Book Review: Why We Get Fat


Title: Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It

Author: Gary Taubes

Publisher: Anchor Books 



Back Cover: Why We Get Fat

Building upon his critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Gary Taubes revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat–and how we can change. 

Taubes reveals the bad nutrition science of the last century—none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat–and the good science that has been ignored. He also answered the most persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what foods should we avoid? Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat is an essential guide to nutrition and weight management. Complete with an easy-to-follow diet


Book Review: Why We Get Fat

This book is a condensed version of Gary Taubes prior book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. In the Author’s Notes of Why We Get Fat, Gary explains that he had two reasons for writing this condensed version. The first is that he was approached by many researchers that had their eyes and mind opened to the possible validity of his arguments presented in Good Calories, Bad Calories. They believe that there should be further studies to prove what he says is fact. Only thing is, we already have those studies. Additionally, if they decide to do those studies, it could take another decade or more before the information would be presented to the public, for hopefully the much needed healthcare change our world is in need of. So, he wrote this book in an attempt to expedite the process of getting this much needed information to the public.

His book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, is a substantial book. It is 609 pages, cover to cover, it was, as he says in the Author’s Note of Why We Get Fat, “…lengthy (nearly five hundred pages), dense with science and historical context, and densely annotated, all of which I believe was necessary to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the experts and assure that they (or any reader) take nothing I say on trust alone. The book demands that the reader devote considerable time and attention to following the evidence and the arguments. For this reason, many who read it have asked me to write another book, one that their husbands or wives, their aging parents, or their friends and siblings can read without difficulty. Many physicians have asked me to write a book that they can give to their patients, or even to there fellow physicians, a book that doesn’t require such an investment of time and effort.” 1

Why We Get Fat is well researched, if nothing else. It’s also extremely thought provoking, if you come from the training of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). This book and it’s contents fly in the face of traditional medicine, research and data that we are currently given. 

This book argues against the traditional—though only recently (within the last several decades) adopted—theory that fats (especially saturated fats) lead to heart disease and obesity. The medical community has determined without longstanding proven research, that since they believe fat causes heart disease and obesity, the cure therefore must be substituting fats for carbohydrates. 

Gary Taubes—through his investigative research—has found that the model of the ideal diet we’ve been fed for the last several decades has not only been wrong—according to many research studies—but deadly.

The author is very systematic in his approach presenting his argument of what causes us to get fat. In a nutshell, the well beloved carbohydrates. He spends a good deal of the book laying out the argument for and against this view point. Clearly, he is for the argument that carbohydrates are the primary, if not the sole source, of why we get fat. Conversely, traditional medicine and medical science are bent on the notation that carbohydrates are the very reason we can avoid weight gain and a lot of the diseases we face today. Since the medical community has not shown in any valid studies nor a significant prolonged decrease in many of the metabolic conditions we see continuing to rise today, I’d say that it’s hard to believe their stance on the health benefits of carbohydrates on our body. 


My thoughts about Why We Get Fat

This is not the first book that I’ve read on this topic, so it’s not new information to me, but with that being said, I did like the way he laid out his argument and backed it up with proven research…even research that was funded—at a great cost—by our very own government, who insist that carbohydrates have been and remain our best option for losing weight and healing from a host of diseases.

The intention of the high carbohydrate, low fat diet was to reduce heart disease, along with other metabolic disease. Instead of lowering the risks of these metabolic diseases, we are actually seeing no improvement in morbidity or mortality of these diseases. Why? There can be many reasons, but the chief reason is still insulin.

Insulin regulation–or rather the lack thereof—has been shown time and again in many research studies that it is the main determining factor in controlling our risks to these various metabolic diseases that inflict many in our nation, and in the world, today. Why then does the mainstream medical community continue to endorse, promote, and aggressively push this way of eating on us? There are many reasons, some due to finances and some power. Regardless of the surface reasons we see, I believe all of this is rooted in a cosmic strategic spiritual battle for our very lives—or at the very least, to deactivate us from God’s army. Sick soldiers simply don’t fight as well nor do they fight very effectively and the enemy knows this too well.

Let me just echo what Taubes said in his book, that there are many doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, researchers, educators, politicians and the like, that simply have not done their own homework before promoting this way of eating. They, understandably, trust what the medical community touts as the healthiest and safest ways for us to lose weight and recover from a lot of what is ailing us today. But, the fact remains that we are not getting healthier, but rather worse as we continue to follow their recommendations. 


Would I Recommend Why We Get Fat

Yes. I think this is a wonderful book to have has a resource in any library. While I’m not a fan of the theory of Evolution, especially when it it continues to be touted as fact. While Taubes sprinkles a bit of evolutionary theory—stated as irrefutable fact—it can be overlooked in light of all the useful information you can find in this book. An interesting point he made in the book was expressing his frustration that people that have a large host of evidence in front of them somehow fail to see the truth that sits right before them. I thought that was rather ironic for him to say, given his determined stance on the theory of evolution rather than believing that we indeed have a Creator and the evidence of this fact is not only all around us, but also within us and is us.

Why We Get Fat is science based and filled with enough researched data that it can help even the most skeptic person take pause to learn more about the truth that saturated fats are not the villains that the medical and pharmaceutical companies make them out to be.

While I would not call Why We Get Fat light reading, it is far easier to handle than the more complex, data-filled book, Good Calories, Bad Calories.


And, that’s a wrap…Why We Get Fat

I hope you found this review helpful. If so, please share it with your family and friends, so they can learn about this great book too. You can click here or on any image of the book on this page to see it on Amazon. Thanks for taking the time to read this review and God bless!



“This is not a diet book, because it’s not a diet we’re discussing. Once you accept the fact that carbohydrates—not overeating or a sedentary life —will make you fat, then the idea of “going on a diet” to lose weight, or what the health experts would call a “dietary treatment for obesity,” no longer holds any real meaning. Now the only subjects worth discussing are how best to avoid the carbohydrates responsible–the refined grains, the starches, and the sugars—and what else we might do to maximize the benefits of our health.” 

–Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat


1 Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat: and What to do About It (New York: Anchor Books, 2011), xi

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