Good Calories, Bad Calories

  • by Gary Taubes
  • Narrated by Mike Chamberlain
  • 25 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

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What the Critics Say

“Easily the most important book on diet and health to be published in the past one hundred years. It is clear, fast-paced, and exciting to read, rigorous, authoritative, and a beacon of hope for all those who struggle with problems of weight regulation and general health." (Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize–winning author)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Bold Explanation of Real Dietary Advice

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It is a life-altering listen. The book is quite large, and this is the reason I decided to purchase the audio book. I would recommend this to a friend as it explains in detail about scientific nutritional information that affects not only the individual reading/listening but everyone on this planet.


What other book might you compare Good Calories, Bad Calories to and why?

Why We Get Fat is a condensed version of GCBC. However, GCBC expands on that information and gives even more credence to the carbohydrate hypothesis claim. It also expands on the notion that the diseases of civilization all stem from diet, specifically in direct causal relationship to dietary carbohydrate intake.


What does Mike Chamberlain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His tone keeps the listener interested throughout. This is extremely tough to do when detailing scientific studies and nutritional science.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes. The fact that heart attacks, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, gout, obesity and much more can be prevented solely by changing diet. The huge amount of evidence suggests the carbohydrate hypothesis is on the right track.Furthermore, other major unscientific claims are debunked:1)Cholesterol is a GOOD thing.2)Saturated fat is one of the most important nutrients you can ever ingest and should never be limited.3)Salt should not be limited.4)Exercise is not good for losing weight and can in fact have the opposite affect.5)Limiting food intake is not a good method for losing weight.Other interesting points the book makes:1)A lot of cause for infertility may be due to diet.2)Insulin resistance and future weight issues are determined in the womb.3)Nicotine affects fatty acid flow from the adipose tissue, which in essence is the hunger depressant associated with use. Once individuals quit smoking, they typically gain weight due to the re-regulation of fatty acid flow.4)A large portion of cancers are potentially due to diet alone. Therefore, they can be prevented. 5)It is hypothesized that rather than being a behavioral issue, anorexia and other eating disorders may be more biological than anything else.


Any additional comments?

A must read for everyone.

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- John

Fantastic scientific support of carb-restriction

This book is a fantastic compilation of nutrition and metabolism research over the past century. Many studies are cited and described for the layperson as well as for the scientifically minded. Let me begin as stating that I went into this as being very skeptical, and even being on the side of our current dogma (low fat, low calorie as a healthy diet). As a scientist, I was looking for a book that would describe the science behind the idea of carbohydrate restriction, and this book is it. While it's important to note that the hypothesis of carbohydrates causing many of the "diseases of civilization" including heart disease, obesity, and cancer, is not scientifically proven without a doubt, this book opened my eyes to the fact that dietary fat and cholesterol as a cause is ALSO not proven without a doubt.

As a scientist in immunology, I find it appalling that the obesity and nutrition research field has gone down this path of biased interpretation. I understand it is frowned upon to challenge conventional wisdom, but when this dogma is so poorly supported, there should be someone out there to challenge it! Based on what the author has laid out, these two competing hypotheses on nutrition (low fat/calorie restriction vs. carbohydrate restriction) should have academic and industrial researchers on BOTH sides working on studies that can definitively support either one. My hope is that this book has woken up this field to really test this alternative hypothesis of carbohydrates (via insulin) as the cause of our obesity epidemic. Currently, the United States government is recommending to the public to semi-starve themselves and eat a higher percentage of carbohydrates in their "healthy balanced" diet. If this is wrong, think about how many lives were lost and how many diseases could have been prevented, not to mention the ridiculous burden on healthcare to treat all of these diseases. In addition, it would be nice to turn around the public perception of overweight and obese people being gluttons and sloths.

In addition to the science, the history of how we got to where we are was fascinating. The role of WW2 on this science alone is something people really do not think about.

Lastly, the audio was also very good. The reader changes his voice when he is quoting something to the point where I could tell when quotation marks were present in the book without actually seeing the print! Overall, this was very well done.

In summary, I highly recommend this book. Personally, my wife and I have switched to a low-carb lifestyle recently, and even after three weeks, we feel great. We're not nearly as hungry as on our prior calorie-restricted diets, and we've already lost 10lbs each. The author's description on how the diet works really has motivated me to stick with it. Additionally, with my family history of heart disease and obesity, I hope to curtail any risk by sticking to this new dietary regiment. My hope is that these hypotheses are eventually tested in an appropriate scientific environment and then interpreted in an unbiased way. Finally, once the science is there, the public health machinery really needs to ramp up its efforts to turn this obesity epidemic around.
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- James

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-28-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.