Guillaume Belanger'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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Gary Taubes is a scientific journalist, one of the few very good ones, living and working in New York. He studied Physics at Harvard, Aerospace Engineering at Stanford, and got his Masters in Journalism from Columbia. The central theme in his books and articles hinges on how difficult it is to do good science.

He has more or less completely devoted the last 10 years of his life to investigate the science behind dietary recommendations especially in relation to the standard western low-fat and high-carb diets. In the book Good Calories, Bad Calories, he presents everything he learnt and uncovered through extensive reading of the scientific literature, apparently all the way back to some of the first "modern" treatise on medicine and nutrition dating from the early 19th century, as well as from the hundreds of interviews with scientists and policy makers over the course of several years.

Although he makes it clear that there are still details to be understood more clearly, the accumulated body of scientific evidence overwhelmingly points to refined carbohydrates as the single-most important cause of the bulk of the diseases that plague our society today, the three most important of which are diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all intimately linked, and all caused by the consumption of sugars and starchy carbohydrates.

The book unfolds as a history of modern and contemporary diets and nutrition science, where all the key players are brought to life and their work is presented in the historical and social context in which it came to be. This makes it much more interesting, as well as easy to follow, learn and understand why we eat the way we do even though the science and epidemiological evidence tells us that we are killing ourselves doing so.

If I were to draw a single conclusion from this long and well researched book, and express it in but a few words, then I would say: if you value your life and your health, you should stop eating sugar and starchy carbohydrates.

The topic of carbohydrates appears in many of my posts, which you can find at

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
June 29, 2014 – Shelved

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