Found in 21 comments on Hacker News
giardini · 2021-07-01 · Original thread
I recently quit taking statins. My decision was motivated by reading two books:

"Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes


"The Big Fat Surprise" by Nina Teicholz

Finding that statins would lengthen my lifespan by at most ~30 days or less really chapped my ass (i.e.,irritated me), given that so much time and effort went into prescribing/ordering/buying/taking/monitoring statins on a regular schedule, along with their attendant blood tests (Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides et al) and time spent listening to my fear-mongering physician:

When I faced my doctor down about this he fell back to saying that "you increase your probability of a heart attack by 17%". He neglected to say how significant it was that, in the last year alone, I had lost 15 pounds, increased my exercise level, now slept better and had improved my diet significantly. He went through the motions but I stood firm. In desperation he threw out "But high blood pressure is strongly correlated with increasing age and you can't turn the clock back!" I countered that my blood pressure is better than it's ever been and that I intend to reduce it further. Then I told him that the cholesterol hypothesis is dead [ed. the cholesterol hypothesis is the idea that cardiovascular disease is caused by high levels of cholesterol in the blood stream]:

With that, he seemed dumbfounded and finally stopped selling me statins.

We've fallen back to a previous era where physicians in the USA are useless except for trauma intervention and as gatekeepers for antibiotics (and other newer drugs). If the USA would allow pharmacists to prescribe (as is done in Europe) we could save trillions of dollars. But physicians' prestige and power would be reduced to a shadow of what they are today. Time to put them back in their proper place.

Covid-19's revelations of the flawed advice of "experts" has been enlightening. Every expert source has failed in big ways: epidemiology is a laughing stock, the FDA, WHO and CDC have dropped the ball repeatedly, given flawed advice, reversed guidelines and in general, established a baseline of SNAFU FUBAR:

But my physician is no better: he's been selling me bullshit for decades.

And now this article. Grrr! Good thing my blood pressure is under control!

deanebarker · 2019-12-16 · Original thread
"The Economists' Diet: The Surprising Formula for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off"

The subtitle is a lie. There's nothing "surprising" here at all. It's complete common sense.


"Fitness Confidential: Adventures in the Weight-Loss Game"

Taubes is good too:

"Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It"

DenisM · 2018-05-20 · Original thread
My pet theory is "refined sugar and other simple carbs'.

Simple carbs spike up blood sugar through the roof, the body responds by dumping insulin, the insulin causes blood sugar to be sequestered in fat and muscle cells (as intended), but if the dump is large it may overshoot and the blood sugar falls through the floor. Aka "sugar crash". The crash will of course make you crave food again, the same simple carb kind. Vicious cycle.

This sort of see-saw messes you up real bad. So I was told [1]


I'm always very fascinated by people's rationale and I enjoy reading these threads. Thank you for posting. My own journey took me in the opposite direction: I eat nothing but meat and other animal-derived products such as cheese and eggs (but not milk). I have made this decision after reading The Fat of the Land by Vilhjalmur Stefansson [1] and Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes [2]. I consciously decided the most important dietary principle, for me, is to never trigger a strong insulin response. I have been zero carb (and therefore zero fiber) for about a year now.

I have since then thrown in intermittent fasting as well. I fast 22 hours a day, work out at the end of the day, and then go home and eat 1kg of steak/lamb. I think intermittent fasting is worth adding to any diet, vegan or otherwise.

[1] Book was printed in 1956, so copyright may have expired. There's PDFs online. Here's a link to Stefansson's Wikipedia entry:

[2] Non-affiliate:

Jallal · 2017-02-06 · Original thread
Actually, this is the main subject of 'Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It' ( and the book refers to several scientific studies to support its claim.
cschmidt · 2016-09-28 · Original thread
I liked Why We Get Fat, by Gary Taubes as background

then, as others have said, is good for "how to"

henrik_w · 2016-09-12 · Original thread
I thought the book "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes was a pretty interesting read in the sugar vs fat debate.

escoz · 2016-08-13 · Original thread
If anybody is reading this and curious about Ketosis, I'd recommend Taubes book ( It's a great review of scientific studies done over the years.

I read that 4 years ago, spent another 4 months reading the listed studies, convinced myself it was a good plan, and lost 40 pounds with no exercises. I still do LCHF after all these years, and likely will never go back to a traditional diet, it feels great.

henrik_w · 2016-04-07 · Original thread
I thought that "Why We Get Fat" was pretty interesting. It argues that sugar, not fat, is the reason.

vzip · 2016-01-27 · Original thread
Why We Get Fat is an excellent book that investigates this topic:

In short, for most of us, our fat tissue is regulated primarily through our response to insulin.

visakanv · 2015-10-21 · Original thread
I also recommend reading Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat:
cschmidt · 2015-04-21 · Original thread
If you're interested in this point, you should read Gary Taubes' book Why We Get Fat.

The third chapter is all about why exercise isn't a good way to lose weight. It is generally a fantastic book.

jseliger · 2015-02-17 · Original thread
See Taubes, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (
bollockitis · 2014-08-22 · Original thread
If you haven't read either of Taubes's books, please do. I highly recommend Why We Get Fat[1]. It's a spectacular piece of scientific journalism. If that's too much for you, try one of his talks on the same topic[2].

When I first encountered the idea that we do not get fat from eating too much and that calories weren't responsible, I thought it ludicrous—the body can't disobey the laws of physics! Thermodynamics! But after seriously thinking about the idea, I realized Taubes was providing a far more complete understanding of metabolism. The human body doesn't run on calories, it runs on food. Yes, we can easily learn the caloric content of food, but that's largely irrelevant. What's important is how food affects the body, not its raw energy content. I see this misconception time and time again, especially among smart people who like to reduce the human body to merely a physical machine, often ignoring the whole biology thing.

I think the hormone theory of obesity is correct and I think these studies will prove it. But even if they show otherwise, this type of research is long overdue and we all stand to benefit from the results.



maroonblazer · 2014-06-01 · Original thread
Not to mention these two:

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

gdilla · 2013-10-19 · Original thread
For some easy to read, well summarized evidence of high fat diets, Science journalist Gary Taubes has a few books on the subject
Torrents · 2013-02-19 · Original thread
I think you are ignoring the fact that many people are able to eat way more calories than they burn, yet those extra calories simply don't convert to fat. I am not excessively active yet I eat significantly more calories than many people I know, yet I don't gain weight.

From things I've read [1] it seems that the vast majority of people consume more calories than they 'burn' but only in some people is it converted to unwanted weight gain. The real question, as many people have been referring to, is how do you determine whether your body hangs onto the extra calories as weight or simply disposes of it.

Saying "If you eat less energy than you burn, you will lose weight" is certainly true, but is akin to saying: "If you never get in a car your chances of dying in a car accident are significantly reduced." It's true...but not really helpful or meaningful.

1 -

waterside81 · 2013-02-19 · Original thread
For more info on this, check out "Why we get fat" by Gary Taubes.

gxs · 2012-08-27 · Original thread
If this is at all interesting to you, I highly recommend Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat and What to Do About it (

which is a more accessible version of his more rigorous book Good Calories, Bad calories.

I've been on a bit of a health binge since the beginning of the year and have been doing lots of research into these things. In a nutshell, not all calories are the same the some can wreak havoc on your system (grains, it turns out, aren't that good for us). The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf, is another great book - he goes to great lengths to discuss the science and biochemistry behind the points he is making. Highly recommend.

jseliger · 2012-08-12 · Original thread
The key obstacle to weight loss is the same as any form of self-improvement: Motivation. Most people know what they need to do in order to lose weight.

I don't disagree with this, but sometimes motivation is more enabled by a society or cultural milieu and sometimes it's less enabled. In our society, the default is towards simple sugars in everything from ubiquitous soda to donuts in the break room to sandwiches to white rice in restaurants to high-fructose corn syrup in damn near everything. The larger the cultural inertia, the harder the change. Ask vegetarians: in the U.S., meat-eating is the assumed default. I've read that, in India, vegetarian food at events, parties, and so forth is basically the norm.

They can tell us when we need to lose weight and perhaps even give us a general idea of what we need to do, but they really aren't trained to focus on habits and motivation

It's actually more pernicious than that. As described by Taubes in Why We Get Fat (, the government and doctors have spent the last 40 years convincing everyone that a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet is optimal, and government agencies and many researchers have ignored evidence to the contrary. I don't think this reflects malice on the part of individual doctors, but it does reflect systematic misinformation about what effective nutrition actually is. So doctors haven't only not given "us a general idea of what we need to do," but they've actually told us the opposite, even unwittingly.

codergirl · 2012-01-27 · Original thread
It's ridiculous to claim that you can eat as much X as you desire and not gain weight, for most X except maybe celery.

The point is that protein and fat satisfy hunger in a way that our bodies have evolved to process. And the fact is, after eating a bit of protein and fat, you won't DESIRE to eat any more.

Seriously, read this book, it will change your life.

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