Having said this, while I was out
I wrote about GC, BC a long time ago. It was part of a Health and Lifestyle blog theme week that I'm quite proud of. I put a lot of myself into those posts so please feel free to check them out if you haven't seen them in the past:
- The Critical Path
- The Master Plan
- Having Your Cake and Eating Half of It
- All Paths are One
- Take a Closer Look
I can't tell you how many people I tried to convince (unsuccessfully) to read GC, BC. That book changed so many of my preconceptions - not with diet-spout and conjecture, but with hard science. Look, I've known forever that fat people aren't fat because they lack will power. But I didn't realize that, in fat people, the creation of fat will supercede the use of food energy in any other way. I understand from personal experience - I too live in our processed-food, carb-addicted world - that protein keeps you full and lean. Muffins do not. 500 calories of muffin is vastly different - as far as your body is concerned - than 500 calories of eggs and bacon.
Insulin regulates the uptake of fat in your body. If you want to be lean, you have to do whatever you can to diminish spikes of insulin - which is increasingly challenging in a world with crap pseudo-food in every corner and appetites that have come to appreciate it - nay, crave it.
But don't take my word for it. If you never got around to GC, BC when I was trying to convince you to read it before (and you know that's everyone), please go for his latest book - a capsule piece at 250 pages - Why We Get Fat. See the catchy title? It seems much less intimidating than the original. I mean, the book art is a measuring tape!
Don't worry. It's still got science (though - shockingly - Taubes apologizes for it and implores his reader to stick with it?!?) but it applies that science much more directly to lay readers and the issue of why the first world is drowning in obesity (even diabesity).
It's a good companion piece to GC, BC, but no substitute for the original. Mind you, if you're just not interested in 800 pages of biochemistry, this may be the book for you.
(Note: I'm still reading - 2/3 through - but I have to say the most depressing message so far is that the loss of estrogen in menopause directly impacts the body's impulse to take calories and store them as fat rather than food energy - exercise and lifestyle notwithstanding. I mean, all you need to do is look at practically every 50-something woman you see on the street to know this is the case. Just as the fat people aren't gluttonous sloths, menopausal women who were previously lean and active, don't thicken in the middle because they've started gorging on doughnuts and lying around the house. And yet, in general, they gain abdominal fat. Taubes hasn't resolved this yet - it's either a cliff-hanger or women my age may just start hanging themselves :-) I mean, he does indicate early on that replacement estrogen is just the ticket to circumvent this (he in no way advocates it), but I'm not down with hormone replacement therapy at this time.)
Questions for the post-menopausal readers: Could you share your stories with us? Did you gain weight through or after menopause? Did you find ways to manage this? Did they include HRT? If you didn't gain, were you always lean? Has any woman gone through menopause and felt more attractive, more sexy (both re: self-image and level of desire), shape-changes notwithstanding. Please share your stories!
Update: Peeps, I regret to inform you - having finished this book - that there is no mystery diet cure for the fat that comes from diminished estrogen, if that is your particular sensitivity. Nor is there one for those who battle weight genetically. Lowering carbs (and I don't mean cutting green veggies and vitamins, though he disputes our specific requirement of these) to lower insulin resistance is the only real trick Taube's got up his sleeve. Of course, it's the bulk of the trick for everyone - according to the science he quotes - because it's the main indicator of fat we accrue outside the realm of our genetic predispositions. It will help with the weight-gain of menopause, because it helps with all weight gain. But if you weren't made like Cindy Crawford, this book isn't going to transform you into her as fast as you can say "chicken with skin".
Having said this, it will likely make you much healthier - cardiovascularly and in other ways. Furthermore, if you enjoy fat and protein (specifically animal protein), you can apparently sustain a lifetime of enjoyment.
I have more thoughts about this. Thoughts I'm going to put into action and (natch) tell you all about. I was convinced about the science when reading the first book. The second only reinforces my complicity. Not to mention that I'm the original protein and fat lover - bacon and eggs for breakfast = nature's perfect food. Cheese in every format? I'm there. More to the point, when I eat fat and protein (as I've been telling people for years), I actually feel good. Not just full, but happy. It quells my hyperactive nature. What I do love about the "new" theory in this book (or maybe it's just the first time I'm noticing it) is that fat is the preferred substitution for carbs. Protein should stay reasonably constant (some number of grams I can't remember), but fat can pick up the slack. Ya'll know I LOVE fat in its every form.
I don't know how to manage the idea that calories matter not. I have been so indoctrinated that, while I know the science proves it, I don't know how to forego my lists and long-held perspectives. But this is the matter of another post...