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Good Calories, Bad Calories

Good Calories, Bad Calories

This book believes that everything you know about dieting might be wrong.

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Good Calories, Bad Calories is a book by Gary Taubes that helps you sort through fats, carbs and the controversial science of diet and health. With the constant confusion surrounding carbohydrates in our diet many people are looking to find out exactly what is healthy. Good Calories, Bad Calories takes the stance that refined carbohydrates including white flour, easily digested starches and sugar are the problem. Many books constantly speak of calories in versus calories out, but Good Calories, Bad Calories shows you that the kind of calories you are eating can make all the difference. Author Gary Taubes is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine and he also serves as contributing editor for Technology Review. This book takes research, history and science and applies them to what you need for the best possible diet situation. One of the examples of historical evidence in the book focuses on the story of William Banting in 1862.

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  • Simple to follow
  • Encourages avoiding sugar and starchy foods
  • Based on scientific research
  • Combines science and history for a proper diet plan
  • Proven results over time
  • Some may find the diet too restricting
  • Amount of information can be overwhelming

There is a lot of information included in Good Calories, Bad Calories focusing on your diet and how you should eat. There is advice on what you should do to lose weight, gain weight or maintain your weight. Some of the general rules for reducing your weight were taken from hospital and medical school data. Some of the general rules include:

  • Do not use sugar, honey, syrup, jam, jelly or candy
  • Do not use fruits canned with sugar
  • Do not use cake, cookies, pie, puddings, ice cream or ices
  • Do not use foods which have cornstarch or flour such as gravy or cream sauce
  • Do not use potatoes (sweet or Irish), macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, dried beans or peas
  • Do not use fried foods prepared with butter, lard, oil or butter substitutes
  • Do not drink soft drinks
  • Do not use any foods not allowed on the diet and for other foods use only as much as the diet allows

For many, the elements of this diet will be restrictive, but there is research to back these methods. Due to the many restrictions, this means that protein and dairy will be the foods that are consumed the most along with vegetables and some fruits. One thing the book points out is the importance of keeping the protein that is consumed lean in order to avoid other health issues associated with high cholesterol or high blood pressure.


Good Calories, Bad Calories does speak to the issue of exercise and helps combat the thought that lack of activity is the whole reason behind being overweight or being obese. The belief in physical activity as a method of weight control is new according to Good Calories, Bad Calories and has been contradicted by previous evidence. Some clinicians in the past have even stated that strenuous exercise can slow the rate of loss. Until the 1960's, clinical investigators routinely pointed out that moderate exercise would only lead to insignificant increases in energy expenditure. This is partially because the more strenuous exercise will burn more calories, but will also result in a significant increase in appetite. Good Calories, Bad Calories does not offer a specific exercise plan but the book does contend that it can improve strength, stamina, coordination, flexibility and provide an overall sense of well-being.


Good Calories, Bad Calories shows you what you can do in the way of dieting to change your body and lose weight. The book offers a lot of information and research to back up the recommendations that are made. While the diet may seem restrictive for some, it can work if you stick with it. Exercise is pointed out as not necessary for weight loss, but beneficial for other health reasons. Good Calories, Bad Calories does offer a health solution that can aid in weight loss.

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