Why We Get Fat

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It is a little book by science writer Gary Taubes on the physiology of adiposity–why we get fat–that’s become somewhat popular.

The book’s subtitle is unnecessary, as it’s not a diet book per se and has little in the way of recommendations; it simply reproduces the “No Sugar, No Starch” diet of the Lifestyle Medical Clinic at Duke University Medical Center in a brief appendix. What it does do well is summarize the science behind the low-carb approach to dieting in a way educated laypeople can understand while avoiding the sensationalizing tone one might encounter in, say, books associated with the Atkins diet.

Given my interest in history and historical explanations, what I found most interesting was its substantial presentation of the history of obesity science and treatment, showing that what’s become the conventional low-fat wisdom was once regarded as the precise way to gain weight, while what’s regarded as heresy by the medical establishment today was once regarded by prior generations of researchers and physicians as the obvious way to lose weight: avoid carbohydrates and eat protein and fat.

I’ve had good luck going low-carb in the past, as has a relative of mine, who at just over five feet tall went from about 175 lbs to just north of 100 lbs, and has kept it off for well over ten years. So I found reading this book good incentive for getting back in shape. After a busy and stressful fall, it’s time to take care of myself and see if I can’t drop some pounds the old-fashioned way.

Also available on Kindle.

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