Why are some people “carboholics”?

In a recent editorial in the New York Times titled “Are You a Carboholic? Why Cutting Carbs Is So Tough”, Gary Taubes describes a phenomenon that is familiar to many of us (1):

The holidays and family vacations are a particular problem. Desserts and sweets, it seems, will appear after every lunch and dinner, and I’m not particularly good at saying no when everyone else is partaking. The more sweets I eat, the more we eat as a family, the longer it takes upon returning home before that expectation of a daily treat fades away.

What I’ve realized is that eating a little of a tasty dessert or a little pasta or bread fails to satisfy me. Rather it ignites a fierce craving for more, to eat it all and then some. I find it easier to avoid sugar, grains and starches entirely, rather than to try to eat them in moderation.

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Evolutionary Nutrition Conference and Staffan Lindeberg Memorial

On October 12 of this year, in Lisbon, Portugal, NutriScience is hosting a nutrition conference at which I’ll be speaking.  The purpose of this conference is twofold: to bring together world experts on evolutionary nutrition, and to celebrate the life and work of Staffan Lindeberg, MD, PhD.  The conference will be held in English andContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Two things I’ve changed my mind about, part II: Phytic acid

Phytic acid is a substance found primarily in whole grains, beans, and nuts that reduces the absorption of specific minerals from food.  I previously wrote that minimizing phytic acid may be an important part of a healthy diet, but new evidence—and a reexamination of old evidence—has convinced me that it probably isn’t as important asContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Two things I’ve changed my mind about, part I: Butter

I like to believe I can update my beliefs when presented with new evidence or a better interpretation of the same body of evidence, rather than clinging to my old beliefs.  In the next two posts, I’ll discuss two examples where that has happened.  Years ago, I argued that butter may make positive contributions to health. Continue ReadingContinue Reading

Announcing the Bland Food Cookbook

Old April Fools post! My book The Hungry Brain explains why we overeat and offers strategies to combat it, but it doesn’t go into great detail on how to apply this knowledge.  One of the most potent drivers of overeating is food reward, or the seductiveness of food that drives us to eat things like cookies, chocolate, fancy coffee drinks, bacon,Continue ReadingContinue Reading

Meta-analysis: Impact of carbohydrate vs. fat calories on energy expenditure and body fatness

Sometimes, a meta-analysis (quantitative study of studies) is just what the doctor ordered to inoculate us against the shortcomings of our own cognition.  When a topic has been studied extensively and it has produced many studies of varying quality, this lends itself to incorrect conclusions because we can find studies to support almost any belief.  This isContinue ReadingContinue Reading

The impact of weight loss on the drive to eat

Weight loss engages a “starvation response” that acts to regain the lost weight, and this is a key reason why weight loss is difficult and often temporary.  This starvation response includes an increase in the drive to eat and a decrease in calorie expenditure.  Using a clever study design, Kevin Hall and colleagues recently quantified the contribution of eating driveContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Book Review: Syndrome X, The Silent Killer

Gerald Reaven is the researcher who first identified the state of insulin resistance and played a central role in defining its consequences.  Understanding insulin resistance is worthwhile, and if we want to do so, his work is one of the most informative places to look.  I recently read his general-audience book Syndrome X: The Silent Killer, and I’ll shareContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Bad sugar or bad journalism? An expert review of “The Case Against Sugar”.

I’ve been asked by a number of people to review Gary Taubes’s new book, The Case Against Sugar. I reluctantly agreed that it would probably be a good idea for me to do so. In this post, I’ll provide something that is not available anywhere else (to my knowledge): a review of the book fromContinue ReadingContinue Reading