December 30, 2009

Hey Leon, whatcha reading? (GCBC)

I finished this book

at the start of December, and it deserves any hype you may have heard about it (you probably haven't, but you should have). Taubes provides an incredibly detailed exploration of the history of nutritional science, starting in the early part of the 20th century. Ultimately, it ends up being a very well-researched critique of US Government-backed nutritional policies and health recommendations, starting with weight management and proceeding to exercise and a strong takedown of the lipid hypothesis for heart disease. While this isn't a diet book at all, it's not hard to follow Taubes' research to the logical conclusions that Ancel Keys and his cohort of advisers to the senate panel led by George McGovern either missed or deliberately obfuscated.  Study after study of diets with varying macro-nutrient distributions consistently found that diets lowest in carbohydrate produced the most consistent results in lowering the the weights of obese and overweight patients, further that such diets could serve as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, did not result in increases of arterial plaque, and may even prevent cancer and alzheimer's.

Reading the book, I was repeatedly struck by the parallels to CAGW.  We had a tight-knit group of scientists relying strongly on theory and very little on research data, all citing each other, and deliberately locking out and denying funding to competing theories.  It's uncanny.

I definitely recommend the book, even if some chapters are a bit of slog.  Taubes' writing is pretty consistently engaging even when discussing some rather dry elements of the relevant science, and the content is amazing.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 02:29 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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