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Old 05-07-2011, 01:51 PM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Once you start with the idea that people are looking for magic bullets it biases your outlook so that anything that doesn't jibe with the standard model is a magic bullet. This is known as attacking a straw man.

I agree that we should not eat most modern processed foods but it isn't easy to do so as most food is processed (and a lot of processing happens before the crops are planted--see GMO). I like Art Devany's simple advice to never stray from the outside edges of the supermarket.

The second point is very contentious and pretty much a bang head against wall trigger for the Gary Taubes crowd (which I'm a part of wrt this point). Utterly useless advice that seems tied up in moral rather than scientific intuition (beyond the pointless and circular calories in calories out mantra). If obesity isn't a moral failing the end of the world is nigh. Run Awayyyyyy!!!
I've just started to read Taubes book so I'm going to beg off an in depth battle over this one except to acknowledge that there seem to be a lot of very smart people on both sides.

As for demonizing certain foods and beatifying others, I agree. But remember that all sides demonize and beatify. The American Heart Association demonized fat and salt and are slowly walking it back. Moderation is of course good advice if we know what it means. Is a 1950s diet more moderate than a 2000 diet? You can move the goal posts so much that in the crazy world of American politics, Obama's health care plan is considered radical and left wing. As for moderating intake, this is advice that no one needs. People have known for thousands of years not to eat too much. There is even a deadly sin named for it. The problem is that some people don't moderate their intake to the point where they don't gain weight. Why is this? Is it a moral failing. Lack of education? Physiology? Based on my experience it is the latter. Some people shouldn't drink so why not believe some people shouldn't eat sugar, or to push futher, refined grains?

Although I'm inclined to agree with Taubes based on what I've seen of him, I will endeavor to read his book critically. No one is beyond falling in love with a hypothesis and getting a bit crazy.
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