Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gary Taubes on . . . feeding dogs?

I've posted about "low-carb" for dogs before, but never from a weight-lifters site.

Josef Brandenburg at has a great interview with physicist Gary Taubes.

All right. I know what you're thinking. A bodybuilder interviewing a physicist? What kind of alter-dimension is this? Just proves low carbing affects the brain, right?

It can all be explained.

Testosterone Muscle: You started out writing on stuff like rocket science. How did you first get interested in obesity and public health?

Gary Taubes: Well, after I finished my first book, Bad Science, on the cold fusion nonsense in Utah, some of my physicist friends said to me, "If you like writing about bad science, you should check out public health. You'll have a field day."

So I started writing about public health, and it turns out the science was pretty universally terrible. I did a story for Science magazine, in which I spent a year on the controversy over whether dietary salt causes high blood pressure. One of the worst scientists I ever interviewed — and I had interviewed some really terrible scientists in my life — took credit for getting Americans not only to eat less salt, but also to eat less fat and less eggs.

I literally put the phone down when I was done with the interview, called up my editor, and said one of the five worst scientists I've ever interviewed took credit for getting Americans to eat less fat and less eggs. I don't know what the story is with fat and eggs, but if this guy was involved in any substantive way, then there's a good story.

Sometimes it is just that easy to sniff out the rats in the woodshed. Scientific training can help refine the ol' sniffer, but scientific training alone does make a person smart. All those bad scientists Mr. Taubes interviewed are ample proof of that. There remains an element science has yet to discover that separates intelligence from idiocy.

Ms. X calls it "Truthlightium".

These days Mr. Taubes is best known for authoring the watershed article "What If It's All Been A Big Fat Lie?" in the New York Times.

In that article he questioned the "knowledge" we all had that low-fat was good and fat, especially animal fat, was bad.

When I was a young girl, I had a whole set of craft dolls bought with coupons from the back of Blue Bonnet Margarine boxes. Crisco was normal shortening. That's how deeply my family believed the evil-fat hypothesis. I was a teenager before I tasted real butter.

Our family dog ate vegetarian dog food. (THAT, is a whole 'nother post.)

After the NYT article came a book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories". GCBC made the link between carbohydrates and heart disease and a whole host of other health problems.

TM: Let's get to the most controversial point: You say that eating extra calories won't make people fat.

GT: The assumption that fat tissue isn't regulated at all is almost naive beyond belief.

[GT] If you look at animals, all animals regulate their fat tissue very carefully. You can't just force animals to overeat and make them fat.

TM: Really?

GT: They won't do it. The only animals that will get fat by dietary means are very carefully bred rats in laboratories, and house pets that don't eat the foods they evolved to eat.

If you've ever looked at cat food, it's packed with carbohydrates. And yet cats are carnivores in the wild. Felines don't eat carbohydrates. They eat meat. That's what they do. And yet we take then into our homes, we feed them carbohydrates, and lo and behold, they get fat.

Ditto dogs.

Combine the carbs with inbreeding and viola! Disaster.

Several years ago someone wrote that cats were first domesticated because they were so good at protecting the grain stores from the rodents that consumed them. The cats were good because they ate the rodents. They didn't eat the grain.

How far we've come.

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1 comment:

  1. This is a good, well researched article on canine nutrition, written by a vet: