Updated 20 February 2015

Why we get fat, according to Gary Taubes

The 2015 LCHF Health Convention will feature a talk by renowned, and controversial, author Gary Taubes who will offer an alternative hypothesis for obesity. Like Tim Noakes, he blames carbs, not fat for packing on the pounds.


Gary Taubes, who is speaking today at the low-carb, high-fat-themed Old Mutual Health Convention, thinks he knows why so many people, more than ever, are overweight. In his book, “Why We Get Fat”, Taubes sought to make this message meaningful, and comprehensible to the common man.

Taubes’ talk is billed as being on the topic of “Why we get fat: an alternative hypothesis for obesity". This hypothesis is the same as that so vigorously propounded by Tim Noakes, with the key tenet being that carbohydrates are the real enemy, and fat is not. This book built upon his previous work Good Calories, Bad Calories, which was from a more scientific perspective.

Read: 10 golden rules of Banting

Taubes’ real focus is on the way conventional wisdom and a desire to maintain the status quo has prevented the ground-breaking science behind his theory from actually having an impact on dietary policy and habits. In particular, he cites the “in-out” model of calorie measurement and consumption as a flawed piece of science which has been responsible for increasing the prevalence and severity of obesity across the US, where he hails from, and also across the globe, according to an interview with Scientific American.

Instead, Taubes believes that our focus should be on the quality, not quantity of the calories we take in.

Refined carbohydrates should be public enemy number one whereas natural fats are nowhere near as dangerous as has been described in dietary literature and policy since the 1970's.

This promotion of fat as the ideal main food group is in keeping with Noakes, but sets him aside from the Atkins diet, which is enjoying renewed popularity in the States. Those following Atkins are encouraged to greatly increase the amount of protein in their diets, as well as fats to a lesser degree.

Read: Tim Noakes' critics boycott health summit

Furthermore, as part of his disdain for the institutional emphasis on calorie expenditure, Taubes controversially criticises the need for cardiovascular exercise. In practice, Taubes argues, exercise actually increases hunger and the intake of unhealthy food.

He also makes the unpopular claim that there is inadequate scientific support to show that physical activity leads to weight loss. This is a point on which he differs with Tim Noakes, a renowned sports scientist.

However, despite their small differences in direction, Noakes is a great supporter of Taubes and his work. In a lengthy discussion of the convention published on Biz News, Noakes describes how he was asked if he could add one person to the list of speakers at the convention, who would it be?

His response was “That is easy, Gary Taubes”. It was organised in due course.

Taubes’ talk is likely to generate huge interest in the convention, and add further momentum to the LCHF movement in South Africa. The convention will run from Thursday 19th February 2015 until Sunday 22nd February 2015. The first three days will focus on the medical aspects, while Sunday is aimed at the general public.

If you can't make it to the Convention, watch this video where Taubes talks about what really, in his opinion, makes us fat:


Read more:

Pro low-carb diets:
Tim Noakes on how it works and why this is a lifestyle more than a diet
Tim Noakes diet is put to the test
Video: why a low-carb diet is good for you
A scheduled high-fat diet may curb obesity
How a high-fat diet can help diabetics
Video: Tim Noakes talks about his book The Real Meal Revolution
Carb and sugar addiction is fuelling SA's obesity epidemic
Tim Noakes says refined carbs may be toxic
Tim Noakes: the heart disease theory 'has failed'
Tim Noakes: poor children should eat animal organs
Is the Tim Noakes Diet affecting your hair, skin and nails?

Anti low-carb diets
Pregnant moms on the high-fat diet may be putting their offspring's life at risk
Why a high-fat diet is bad for the body clock
A high-fat diet could up the risk of pancreatic cancer
High protein diets increase your chances of developing kidney disease
DietDoc asks: why are we always chasing quick-fix diets?
Warning issued regarding HFLC and high protein diets
Too much, too soon, Tim Noakes!
Banting/Noakes diet discriminates against women
Noakes slammed by UCT professors
Patrick Holford: banting is dangerous
Heart Foundation's open letter to Tim Noakes
Experts warn against Noakes diet
We debate Tim Noakes on which diet will save the world

TIP: Visit our partner site Food24 for some excellent LCHF recipes.

Image: Gary Taubes, Twitter


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