Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes
Stevens Institute of Technology; February 6, 2008


  1. Thanks Regina

    New to your blog and enjoying it very much.

    Do you by chance know of an MPG or MP3 copy of this presentation? I have slow internet and cannot get the whole thing in one sitting.

    Also, I have just today (quite by coincidence) found an audio interview with Mr Taubes from the radio program CBC Quirks & Quarks, here (right-click and "save as")

  2. Anonymous10:46 AM

    When I was in junior high, back in the last century (1952), my history teacher once remarked that when she changed schools, her bus went through a low-income Italian neighborhood, and at first she couldn't figure out why so many poor people were fat when the rich people she knew were mostly thin. Then it occurred to her that they ate mostly starches. If a school girl can make this connection, it's odd that scientists can't.

  3. gretchen:

    Most people don't want to believe what's right in front of their eyes. They live in their own self-imposed fantasy world.

  4. Anonymous11:02 AM

    I get:


    It's been saying that for 40 minutes. When I hit the play button, I get 12 seconds of video.

  5. Maybe you'll have better luck at the direct link?

  6. Thank you for posting this link. Taubes does an excellent job of showing how carbs and insulin impact fat usage and storage.

    What I've never seen explained is what happens when excess fat is consumed on a minimal carb diet. The liver should turn the excess into triglycerides but with low levels of insulin how do the triglycerides get into the fat cells? Some seem to claim that the result is disease. what say you?

  7. Anonymous2:04 PM

    thanks Regina, have played it several times in the car today!


  8. Anonymous4:27 PM

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have dsl connection and so was able to watch it in real time. It was wonderful to finally get to see Mr. Taubes explain his research. On the strength of this, I have ordered Blake Donaldson's Strong Medicine and finally have hope of being a normal weight.

  9. Chuck, Gary explained your question very well in the video clip. Fat is burned for fuel. There is no glucose phosphate to bind FFA into triglycerides so the FFA's can drop from the fat tissue as nothing holds it in. Disease? Far to the contrary!

    Regina, if Gary Taubes is to be believed, you might consider a change to the subtext of your blog. Health only equals lifestyle, nutrition and activity if health is a cause and not a symptom of (or lack of) an underlying disorder.

    He would argue that nutrition equals health, lifestyle and activity. Poor or malnutrtion leads to poor health and a poor lifestyle as the Pima Indians readily demonstrate, and the body compensates by lowering activity.

    On the other hand, good nutrition leads to good health and it prompts one to an active lifestyle and more activity.



  10. Anonymous3:52 AM

    Thanks Regina, that was wonderful and confirms what I discovered myself after a year or so of insulin injections and getting fatter and fatter and requiring ever more insulin for my Type 2, almost off it now with extreme low carb and finally some weight loss.


  11. Anonymous10:16 AM

    *Mostly off topic*

    First of all, thanks for the clip.

    Is there a way to copy this to a DVD so that I can watch it on a television instead of at my computer?

    If someone knows and can tell me, please do so. If inappropriate to post here, please e-mail me at



  12. Charles, thanks for the response but I'm still confused. Assume for sake of argument that you are consuming more fat calories than you can use. The liver will eventually package the excess as VLDL and ship it back to the fat cells. Since it can't get into the fat cells it will stay in the blood stream.

    It seems to me that overconsumption for an extended period may not make you fat but it will cause a long-term accumulation of VLDL in the blood stream which is likely cause for concern.

  13. If you eat more then your body can use for fuel or structural repair and growth, you will store or excrete the excess. It is a common misconception in the LC community that the only time you have insulin in your blood is after eating carbs, but this is untrue. Unless you are T1, your body maintains a "basal" level of insulin. Insulin is not a transport molecule, it is regulatory. One of its many functions is to regulate the number of fat, glucose, and amino acid receptors in the cellular membrane. The more insulin, the more receptors, but given basal insulin, there are always some receptors present.

  14. Anonymous10:26 PM

    Chick, there is a theory that excess fat calories in the abcence of insulin, just get burned off as heat by the body's cells, or spur increased movement. In other words, they increase the metabolic rate. If you haven't read Taubes book, do. It's amazing.

  15. Anonymous12:46 PM

    I downloaded the file using the Download Helper plug in for Mozilla Firefox

    The file is a Flash Video file (flv) and I use vlc media player from (free) to play the file.

    This is also how to download youtube files as well


  16. Chuck,

    The process you're describing happens when the liver has to metabolize glucose, particularly as a result of consuming fructose. These molecules are sent out on lipoproteins and lead to VLDL, thus shrinking particles to the small dense kind so common after overconsuming carbohydrates.

    Fat and protein both have self-limiting factors that signal our appetites when we eat those foods. Overfeeding studies, especially those by Sims and Danforth among others, clearly show that it is very difficult to get subjects to overconsume fat and protein, whereas this is very easy to do with carbohydrates.

    Also, excess energy prompts us to increase activity just as calorie-restriction has been repeatedly shown to prompt us to decrease our activity to conserve energy. Excess energy is dissipated as heat as others have noted. This is chronicled very well in Taubes' book.

  17. Hey Neil, that's AWESOME.

    Thanks so much for posting the info.

    To add a slight caveat, the file type (flv) may have to be "associated" with the vlc media player - i.e. when you double-click on the file after downloading it may not immediately know what program should process it.

    So you should install the vlc player FIRST. Then you just choose it from the list of possible programs in the "open with" dialog.

  18. My Italian-American mother, born in 1914, and some of her friends and contemporaries, realized in their early teens that the pastas, breads and sweets were making them fat and so they went on protein diets and kept slim and trim. My mother ate two eggs every day for most of her life. At 76, her physician said she had the heart health of someone in their 50's.

  19. Extremely interesting.

    Thank you, Regina.

  20. Some of what Taubes says is true and most is not. He indulges in the same selective sampling practice he criticises most. He is an established National Enquirer "author" who knows the art of data manipulation. Call me to discuss at 949-422-3264... Unlike, Taubes, I have nothing to hide.......

  21. Anonymous11:13 PM

    I've been pondering about this alot... it sure raises a few questions..

  22. It looks like this research is clear. The more insulin the body produces, the more glucose that is able to get transferred into fat cells, and the more altra glycerol phosphate, which allows for the depositing of fat cells. It looks like Atkins was right. I wonder if the reason that all of these contradicting studies came out is because after WWII the government had a whole warehouse of corn reserves from their dysfunctional subsidies, something primarily offering carbohydrates, that they had to get rid of somehow.