Posts Tagged Good Calories Bad Calories

10 Things Your Doctor Doesn’t Know (or Won’t Tell You)


Happy Calories and Sad Calories

In an earlier post, Is Your Doctor Killing You? , I mentioned Gary Taubes’ excellent book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. I just finished it and it is one of the most important books I have ever read. It’s a fairly deep and dense book,  filled with large amounts of scientific and epidemiological information. Rigorously researched,  full of citations and foot notes, it’s still a good read. Taubes is a skilled writer and knows how to keep things moving. In his epilogue, he lists the ten most important conclusions that his research has revealed, conclusions that he never expected to find.  In the spirit of “if only I had known then what I know now”,  I ‘d like to share this with you:

1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.

2.The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis – the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well being.

3. Sugars – sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically – are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.

4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes, They are most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.

5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.

6. Consuming excess calories does not CAUSE us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.

7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance-a disequilibrium-in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceeds the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of fat tissues reverses this balance.

8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated- either chronically or after a meal- we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it as fuel.

9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.

10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.

(page 454 “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes)

The most convincing evidence for these conclusions is the fact that so many of us are fat, hungry, and even sick, no matter how hard we try to follow our doctor’s advice concerning diet and exercise.  Or if we are at times successful, why does it never seem to last? Is this an issue of physiology or psychology? Are we really all that lazy and gluttonous, as the nutritionists and doctor’s would have us believe?  Really?

As for me, I worked my ass off (and on) for over 15 years trying to stay healthy by following the conventional medical establishment’s advice.  Now that I’ve decided to ignore the ‘experts’ and return to a diet more like our hunter-gatherer bodies are designed for, I’m finally seeing significant success.  And guess what? It’s EASY!

To those skeptics out there (and skepticism is good, or else I would still be convinced of the benefit of following the USDA  dietary paradigms) I give you one word of advice: QUESTION YOUR DOCTOR! And then ask him to read this book

Think about it.

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Jesus with a Gun (Dissonance Within the Cognitive Christian)


deadeye-christ

Gary Taubes talks about Cognitive Dissonance, which is, as he puts it:

…the tension that results from trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously……When the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn discussed cognitive dissonance in scientific research- “the awareness of an anomaly in the fit between theory and nature” – he suggested that scientists will typically do what they have invariably done in the past with such cases:  “They will devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict. (Taubes, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”)

Interested, I looked up Kuhn’s paper,   “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” .  In it, Kuhn suggests that this dissonance results in what often amounts to a crisis among those holding to the majority scientific opinion.

In responding to these crises, scientists generally do not renounce the paradigm that has led them into crisis.

1. They may lose faith and consider alternatives, but

2. they generally do not treat anomalies as counter instances of expected outcomes.

3. They devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.

4. Some, unable to tolerate the crisis (and thus unable to live in a world out of joint), leave the profession.

5. As a rule, persistent and recognized anomaly does not induce crisis .

6. Failure to achieve the expected solution to a puzzle discredits only the scientist and not the theory (“it is a poor carpenter who blames his tools”).

7. Science is taught to ensure confirmation-theory.

8. Science students accept theories on the authority of teacher and text—what alternative do they have, or what competence?

Kuhn’s theory of scientific cognitive dissonance has a very familiar ring to it. It is almost precisely what I have observed with many Christians. In order to hold on to conflicting ideas of God ( such as possessing infinite grace, mercy and love yet as also wrathful, vengeful and capable of inflicting infinite torment upon his created beings) the Christian religion has come up with a myriad of  ad hoc doctrines and theories that end up confusing, not clarifying, their theology. ( In this instance, ad hoc means adding extraneous hypotheses to a theory to protect it from  falsifiability.)

Afterward, the religious authorities insist that all devotees accept these doctrines -even questioning the authorities can amount to heresy.  Dissenting dialogue is discouraged, slavish devotion to the established wisdom (often referred to as ‘the Truth’) is demanded and  the worrisome doubts of the struggling faithful are chalked up as evidence of  ‘weakness’, or a lack of faith.  This weakness is underscored when many of  these thinking (questioning) Christians, confronted with the evidence that challenges certain tenets of their religion, end up leaving the faith, often becoming ardent atheists.

Orthodoxy is the means by which the religious authorities attempt to quell this dissonance, thereby avoiding a mass crisis of faith. It is this unyielding platform upon which their theological house of cards has been built.

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