Good Calories, Bad Calories in a nutshell

I’m surprised how long it has taken me to get through Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. After 2 and half weeks, I’m still not done. I’m on the last chapter though. Maybe I’m just a slow reader.

The book is dense, bringing together a huge number of scientific studies that date back to the beginning of the the 20th century. His goal seems to be to overwhelm the reader with evidence that many of the assumptions about diet, obesity and disease are wrong. He isn’t content to give you one or two examples of studies that suggest that carbohydrates are the primary factor behind obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and a range of other modern illnesses that were rare before the 20th century. He piles it on, determined to make sure that someone can’t read his book and dismiss it as “some fad diet book.” If you say he is wrong, you better bring your citations with you.

I’ve enjoyed the ride, but I wonder how many readers get bogged down and don’t finish it, or don’t care so much about the reams of evidence that Taubes has compiled and want to skip to his conclusions. One passage near the end that jumped out at me as something that people need to know:

By the mid-1960s, four facts had been established beyond reasonable doubt: (1) carbohydrates are singularly responsible for prompting insulin secretion; (2) insulin is singularly responsible for inducing fat accumulation; (3) dietary carbohydrates are required for excess fat accumulation; and (4) both Type 2 diabetics and the obese have abnormally elevated levels of circulating insulin and a “greatly exaggerated” insulin response to carbohydrates in the diet

Continue reading “Good Calories, Bad Calories in a nutshell”

Switching to a Low Carb Diet

I have been slowing moving toward a low carb diet over the last couple of months and yesterday I took a big plunge to a diet that is mostly meat, eggs, cheese and some dairy. I am having a small amount of fruit and vegetables, but I’m cutting all sugar, bread, pasta, potatoes or other big sources of carbs for a while.

It’s very odd eating this much meat, cheese and eggs, especially when it’s not mixed in with noodles or bread. It’s almost a chore to eat two scrambled eggs and a ham steak for breakfast. I get full fast and even after a couple of days I’m kinda bored with the menu. On the positive side, I’ve already seen the scale start to budge a little and I’m feeling pretty good overall.

On the negative side, I think I’m experiencing a little carb crash. Today after lunch, I got very tired and my body felt a little tingly. It’s supposed to go away after a few days as your body switches gears and gets used to all the missing carbs. My plan is to eat a few berries with plain yogurt when I feel that way.

Yesterday morning (3/26), before I started the low carb diet, I weighed 176.4, about 20 pounds from my goal weight.


Kindle as Digital Printer?

In my search to find relevant scientific research on various diet and nutrition subjects, I’ve spent a fair amount of time searching for papers published on the internet. Often this is frustrating because many (most?) scientific journals keep their articles behind some sort of subscription firewall. Since I’m neither a scientist or a student studying science, it doesn’t seem practical to subscribe to these journals just to read one or two articles.

However, since I’m taking some classes at the local community college, I do have access to their journal resources. I decided to check out what’s available at the library. When I got there, I started by searching for some of the articles I had found before, ones which only had the abstract available publicly. When I brought of the article on the screen, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could read the whole thing online. Apparently if I access the article directly from these computers, I don’t need a subscription.

Next I noticed that the article was a bit long and I only had a few minutes before I needed to leave. I considered printing the article and then I remembered that if you send HTML documents to your Kindle email address, the document will be sent to your Kindle for only $0.10, a lot less than printing it out on paper.

I was very excited as the first few papers showed up on my Kindle only a few minutes after I had emailed them to be processed. I’m guessing that I’ll be doing this quite frequently in the future. If I have a document that I need to bring with me, I’ll send it to my Kindle instead of printing it.