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Scientific American Writer John Horgan Says Taubes Has "Thin" Evidence

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  • Scientific American Writer John Horgan Says Taubes Has "Thin" Evidence

    Read the article here:

    Cross-check: Thin Body of Evidence: Why I Have Doubts about Gary Taubes's Why We Get Fat

  • #2
    I have my disagreements with Taubes, but this is not a very good article.
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    • #3
      Heh yeah "asians eat rice and are slim, and I eat pasta and I'm thin" is pretty weak. But I do think that the emphasis on 'don't eat carbs' rather than 'eat real, whole foods and avoid wheat/vegetable oil/excess fructose, and that's why cultures with traditional diets don't get fat even if they eat rice and lots of carbs' invites those sorts of weak criticisms.

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      • #4
        I thought Asians ate less than 150g of rice/noodles and the rest was fat and protein. No where near the 400g+ of grain carbs Americans eat.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by spakesneaker View Post
          Heh yeah "asians eat rice and are slim, and I eat pasta and I'm thin" is pretty weak. But I do think that the emphasis on 'don't eat carbs' rather than 'eat real, whole foods and avoid wheat/vegetable oil/excess fructose, and that's why cultures with traditional diets don't get fat even if they eat rice and lots of carbs' invites those sorts of weak criticisms.
          Yup.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by mwok86 View Post
            I thought Asians ate less than 150g of rice/noodles and the rest was fat and protein. No where near the 400g+ of grain carbs Americans eat.
            I mean, "Asians" is a pretty broad group. If you are in subsidence-level poverty/food supply and are physically active, you are not going to get that fat. Now that China and India are getting paid, they are also getting fat and diabetic.
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            • #7
              I do agree with the point in the article that you can eat carbs and be thin. It's about how much you eat more than it is specifically what you eat. I believe that it is clear now that overeating on any kind of food will result in gaining fat. Even Dr. Eades states this in his blog that eating too many calories, regardless if it's low carb and high fat, will result in fat gain. This doesn't mean that Taubes doesn't have some good information, but low carb is not necessarily the way to weight loss.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Apex Predator View Post
                I mean, "Asians" is a pretty broad group. If you are in subsidence-level poverty/food supply and are physically active, you are not going to get that fat. Now that China and India are getting paid, they are also getting fat and diabetic.
                Yes, but even in poverty when all you have available to eat is rice and lentils, even if at a normal weight (or underweight) it affects overall body composition (not much muscle tone, and a tendency to store fat around the belly, which you can see in many indian men, especially as they move past their twenties). Eating in caloric excess of anything will lead to fat gain, but I think there's enough to support the notion that composition of diet can affect body composition pretty significantly.

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                • #9
                  Unless one gets into who is insulin resistant and who isn't, criticisms of Taubes writing is pointless.

                  Taubes is correct that insulin is the fat storage hormone, and high carb diets raise insulin. For some people that matters, for some it doesn't. It depends on insulin resistance vs insulin sensitivity. It's not a matter of who can eat rice and who can't, or how much.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by spakesneaker View Post
                    Yes, but even in poverty when all you have available to eat is rice and lentils, even if at a normal weight (or underweight) it affects overall body composition (not much muscle tone, and a tendency to store fat around the belly, which you can see in many indian men, especially as they move past their twenties). Eating in caloric excess will lead to fat gain, but I think there's a lot of evidence showing that composition of diet can affect body composition pretty significantly.
                    I was talking about how the stereotype started- Asians used to be too poor to get super-fat like Americans.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Apex Predator View Post
                      I was talking about how the stereotype started- Asians used to be too poor to get super-fat like Americans.
                      That's true. Skinny fat is pretty common in India (can't speak for the rest of Asia), but it's pretty rare that you will see people who are morbidly obese or even obese. I think smaller stature in general has something to do with it too, since the BMI is based on Americans if I'm not mistaken.

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                      • #12
                        It is not the carbs, really. It all comes to down to whether you are Insulin Sensitive or Resistant. One can eat lots of carbohydrates and stay in a healthy weight. Please be advised that your weight does not tell the whole "picture". You can be skinny, and be unhealthy. You can be skinny and suffer from type 1 diabetes, and so on.

                        Through my childhood, I ate High Carb (like most kids do today), yet I was never overweight. My weight was "normal" despite the fact that I ate sugar, processed foods, pasta, rice, etc, every day in large qualities.

                        Yes, Taubes is correct that Insulin is the "big daddy" of fat storage (and his explanation of the mechanism), and that a high carb diet creates huge spikes in insulin. But there is more to the story.
                        Last edited by Zed; 05-16-2011, 04:36 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Maybe they should rename the magazine Anecdotal, New York Times-Quoting American.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Zed View Post
                            It is not the carbs, really. It all comes to down to whether you are Insulin Sensitive or Resistant. One can eat lots of carbohydrates and stay in a healthy weight. Please be advised that your weight does not tell the whole "picture". You can be skinny, and be unhealthy. You can be skinny and suffer from type 1 diabetes, and so on.

                            .
                            It's both. If you are type 1 and don't make insulin, you don't store fat. Duh.

                            The issue of whether you are Insulin Sensitive or Resistant explains what carbs do to you.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DFH View Post
                              It depends on insulin resistance vs insulin sensitivity. It's not a matter of who can eat rice and who can't, or how much.
                              insulin resistance depends on leptin action, which depends on hypothalamic balance. its not leptin and its not insulin that is the problem. it is exactly what maintains/balances/controls the hypothalamus. figure out how to favorable signal your hypothalamus, youve got the golden ticket to health and weight-less problems
                              Get on my Level
                              http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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