UPDATE: He has – go read about it in my more recent post here.
I loved the book ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ – the seminal work on the science behind low carb dieting – but I hated reading it. In my opinion, Gary Taubes is not a great author – he is a great presenter of information, but his writing style is dry and sterile – as if he places each word on the page with tweezers while wearing rubber gloves.
His style leans too much toward an audience accustomed to clinical research, where the author removes themselves from the content. In research, this is necessary as science is a presentation of ‘just the facts’ and any warmth or emotion carried in the message will put the research into question, making readers think that the message conveyed might be biased by the researcher’s own opinions.
This is always the case, of course – we’re just not supposed to show it.
I have read way too many books of similar depth that were more engaging, so I was very disappointed – this was supposed to be a work that would show the world the sound scientific basis for a low carbohydrate diet – and he created a near unreadable tome that would allow laymen critics to seize on the style rather than the substance.
I have always wished it would be rewritten – perhaps co-authored with Bill Bryson or Michael Pollan – two of my favorite authors – with both of them, I could read anything they wrote, no matter the topic or my interest in the topic because of the warmth, passion, and wonder they can inject into their narratives.
I have found engaging writers make me interested in subjects I never knew I had an interest in.
That’s what Gary Taubes needed to do in ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ so that detractors could come to see that low carb is not as quackish as many think.
But there’s hope.
On December 28, 2010, Gary Taubes releases a new book ‘Why We Get Fat’ – here’s the description from the Random House website:
An eye-opening, paradigm-shattering examination of what makes us fat.
In the New York Times best seller Good Calories, Bad Calories, acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes argues that certain kinds of carbohydrates—not fats and not simply excess calories—have led to our current obesity epidemic. Now he brings that message to a wider, nonscientific audience in this exciting new book. Persuasively argued, straightforward, practical, and with fresh evidence for Taubes’s claim, Why We Get Fat makes his critical argument newly accessible.
Taubes reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century—none more damaging than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat—and the good science that has been ignored, especially regarding insulin’s regulation of our fat tissue. He also answers key questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat or avoid?
Concluding with an easy-to-follow diet, Why We Get Fat is an invaluable key to understanding an international epidemic and a guide to improving our own health.
Statements like ‘Now he brings that message to a wider, nonscientific audience’ and ‘Persuasively argued, straightforward, practical’ gives me hope that I might soon have a book I can recommend to friends curious about my seemingly odd predilection for eating burgers without a bun and asking for heavy cream for my coffee – a book that won’t put them to sleep.
I’m on your side, Gary. I’m pulling for you. You created an awesome tome defending low carb for nerds like me.
Now set the information free and give us a book for the non-nerds.