Gary Taubes explains how bad science led to an obesity epidemic : nutrition


What if all the diet advice you have listened to is wrong?

Seventeen years ago, in July of 2002, Gary Taubes broke what I thought was to be the biggest story of our time. All the advice we’ve been spoon-fed about counting calories, eating low fat, avoiding salt, all of it, was not based on any scientifically proven hypothesis. The dietary advice handed down from the food guidelines established by the US government, implemented in school lunch programs, hospitals, military and so forth was all based on a few white men from the East Coast’s theories. That right, none of it was tested in clinical trials and found to be true.

There is evidence that the Germans in pre-WWII had an understanding of how hormonal regulation influences our ability to fatten up or slim down, but that research was thrown out when we won the war and those men in charge of studying nutrition decided instead to cherry-pick data points that confirmed their preconceived predilections.

Now, we’re a nation of fat sick people.

We produce a show called Empowered Health, a podcast focused on navigating women’s health, we just released an episode about this research and history with the expert on the subject, Gary Taubes. Figured this subreddit may be interested in the episode because he’s one of the most controversial figures in nutrition in recent years. For those who don’t know, he’s the author of Good Calories, Bad Calories; Why We Get Fat, The Case Against Sugar and others. Taubes is an investigative journalist who painstaking went through all the research and all the footnotes in all the research to determine what was valid advice and what’s garbage.

His reporting is compelling and I was sure he was about to change the world. But, he didn’t. Yes, the needle was nudged, but the scandal has hardly had the influence I would have expected given the massive impact it has on our lives.

“Nobody’s trying to deceive you because they know the truth,” Taubes said. “They’re trying to deceive you because they’ve already fooled themselves.”

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