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Monday, September 15, 2008

Atkins

The old-fashioned idea that caloric reduction will lead to weight loss is entirely contradicted by Taubes who argues that we do not lose weight by cutting calories; instead we lose weight by changing the type of calories we consume. Caloric reduction is described by Taubes as a generally mechanistic view of the human that has failed to account for the dynamics of weight gain and loss. True, if you stop feeding a man he will lose weight. But if you feed him 2,000 calories of carbs vs. 2,000 of fats and proteins, he will gain weight on the first and lose it on the second diet. So I think people have failed to understand Taubes' important point about caloric restriction: it does not generally cause weight loss when used in diets. The whole point of his book Good Calories, Bad Calories is that it’s not the amount of calories you eat that matters, it’s the type of calories you consume that counts. Eat carbs and you'll boost insulin levels and risk higher rates of fat deposition in body tissue and arteries; you'll also find yourself hungry soon after a high-carb meal, and you'll gain weight. Eat fats and protein and your triglyceride levels (a marker of heart disease and stroke) improve and you are less hungry. You also tend to lose weight.

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