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  #1  
Old 04-30-2011, 02:29 AM
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Default Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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  #2  
Old 04-30-2011, 08:37 AM
thouartgob thouartgob is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Even though the calibrations at CERN, as Gary says, might not be done they are indeed finding stuff, even if they don't know exactly what they are seeing.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gene..._are_just_that

I could summarize badly or just pass on a quote from slashdot

http://science.slashdot.org/comments...0&cid=35921214

Quote:
Someone left a copy of the note on the printer in my office building. (I work on CDF at Fermilab, but there are others in the building who work on ATLAS at CERN.) The gist of the article is that they found a bump in the diphoton mass spectrum at a mass of ~115 GeV. If the Higgs exists, it is expected to produce a bump in that spectrum, and 115 GeV is a very probable value for the mass of the Higgs. (Experiments at LEP ruled out masses up to 114 GeV, but a mass as low as possible above that fits best with other measurements.)

Now, the inconsistencies: The bump that they found is ~30 times as large as the Higgs mass peak is expected to be. However, due to field theory that I don't want to get into here, the Higgs peak in this spectrum could be larger than expected if there exist new, heavy particles that we haven't discovered yet. The latest published result from CDF sets a limit of about 30 times the expected rate at 115 GeV in the diphoton channel. (Yes, this means that, if you're optimistic enough, there's just enough wiggle room to fit a Higgs in there while accommodating both measurements.)

The internal note is very preliminary and uses a crude background estimate; I'll have to see a more thorough analysis before I make any judgment on it. We shouldn't have to wait very long; I expect that after this leak, they'll be working overtime to push out a full published result as soon as possible.
danke - not even wrong blog: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=3643

I wonder if it will take years to really sort it all out, the nobel will take that long probably.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:38 AM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Awesome.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:12 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by themightypuck View Post
Awesome.
I'd say more like ... interesting ideas from someone with an engaging manner. Remember that it's good to be skeptical of the skeptics, too.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:35 AM
BNH BNH is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

I love you John, but I wish you had been more dogged in going after the main problem I see with Taubes' thesis. If low carb is the way to go, why is it that the vast majority of humans on the planet eating a high carb diet are not obese?

Also, this idea of becoming a study of one and trying his diet out on myself doesn't seem very scientific. If weight loss is my goal, I might try smoking (or nicotine gum?) as a study of one to see if that might result in weight loss. But of course I'd have to ignore the long-term consequences. Same holds true with eating a high-fat high-meat diet.
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  #6  
Old 04-30-2011, 10:51 AM
thouartgob thouartgob is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I'd say more like ... interesting ideas from someone with an engaging manner. Remember that it's good to be skeptical of the skeptics, too.
I am sure he addresses this in the book but he does mention working out quite a bit.

A quick google search churned up this: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/...1871400/page1/

on page 2 of the article it discusses Taubes and a bit of Pollan.

The idea that low carb should be the default position seems interesting though. The point about less orthodoxy and better studies is of course a wonderful idea. Somebody once offered her grandmother's advice for eating, eat a colorful diet. That one sticks with me but so does mashed potatoes
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  #7  
Old 04-30-2011, 10:53 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by BNH View Post
I love you John, but I wish you had been more dogged in going after the main problem I see with Taubes' thesis. If low carb is the way to go, why is it that the vast majority of humans on the planet eating a high carb diet are not obese?
Gary's sugar article (sidebar link repeated) should answer that for you. It's worth reading for a lot of reasons -- good piece.

The short answer is that (the current belief is) the populations eating high-carb diets are getting most of their carbs from starches, and these are metabolized differently from the way refined sugars are.
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2011, 12:02 PM
frontier_sally frontier_sally is offline
 
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Default From the 'Experiment of One' Files...

Gary's comment on orange juice in the morning reminded me of something from my (pre-RedBull) college days... When I needed to get through a 10 or 12 hour event, I'd mix orange juice and Coke, and it never failed to perk me up and keep me going. When consumed separately, neither had the same effect. But the combination was powerful enough that I kept going back to it.

Gary also mentioned something that sounded suspiciously like a 'diet' book that was going around some years ago: Eat Right 4 Your Type, which offered diet suggestions based on bloodtype. Any thoughts on that, Gary? (My 'experiment of one' file on that particular approach had mixed results.)
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  #9  
Old 04-30-2011, 02:12 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday:Why we get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

As Jean Anthelme Brillat- Savarin (1755- 1826) said "Carnivorous animals never grow fat (consider wolves, jackals, birds of prey, crows, etc.). Herbivorous animals do not grow fat easily, at least until age has reduced them to a state of inactivity; but they fatten very quickly as soon as they begin to be fed on potatoes, grain, or any kind of flour. The second of the chief causes of obesity is the floury and starchy substances which man makes the prime ingredients of his daily nourishment. As we have said already, all animals that live on farinaceous food grow fat willy-nilly; and man is no exception to the universal law." The Physiology of Taste. Penguin Books.

So science is often wrong. But Brillat-Savarin also said: "A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye."

Why are so many Americans obese? Just compare the portions in American restaurants with the portions in French restaurants.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:14 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

I live in sunny California somewhat near the ocean. The number of overweight people I see on an everyday basis is unbelieveable. With all this information out there on exercising, how to eat right, and the rest of it, one would think people would wise up a bit. Not so.

I use to think it was an economic thing with the poor being overweight. A few years back I helped out a friend stave off an eviction from her rent controlled apartment due to hoarding. It gave me an opportunity to spend some time in the downtown Los Angeles court building (we won the case) which I hadn't done since my juvenile delinqent days 40 years ago. I noticed that at least one out of 10 young lawyers were obese. So much for the poverty theory.

With or with out Richard Simmons, Drs. Amen, Atkins, Oz and the rest of the diet gurus it looks like obesity in the U.S. is here to stay.

Last edited by bkjazfan; 04-30-2011 at 04:09 PM..
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2011, 03:17 PM
Olavus Olavus is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

The city slickers need more dietary fiber.

Dark, Dense Nordic Bread, Made for Butter or Cheese

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/di...3B06E8669CFD14
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  #12  
Old 04-30-2011, 03:34 PM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Taubes does address this somewhat as his book is about why we get fat, not why we don't get fat. He notes that just because 80 percent of smokers don't get lung cancer you can still say that smoking causes cancer.
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:42 PM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

I'm quite skeptical but I also have to eat. Taubes makes an interesting point about what the null hypothesis should be.
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  #14  
Old 04-30-2011, 03:49 PM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

There's something surreal about "nutrition" talk. It often sounds like inmates discussing which corner of the prison cell is the most advantageous. Is it the "low-carb" corner where it's a little quieter or the "high-carb" spot where the sun sometimes shines? How about outside the prison? People are obese because they are imprisoned. So the question is why do they eat all the time rather than what do they eat too much of?

Funny that it's the countries with the deepest food traditions (China, France, India, Thailand, etc) that have the thin people while it's the land that treats eating as yet another bodily function that has an obesity crisis. Makes you wonder if stuffing oneself like a pig is not an addictive reaction to the emptiness of modern life and the attendant lack of self-respect, all aided by food conglomerates that want everyone to be obese and a perfectly alienating collective fixation on youth and thinness.

Last edited by ohreally; 04-30-2011 at 03:55 PM..
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  #15  
Old 04-30-2011, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by ohreally View Post
Funny that it's the countries with the deepest food traditions (China, France, India, Thailand, etc) that have the thin people while it's the land that treats eating as yet another bodily function that has an obesity crisis. Makes you wonder if stuffing oneself like a pig is not an addictive reaction to the emptiness of modern life and the attendant lack of self-respect, all aided by food conglomerates that want everyone to be obese and a perfectly alienating collective fixation on youth and thinness.
I have always had the impression that excessive concern about nutrition, especially about getting "enough" nutrition has created (at least in part) the problem of excessive eating. But still, one thing is how the problem is created and another how to solve it. For younger generations we may need to rethink what all this eating is about. For those of us who have been caught with the bad habits, I'm all for low carb. Had you asked me about two to three weeks ago whether I would ever be on a low carb diet, I would have said "No way! I like carbs (breads/crackers) too much." But I tried for a couple of days to follow a moderately lower carb diet, and voilā, lost a couple of my unwanted and unplanned pounds. I'm even starting to crave salads now. Unbelievable!

I think that most of the informed opinion about nutrition and diets are converging towards lower carbs as the single most helpful change in your eating habits.

Just for the record, I haven't watched this diavlog yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
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  #16  
Old 04-30-2011, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Can someone let Gary know that he's not going to make good friends within the medical community by calling physicians "plumbers"?

I mean, he's right about physicians not having any significant training about research. Some learn by joining research teams, some by getting PhDs. Some plainly don't learn it. So, yes, I'll agree with that part. But not plumbers, Gary! Say, clinicians, experts in the art of medicine, or something like that. Otherwise I'll start calling journalists parrots. They just repeat what others say. There!
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Addendum: urologists can legitimately be called plumbers. That's it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Regarding the Institutes funding the same people over and over, yes, very true indeed. Not only that, the same people are the ones in charge of rating other grant proposals, so they tend to favor those who think like them and not those who present an opposing view.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:26 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Addendum: urologists can legitimately be called plumbers. That's it.
LOL!
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Aha! I caught that contradiction. Dr. Atkins, the plumber, got the science right! How about that?
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Gary has good points about low carbs and sugar. I actually think he probably got the idea right from all those other people who did the studies. He also seems to have good points about some other misconceptions and about how to think differently about diets after the damage is done. Unfortunately he makes the very mistake that he so adamantly and dismissively criticized at the beginning when he talked about observational epidemiology. He indulges in a whole lot of unsupported generalizations about cancer and other problems that he believes may be due to carbs.

It's always nice to see a bit more consistency in the way people evaluate claims, others' and one's own, and bit more humility, which in this case was completely lacking.

But god forbid anyone was to compare any of this to psychiatry, so much beneath the rest. Sometimes I wonder whether these people who so despise psychiatry may be in serious need of it.

In brief, good ideas borrowed from others, including "plumbers", a whole lot of cocky attitude, very little creativity. I won't invite him to my parties.

John did a good job interviewing him although he celebrated too much his arrogant stance.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:59 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Is it wrong to love this man? Thank you, Gary Taubes.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:12 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Is it wrong to love this man?
Only according to Republicans.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:17 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Science, "soft science", & fetishism

"Science" has become the recipient of much fetishism in the last few decades. As a result many fields that shouldn't really be denoted as science wish for some of the prestige and latch onto the "Soft Science" title. It's somewhat comical. It's like many have this view that if you're not a Science you're a completely languid intellectual field not worth doing at all. Then there is also of course the many hordes, Economists probably being the worst offenders, that think because they use some of the tools of science they are themselves in a scientific field. Just because you occasionally do regression analysis of assign a p-value to something does not make a scientist of you.

People coming from an Engineering background, like Mr. Taubes, cut a little more close to the bone on what is and isn't Science as they are going to be sympathetic to the idea there is alot out there of high worth that isn't "Science"..
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:45 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Physicians are as much plumbers as "Science Writers" are scientists...

BTW, many plumbers earn more than General Medicine Physicians, and they don't have to worry about malpractice insurance. They do have to make "house calls"!
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Science, "soft science", & fetishism

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Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
"Science" has become the recipient of much fetishism in the last few decades. As a result many fields that shouldn't really be denoted as science wish for some of the prestige and latch onto the "Soft Science" title. It's somewhat comical. It's like many have this view that if you're not a Science you're a completely languid intellectual field not worth doing at all. Then there is also of course the many hordes, Economists probably being the worst offenders, that think because they use some of the tools of science they are themselves in a scientific field. Just because you occasionally do regression analysis of assign a p-value to something does not make a scientist of you.

People coming from an Engineering background, like Mr. Taubes, cut a little more close to the bone on what is and isn't Science as they are going to be sympathetic to the idea there is alot out there of high worth that isn't "Science"..
I don't disagree with what you say. I did object to the disproportion between his ability to be dismissive of others and his ability to put out any original ideas. That kind of arrogance is only tolerated when the person is truly offering something of genuine value. It seems ironic that his highest accomplishment is to report what the people he so vehemently criticizes have shown.

But, let's leave the topic there. I don't really care so much about this fellow. I agree with his carb argument. But I'd love to know how he would prove what he's saying is right, since I don't think he has conducted any studies that show the results he insinuates. He didn't talk much about the fact that a lot of people find it extremely difficult to follow the Atkins diet, since it's very unnatural for our average eating habits. He didn't address the problem of the lack of fiber and other possible health risks. I'm not arguing that such problems exist, but I know there are multiple objections to it.

One of the few things we "plumbers" know is that you can have a wonderful cure for a health problem, but if people can't tolerate the treatment, it's useless.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:18 AM
willmybasilgrow willmybasilgrow is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Taubes might say (as he did in this dialogue about Asians) that the vast majority eating carbs in the world are not obese because they are not consuming the same amount of sugar that Americans are.
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:50 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

I rely on Lubos Motl to evaluate these kinds of stories.

Here's a follow up. Don't skip the comments.
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:10 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat View Post
I rely on Lubos Motl to evaluate these kinds of stories.

Here's a follow up. Don't skip the comments.
You have referred to this guy as a credible source several times before on this site. Believe who you want to believe, but just for the record, I think it's worth linking to a few responses to and about him, on this site and elsewhere: e.g., e.g., e.g., e.g., e.g.).

I also wonder why anyone would bother reading past his own description of himself:

Quote:
The most important events in our and your superstringy Universe as seen from a conservative physicist's viewpoint
On any short list of fields where political viewpoint ought to be irrelevant, certainly physics belongs.

P.S. There are no comments under the post where you advised us not to skip the comments.
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:03 PM
sapeye sapeye is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by thouartgob View Post
I am sure he addresses this in the book but he does mention working out quite a bit.
In Why We Get Fat and What to Do About I, Taubes agrees that exercise has many benefits, but losing weight isn't among them. I can't remember how many flights of stairs you need to run up to burn of the calories in a cookie, but a bunch.

Quote:
The idea that low carb should be the default position seems interesting though.
Yes.
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:45 PM
del del is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

Observational research has numerous limitations (and like most research, most of it kinda sucks) but being unable to control for things like poor people living near power lines isn't one of those limitations. Taubes needs to supplement what appears to be a Psych 101-level understanding of empirical inference with at least a sophomore/junior level course in biostatistics. Alternatively, if he wants play the hard core experimentalist, he should drop that Nicorette habit and smoke up, because there's never been a double-blind randomized controlled study that's raised one group of children to be lifelong three pack a day smokers, etc, etc. . . .

Oh, and if he does want to go the experimentalist route, he should probably stop referring to his personal Atkins results as scientific experiments . . . put me in the mind of those old Excedrin commercials!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QZaD...eature=related
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:39 PM
sapeye sapeye is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday:Why we get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Why are so many Americans obese? Just compare the portions in American restaurants with the portions in French restaurants.
When I first heard the notion that calories are not the problem, it seemed like nonsense to me. It's clearly the case that if you take in more calories than you burn, you will get fat. Period. In his book, Taubes dances around this basic fact for quite a while, but then finally acknowledges that yes, of course, this is the case. But he argues that it doesn't really say anything about why we get fat.

The usual assumption is that we get fat because we eat too much and exercise too little. That is... our bodies push unused calories into fat cells. But after reading Taubes's book (based on very extensive empirical physiology research) I finally understand the flaw in that common way of thinking. When insulin (and other hormones) are out of balance because of eating a lot of simple carbs, especially sugar and fruit juice, etc, the calories are literally pulled into fat cells and out of the blood stream. When this happens, we feel hungry, even though we are at the same time storing excess calories as fat. In a sense our body is in starvation mode because it does not sense the presence of blood sugar (if I remember correctly) in the blood it needs to keep functioning.

This also results in the lack of available energy for physical activity. That is, we don't get fat because we don't exercise, but rather we don't exercise because we are getting fat: the energy that should be available for physical activity is being sucked into fat cells.

Last edited by sapeye; 05-01-2011 at 07:00 PM..
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:58 PM
willmybasilgrow willmybasilgrow is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday:Why we get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by sapeye View Post
When I first heard the notion that calories are not the problem, it seemed like nonsense to me. It's clearly the case that if you take in more calories than you burn, you will get fat. Period. In his book, Taubes dances around this basic fact for quite a while, but then finally acknowledges that yes, of course, this is the case. But he argues that it doesn't really say anything about why we get fat.

The usual assumption is that we get fat because we eat too much and exercise too little. That is... our bodies push unused calories into fat cells. But after reading Taubes's book (based on very extensive empirical physiology research) I finally understand the flaw in that common way of thinking. When insulin (and other hormones) are out of balance because of eating a lot of simple carbs, especially sugar and fruit juice, etc, the calories are literally pulled into fat cells and out of the blood stream. When this happens, we feel hungry, even though we are at the same time storing excess calories as fat. In a sense our body is in starvation mode because it does not sense the presence of blood sugar (if I remember correctly) in the blood it needs to keep functioning.

This also results in the lack of available energy for physical activity. That is, we don't get fat because we don't exercise, but rather we don't exercise because we are getting fat: the energy that should be available for physical activity is being sucked into fat cells.
Sounds like you captured it to me. Good job.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:55 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I'd say more like ... interesting ideas from someone with an engaging manner. Remember that it's good to be skeptical of the skeptics, too.
Interesting, yeah, and I totally agree with this.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:02 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Originally Posted by BNH View Post
I love you John, but I wish you had been more dogged in going after the main problem I see with Taubes' thesis. If low carb is the way to go, why is it that the vast majority of humans on the planet eating a high carb diet are not obese?

Also, this idea of becoming a study of one and trying his diet out on myself doesn't seem very scientific. If weight loss is my goal, I might try smoking (or nicotine gum?) as a study of one to see if that might result in weight loss. But of course I'd have to ignore the long-term consequences. Same holds true with eating a high-fat high-meat diet.
Yeah, good points, and ones that crossed my mind when listening. I've been kind of wanting a battle between opposing food theorist types, and Taubes plus an intelligent and skeptical inquisitor seemed a good alternative (probably a better one, since I trust John more than any of the theorists, since I think all of the -- including Taubes -- are blinded in their love for their theories). But whether out of friendship or the ground rules of the interview or a misguided view of politeness or what, John didn't really come at the interview with the type of skepticism I'd like.

And I don't say this because I have anything against Taubes' major claims (well, I admit I'm an Atkins skeptic, sure, but not to the point of not having an open mind). I say this because I think the way nutrition ideas get talked about no one faces the obvious questions/objections that come to mind, and sadly that was the case for this one too.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:08 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Why We Get Fat ... Again?

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Fat Returns After Liposuction, And Patients Who Know That It Does Want It Anyway
Yglesias calls attention to "the results of a rare randomized experiment in cosmetic surgery," reported on in the NYT.

Both the physiological and psychological implications are something to ponder.
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  #37  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:09 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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I love you John, but I wish you had been more dogged in going after the main problem I see with Taubes' thesis. If low carb is the way to go, why is it that the vast majority of humans on the planet eating a high carb diet are not obese?
Isn't it because of the activity level of most of the people who are on high carb diets vs. our sedentary one? (and I don't mean whether one has an hour or even two of exercise, but because of a different structure of life in which the main activity during the day is physical)

Last edited by miceelf; 05-02-2011 at 01:12 PM..
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  #38  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:14 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

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Funny that it's the countries with the deepest food traditions (China, France, India, Thailand, etc) that have the thin people while it's the land that treats eating as yet another bodily function that has an obesity crisis. Makes you wonder if stuffing oneself like a pig is not an addictive reaction to the emptiness of modern life and the attendant lack of self-respect, all aided by food conglomerates that want everyone to be obese and a perfectly alienating collective fixation on youth and thinness.
I think there's something to this. I also think (and it's a turnoff for me to the Taubes of the world, perhaps unfairly) there's a tendency to try and find a magic solution, an easy explanation. I think that's why the popularity of the "carbs are bad for you" or "fat makes you fat" things, vs. the more moderate, pragmatic, kind of thing you'd find in a real traditional way of eating. (There's also something in the weird mix of hedonism and puritanism in US culture that seems to play into this.)

I have personal views about how to eat that generally preference vegetables and fruits (ooops, I think fruit is bad in Taubes world) to other carbs and mainly preferences whole-grain and legume-based carbs over the rest of the rest. Generally, I think that if we didn't eat all the processed junk and cooked from whole foods, the American diet would be a lot better, without deciding to avoid macronutrients. And along those lines, I think it makes sense to say consider balance. But if you check the comments on Taubes' books (or Adkins sites and the like), you get lots of people demanding that everyone admit that all grains and legumes are toxic! No healthy diet can involve them! It reminds me of a birther convention.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:26 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Science, "soft science", & fetishism

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But I'd love to know how he would prove what he's saying is right, since I don't think he has conducted any studies that show the results he insinuates.
I want to read his book just to fully understand this, but my impression from reading about it and listening to him is that it's mainly anthropological studies of comparative diets (if so, that's funny given his comments on science vs. not science). As evidence, that poses certain issues that I don't think he has dealt with. But to be fair I should get over my problems with some of his fans and read the Good Calories, Bad Calories book.

The "even a vegan agreed" point he made in the diavlog struck me as especially problematic, because obviously if you are a vegan (even if you add back in eggs), you really aren't eating anything particularly caloretic, but for carbs, so it's hard to distinguish between cutting calories and cutting carbs. (The point about feeling better is more interesting, but obviously that depends on more than just macronutrient balance.) Indeed, I think one of the easiest ways to cut calories is to cut carbs, and for most people probably the least noticeable (and the least likely to cut other nutrients), which is one reason why I think lowering carbs is a good approach to weight loss, even though I think the extreme approach to that isn't, and likely doesn't work for most people over time. But it probably all depends on individual things -- not nonsense like blood type, but what you crave, what tends to be a trigger to overeat (for those inclined to do so), so on.
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:14 PM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Why We Get Fat (John Horgan & Gary Taubes)

I don't have a big problem with Taubes major thesis: carbs make you fat. He isn't saying carbs necessarily make you fat, he is saying that if you are fat, it was the carbs that did it. I do have a problem with Taubes statements that exercise doesn't work. It boils down to null hypos and while I can accept his null hypo wrt carbs I can't really accept his null hypo wrt exercise.
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