What constitutes a healthy diet?

November 26, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
The key to a healthy diet is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. Find out how to pick out the right foods.

What if everything you believed about the "right" foods to eat turned out to be "wrong"? In his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories journalist Gary Taubes says the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number.

Good Calories, Bad Calories
Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease

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In Good Calories, Bad Calories, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong. Taubes has spent years synthesizing research in every area of science connected with the impact of nutrition on health, and his conclusions will jolt your preconceptions about what makes people fat and what causes disease. "Despite the depth and certainty of our faith that saturated fat is the nutritional bane of our lives and that obesity is caused by overeating and sedentary behavior," writes Taubes, "There has always been copious evidence to suggest that those assumptions are incorrect, and that evidence is continuing to mount."

This is definitely not the nutritional science we've been taught in school. In Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, readers will learn that:

  • Saturated fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease
  • Salt does not cause high blood pressure
  • Fiber is not a necessary part of a healthy diet
  • Exercise does not lead to weight loss
  • Refined carbohydrates and sugars do cause heart disease and diabetes. Further, they are the most likely dietary causes of cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Taubes has a history of being provocative and on the mark with his reporting. His 2002 New York Times Magazine cover story "What If It's All a Big Fat Lie?" caused a stir in the ongoing fat-versus-carbohydrate discussions and sent the low-fat medical community into paroxysms of fear. Good Calories, Bad Calories, is bound to spark even more controversy. With comprehensive, careful study of the scientific evidence at hand, Taubes shows us that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. He applies his arguments to the obvious subject of obesity, then extends them to cancer and dementia-conditions we all fear, regardless of whether we're trying to lost weight.

    In short, if you care about your health, you can't afford to miss what Gary Taubes is saying. "My aim is to look critically at a straightforward question to which most of us believe we know the answer," writes Taubes, "What constitutes a healthy diet? What should we eat if we want to live a long and healthy life?" His answers to those questions are startling, as are his observations on the flaws of scientific studies that are misinterpreted by researchers and doctors, then prescribed as advice for the general public.