TierneyLab: Nutrition Science and Gary Taubes

The New York Times’s TierneyLab is curious about Atkins shill Gary Taubes’s stance on nutrition. More from John Tierney:
Gary Taubes, who chronicles many of those mistakes in his new book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” has some thoughts for Lab readers on why researchers in nutrition, obesity and chronic disease have gone wrong so often — and why cascades occur so easily. He told me that he doesn’t think these fields of research qualify as a functional field science, which he defines in his book this way:

Outstanding questions are identified or hypotheses proposed; experimental tests are than established to either answer the questions or refute the hypotheses, regardless of how obviously true they might appear to be. If assertions are made without the empirical evidence to defend them, they are vigorously rebuked. In science, as [the philosopher of science Robert] Merton noted, progress is only made by first establishing whether one’s predecessors have erred or “have stopped before tracking down the implications of their results or have passed over in their work what is there to be seen by the fresh eye of another.” Each new claim to knowledge, therefore, has to be picked apart and appraised. Its shortcomings have to be established unequivocally before we can know what questions remain to be asked, and so what answers to seek — what we know is really so and what we don’t. “This unending exchange of critical judgment,” Merton wrote, “of praise and punishment, is developed in science to a degree that makes the monitoring of children’s behavior by their parents seem little more than child’s play.”
Before you consider this as relevant, be sure to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on Gary Taubes in The New York Times: Diet and Fat. Here’s a snippet:
Amazing how stupid people are. Gary Taubes is a known Atkins' devotee and nutritionally naïve and led by the Atkins' crowd. Now he has his own book. All I can say is that this makes me look like a genius comparatively when I am only stating the obvious. All I can say is: Health = Nutrition / Calories...

…Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. Health = Nutrition / Calories, or simply H = N/C, is a concept I call the nutrient-density of your diet. Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from non-caloric food factors—including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These non-caloric nutrients are vitally important for health. Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (non-caloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins).
Junk-science low-carb fanaticism is like an annoying mosquito buzzing in the ear of legitimate science. Please, do yourself a favor. Keep a flyswatter handy.
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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
karin sheldon - October 31, 2009 1:28 PM

How can people knock a low-carb diet when they haven't given it an honest try? My family has been low-carb for 6 years. I am down 60 pounds, and no one in my family gets sick anymore. I had a long list of health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and I was borderline diabetic. Now I'm the picture of health. My husband had bad seasonal allergies and very high cholesterol. I't's now 177! It takes 3 years for a change in diet to be completely seen. Give it time! The results are amazing. But most people can't give up(fill in the blank).

bob - April 17, 2010 11:08 PM

H = N/C is just too simple... where do sunlight, exercise and emotion, etc fit in?

I do agree though the Atkins diet is a farce. It just panders to people who want a justification to eat the way they always have.

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