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The Calories Don't Count

The Calories Don't Count

An Atkins-like diet before Robert Atkins became famous.

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The Calories Don’t Count is a fad diet created by Dr. Herman Taller. The diet was actually chronicled in a book that was published in 1961.

Dr. Taller was a Brooklyn-based obstetrician that specialized in natural childbirth. Taller suffered from high cholesterol and his weight got up to 265 pounds at one point. A doctor that was researching his cholesterol suggested that Dr. Taller incorporate safflower oil to lower his cholesterol. Once this was incorporated, Dr. Taller lost 65 pounds in eight months while consuming 5,000 calories per day.

This led to Taller putting all his information into book form for those that wanted to lose weight. The diet, The Calories Don't Count, involves no calorie counting and the total avoidance of carbohydrates. Foods high in fat and protein were allowed while sugars, cookies, cakes, alcohol, bread, high carbohydrate fruits and juices were to be avoided.

Taller also created his own Calories Don't Count Corporation or CDC, which manufactured and sold the special magic pill, safflower oil capsules.

Shortly after the book was published, charges were filed by the FDA against Dr. Taller for unsubstantiated claims made in the book along with drug violations, postal fraud and conspiracy. Dr. Taller was found guilty and he was fined and put on probation. His reputation was all but ruined following the scandal.

Do You Know the Best Diets of 2023?

  • Avoids sugars, refined and processed foods
  • Encourages eating massive calorie amounts each day
  • Unlimited amounts of fat and meat allowed
  • Creator of diet was charged and convicted by the FDA
  • Eliminates an entire group of food in carbohydrates
  • Encourages three meals per day with as much meat and fat as you want
  • Heavily pushed safflower oil supplements
  • Considered a fad diet

There is no need to count calories, Taller claimed, as long as you avoid carbohydrates, which produce pyruvic acid, and concentrate on foods that are high in fat and protein.

The diet strictly prohibits all sugar and starches, including high-carbohydrate fruits, starchy vegetables, and juices, and of course cakes, cookies, and bread. Alcohol is also discouraged.

But fish, which is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, should be eaten daily, and foods fried in unsaturated oils. Meats, poultry, cheese, eggs, shell nuts, and low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables.

Water, diet soda, tea and coffee without sugar are permitted and one cup of milk a day is also encouraged.

On the plan, you are instructed to eat three full meals a day with as much protein and fat as you desire.

The hallmark feature of this diet is the shot-full glass of safflower oil that must be consumed before each meal or two special Calories Don't Count (CDC) safflower oil capsules.


There is no exercise plan outlined.


The Calories Don’t Count is no different than many other fad diets. While it gets credit for being one of the first widely-followed, low-carb and high protein diets, it was popular for a while until someone started doing the research and found it unsafe. A diet that comes with a FDA conviction is obviously not one that could be called a healthy way to lose weight.

For those looking to lose weight and keep it off, diet and exercise are the best way.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

the cals don’t count, calories countless, calories do count, dr taller calories book

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(Page 1 of 1, 16 total comments)

Miriam Center

What kind of bread should I eat? I am just getting started and the abook says eat Gluton Bread

posted Jul 14th, 2018 12:37 pm


I got the book at an old bookstore and did not realize it predated adkins. I enjoyed reading this book and do not believe this man was trying to con anyone. I see now that his ideas about omega 6 fats was ahead of its time. We now know a bit more and are told to consider an omega 3 balance. But I am going to try this diet. He seems legit.

posted Jun 21st, 2018 7:04 pm

Cindy Carr

Bought the book off Amazon. Went on this back in the 60's. Trying again. Will update!

posted Nov 3rd, 2017 1:33 pm


I first tried this diet in 1963. I followed it as written. I lost all 35 lbs. of excess weight. I followed the diet after each childbirth and lost the excess weight each time, I didn't go on it for the last child because I was convinced it might be unhealthy by Dr. Barry Sears books. Ohio Stste University has fairly recently completed studies on safflower oil showing the benefits for type II diabetics and weight loss. I just started this week following the diet again. Will post my results in a few weeks. This diet does not cut all carbs. I ate salads twice a day as well as green beans, broccoli, and though a little higher in carbs - peas. Potatoes were permitted and other low glycemic vegetables. Strawberries are also low carb but not mentioned in the book. The exercise program was walk an hour a day. Instead I worked out with the old Jack LaLanne tv show in the mornings. Never felt better. Of course I was in my 20s and 30s then. Will see how it works now on an old lady.

posted Jun 14th, 2017 2:17 pm


I enjoyed the book very much. I can not eat as much food as Dr Taller wants, but I am trying a low carb/ high fat meals.

posted Sep 22nd, 2016 12:07 am

Roy oth


Find me the book

posted Jan 4th, 2016 10:56 pm


The real reason why he suffered a conviction was for mail fraud & conspiracy because he was selling and promoting his own brand of safflower oil capsules via mail order. He was not convicted of promoting an unsafe diet. Get your facts right.

posted Mar 31st, 2015 7:47 pm

lisa scott

what am I liking/not liking here? The book, the review or the science? Stormy weather ahead, when the 1st words are 'fad diet'. For the most part, the science was right, just way ahead of his time...in good company with Galileo. The capsules maybe were dicey, but that wasn't part of the book. Physicist Max Plank observed that new truths in science don't win over the establishment by reason, they just die off!

posted Mar 29th, 2015 3:51 am

Kirk Muse

Way before his time. Great book and what he writes works. I lost 55 pounds/

posted Dec 17th, 2014 2:30 am

Steve Wooden


Calories really don't count. Try to get a copy of the old book: The Drinking Man's Diet. Very close to Dr. Taller's but adds alcohol in pure form such as Bourbon, Rum, Vodka. No mixers, no beer (because of the carbs). I have both books.

posted Nov 5th, 2014 7:14 pm

Steve Wooden


My friends and I went on this diet using the 1967 edition of Dr. Taller's book. It worked and the menus recommended in the book were sound. A warning from the Dr. is do NOT go below a certain grams of carbs. It is serious. You must have a minimum number of carbs to be healthy. He only got in trouble for selling safflower oil in his book. There are a number of veggie oils that work. Safflower oil is available in Publix markets and many health food stores. It is best.

posted Nov 5th, 2014 7:12 pm


in my comment of 11 Feb 2013, I actually meant "high protein, low carbohydrate" not low calorie obviously, as calories don't count. i shall be grateful if anyone can send me a copy of the recommended food to eat, for breakfast lunch and supper. in 1969 i formulated a diet from the suggested food in the book and can only remember some of the permissible foods. The combination worked! in fact it is extremely successful. i also need to know the equivalent of Safflower oil capsules, as they don't seem to be available in the Eastern Cape. Any help will be appreciated! Warm regards! Joyce Sutherland

posted Nov 16th, 2013 11:23 am

Joyce Sutherland


i read this book in 1969 after giving birth to my first child. I used SAFFLOWER oil capsules in conjunction with the diet recommended in the book, and was down to goal weight in 6 wks. I had a second and a third baby by 1983 and after each birth got to goal weight within 6 weeks. i had a lot of energy, ran everywhere that I could to shake of extra kgs, or walked fast. I wish i could get a copy of the diet, as well as SAFFLOWER oil capsules, they seem to be off the market in Gonubie, East London, Eastern Cape, S.A. !!! The diet was high protein, low calorie, polyunsaturated fats. in my opinion extremely healthy!!!

posted Feb 11th, 2013 10:33 am



I found the book at a Goodwill; it seemed really old, so I bought it. Later after I started reading it I thought "what a snake-oil salesman, -what a joke.' Then I thought I will try it for a week, just for laughs; because I knew it couldn't work; - 4 months later after loosing 65 lbs without hunger, I was proved wrong. The only way I could stomach the vegetable oil was in a glass of water. He does mention that you should walk an hour every day for exercise, and LOTS of water to drink, to clean you out. My sweet cravings were gone after two days... (-I think it was the oil.) Sometimes you just can't tell something won't work until you try it (I was 330 lbs.). -Now I'm glad I did.

posted Nov 21st, 2012 6:20 pm


The only diet that ever worked well. Better than Atkins. Don't let the FDA thing scare you. They try to put a stop to anything that will keep us off or drugs. Since this was published back in the dark ages it is understandable this DR. thought artificial sweeteners were an acceptable substitute for sugar. Don't be fooled. Just skip the sweet.

posted Jan 28th, 2012 9:47 pm


A nutritionist recently completed an aan experimental diet that that involved eating mostly fattening foods, but kept the total calorie count well below maintenance level. He consitently lost excess weight, proving calories are really all that do count. The diet can be either healthy or unhealthy, but when the caloric count is low enough, fat disappears.

posted Jan 22nd, 2011 10:02 pm


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