Review: Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

Good Calories, Bad Calories took the author five years to write, and it contains some groundbreaking information that will undoubtedly be the cause of much controversy. Whether or not you agree with Taubes assertions, the book is certainly well worth the read and it is obvious that he did put a lot of research into it as well as time.

The main assertion of the book is that we become fat due in a large part to the types of calories that we eat. By focusing on good calories and cutting out the bad calories in our lives, Taubes insists that it is much easier to lose weight and stay healthy. He is against, for an example, carbohydrates, stating that due to the fact they raise insulin levels, they make it impossible to lose weight. There is a lot of strong science to back that up, and to the author’s credit, he does mention good carbs.

Our main issue with the book was the author’s stance on exercise. He maintains that exercise can actually help you gain weight instead of losing it. The basic premise here is that because you are doing more, you are hungrier and will eat more. Again, it sounds good on paper, but there are many other reasons and scientific assertions that back up the fact that exercise is vital. Granted, it can make you hungrier, but if you are eating the right foods and making sure to fuel up before and after exercise, this can be prevented.

It’s difficult to wholeheartedly recommend a book that is so anti-exercise. While there is a lot of truth to what Taubes says, at the end of the day, there is no substitute for adding a healthy workout plan to your diet. With care, you can avoid falling into the trap of eating too much after exercising, and it just makes sense that burning calories will help you lose weight.

That said, the book is still a fascinating read, if for no other reason than it discusses the different types of foods that can actually promote weight loss, while bringing up the foods that you should avoid. Beginning dieters may be thrown off track by some of the advice however, but those interested in learning more about nutrition, or those that are well versed in dieting would be able to get quite a lot out of this book.

It has some flaws, but it is still an interesting take on the whole diet equation. If for no other reason, the book has value in that it exposes a lot of the diet industry foibles and poor research that is rampant in the industry. Read it if you’re looking for more information on health in general, or how to eat right, but don’t take it as gospel when it comes to finding an effective way to lose weight. If for nothing else, you’ll be able to learn a lot about the food you eat.