Why We Get Fat

So why a book report… haven’t I gotten out of grade school by now? Didn’t I write enough that I should never want to ever write them again? Or not even look at one until I have to review the ones my kids have to write? Well, I do have a goal to read 24 books a year. It is just that… a goal. I’m not on target this year, but it is something I’d really like to do! In a perfect world I’ll be able to read one fiction and one non-fiction monthly.

As I said I’m already behind for this year, but I can at least still work towards the goal! I’m also planning on chronicling all the book I read so that maybe I can encourage to you get back into reading if you haven’t been or to give you new ideas of what to read! Check out my complete book list for 2011 for my ideas of what to read for this year. That is always up for change though as the year changes and I develop new interests or hear of new books I’d like to read!

So here is the first book for the blog!

Why We Get Fat and What to do About it
By Gary Taubes

[amazon_link id=”0307272702″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It[/amazon_link]

I first heard about this book through Samaritan Ministries (I will have another post about this sometime soon) in their monthly newsletter. It was quite a lengthy article about the book and its premise. It was a good read with fascinating information (at least fascinating from a nurse’s perspective!). I did feel like the book said the same thing over and over, but the main point was confirmed by proof of many studies. I think for the regular reader it was a lot of the same info, but for medical professionals – we aren’t easily persuaded of new concepts especially if they go against modern accepted practice. So read on and let me know what you think!

Taubes’ basic premise is that carbohydrates and sugar make you fat. Plain and simple! He went on to prove the fact many ways.

About the first half of the book was about different people groups and the common trend of increased weight gain and the introduction of “Western” diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, cavities, periodontal disease, appendicitis, ulcers diverticulitis, gallstones, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and constipation) to people groups who never had these problems once they were introduced to white flour and white sugar.

The second half of the book goes on to talk about what a low carbohydrate diet looks like, how it works, and why it is so effective. When Taubes refers to low/no carbohydrates he means no white flour, white rice, sodas or sugary beverages, potatoes, sugar, or beans. He also spends quite a bit of time talking about how conventional diets are all about low fat and high carb. Obviously these diets aren’t working very well because there is still a continuation and even worsening of these same diseases.

I found two facts very interesting. The first being that prior to the 70s it was considered absurd to think that increased exercise or eating less would help you lose weight. People even then knew that if they ate less sugar or carbs then their weight would drop. They also knew that increased exercise just makes us hungrier! Also, who would ever want to restrict calories? People just become unhappy, irritable, nauseated, have no energy (therefore burn less calories) and the body holds onto the fat because it thinks we are starving. The other point I found interesting was that by eating just 20 extra calories a day than what is expended would cause a 50 lb weight gain in 30 years. He uses this to argue the fact there is no way we could ever exactly predict how much to eat so that we don’t over eat? We never walk away from a table slightly under satisfied. We like to make sure we are full. How do we know we didn’t eat just a few too many calories? Just to give it perspective; one slice of bread is equal to 20 calories.

Chapter 13, page 134
“As I said, it’s carbohydrates that ultimately determines insulin secretion and insulin that drives the accumulation of body fat. Not all of us get fat when we eat carbohydrates, but for those of us who do get fat, the carbohydrates are to blame; the fewer carbohydrates we eat, he leaner we will be.”

I thought this was a very informative book and found it very helpful for future meal planning and sticking to a more appropriate diet for my family. The diet Brian is supposed to be on is exactly what Taubes is referring too. After reading this book I feel like I need to work harder on this for the rest of our family. Once I started thinking about it, it’s a wonder our family isn’t severely overweight. It’s so easy to eat carbohydrates and much easier on the wallet as well!

I also found a YouTube interview with Taubes which I posted below in case there is anyone who is interested! Enjoy!

Medical Disclaimer: This information is meant to inform and not diagnose or treat illness or disease. Before trying any of the ideas posted please research for yourself in order to make an educated decision. Also, consult your doctor if tying to treat medical conditions.

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