Gary Taubes’ Influence on Me

Yesterday I had my cholesterol levels measured. My HDL was better than usual — I have ten years of records — and the Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio was good, which is unusual for me. Thinking about what might have caused this, I realized that over the past few months, mainly because of Good Calories Bad Calories, I’ve shifted toward what I think of as a pre-agricultural diet: plenty of meat and greens, no grains, a little fruit. Long ago I stopped eating packaged food. That was the pre-factory diet — a hundred years ago. Now I’ve moved back in time two more log units (log unit = factor of 10).

My interview with Taubes.

14 Replies to “Gary Taubes’ Influence on Me”

  1. It has been amazing. I started eating the same way since reading Taubes’ book in October. I’ve lost 5 pounds a month, my waist is smaller by at least 2 inches and my blood pressure is averaging 115/68 from 140’s/90’s. I feel so much better. I started with tasteless EVOO but couldn’t tolerate it, so I went with crazy spicing, which I still do. But not much changed about my appetite until I dropped nearly all carbs. I’m especially successful the more fat of any kind that I’m able to work into each meal.


  2. The recent news of a study which showed that evolution is proceeding at a rate up to 100 times faster than previously thought, and in any case much faster than several thousand years ago, makes theories about a “paleo diet’ into so many “just-so” stories. We might be able to speculate on what the diet was like in paleo times, but that doesn’t equate to healthy. We’ve evolved a lot in 10 thousand years.

  3. I have them measured because I might learn something. My position is not what you say; a more correct statement of what I think is that Malcolm Kendrick makes good points. My total cholesterol was 215, above the supposed cutoff of 200. You are correct that I think the cutoff is wrong; I think it should be higher and that 215 is perfectly okay. If my cholesterol were 300 or 400, however, I’d be concerned.

    As for the speed of evolution, there’s a world of difference between (a) assuming a paleo diet (or whatever) is best and (b) taking that as a possibility to be tested. I’m doing (b).

  4. Gary Taubes explains how it is not total cholesterol that should be measured, or even just HDL and LDL, but importantly also VLDL. He gives compelling reasons why VLDL likely plays a key role in coronary heart disease. Gary also writes that the triglyceride profile is more important than overall cholesterol, since the lipoproteins are just cargo holders for triglycerides.

  5. There is also a difference between a paleo diet and just not eating the processed junk-food, processed carbohydrate diet. I stopped eating refined carbs and limited my grain and fruit intake overall in September 2007 (before reading Taubes’ book) and I’ve lost over 17% body fat during that time. I also stopped being anemic and my LDL:HDL ratio improved, my triglicerides went down to normal ranges and my CRP (cardiac disease risk factor) also went down.

  6. Thanks, yes, i should have mentioned GI. unfortunately fruits with low GI are expensive, like berries.

    If anyone can give tips on how to incorporate more vegetables I´d appreciate it. e.g. vegetables that do not need coocking or are easy to prepare. Recenly I trid spinach salad and liked it, before I eat it cooked.

  7. According to non-mainstream but plausible French researchers (Zermati/Apfeldorfer), you can only lose weight if you are above your set point. Your set point is the weight you are genetically programmed for. It’s the weight at which, if you eat exactly in accordance with your hunger sensations (i.e. your energy output equals your caloric input), you remain stable. From there, it doesn’t matter what type of calories you eat: fat, carbs… it’s all the same. A weight loss treatment according to this principle means you must rediscover your hunger sensations, and stop eating when no longer hungry. Then your body will automatically go back to its set point.
    The problems: (1) if you are below your genetically determined set point, you will put on weight, not lose it. (2) your set point is not necessarily stable during your lifetime and can go up, due in particular to overeating for a certain length of time. (3) you can never maintain your weight below your set point, except at the cost of life-long (and increasing) restrictions.
    Finally: why does the set point go higher if you overeat for a long time? Because your fat cells, instead of just getting “fatter” with all the lipids they are absorbing, start to multiply. This is symptomised by feeling hungry when you shouldn’t be. If you mostly eat without feeling hungry, you are probably above your set point: and therefore can hope to lose weight until you reach your SP by reacquainting with your body sensations.
    To me, this makes sense.

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