Gary Taubes


Friday, August 15, 2014

Sugar, Sugar

Sugar Facts:

-CDC reports the lifetime risk of diabetes in America is currently at 40% for an average 20 year old
-American Heart Association reports American adults consume 22 teaspoons added sugars per day, teens 34 teaspoons per day. 
-Sugar promotes tooth decay. The news here is tooth decay and the need to brush/floss teeth is considered a fact of life for most Americans.  In wild animals and healthy hunter gatherers caries are almost unknown, sans dentists/tooth brushes, toothpaste and floss.
-Starch turns to sugar (glucose) in the mouth, and during digestion.   Plain, dry bagels and unsweetened cornflakes may not taste sweet, but they are still "candy" to our bodies.

-Sweetened or not, grain-based cereals are sugar. Period. Spraying vitamins on them does not make them food.
-Fruits are nature's candy.
-Of 60,000 products in grocery stores, 80% contain added sugar (Catie Couric, movie Fed Up)
-The amount of sugar in a product may be misrepresented on the label. In 2014 Whole Foods is sued over yogurt containing 5 times more sugar than the label shows (a discrepancy first reported by Consumer Reports).
-Agave Nectar contains as much as 95% pure fructose.
-Researchers at University of Guelph, Canada, found blood sugar spikes from white bread and sourdough bread pale in comparison to those from whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread appears to rival some candy bars in this respect yet is thought to be healthy.
-Sugars found in most foods are fermentable carbohydrates. Fermentable carbohydrates promote tooth decay initially, and chronic modern diseases (diabetes, heart disease e.g.) decades later. (P Hujoel: Dietary Carbohydrates and Dental Systemic Diseases)
-Sugar promotes insulin.  Insulin stores excess sugar as fat. Sugar--> Fat
-Alzheimer's is increasingly referred to as Type 3 Diabetes, a disease of carbohydrate (sugar, e.g.) intolerance.
-Eat enough sugar and you may lose the ability to detect small amounts.  Go off for awhile and things you once ate or drank easily may taste too sweet. Broccoli and spring water taste sweeter on a low sugar diet.

-Refined sugars and starches are empty calories that promote fat storage at rapid rates.  
-A high sugar diet promotes mood swings, anxiety and poor concentration.
-Diets high in sugar and starch stiffen arteries.
-Consuming sugars at bedtime can result in frequent awakenings at night, even insomnia. 
-Refined sugars and starches are addictive.  Weaning off is not easy, but is well worth your while if you value your health.

Friday, December 27, 2013

LA asks: What's the best paleo cookbook?

Answer: The best cookbook depends on your needs and desires.  Are you feeding a family?  Is simplicity and speed important to you?  Will you entertain?  Would an on-line resource with photographic illustrations help you in your culinary journey?  A helpful basic cookbook for everyday use is Practical Paleo by Sanfilippo.  A book with artfully flavored dishes and clear prep times is Well Fed by Joulwan.   A book for Paleo entertaining is Gather by Staley.    Nom Nom Paleo has an online site ( and a newly released cookbook.  There are many, many more great paleo books out there, but these should give you an idea of where to start.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

SC asks: Are there natural remedies for psoriasis?

SC asks: What are the best natural remedies for reducing the irritation of plaque psoriasis caused by Candida overgrowth?

Answer: I cannot tell you the underlying cause of your psoriasis, or if there is one; however, autoimmune conditions are frequently connected to diet and Vitamin D status. You may wish to work with a healthcare provider familiar with common causes of psoriasis. In many cases an elimination diet helps find the culprit. I have patients with autoimmune related skin disorders who tell me their problems improve or clear when they eliminate certain foods, such as gluten and milk dairy. Vitamin D acts as a immune system modifier and your Vitamin D level should be included in your work-up. Candida thrives on dietary sugars and starches. A low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet can help rid you of Candida, as can some probiotics. I favor large spectrum probiotics containing Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic yeast, as it may compete with Candida. Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra is one such formulation, and there are others. Be sure to check with your doctor before making any diet or supplement changes.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

JG asks about replacing carbohydrates with protein:

Question:  I've started cutting carbs in my diet and replacing them with more protein. Should you start feeling tired a little as you begin?

Answer: Hello, JG, Yes, you will probably feel tired as you begin.  However, there is one mistake most people make when they start a low carbohydrate diet that makes this transition worse.  You say you are replacing carbohydrates with "more protein."  In reality, assuming you ate adequate protein before you started your new diet plan, you should only replace carbohydrates with fat.  That fat, and especially saturated fat, is a healthy part of a diet is a difficult concept for most Americans to understand, but without adequate dietary fat energy is low and you might not feel as satisfied with your meals.   Full fat meats, fish, eggs and (not skinless) poultry are good sources of natural fats.  The better these animals are raised (pasture finished livestock, low-contamination fish, e.g.) the better they are for your health.  The best diets for healthy weight loss are Low Carbohydrate, High Fat (LCHF) diets; with these diets you will probably end up eating more fat than what you are accustomed to.  Pasture finished butter (or clarified butter/ghee if you are lactose intolerant or want to fry with butter) and coconut oil are great fats to add.  These fats are excellent for cooking and keeping weight normal while enhancing health.  Also consider frying with lard, bacon grease, beef fat and duck fat. So, step up your fat, keep protein intake moderate and carbohydrates low.  Two good resources for low carbohydrate living are: and     Good luck, and bon appetit!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

CA, a 16 year old girl, asks:

I'm Interested in getting healthy and in shape, reducing sugar cravings, boosting energy level, any suggestions?

Answer: First discuss your diet plans with your parents. Also, check with your pediatrician/adolescent medicine doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to make a diet change, and learn whether my suggestions are right for you. 

Many adolescents and adults are afraid to eat fat, thinking they will just get fatter. This is not true. To quash sugar cravings humans must eat enough protein (meat, fish, eggs, poultry) and fat, including saturated fat, with every meal. 

I recommend saturated fats from healthy sources such as pasture fed or grass fed animals (meats, poultry, eggs, high fat dairy such as butter, sour cream, whipping cream, cheese; if dairy not tolerated try butter oil or ghee) and coconut oil. Fatty fish at least twice a week is recommended, another rich source of healthful fatty acids.  Your diet should consist of at least 50% of calories from fat, with adequate protein at every meal. There are a number of books on the market to help you achieve a healthy weight loss diet. Take a look at Primal and Low(er) Carbohydrate/High Fat approaches to your diet (carbohydrate = sugars & starches, fruit juice, sugary sodas, chips, dried fruits, etc). Vegetables that grow above ground are a good source of carbohydrates and highly nutritious. Learn which are best for you. Getting rid of junk food and eating healthy vegetables will help you achieve healthy weight loss goals. For better nutrition, top cooked vegetables with butter or ghee.   

Be sure to adjust the carbohydrates you eat to your activity; if you have low activity eat a little less carbohydrates and a little more fat; if you are athletic eat a little more carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, carrots and other below ground vegetables, e.g.), with a little less fat. And hardly ever eat carbohydrates from grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, etc). Caution: If you decide to stop wheat or gluten, and many people find weight loss and health success when they do this, it may cause problems at first. Some people call this the "low carb flu". You may experience body aches, headaches and other flu-like symptoms. It usually passes within a couple of weeks. But if it happens to you it is a likely sign you should avoid gluten, or at least wheat, from now on. 

Whatever dietary approach you take, choose one you can stick to for life and adjust to your lifestyle rather than eating a special diet until you lose the weight, then going back to your old eating habits. The process of dieting, then gaining, then dieting again is called "yo yo dieting”. Yo yo dieting can make you heavier and unhealthier in the long run. I suggest you check with a nutritionist who understands Paleo, Primal and Low Carbohydrate diets in adolescents for guidance. Bon Apetit!

RK asks:

What is the best low carb diet ????

Answer: My bias favors low carbohydrate, high fat Paleo for the first month, graduating to low carbohydrate, high fat Primal if high fat milk products are tolerated after a month off milk based dairy. Both systems help most people lose weight and feel good at the same time, features my patients tell me they do not experience with Weight Watchers. Both Primal and Paleo eliminate additives/preservatives/food colorings and include foods like pancakes (made with coconut flour or almond flour), not seen in other low carbohydrate diets. 

After the initial period of grain withdrawal and adjustment to fat burning, which may involve fatigue, flu-like symptoms and headaches, energy and sleep generally improve. Just last week one of my morbidly obese patients described less acid reflux, lower joint pain, looser clothing, improved sleep and increased energy after only 2 weeks of a low carbohydrate/high fat Paleo plan. Her skin cleared, she no longer experiences the urge to eat every 2 hours, and after a high fat breakfast, can wait until 4 PM for her next meal, features not typically seen with low fat diets. Add to this that studies show improvement in cardiovascular risk factors with low carbohydrate, high fat diets, with increases in HDLs, decreases in Triglycerides and an LDL trend toward Pattern A (low heart risk). And it's delicious to boot. 

In October of 2013 the American Diabetes Association position statement approved low carbohydrate diets for weight loss with safety shown for at least 2 years, and the British Medical Journal exonerated saturated fat. The Swedish government approved low carbohydrate/high fat diets for weight loss and nearly 1/4 of Swedes surveyed endorse a trend toward low carbohydrate, high fat diets with positive changes in weight, diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors. 

For more information, visit: and 
Illustrated recipes can be viewed at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why You Got Fat (and Why It Matters)

Did you know nearly 44% of American adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes?  About 8.3% of American adults has diabetes, and 35% of American adults (more than 1 in every 3 adults ages 20 years and older) has pre-diabetes.  

This would be problem enough, if not for the fact that nearly 1/3 of diabetics and the majority of pre-diabetics do not know they are afflicted

Pre-diabetes, also known as metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, may include and is not limited to: a large waist to hip ratio (belly fat, high blood pressure, high Hemoglobin A1 C (HgA1C, an indicator of how your body manages sugars), high triglycerides (a reflection of sugar, starch, and, in some cases, alcohol consumption), low HDLs (low “good cholesterol”), and abnormally high fasting blood sugars.  These metabolic changes signal risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, blindness, Altzheimer's, obstructive sleep apnea and more.  

High blood sugars damage blood vessels and internal organs over time.  By the time someone is diagnosed with diabetes damage has been done.  Abnormally high blood sugars are subtle; unless sugars are very high you are unlikely to detect abnormally high blood sugars unless you measure them from a blood draw in a laboratory, or with a glucometer (diabetics use glucometers at home to monitor blood sugars).  People who are tuned in to the effect of foods on their functions may note clouding in their ability to process information, and/or a tendency to become sleepy when blood sugars are high.  Over time sugar loads damage and prematurely age every part of your body.  In the mirror, droopy skin and premature wrinkles are telltale signs of the sugar wear and tear inside  A large hip to waist ratio (belly fat) is another sign. While exercise can be protective, it is not curative or fool proof (example: Kyle Love Diet comes first.

Where do high blood sugars in diabetes and pre-diabetes come from?  They come from starches and sugars we eat.  For more information, see my post entitled "Is Your Brain Sugar Frosted?"

And why does psychiatrist Dr. Childers pay so much attention to belly fat?  Because belly fat is the most obvious sign that the brain is under assault from a damaging diet.

If you are looking to lose belly fat and regain your mental and physicial health, here is a starting point.  Watch and understand the following 3 minute video (click the link that follows):

Why You Got Fat

For more entertaining and invaluable information, watch Tom Naughton's movie Fat Head.  You can find Fat Head on Hulu

Start now to care for your body as you would your finest possessions; after all, if not for your body, where will you be?

To your health!