So, Glenn Reynolds makes me buy this book. It hasn’t made me any thinner yet, despite my having followed the world’s most popular diet strategy: Getting Thin by Reading About It. Never mind. I shall talk about it instead.
I do not know if Gary Taubes has any particular political views, but if the case he makes is true his book has political implications. In extreme summary it says (a) the experts, the official health guidance, the posters in doctors’ surgeries, the healthy eating lesson plans – all wrong; (b) it’s not fat that makes you fat, it’s carbs; and (c) eat as much meat as you want. Eat almost nothing but meat, if you like. No need to go hungry.
(a), if true, will please the C-AGW sceptics. So much for scientific consensus. It will also please the libertarians and minarchists. So much for government advice.
(b) and (c) will distress everyone who has ever worn a mung bean. Fat and meat good. It’s so… so… American.
(c) is especially annoying to some because, if Taubes is correct, the solution is relatively easy. How vexatious to think that these self indulgent fat slobs might escape just punishment! And how troubling to think that the obesity “epidemic” might be solved without the assistance of counsellors, coordinators or facilitators.
Things do not break entirely one way. One of the other messages of the book is that it is not the case that fat people are fat because calories in exceeded calories out. Anti-Puritans though many libertarians claim to be, they rediscover their inner Cromwell when it comes to that sort of equation. When they – oh hang it, when we – hear the pathetic excuses of fatties that they are fat because of genes or metabolism we rather enjoy pricking the bubble of their delusions. It is like being a deficit hawk, but for calories. Only this man Taubes says it really might not be their fault.