I had a great weekend…I swam, biked (outside!), ran, lifted heavy weights (I will get to a post on that one of these days soon) and got to see my college roommate who I hadn’t seen in 10 years ~ that was the highlight of my weekend! Here in the Boston area it was sunny and in the 60’s! Signs of spring with a few crocuses, some daffodils, a few buds on trees. Can bathing suit weather be that far off? And with the thought of that, how many people out there are ruing the fact that they couldn’t stick with their New Year’s resolution to diet and lose 10 (or 20 or 30) pounds? Well, today we are going to talk a little bit about diet and fat loss…
On Friday I said I would be talking about Why We Get Fat and What to do About It by Gary Taubes. It is a 225 page book that has given me a new way to look at fat loss, and has had the kind of impact on me that reading my first Michael Pollan book, In Defense of Food did with regards to food. I am really fascinated by food and nutrition, so I have to admit to being a total nerd and finding Gary Taubes book to be one I couldn’t put down…no Harlequin romances for me, give me diet and nutrition any day. Gary Taubes is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine and has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and Esquire. His most recent book is actually what I would call the third in a series devoted to the same topic. It started with a series of articles published in 2002 for The New York Times Magazine titled “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” (while the article is 22 pages long, they are short pages, so don’t be intimidated). From there, he expanded on the article and wrote a book, published in 2007, titled Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. Unfortunately at 640 pages and lots of “technical” science, this book was difficult for some people to get through, which led to his latest, “Why We Get Fat.” “Why We Get Fat” is intended for more of the average reader, one who doesn’t want to wade through the more lengthy “original” version that is, in Gary Taubes’ words “dense with science and densely annotated.” Maybe “Why We Get Fat” could be called “Good Calories, Bad Calories for Dummies.” So really, you have three options to digest Gary Taubes’ thoughts and theories about why we are finding two-thirds of our population “obese” ~ you can read the (free) NYT article, linked above, or you can read either of his books.
And if that isn’t enough…I am offering you a third method of getting much of the same information, in about an hour, by watching a lecture available on youtube. I like this lecture because it is presented at a level that is easy to understand, you get some good visuals, and the presenter, Tom Naughton, is a good, humorous speaker. Tom is a writer turned comedian, who is the writer/director of a comedy-documentary “Fat Head: you’ve been fed a load of bologna.” In this presentation Tom spends a lot of time discussing the (supposed) link between fat, cholesterol and heart disease, which has led Americans to replace saturated fat with vegetable oils, to switch from full-fat to low-fat everything, to reduce dietary cholesterol (limit egg consumption) and to increase our intake of carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, rice and pasta. This presentation is available on youtube in 5 parts…so if you don’t have an hour now, watch part 1, then watch the next part when you have time. I am giving you part 1 ~ the other parts will pop up on the right hand side and you can watch them as you are ready.
My recommendation is to either read the NYT article or watch the video presentation, then if you are intrigued and want more information, buy the book Why We Get Fat and What to do About It. Plenty to keep you busy while pretending to work. On Wednesday I will discuss in greater detail the “what to do about it” part.