Gary Taubes shook up the world with his controversial 2002 New York Times article, “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?”, where he questioned the scientific basis for the claim that fat makes us fat. Nearly five years later he followed up that article with Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage), one of the most thoroughly researched and well-written books I’ve ever read in my life regarding the history of food and nutrition, and the fact that most of what we now believe in the field isn’t based on anything scientific. Last night my pre-order for Gary Taube’s newest book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About […]

Weight Loss and Insulin Resistance

I’ve been writing about obesity and something called hyper-insulinemia for about as long as I can remember. For those of you who don’t know, many people nowadays have something called metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms including obesity, high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, and high cholesterol. The main component of all of these is something called hyper-insulinemia (which is also called insulin resistance). What I just wrote is pretty much accepted as fact nowadays. What is still up for debate is a) whether insulin resistance is the cause or the effect of obesity and b) whether insulin plays a larger role in weight loss than originally believed. You see, there are two competing genres in this war […]

Changing My Diet A Bit

With regards to my post from yesterday regarding c. diff. First, I want to thank my mom for the eighty or so phone calls and emails she’s sent me regarding the subject since that blog entry went up: thanks for caring, mom. Don’t worry, I’m ok. Second, I’ve decided to change my diet in the short term to see if I can find a food trigger. Pretty much the only time I’ve felt normal again for a period of time was actually when I was in Cancun in March. For basically a whole week, my stomach problems went away and I felt pretty much 100% for a while. I spent about 30 minutes today making a mental list of probable […]

Trans fat is the dietary equivalent of the devil. It provides no nutritional value, and reeks havoc on the body’s ability to transport fats through the blood. In terms of the different types of fat that people obtain through their diet, the following effects take place: Saturated fat raises LDL (the bad cholesterol), but basically leaves HDL (the good stuff) in tack Polyunsaturated fat raises HDL (the good stuff), so it helps you Monounsaturated fat typically raises HDL, but sometimes raises LDL, so while it usually is good for you, in excess it can sometimes be bad for you Trans fat raises LDL (the bad stuff), and lowers HDL (the good stuff), so it’s basically very, very bad for you […]

Good Calories, Bad Calories

I picked up a book the other day that I’ve been meaning to read for a few months now. It is a book by a scientific journalist named Gary Taubes entitled Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) (although after reading it, I think a more appropriate title might be something like “The People’s History Of Diet And Nutrition.”) For those of you who follow nutritional research, you may remember Gary from a controversial article he wrote in 2002 in the New York Times called ‘What If It’s Been A Big Fat Lie?” In that article, he proposed an alternative nutritional hypothesis – that it wasn’t fat that ultimately caused obesity or […]

1977, in front of the House Agriculture Subcommittee of Domestic Marketing, talking about the recent recommendations by the USDA and Food and Nutrition Board towards a low-fat diet: However tenuous that linkage, however disappointing the various intervention trials, it still seems prudent to propose to the American public that we not only maintain reasonable weights for our height, body structure and age, but also reduce our dietary fat intakes significantly, and keep cholesterol to a minimum. And, conceivably, you might conclude that it is proper for the federal government to so recommend. On the other hand, you may instead argue: What right has the federal government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment, with themselves as […]

Duane Reduction Program

A few blog posts ago, I mentioned that I was going to do my best to return back to my pre-last-relationship weight. To that end, I have spent the last week hitting the gym from time to time and attempting to watch what I eat. The first week has been a bit rocky, and I hit a few tasty speed bumps at Rebecca’s Cinqo de Mayo party, but for the most part I’ve been on track. Since my life is a bit crazy thesedays, it’s challenging for me to always have access to “healthy” food, but I’ve been doing the best I can. So without further ado, the progress after week #1 is (RSS drum roll please): 5.5 lbs Now, […]

On the downhill slide

When I left Ottawa years ago, I was a pretty chubby guy. Two years of working crazy hours, drinking tons of beer, and eating primarily in restaurants had taken its toll, and my old university self had been replaced with your stereotypical software engineering stature. As soon as I got settled in Vancouver and started classes again at UBC, I decided to undo all the damage of my Ottawa experience — I started watching what I ate, getting a bit more exercise (mostly by rollerblading and hiking), and even sleeping in a bit more. In about six months, I had dropped 40 lbs, and ended up being substantially lighter than I was in university. I would even say that when […]