Gary Taubes – Award-winning Science and Health Writer on High-Fat, Low Carb Diets and How To Separate Good Science from Bad Science

Gary Taubes, American science and health writer and award-winning journalist
Gary Taubes (image via Wired.com)

Gary Taubes is an American science writer and the cofounder and senior scientific advisor of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI). He is an award-winning science and health journalist, the author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, and a former staff writer for Discover and correspondent for the journal Science. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Esquire, and has been included in numerous “Best of…” anthologies, including The Best of the Best American Science Writing (2010).

He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers. He is also the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. He has a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University, and he lives in Oakland, California.

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In this episode, we cover:

  • Diet controversies – high-fat, low-carb diets versus high-carb, low-fat diets
  • How to interpret scientific literature
  • Effective ways of identifying good science
  • How to use nutritional science and research to effect change in society’s eating habits
  • Gary’s exercise and nutritional regimens, his thoughts on sugary foods and cravings, and more!

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Show Notes

  • What does Gary think of some of the arguments against high-fat, low-carb diets?  [4:38]
  • Gary talks about why asking the right questions matter when looking for answers regarding diet and nutrition [8:36]
  • Lawrence and Gary go on a tangent about podcasting, journalism, and [not] reading scientific literature [11:15]
  • Does Gary have any tips for reviewing scientific literature? [12:40]
  • Gary talks about having healthy skepticism and why getting to the bottom of things isn’t always easy in the scientific community [18:01]
  • What motivated Gary to write The Case Against Sugar? [21:38]
  • How long and what would it take to wean a population off sugar? Gary talks about addiction and how it affects the mind [29:59]
  • How does Gary and his family deal with living in a society where sugary food is everywhere? [39:05]
  • Does Gary have a sweet tooth? Does he have a problem with self-control? Might he have both? [43:18]
  • Does Gary think the diet wars are winnable? [48:03]
  • Fred Hahn asks Gary Taubes a question on comparative iso-caloric nutritional studies [54:30]
  • How does Gary like to exercise? [1:01:03]
  • Gary talks about his nutritional regimen [1:07:45]
  • What advice would Gary give to his 20-year-old self? [1:12:14]
  • Has Gary changed his mind about anything regarding nutrition recently? [1:14:58]

Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

  • Megan

    Lawrence, fantastic interview. The smoking analogy about sugar moderation was indeed “profound.” Kudos for getting him on the show. Gary’s self-depricating New York Jewy-ness was an entertaining plus. What struck you about his responses?

    • admin

      Thank you Megan. What struck me was his raw authenticity in response to a lot of my questions. I didn’t expect him to get so personal. I was surprised by his openness about his somewhat contradictory unhealthy past. It was quite unexpected. All this time, I assumed Gary was a picture of health.

    • Hi Megan – thought I had already responded to this. Nevermind. Thank you for your kind words. Hmm what struck me? I would say his openness around his personal life and the fact that he was a heavy smoker – no idea!