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Saturday, October 6, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Good Calories, Bad Calories

GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES; challenging the conventional wisdom
on diet, weight control, and disease (Knopf, 2007, 605 pages, ISBN 978-
1-4000-4078-0, $35.95 hard covers) is by Gary Taubes, a correspondent
for "Science" magazine. He has won three Science in Society Journalism
awards. He argues that refined carbohydrates are most likely the
culprits not only in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, but also in
a host of other chronic diseases, including cancer. This book is the
culmination of five years of research in sifting through data. Early
studies of isolated populations who ate traditional diets became obese
and suffered chronic diseases when white flour, sugars, and simple
starches were introduced. These refined carbos have an effect on
insulin, leading to insulin resistance and "Syndrome X" (1988). He has
historical chapters on the different kinds of diets. His conclusion is
in the epilogue. Basically, the only way to lose weight and to keep a
healthy size is by removing refined carbos from our eating. Obesity is
the direct result of increased insulin. He has seventy pages of
extensive end notes and bibliography.
Audience and level of use: reference libraries, dieters.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: High-fructose corn syrup
(HFCS-55) is the devil. He calls for rigorous controlled trials of the
long-term effects of sugar and HFCS.
The downside to this book: there is nothing on MSG, or on how addictive
HFCS is. The book still needs an "Executive Summary": what should we be
The upside to this book: he examined thousands of studies.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.


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