward to the second part of the interview with Gary.

  9. Michael Scott
    January 27, 2011 | 9:43 pm

    Gary is the best! Can’t say enough great things about this man. My only complaint is having to wait for episode 2. I won’t sleep tonight just waiting for it. I agree with everything Gary says. Dr. Atkins would be very proud of this man. Thank you Jimmy for having such a wealth of knowledge on your show. I can never get enough of Gary Taubes!

  10. hmavros
    January 27, 2011 | 9:48 pm

    Just listened to the interview in its entirety. Seems pretty consistent with what Gary has been arguing all along (since 2003).

    Just a few words in defence of CarbSane;

    She DOES understand Gary’s position (that ‘excessive carbs drive insulin secretion drives disordered fat accumulation drives obesity’)…she just disagrees with it (her position is more like ‘over-consumption drives disordered fat cells drives insulin resistance drives, inter alia, obesity’). Her blog is replete with very clear accounts of where she differs with Gary on the science, and why she does so. Maybe he’s right, maybe she’s wrong, but it’s pure rhetorical nonsense to suggest (as Gary does in the interview) that he doesn’t know what her problem is.

    I regret hearing Gary say things like “I don’t have the time to argue the point with people like that”…or “you just can’t win with people like that”. I don’t know whether this articulates genuine defeatism on his part or is just passive-aggressive rhetoric designed to assassinate the character and reputation of his opponents…either way, it’s runs counter to his own criticism of the medical establishment’s unwillingness to argue the point against dissident thinkers and ideas.

    I really hope Gary reconsiders his ‘talk to the hand’ stance and re-engages with his critics (even though it’s never fun conversing with people that are arguing that you’re just plain wrong)…it would be much more enlightening for the lay public than the current state of affairs.

    • Sonya
      January 28, 2011 | 7:59 am

      If she could communicate as calmly, maturely and reasonably as you just did, he probably would. Have you not read her response to his e-mail that she posted on her site? Listened to her cackling and rambling on Jimmy’s show? The woman clearly has communication problems.

      • Robert
        January 28, 2011 | 5:50 pm

        Any time you’re ready to clearly, concisely, and without any pause or nervousness debate the topic with evidence and facts (which is how an empirical topic is supposed to be discussed), then by all means step up and do so rather than sitting on the sidelines and saying that she has communication problems. The issue at hand is/should be the evidence for each position and NOT their style.

    • Dana
      January 30, 2011 | 12:23 am

      I watched how she behaved in the comments to her podcast show, here at Jimmy’s blog. She could not even respond to arguments *offered to her on the comments, as they were offered.* She kept going off into left field. I don’t trust her as a scientist if she can’t even get a comments conversation right. And how do I know she’s a scientist? On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, especially if you won’t even give your name.

      If it comes out she’s that woman from Junk Food Science I’m gonna be real disgusted.

  11. Lawrence Louis
    January 27, 2011 | 9:52 pm

    Thank you so much for bringing Gary Taubes to us once again. Given that he is one of the most articulate, erudite, and well researched proponents of a low carbohydrate lifestyle, I, and other low carb enthusiasts are in your debt.

    After hearing many of Carbsane’s criticisms of Taubes on your show I really wanted Gary to address the specifics of her arguments. After listening to this podcast of Taubes, I am sort of glad he didn’t. He is right to point out that her immature way addressing the thesis of “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and her near neurotic obsession with him, and the fact that she also seems to base her conclusions on very faulty science and non sequiturs from that science, means that dialogue with her would be fruitless. I have dealt with people like her when engaging in one of my favorite pastimes – debating religion – and it doesn’t matter how cogent your reasoning is, or how utterly persuasive your evidence is, people like her will not concede that they are ever wrong. People like Carbsane seem to be more motivated by ideology, like a religious fundamentalist, than any genuine quest for the truth.

    At least Taubes is willing to initiate a conversation, as demonstrated in this podcast, about the areas in which he has been wrong. This demonstrates intellectual integrity. I don’t see vociferous critics like Carbsane doing the same. I think, ultimately, Gary Taubes’ insinuation about Carbsane’s motivations is accurate. She has seen someone gain acclaim, and sees the criticism of that person as a door to draw attention to herself, regardless of whether she has to distort what that person has to say, or call into question that person’s character in order to garner this attention.

    Ultimately, Gary’s “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat” are going to benefit people, despite such unscrupulous detractors as Carbsane. If Carbsane wishes to continue to address Taubes, she should learn to be as lucid as him, so that people will take her seriously. Listening to her is like listening to a 5 year old child with attention deficit disorder, going on a million tangents in the course of an hour.

    Being an avid student of history, and to a lesser extent science, if there is one thing that I have learned it is that the more strident the criticism of a person is, the more it is likely that maybe something about what that person is saying is true – and that such truth is so earth shattering, that those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo fear them. In that sense I believe men like Dr. Robert Atkins and Gary Taubes are to the world of nutrition what Copernicus and Galileo were to cosmology. The Copernican concept of our solar system was a complete paradigm shift in the way people thought about our place in the universe, and it took years before it became wildly accepted as true. Eventually history vindicated Galileo and Copernicus and I believe the same will be true with men like Atkins and Taubes. I think decades from now, we will look at those who promoted the idea of low fat/low calorie diets the way we look at those people, several hundred years ago, who promoted the idea that the earth was at the center of our solar system.

    • Steve
      January 27, 2011 | 10:19 pm

      Well Said

    • Angela
      January 28, 2011 | 8:31 am

      Very well said Lawrence!

    • Robert
      January 28, 2011 | 6:10 pm

      Steve, Angela, that was not well said at all.

      So…the way to respond to empirical criticisms is to not address them? This was a pretty dismal response of Taubes to his critics. You don’t dismiss evidence by blowing it off. You counter/respond with your own evidence or analysis. You don’t just say the research was faulty. YOU EXPLAIN HOW IT’S FAULTY. If Taubes is not going to do that and you are accepting him outright, then you’re just committing the error of accepting his authority. FYI, that’s NOT in line with the principles of science. Why don’t you and Taubes take note of that principle of science.

      How has Carbsane not been conversing? She did come onto this podcast. She did have an exchange with Taubes via email – which she made public. And she lays out her stance on her blog. How has she demonstrated a lack of intellectual integrity?

      I shall also mention how Taubes (and many commentators on here) did not like Carbsane calling him out on his motives and then turned around and insinuated her own motives. How is that accurate, exactly? The response to her criticism of Taubes’s character is to attack her own? THAT sounds like a 5 year old’s response to me. Why don’t we stick to the topic at hand, which is the evidence for their stances? Their character has NOTHING to do with whether their evidence holds up or not. STICK TO THAT.

      • JDN
        January 30, 2011 | 3:22 pm

        Apparently Robert, we are the only ones to notice that GT never explained exactly how his critics’ science is “terrible”. For some people, his simply stating that it is terrible is proof enough, I guess.

  12. Susana Figueiredo
    January 28, 2011 | 3:08 am

    Great interview! And great that Gary mentioned Peter from Hyperlipid… would be a fantastic guest 😉

    • Jimmy Moore
      January 28, 2011 | 6:41 am

      Been working on Peter for two years Susan. He’s agreed to come on the show, but life’s circumstances fir him have procluded that from happening so far. If you only knew behind the scenes how hard I pursue guests and all that entails, it would make your head spin. 😉 Thanks for your suggestion.

  13. Angela
    January 28, 2011 | 8:36 am

    Thank you Jimmy for yet another fantastic podcast. Gary Taubes is a class act. He really hit it home for me with his comment “it’s It’s difficult to watch children being tortured.” This really brings home the necessity of “getting the message out there”, and despite detractors like Carbsane, Gary is doing just that. I hope and pray for him that naysayers will not discourage him, but spur him on in his pursuit of truth.

  14. Frank G
    January 28, 2011 | 9:47 am

    Excellent Jimmy and Many thanks to you and Gary — Hey I’ve read GCBC about 3 times so I feel we are on first name terms! Can’t wait for part deux.

    Just wanted to note that I also find myself more and more eating not much else besides grass-fed beef and pasture raised eggs. Glad to hear I am not alone… there just don’t seem to be any decent green leafy vegetables growing locally in mid-Winter Nova Scotia! Go figure!


    • Jimmy Moore
      January 28, 2011 | 9:57 am

      I hear ya Frank! And as Gary said in this interview, even green leafy veggies can be a culprit for some people.

      • Frank G
        January 28, 2011 | 10:07 am

        I know it freaks people out this idea that: it is possible to live without vast daily quantities of “healthy fruit and veg” but I spent time living and working with the Inuit in Northern Canada and could never figure how they had been so healthy in the past but since they adopted the Canada Food Guide; rates of tooth decay, Type 2 Diabetes and obesity are sky-rocketing.
        I’m also grateful to Gary in this regard, for pointing out the USDA Nutritional Database’s list of nutrients in a Porterhouse Steak… it is a pretty much complete list of all macro and micro-nutrients — with the only possible exception being Vitamin C. I figure that the higher up the food chain we eat we gain the benefit of what our “food” has eaten — and boy are grass-fed cattle good at changing grass (which we can’t digest) into tasty and filling Fat and Protein 😉

        • Dana
          January 30, 2011 | 12:26 am

          That, and as Barry Groves has pointed out, the “authorities” can’t even agree on what constitutes a serving of fruit or veg. If there is a scientific basis for insisting that everyone eat five servings a day, why isn’t the serving size the same on both sides of the Atlantic? Britons and Americans are not two different species.

          Now I do think plant foods are useful if you hate organ meats. But it’s a myth to say we haven’t followed a plant-based diet in this country all along and that’s why we’re ill. Grain is from plants, last I checked.

          • Steve
            January 30, 2011 | 11:56 pm


  15. Mike
    January 28, 2011 | 10:09 am

    I echo the other’s who have said this was a great interview and I can’t wait for part 2.

    One comment on the CarbSane/Taubes feud (although a one sided feud). What CarbSane seems to be arguing about is why low carb diets work. However, with study after study showing the benefits of low carb diets and the effectiveness compared to more traditional diets, THAT low carb diets work is what is important. The bio-chemical reasoning behind it is less important to those of us who want to improve our health.

    I tend to believe Taubes’ arguments as to why they work but would be interested in a counter argument were it not rambling and interspersed with nervous laughter (as on CarbSane’s appearence on the podast) and ad hominem attacks (such as spelling his name Taube$ on her site and calling him a liar). The only reason I think it matters as to ‘why’ low carb works would be to find clues as to how to tweak it. But even then, those clues have to be tested in the real world.

    The low calorie/low fat diet is a perfect example. It seems logical that you could eat less and exercise more to lose weight but it ignores that the body can compensate by slowing down the metabolism.

    • hmavros
      January 28, 2011 | 4:33 pm

      At first flush, I want to agree with you (i.e. that the fact that ad libitum low carb diets DO work is more important than the reasons WHY they work). However there is a spanner in the works here; namely, (1) they don’t work for everyone, and (2) they don’t work long-term (post 2 year horizon) any better than other dietary approaches.

      As a nutritional consultant, I can report that there are two groups of people that ad libitum LC diets do not tend to work for; those that want to get ‘sexy’ lean (less than 10% body fat for men and 15-17% for women) and those that have poor during-meal satiety signals.

      The first group requires deliberate energy balance control to bring body fat down to low levels; bodybuilders (who are the real-world experts on body composition) have known this for ever…when it comes to getting really lean, it’s all about energy balance.

      The second group also need to learn portion control, as they do not experience the same ‘fullness’ signals as typical people on a low carb diet…they keep eating until they’ve consumed copious amounts of LC calories (usually via the fat content, almost never via the protein)…and the result at the end of the day is that they don’t lose weight (some even gain weight).

      This is where CarbSane (and other LC dieters that nevertheless take issue with Taubes) have a problem with Gary’s science…because, if Gary’s science was true, those two categories of dieters should succeed on ad libitum LC diets (which they don’t). And, given that those two types of dieters are not an insignificant minority, it’s a pretty big problem in the real world (and negates the suggestion that we should focus only on the fact THAT LC diets work, rather than WHY).

      If we can determine WHY ad libitum LC diets work for MOST people (lets just assume for the sake of argument, ‘spontaneous energy reductions brought about by protein-induced satiety’), we can solve the problem of those ‘other’ dieters that don’t do so well…no one is left out.


      • Robert
        January 28, 2011 | 6:15 pm

        hmavros, THAT was well said. Thank you.

      • Dana
        January 30, 2011 | 12:34 am

        You refer to people with poor satiety signals and then you make reference to the concept of protein-induced satiety. I don’t have enough information about how you’re treating these people–I assume they’re your clients, right?–but if you subscribe to the notion that satiety only comes from protein, and your clients are therefore trying to achieve satiety from protein, that may very well be your problem.

        A higher-protein diet is eventually going to run up against the problem that your body only needs so many amino acids to maintain lean tissue mass. Your body can and does convert any protein over that maintenance amount into glucose, and hence into fat, through the process of gluconeogenesis.

        Most people who try to take a scientific approach to their LC way of eating eventually come around to eating low-carb/MODERATE protein/high fat. But it’s not uncommon for dieticians and other medical professionals who still subscribe to flawed calorie theory and the lipid hypothesis of disease to try to induce weight loss in their clients with a low-carb, low-fat, higher-protein diet.

        Part of the point of low-carbing is to reduce the amount of *sugar* the body must cope with. Protein can be turned into sugar. Fat can too, but at a much, much lower rate. (I believe with protein it’s something like almost 50 percent of calories, potentially, over maintenance intake and with fat it’s more like 10 percent of calories.) Someone trying to achieve sugar reduction needs to watch their protein intake as well as carb. If you are not already encouraging your clients to do this, Dr. Michael Eades gives a way to do it in his Protein Power book. If you’re doing body comp tests anyway you could also base protein intake on *that* lean mass number, since it’d probably be more accurate.

        Of course if you’ve already taken this all into consideration, don’t mind me. But if you haven’t yet, you might look at it again.

        And while LCers might not have better weight loss after 2 years than LFers do, they *do* have better lab results, *and* they have better *fat* loss. And fat loss is what we’re after.

      • Galina L.
        January 31, 2011 | 10:49 am

        Nevertheless, CarbSane follows low-carb diet as well as another internet opponent of GT – Nigel.People who represent the part of population for which LC doesn’t work 100%, follow LC them self. Probably, they found that the “eat less” part is more achievable on the LC diet and practice some LC version of “eat less, exercise more” diet lifestyle. That is why (in my opinion)they attack GT for not advising food limitations.
        The only thing I had to limit myself while following ketogenic level of LC was frequency of my meals. Fortunately, I just can’t staff too much food into myself even when I eat my favorite lamb chops. Is restricting on a grazing is the food limitation? I may claim I am gluttonous on lamb chops , but somebody may claim I am limiting myself on not munching on nuts all day long (I used to do it in past)

  16. JoelG
    January 28, 2011 | 11:37 am

    Hi Jimmy.
    It was great to see that you’ve brought Gary back on for two interviews! What always bears remembering is that Gary is concerned primarily with fat-accumulation disorders. As Dr. Kurt Harris pointed out, if a person is starving on a desert island and you rescue that person and feed him protein and fat, he will gain weight as his body seeks to return itself to normalcy. We all have a natural adipose-tissue distribution. Gary is concerned with what makes that distribution go haywire. Obesity, for the vast majority of us, is the result of consuming foods we haven’t evolved to handle metabolically–refined and easily digestible carbs. Where are the populations of people who are suffering and dying from obesity, diabetes and heart disease as a result of excessive protein and fat consumption? They don’t exist. (BTW, I’ve lost 25 pounds thanks directly to GCBC.) Thanks, Gary!

  17. Markus
    January 28, 2011 | 12:59 pm

    Great to hear, that his book is going to be on the Times Best Seller List.
    Maybe this way more people take note

  18. SLS
    January 28, 2011 | 2:38 pm

    I eat up these interviews like candy… ahem… I mean, like delicious pan-fried sausage. Thank you so much Jimmy for the work you put into hosting these shows. Thank you Gary for taking the time to speak.

    I think it is nice to hear Gary publicly address the criticisms of the books and lectures, however, once in writing or in a very succinct public recording is enough. The worst thing would be to give these nonsense, petty criticisms some sort respectable status by appearing on platform with them to rehash the same dead debate.

    • M.
      January 28, 2011 | 2:57 pm

      The thing is, some really bright people, some of the “wisemen” of the paleo-blogosphere (Stephan Guyenet and Dr. Harris), say Taubes is just plain wrong with the whole carb/insulin thing. It really isn’t “petty criticism” if Taubes is just plain wrong about Why We Get Fat.

      • SLS
        January 28, 2011 | 3:00 pm

        It’s the petty criticism about the timing of his knowledge of the alpha glyc. phosphate error that I was talking about, things of that nature. I’m all for debate of the broader topics. Should have been more clear sorry.

        • Jimmy Moore
          January 28, 2011 | 4:55 pm

          And I think Gary would be agreeable to debate of the ideas. It’s the personal attacks of his character and motivations that are uncalled for that SLS was talking about. :)

        • CarbSane
          January 29, 2011 | 7:17 am

          The timing is criticism of Taubes’ research acumen and credibility. He himself says he wants to be held to a high standard, and yet when anyone challenges him he resorts to impugning their character rather than addressing the issue. If people see GT perpetuating a theory that he should have known to be wrong all along as a minor detail, I guess there’s no convincing true believers.

          Newsholme & Start – his seminal reference in GCBC – clearly states that there is no evidence to support the G3P rate-limiting theory. I note he didn’t address that reference and Jimmy didn’t ask.

          The criticism of his other theories is considerable and well referenced over at my blog. A blog many of the name-calling critics here have clearly never read. GT and his supporters are doing exactly what they criticize his detractors of doing: that is they have not read the material they are criticizing, and they are using ad hominem attacks to dismiss legitimate criticisms.

          Too bad Taubes never DID answer to those criticisms. The closest he got was to acknowledge that the 2003 Reshef reference and dismiss it as “mostly about rats”. If we’re not interested in rats, then perhaps we’ve seen the last of the fat rat? He does not address the other things he gets wrong.

          I have summarized the science here:

          It is clear Jimmy was more interested in ratcheting up some sort of personal feud than discussing the science. It is sort of odd to me that someone who makes his living using an internet voice would laugh at GT’s comments on others doing the same. Sad really.

      • Dana
        January 30, 2011 | 12:38 am

        Dr. Harris does not believe the carb/insulin thing is wrong with someone who already has a broken metabolism. Read this.


        I haven’t run across Guyenet’s criticisms of Taubes but I think overall he seems to distinguish between people who are healthy and people with deranged metabolisms when it comes to physical response to carbs vis-à-vis fat storage. If Taubes doesn’t yet make that distinction, perhaps someday he will. Nevertheless, it’s not the slender looking to Taubes for advice, but the already obese–in other words, those people with deranged metabolisms, NOT people who are healthy.

        • M.
          January 31, 2011 | 7:37 am


          I meant the “carb/insulin thing” in terms of Taubes scientific theory. A lot of people think low carb diets are best for losing weight (I think even the Biggest Loser uses low carb diets.) A lot of people think that sugar and refined flour are not so good for you (including I think Ornish and Campbell).

          Taubes is talking about Why We Get Fat, not just what to do about it.

          Taubes claims to be bringing “good science” to the issue, and what he sees as his key contribution is his particular Carb/Insulin Theory and paradigm (in this interview several times he insists that he is not Atkins-rehashed). Many claim that Taubes brings scientific credibility to the low carb movement.

          Taubes said specifically in this interview that it has nothing to do with satiety signals or other hormonal responses to food. Simply, insulin creates fat (which causes increased caloric consumption.) As he himself said, this theory demands that the carbs in green leafy vegetables may be problematic to some people.

          Most of the more scientifically-oriented paleo bloggers don’t buy this theory or paradigm.

          Taubes claims that insulin is the One Horsemen that brings about the diseases of civilization, while others think the fixation on macronutrients is too simplistic. In this interview Taubes specifically blows off the ideas of there being something to wheat other than starch or that omega-6s could have a major role.

  19. Rebecca Latham
    January 28, 2011 | 6:35 pm


    It’s been 4 months or so since I was on the show pondering whether or not calories matter. I think I can honestly say that I have my answer after reading WWGF over the past few days and topping it off with listening to the podcast today!

    Well, 99% answered, anyway! Great interview, and I appreciated the way you let Gary go on with his thoughts for a good long time. He was on a role and really made things clearer to me.

    About the grass fed beef and pastured eggs and coconut oil (unrefined organic, I presume!): If you have talked about the decision to try this on your blog, I guess I missed it. So… Why did you decide to do this, and is it just an experiment, or do you feel like this is a life change?

    By the way, independent of your decision, I have, in the past week, decided to go VLC (less than 10 net carbs per day) and no veggies to see what will happen. (Short as I am on guinea pigs for my experiments, I’m using myself.) I am eating way more protein and somewhat more fat, less carbs (obviously) and my total calories (that word – ugh!) have gone up from around 1600 or so to 1900-2100, and I am losing fat and gaining lean mass.

    I have stopped tracking on fitday every day, and only do it once a week or so out of curiosity. Ah, what freedom!

    I decided to try this about halfway through reading WWGF. I have now finished the book, took it back to the library (because they denied my renewal request due to the demand), bought my own copy and I’m reading it again, highlighter in hand.

    Can’t wait to hear Part 2 of Gary’s interview…


  20. js290
    January 29, 2011 | 9:52 pm

    Conservation of energy is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. It’s only one boundary condition to this thermodynamic system. That is to say, in order to exist and function in this universe, we are constrained to the laws of thermo. But, by itself, it doesn’t describe how people acquire mass.

    If you want to talk about weight, you might as well be talking about the laws of gravity. Weight is mass multiplied by the acceleration of gravity. So in order to change one’s weight, one can either change one’s mass or change the acceleration of gravity of the Earth. Changing the latter is rather unlikely. Gravity a constraint; a boundary condition, like the conservation of energy. So you have to change your mass.

    But, how does one relate “calories,” a measure of heat, to mass? There’s a famous one that goes something like this: E=mc^2. But, that doesn’t seem particularly relevant when discussing one’s body composition. That’s why Taubes is exactly right about calories being irrelevant.

    People who keep talking about calories in the context of diet, health, and exercise remind me of Ralph Wiggum in the “Lisa the Skeptic” episode of the Simpsons. Ralph is all excited about finding a spearhead only to be told by Miss Hoover that it’s his trowel blade. To which he exclaims, “And I found it!” The calorie counters have indeed found it.

    • JayCee
      January 29, 2011 | 11:22 pm

      Great post js290.

      I fail to understand why people think that combustion and digestion is the same thing. Potential energy to be utilized (not “burned”) by the human body is not determined by calories. Let’s find a better non misleading word people :)


      • FrankG
        January 30, 2011 | 4:09 am

        The constant focus on “calories” also loses sight of the fact that we don’t just eat to provide the body with energy! Don’t know about you but I ain’t a coal-fired furnace and my nutritional needs are many and varied.

        I am convinced that the body remains “hungry” until all its nutritional needs have been met… which once again makes it more about the *quality* of our food.

        It’s physiology not psychology, biochemistry not behaviour!

        Every other animal (and most human animals) when eating their natural food, is able to innately manage a perfect equilibrium, without counting anything.

        We are not adapted to consume the vast quantities of refined/concentrated carbohydrates (sugars), as found in all the industrially-produced, processed and packaged “franken-food” which came about as a direct result of the completely unfounded lipid hypothesis and its resulting multi-decade, hopelessly flawed and dangerous, mass-population experiment.

        Thanks Jimmy


      • js290
        January 30, 2011 | 9:11 pm

        Calorie counters should measure calories out of digestive waste products. Literally burn their stool in a calorimeter.

    • Dana
      January 30, 2011 | 12:40 am

      It’s more accurate to think of food as being both fuel and spare parts, if one must use a machine analogy in reference to the body, than to think of food as fuel alone.

      The spare parts have caloric value as well. They’re not burned for fuel. They’re also not stored as fat. What about that?

      • js290
        January 30, 2011 | 10:59 pm

        Yeah I noticed after I commented here that Dr. Kurt Harris has started a new series of blog posts on changing the language of how we talk about diet and nutrition.

  21. Diane Cooper
    January 30, 2011 | 1:23 am

    Normally I listen to the podcasts on my iPod, but as I’m out of town and the blasted piece of equipment will only sync with my home computer, I listened over the Internet. I’m on vacation for Pete’s sake and ought to be able to abstain until I get home, but when I saw Gary’s interview was available, I just couldn’t wait.

    I finished GC, BC while on this trip and feel I deserve a degree for having completed it. Like another on this site, I’ve read it 3 times . . . only because I re-read so many sentences. Thanks Gary for writing a condensed version that I can give to my doubting doc, who has promised that he’ll read it.

    Jimmy and Gary have impacted my life for the better. I couldn’t be happier as a skinny senior. I’m hoping the change will give me more years in great health.

  22. skillzilla
    January 30, 2011 | 6:01 am

    whats the blog mentioned in the podcast around the 27min mark.
    hyperliphin in england or something

  23. kem johnson
    January 30, 2011 | 10:36 am

    Still wairing for my copy of WWGF to make its way over the Pacific…

  24. Vicky
    January 31, 2011 | 11:25 am

    Thanks Jimmy for having Gary on again! Gary is a class act. As always.

    And I do agree that critics who make personal attacks do so because they do not have sound arguments and are not worth dealing with. Especially someone who tries to throw salt on someone’s work and then has the nerve to hide behind a fake name. That alone says “NO CREDIBILITY” in neon colors.

    Regardless of whether one agrees with Taubes’s work or not, he stands behind his work. Sometimes you just have to ignore the haters and keep it moving. Can’t wait for part 2.

  25. Nigel Kinbrum
    February 1, 2011 | 5:46 pm

    Hi. I’m the Nigel that Gary mentioned. If you think that I’m being unfair to Gary, please read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.

    I’ve even thanked Gary for allowing dissenting views on his blog. There have been a lot of insults posted in the comments section, which is a shame. It would have been better for the comments to have been pre-moderated.

    I will never disable comments on my blog. I will also never disable comment moderation either.

    Cheers, Nige.

  26. Nigel Kinbrum
    February 1, 2011 | 6:00 pm

    P.S. I was also asked by Gary to discuss things on the telephone. I declined, as I wanted all communications in writing. I don’t believe that I have written anything nasty about Gary. I try to support my arguments with good quality evidence.

  27. MarieD
    February 1, 2011 | 8:00 pm

    Aww – i don’t mind the dialogue and I don’t think Gary does either – I’ve heard multiple interviews with him recently and it seems he is having to focus almost solely on defending against PERSONAL attacks on his motives for writing the books and his integrity. He indicated that he has tried to address these arguments directly with the individuals, by phone or email but has been frustrated. The attackers are trying to impact his ability to sell books, which seems unethical. One blogger states that his books do more harm than good to the low-carb cause, which seems absurd and childish. I’m afraid these attackers will frustrate him to the point that he will get tired of repeating himself and he will just drop out of the blogger interview process and turn his attention to mainstream media and his own blog. That would be a shame since he’s so interesting when he isn’t constantly defending himself. These few hyper-critical voices are starting to sound shrill and reveal themselves as hanger-ons. Jimmy, it reminds me of last year when you were continuously attacked on a certain zc forum for every word, meal, or breath you took. It was ridiculous. I greatly admire Gary Taubes and am interested in alternate theories but not in this repetitive dialogue that tries to negate his entire treatise.
    Tomorrow I listen to part two – looking forward to readers’ questions. Thanks Jimmy for being able to book and skillfully interview this fascinating man.

  28. Alexandra
    February 15, 2011 | 7:41 am

    I am dissapointed that Taubes discounts his critics without actually addressing the scientific points that they make, except to say “it’s bad science”. I would have liked to hear exactly how that science is bad. I think he did a terrible job in this – just as bad (incomplete and outdated) as some of his research on insulin and how it undergoes metabolic pathways in our bodies in GCBC. I think GCBC tells part of the story, but is hardly the final word, and GT is not some kind of god.

    I do understand how Carbsane can come across as hostile, but her science is very good (for anyone who has bothered to spend a little time at her blog).

    Her ultimate question that she is trying to address on her blog is “Is long-term adherence to a low-carb, high-fat diet healthy?” This is something that should concern us all.

    Some of the science and research she is discovering is concerning – the effects of NEFAs in particular.

    I think we need to keep this discussion about the science. I think Gary is way more personable than Carbsane, and it might be easy to take his ‘side’ becuase of this fact. But he fails to actually address the issues that were very ably raised, nor defend the fact that he did make some big mistakes in GCBC.

    I feel that this is not honest – its just as dishonest as Campbell refusing to engage with Denise Menger about the China Study, because she lacks credentials. That does not make the questions or criticisms she makes invalid.

    Gary Taubes, you do have to answer your critics and defend the science and research you put out there – even if you don’t like the person who raised them.

  29. Razwell
    February 22, 2011 | 3:35 pm

    Hi Jimmy

    I just wanted to say that Gary Taubes, while not omniscient on the subject of obesity ( no one is – not even Dr. Jefrrey Friedman) is a top quality science journalist and very respected in the scienific community.

    He understand how proper science is conducted, and I agree with him that James Krieger and CarbSane’s science is horrible.

    Most of these Internet people do not even understand scientific terminology.

    I did a post on my blog about this. Gary is great for furthering obesity knowledge because he exposes the caloric hypothesis for the junk it is.

    Fat loss and fat gain is not like a bank account.

  30. Guillermo
    February 28, 2011 | 3:51 am

    Was it this or the part 2 where Gary talked about ppl who are fat but do hard labor?

    I would like to see somekind of scientific article about this subject.

    As well from the fat mothers + lean children stuff.


    • Jimmy Moore
      February 28, 2011 | 5:14 pm

      I believe that was in Part 2.

  31. Be
    March 15, 2011 | 4:39 pm

    I just listened to two commercials and got cut off. I am not impressed with my first visit to your pod.

    • Jimmy Moore
      March 17, 2011 | 8:40 am

      Not sure why you got “cut off” but the full audio is there and working well. Definitely try again because you could stand to benefit from the information shared here.

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