Belinda's Reviews > Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
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's review
Feb 21, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in February, 2009

Holy RESEARCH, Batman. Wow. It seems like Gary Taubes maybe took a lot of guff after his controversial piece in the New York Times, and decided to just let all his critics have it by burying them in tons and tons of data.

I have read about low-carb diets before, but nothing really convincing (to me, anyway, because I loves my bread). This 600+ page whopper really drives the point home that of all the variables in our diets, the one thing that affects the most change when it's reduced, increased, or removed is carbohydrate.

Also fascinating, beyond the mechanics of why cutting carbs and increasing fat (you heard me, increasing FAT) can actually improve health, is the huge chunk of the book that's devoted to reporting on the political process behind how nutritional theory comes to be "common knowledge" in this country. It's a little scary, frankly.

Since finishing this book, I've also gone back and re-read Protein Power, and picked up Protein Power Life Plan, as well as a couple of hefty low-carb cookbooks. I've tossed all the sugar, corn-syrup, and refined carb products out of our house, and I'm carefully monitoring the complex carbs that I'm feeding my family.

And not for nothing, but I've lost 9 pounds in a week, despite *increasing* my calorie consumption. The next few months should be interesting.
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03/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Deodand (new)

Deodand Whoa! Go you! *fist raise*

I'm not ready to give up bread. I am making my own healthier stuff.

Belinda I'm hoping to get bread back eventually, even if it's a crappy low-carb version. I did order some crazy low-carb tortillas that everyone raves about. Hope they're edible!

message 3: by Sabiel (new)

Sabiel Amazing! And HFCS *IS* is the devil. I cannot stand those pro-HFCS industry sponsored ads, which make health-conscious moms look like morons. SO enraging.

Belinda The backlash against those ads has been HUGE. Apparently the American consumer is not *quite* as stupid as the corn syrup folks were hoping. Pepsi is rolling out Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, which will be made with sugar instead of HFCS. And sales of Kosher Coke right now are really strong, for the same reason. Not that soft drinks are any kind of healthy, by any means, but it's a good barometer of the current tide.

Belinda You have an organic meat store? Dang, I have to special order it from the Mennonites up on the mountain. Or head out back to the chicken yard with a hatchet...

I can see how you could do low-carb vegetarian, but you'd have to use a LOT of soy, which is not an option for me. And if you're like me, your normal diet consists of a WHOOOOOLE lot of whole grains.

My one-month stats: 19 lbs. lost, 7 inches in the waist, one clothing size, one bra size. IBS symptoms GONE. Vanished. And since adding in a generous amount of organic extra-virgin coconut oil each day, I suspect that my chronically awful dry, scaly skin is beginning to heal. WOW.

Belinda Oh, and if you lurk on the low-carb bulletin boards online, you'll see a ton of diabetics there who use diet to control their diabetes. I'm amazed how many have gone completely off of insulin.

message 7: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Since it's been a few years, how did this diet work out for you?

Belinda Very, VERY well. I've maintained this style of eating, though no longer for weight loss purposes. I feel like a million bucks instead of always feeling ... gross and bloated and sluggish.

message 9: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Belinda wrote: "Very, VERY well. I've maintained this style of eating, though no longer for weight loss purposes. I feel like a million bucks instead of always feeling ... gross and bloated and sluggish."

Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you're doing well with it. I'm going to have to read this book.

Belinda It's not so much a "how to" as a "why" book, but it's an amazing jumping-off point. I can't go full Paleo (though I respect those who do, and they have AMAZING, fit, hard bodies), because I just thrive on dairy. But otherwise, it's been so easy to give up the stuff I thought I "had to have" at one time, especially when I realized it had been making me feel so yucky! Right now my fridge is stuffed with grassfed meats and dairy, pastured eggs, home-rendered animal fats (lard, tallow, duck fat, schmaltz etc.), tons of green veggies, and low-starch fruits (berries, stone fruits). Green smoothies (that are not actually green because the berries overpower the greens) are part of our lives now, and weird things like chia seeds. That little gem discovered in the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Abigail Hi Belinda! I'm glad it went so well for you! Now that you've been on the diet [lower-case d :) ] for a while, I was wondering how your grocery budget was doing. At least where I live, pastured eggs, meat and dairy are expensive (but one of the only ways to get nutritious low-carb food), but I thought maybe cutting out all the processed foods made up for some of the extra $$.

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