Dr. James C. Spaulding

Chiropractor - Edinboro, Pa.

Instrument Adjusting Certified
106 Waterford Street • Edinboro Pa 16412 • Send E-Mail
Phone: (814) 734-3422
"Why We Get Fat, and What To Do About It"
A book review by Dr. James Spaulding

Why We Get Fat” is essentially, according to the author, an extension and distillation of the years of research since his previous book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (2007).

When I read “Why We Get Fat” I had not read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and thus was unable to compare the two books.

Sugar is the #1 reason we are fat. This is the main premise of the book. Not just sugar in the form that we most commonly think of sugar (“table sugar”) but in many other forms as well.

The secondary premise is that in order to lose weight (and fat) we need to stop eating the things that make us fat! It really is that simple…and yet that complex and difficult for most of us “fatties.”

Gary Taubes is a researcher and journalist writing in the scientific field for some time. Most recently, he has written fairly extensively in the area of diet and health. The following are what I feel are the main points he makes in this book, and why they are important:

  • Since the 1950s the “over-eating” paradigm of excess fat has been “calories in – calories out.” In other words, we get fatter when we ingest more calories than we expend, and get leaner when we do the opposite. This idea has been “gospel” for 60 years, and for 60 years it has pretty much failed us. The exercise to lose weight plan has never worked for me, but for a lot of years I really thought it was just my lack of will-power. The first time I lost a bunch of weight on the original Atkins diet, without an exercise program at all, is when I began coming to the author’s conclusion that the above paradigm was false (at least for me.) Fact: 50 years ago 1 in 8 or 9 people was considered obese; today it’s 1 in 3. I grew up in the 50’s and I know my parents didn’t jog or power-walk, nor did any other adult I knew (Jack LaLanne was the exception, but I believe he was a fictional character foisted on society by the then infant “health” movement.)

  • Just eating less (reducing calories) will be disappointing for the dieter. “Starving” yourself never works (unless, as the author says, you’re marooned on a desert island and really starving.) Deprivation (for me) has always led to thinking about food constantly.

  • Exercising more (expending energy,) for the dieter, will be disappointing as well. It wasn’t until the 70’s that Americans felt the need to spend their leisure hours sweating, according to Taubes. The “exercise explosion” of that era failed, however, to stem the “obesity epidemic.” The author opines that the, somewhat recent, idea of exercising to lose weight doesn’t mesh with the common idea of “working up an appetite.” (Hmm.) Actually, increases in energy expenditure with exercise generally tend to increase food intake. This is information we’ve had since the 70’s, but has not gotten a foothold in popular culture. We often believe what we believe in spite of the evidence to the contrary.

Coming to the above conclusions is disturbing for some, because it challenges a lot of “logical” beliefs that have been held strongly in current culture. For instance, kids are fat today because of those video games they sit around playing all day. No, they’re fat because of the Twinkies and Doritos that they “put away” while they sit and play video games.
This is not to say that exercise for young and old is not important. Exercise, especially for baby boomers is crucial for health’s-sake. It’s also preferable to the sedentary lifestyle of most kids these days. It’s just important to get real about the benefits of exercise for weight loss. The truth is counter-intuitive.

A similar sentiment can be found in Wheat Belly: Lose The Wheat, Lose The Weight And Find Your Path Back To Health by William Davis MD (see my review here.)

I recommend that you purchase and read Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It.

Dr. Jim Spaulding is a full-time practicing chiropractor of 37 years. He has written numerous articles on the subject of diet and exercise.

© 2013 Dr James C. Spaulding. All Rights Reserved.