The PJ Tatler

Why we get fat

I am reading Gary Taubes’ new book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It.

He is the author of the popular book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health and this new book seems to be an extension of further research into what makes us fat. I kept looking for something new here as it seems lots of diet books tout the low carb, high protein one that Taubes does, and this book delivers by providing more understanding into the science behind why we gain weight and how to change it.

Many times, people think that being fat is just a lack of willpower. I never have as I have met too many people who do not seem to eat all that much and are still significantly overweight. I, like most people, have also met many people who eat all the time and never seem to gain weight. Those latter people often like to think of themselves as paragons of virtue when it comes to food, but as Taubes points out in the new book, these people simply process carbs differently. In a chapter entitled “Why I get fat and you don’t (and Vice Versa),” Taubes explains why people get fat in middle age:

…the conventional wisdom that those of us who fatten as we move into middle age do so because our metabolism slows down, probably has this cause and effect backward. More likely is that our muscles become increasingly resistant to insulin, and this partitions more of the energy we consume into fat, leaving less available for the cells of muscles and organs to use for fuel. These cells now generate less energy, and this is what we mean when we say that our metabolism slows down. Our “metabolic rate” decreases. Once again, what appears to be a cause of fattening–the slowing of our metabolism–is really an effect. You don’t get fat because your metabolism slows; your metabolism slows because you get fat.

Overall, the book seems like a good one to add to your library if you want to learn more about the science of eating and how to stay slim. It takes a fairly scientific topic that is rather dry and makes it digestible for the average dieter.