After all, public health authorities have been hammering home a very simple message for the past 40 years: if you don’t want to be fat, cut the fat from your diet. And in those years, obesity rates have continued to go up.
Tubes thinks he knows why: Obesity experts have gotten things just about completely backward. If you look carefully at the researches, he says, fat isn’t the enemy: easily digested carbohydrates are.
The very food that we’ve been sold as diet staples – white rice, fat-free yogurt, plain baked potatoes (hold the butter), and plain pasta (hold the olive oil, sauce and cheese) – actually reset our physiology to make us pack on the pounds. And the foods that we’ve been told to shun – steak, burgers, cheese, even the sour cream so carefully scraped from that potato – can help us finally lose the weight and keep our hearts healthy.
As you might imagine, Taubes has stirred controversy with his contentions. Though he’s known as an obsessive reporter and science nerd (Taubes studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford and has won numerous scince-writing award), he’s been called a dangerous cherry picker of data – someone who searches through decades of studies to weave together the bits he likes.
However, a series of studies in the past five years has compelled researchers to rethink their long-held prejudices against low carb diets.