I confess, also, that I am reacting to the book rather as a hyperactive Christian would react to, say, The Bible Code or the latest LaHaye dissertation, which is to think here, at last, is the incontrovertable evidence that we were right all along!
Even though I know it doesn't work that way. Forget science: health is a religion and always has been. A quick look at the reviews on Amazon is confirmation: the believers will believe more strongly; the anti-fat, anti-meat crowd will just be further alienated.
It's kind of alarming how people talk about diets in terms of ethics. "Raising meat uses up too much land and energy! We shouldn't be living so well when the rest of the world is starving! Meat is murder!" I've actually seen people claim that the book of Genesis forbids eating meat, which is... um, no. God is pro-barbeque, trust me on this.
And dieters flagellate themselves just like the faithful in the face of disaster. I can't tell you how many women I know who are fat and tired from starchy diets and inadequate protein (or worn down with fatigue and stress from letting life batter them while they wait for Jesus to make it better), with brittle hair and nails and smiles, who just insist they feel so much better since they went vegetarian (since I put my trust in the Lord!). They sincerely believe that 1100 calories a day will make them slim, healthy and happy, if they fill up on water and fiber (if I just keep praying about it), and they just know that thirty pounds (massive debt/brutal husband/parasitic daughter) is going to drop off as soon as I get back to being really good about cutting out the fat (getting active in the church) again.
Funny side note--the folks I know who are most hard-core vegetarians tend to be kind of indifferent about religion--or embrace a feel-good amorphous "spirituality" instead of a particular faith. I wonder why. Maybe it's just the crowd I hang out with.
Ok--y'all know I hate evangelism. I shall strive not to wave the Taubes book in the face of all the rice-eaters I know. But here on my own blog, I will testify! And I will not be ashamed! The truth will set you free!
The 11 Commandments.... um, Critical Conclusions of Good Calories, Bad Calories: (taken from the publisher's site--and even I have trouble grasping some of these, despite my own observations about exercise)
- Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, does not cause heart disease.
- Carbohydrates do, because of their effect on the hormone insulin. The more easily-digestible and refined the carbohydrates and the more fructose they contain, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.
- Sugars—sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup specifically—are particularly harmful. The glucose in these sugars raises insulin levels; the fructose they contain overloads the liver.
- Refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are also the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the other common chronic diseases of modern times.
- Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating and not sedentary behavior.
- Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter any more than it causes a child to grow taller.
- Exercise does not make us lose excess fat; it makes us hungry.
- We get fat because of an imbalance—a disequilibrium—in the hormonal regulation of fat tissue and fat metabolism. More fat is stored in the fat tissue than is mobilized and used for fuel. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this imbalance.
- Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated, we stockpile calories as fat. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and burn it for fuel.
- By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
- The fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be.