Gary Taubes interview for the Paleo Solution Podcast!

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

Hey folks!

I wanted to let y’all know we will have NY times best selling author Gary Taubes on the podcast soon. We will record next week on April 29th so if you have questions for Gary please post them to the comments as I’ll likely close that as of next Wednesday.

Categories: Interviews and media, Paleo Diet Basics, Podcasts


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Ned Higgins says

    Gary, did you do any research on the affect that artificial sweetners (splenda, sweet & Low, etc) on insulin?

  2. Beau B says

    Gary, in retrospect, do you think it would have been beneficial to your argument if you would have allowed Dr. Oz to take your blood work on his show?

    • damaged justice says

      Oz and his producers had control over editing, as well as manipulating every other cue — visual, audio, the works. Nothing Gary could have said or done would have made it past them without being deleted entirely or twisted somehow to make him look the fool. And when someone else controls the game, it’s a fool’s game — the only way to win is not to play.

        • Mark Haub, PhD says

          He didn’t even give me a chance to explain, yet he made two public mistakes. Wouldn’t surprise me that he would manipulate to make his view look better. Good stuff Robb. Cheers — Mark

        • Garfinkel says

          It was disgraceful what Oz did to Taubes. However, it may still be worth going on and possibly reaching at least some of the audience. Also, Oz got BASHED in the comments of his own site. Maybe they’ll go a little easier this time?

    • Chris says

      Here’s how Gary answered a similar question in the comments section of his blog…

      Andreas asked: Very nice! What do you suppose would have happened had you checked your cholesterol on the dr Oz show? Your numbers might actually be better than those of dr Oz… :)

      Besides, they mention you on Huffington Post today (not a very intelligent blog post though):

      Gary answered: Hi Andreas,
      I assumed that if my numbers were better than Oz’s, they wouldn’t have used them. One reason I didn’t take their test.

      Before sugar, we were talking about cholesterol, April 18, 2011.

  3. says

    Awesome – here’s a question for Gary:

    What if you go ultra-low carb, and the body fat still doesn’t come off?

    (Assume cortisol is in check, it’s not a compliance issue, no outstanding auto-immune issues… y’know? The person is doing everything “by the book” (GCBC/Paleo Solution), and not able to get bodyfat below 15%?)

  4. Greig says

    Firstly, the podcast is awesome! I am probably the only listner from Scotland (infact probably the only one in europe :p)and believe me we need this kind of podcast for our generally shafted population!

    1) I have read both of Garys books and think he has done an amazing job of exposing the public dietary advice bullshit for what it really is….. (insert your own description here*). What are his views on the Kitavans and why they can be so healhty on such a high CHO intake? I think its fairly obvious that they had no early or prolonged exposure to the processed high sugar/PUFA frankenstein foods that we have, so is it possible that if we maintain our metabolic machinery the way it should be from a young age, the metabolism has no problem in dealing with natural starches? (with low anti nutrient content ofc Robb)

    2) Can we have a round table with “directed topics of dicussion” from the following: Robb, gary, Poliquin, “the cracken”, johnny bowden, lustig, krauss, michael pollan, cordain (a few select other would be nice but lest start here) and see what kind of stuff they come up with or agree on? All these guys together would be fun :p

  5. Dillon says

    Hi Gary! What is your stance on Fructose consumption? Conditional Wisdom proclaims death if we don’t consume any fruit. But recent studies suggest that Fructose consumption is like wearing a meat-dress in a den of lions. I’m no scientist, but I’m just curious on whether the studies refer to excessive fructose consumption (HFCS, and other processed crap), or consumption of regular fruit. All I want to know is whether or not I can still have my 30 bananas a day! (Just kidding.)

  6. Mark says

    How about addressing what appears to be a common issue with paleo eaters: a lack of improvement in lipid levels after converting to an LC diet. In fact, mine worsened quite a bit across the board.

    • SquamishCaveMan says

      Chris Kresser talks about this in the latest Living La Vida Low Carb show. Go to Chris’s site and follow the links to the podcast.

  7. says

    Gary was the one who in 2007 opened my eyes with his GCBC. Today Gary is still very much focusing on an overload of carbohydrates that in his point of view make us fat and sick. Does Gary agree that together with the introduction of the overload of sugars and starches also the overload of dangerous PUFA’s and leaky gut causing foods (like grains, dairy and legumes) where introduced. If Gary does agree, does he agree that, for getting a more complete picture, he should also involve these foods in his investigations?

    • Todd says

      I recently attended a talk Gary gave at Harvard Law School. Matt “The Kracken” Lalonde was in attendance and seemed to criticize Gary for an over demonization of carbs and lack of attention to the dangers of PUFA’s, seed oils, etc.

      Gary’s response was that the overabundance of n-6 may indeed be a problem (he wasn’t ruling it out) but that in his opinion, there just isn’t the same kind of damning scientific evidence in the form of large scale studies, etc.

      Of note (and to answer another question posted), Matt also referenced the Kitavans and their good health on a high carb diet. Gary said he is open to the idea that perhaps it is the refined sugar and hfcs that kick starts the process. However, once that process has started all carbs can be a problem. His is delivering a message to the masses, not the Kitavins, and in his opinion, “the masses” need to reduce all carbs if they want to lose weight.

      Gary could certainly answer these questions better than me and hopefully he will address these points. Just thought I would pass along what I remembered of his comments.

      p.s., The Kracken was very fired up during the Q&A session. I thought he was going to jump up and put Gary in a headlock until he yelled uncle! Ha ha.

  8. Jim G. says

    Dr. Taubes,

    I took the time to watch your lecture entitled, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” I enjoyed it very much and have come back to it 2 other times over the course of the last 18 months.

    Most of the studies that are addressed in your .ppt presentation in that lecture show the adverse effects of high/excessive intake of fructose (i.e. tons of pop, fruit juice, etc) in relation to BMI (e.g.…ubmed_RVDocSum :…ubmed_RVDocSum :…ubmed_RVDocSum :…ubmed_RVDocSum). Those studies seem to show that increasing a person’s fructose via soft drink/fruit juice lead to weight gain, but it does not seem to prove that any intake of fructose will do so- just excessive amounts.

    On pubmed there have been several studies published that cannot show any evidence on body weight for moderate levels of fructose. (e.g.…ubmed_RVDocSum). From your lecture it seems that you are condemning the consumption of any fructose intake of any kind because of the way it’s metabolized. Can you clarify a bit on how you came to your conclusions based on the study’s you cited?

    Secondly, can you give us any insight into what new discoveries you’re making these days? Just like Robb evolves in his understanding of what health and longevity will look like, I’m sure your world is evolving as well. What are you discovering these days that (a) may be challenging what you used to believe was Scripture truth or (b) is new and exciting that we can expect to see/hear more about in an upcoming book.

    Big fan, and glad you are taking the time to join Robb’s podcast!

    -Jim G.

    • Carlos says

      Surely by now other have pointed out that Jim G. seems to be confusing Mr. Taubes with Robert Lustig?

      “Sugar, the bitter truth” is Lustig’s talk. Taubes did quote Lustig in his most recent New York Times article about sugar/fructose, but it’s Lustig’s work.

    • Josh P says

      Jim G,

      “Sugar the Bitter Truth” is presented by Dr. Robert Lustig of UCSF. Taubes referenced his lecture in his recent New York Times article, “Is Sugar Toxic”.

      Dr. Lustig has clarified the position in his lecture to be condemning of added sugar, and the NYT article seemed to echo this.

    • David says


      Just to clarify, Gary is not a doctor, just a journalist with a science background and an unparalleled ability to summarize the existing literature.The lecture you’re referring to was Robert Lustig.

  9. Geoff says

    Hey Gary,

    Thanks for doing what you do. Good Calories, Bad Calories was my first introduction to all things high fat/paleo, and without your book I’d likely still be killing myself slowly (or not so slowly) with five pounds of pasta a week. A couple questions:

    1. Stephan Guyenet and Chris Masterjohn among others are making the claim that it is leptin resistance and not insulin resistance that causes obesity, citing that insulin resistance seems to occur downstream of leptin resistance. The implication of this is that fat mass is regulated in the brain, not the fat cells themselves. In the past, you have dismissed this idea, was wondering whether in the face of new information, such as animal models spontaneously losing fat mass when leptin is injected directly into the hypothalamus, you have investigated this viewpoint.

    2. Paul Jaminet of has a series on his blog about zero-carb dangers. It can be found here: They recommend at least 50-100g a day of carbohydrate in order to avoid these dangers, including mucous deficiency leading to intestinal cancer, which is relatively common among Kwasniewski dieters. Was wondering if you had come across any of this in your research and what your thoughts are.


  10. says

    I would like to know if Gary has written down the most practical experiment (doable, affordable, but reasonably definitive) that he thinks would prove/disprove the carbohydrate hypothesis.

    Similarly, how could the idea of sugar/fructose versus carbs generally be tested as the cause of obesity/metabolic syndrome?

    Lastly, on Jimmie Moore’s show, the question “why aren’t people hungry on a low carb low calorie diet” was raised. Gary didn’t have an answer. I thought the answer was “because with low carb low calorie, the body is getting enough essential nutrients, protein and fat, and the necessary calories from stored body fat, therefore, there’s no internal shortage to initiate a hunger signal.” Granted that’s speculation, but I’d appreciate Gary’s comments.

    Thanks, Paul

  11. Hunter Copeland says

    Just curious what he would think about a person who is following a paleo diet, but has elevated cholesterol. Does he assume the high cholesterol is a symptom of something else (inflammation?), and is high total cholesterol or high LDL a valid marker for incrased risk for heart disease at all? That is all.

  12. Matt says

    Was wondering if people with hypoglycemia should do anything different while trying the 30 day paleo solution. After I finished the 30 days and dropped 32 lbs. my wife decided she would like to give it a go. She is hypoglycemic, hence the question. By the way this lifestyle kicks ass!


  13. Josh P says

    Gary, imagine a world where all sweeteners (HFCS, sugar, etc.) are replaced by 100% glucose (dextrose), and all other things equal, comment on what effect that would have on Western disease on a population wide scale.

  14. says

    I would like to ask: “What would you suggest to someone who followed a high fat low carb diet (with fruits and vegetables), but after a month is no longer able to do intense sprints, because it causes him to ‘almost faint’?”


  15. Hunter Copeland says

    Sorry to keep adding to the list, but I just read his latest book and found it very interesting.

    I saw an interview where he didn’t come out and say it, but was hinting that he really didn’t think there was much proof that you get any benefits from vegetables. He didn’t say they weren’t beneficial, but seem to be hinting to the fact that maybe he thinks there isn’t much actual proof that they are beneficial. I would love to hear him expound on this.

    Also, would love to hear more of his take on exercise. He seems to think it has benefits but not for weight loss. Is that still his take?

    One more: I am curious to know if he is still thinks that caloric intake has no bearing on weight loss. I like the question above about what new discoveries he has made. Has his opinions on these things changed at all.

  16. Tam says

    I would like to ask Gary about his hypothesis that to loose fat we need to restrict carbs and the lower the carb level the better fat loss will be achieved.
    If this is truly the case what does Gary believe the reason is that a person can gain weight/fat on a ‘zero-carb’ diet? And what can be done about it?

    • Amy B. says

      I’m not Gary, but am I allowed to chime in for a sec?

      If you’ve listened to Robb’s podcasts and/or read his book (or *any* book that talks about this stuff, for that matter), then restricting carbs is only one piece of the puzzle. One of the biggest pieces, yes, but still only one piece. If you’re very, very low carb and still doing a lot of exhaustive exercise, not sleeping well, and mentally/emotionally stressed on top of that, any of those things can interfere with weight loss, no matter how low your intake of carbs. (Cortisol is a “glucocorticoid” — it’s designed to load your blood with glucose [by converting fat and amino acids into glucose] in an emergency situation. If your cortisol is sky-high, even if you *don’t* eat a lot of carbohydrate, your body is going to suffer the effects *as if you did.* IMHO, this is why cortisol, stress, and not sleeping enough wreaks havoc on weight loss efforts.)

    • Vanessa says

      Calories still count, even on low-carb Paleo. Twinkie-man proved calories are important. I’m one of those people who has to learn not to guzzle whole cream and coconut milk all day. I would like to ear Gary talk about this (again, I know!)

      BTW, GCBC was one of the books I read that helped me to realize that my vegetarian diet was neither good for me or the planet. The new book is very good and I have passed it along. Thanks for saving me from a lifetime of tofu!

      • Keith says

        I would really like to hear Gary and Robb discuss this more. I have heard Robb say “calories still count” but I think this is giving in to the calories in calories out hypothesis and it makes for an ad-hoc slap dash theory. It can’t be the case that body composition is hormonally driven AND a function of calories in and calories out.

        One of the two theories is wrong, and we shouldn’t need to switch our theory in mid stream.

        I haven’t seen the Twinkie guy study but is it really the case that his example forces us to admit that calories in/ calories out has validity or can we account for twinkie guy using a hormonal theory of body comp.

  17. ELenor says

    Whoo hoo! Please tell Gary that he can’t appear on podcasts too frequently. (He suggested to Jimmie Moore that we’d get tired of hearing him: NEVER happen! Gary could do a regular weekly podcast with Jimmie and I’d be thrilled!).

    Thanks for his superb writing (I’m a tech editor by trade — he’s my hero!!)

  18. Jon says


    What is your perspective on the set point theory or folks inability to reach an ideal weight on low-carb diets?


  19. Jake Parson says

    This is going to be a great interview. I am excited to see what else Mr. Taubes can offer.

    My question has to do with cholesterol. I have been doing the Paleo gig for 5 months and have seen huge benefits. Improved performance, body comp, all my markers have improved. I am trying to share the knowledge I have gained with my family, specifically my dad. He is on a statin right now and completely bought in to the cholesterol BS that is being preached incessantly everywhere you turn. I have tried to get him to read some info and suggest politely that the statins are doing no good, but he tends to get defensive and falls back on the idea that the docs know better than I do. I know Gary has dealt with a lot of critics and is basically an expert at building a case a presenting the facts in a compelling manner. I am curious what suggestions he would have about how to approach others with new (and often controversial) ideas.

    Thanks in advance and can’t wait to hear the podcast.

  20. SquamishCaveMan says

    I havent read your books but have watched a number of video interviews with you. It seems to me that you are at the forefront of public consciousness of the low carb lifestyle and taking a lot of flak from the medical powers that be. I’d like to hear if you’ve ever had any regrets on writing the books you have because of the negative attention they’ve focused on you from such lofty and lowly places.

  21. Vanessa says

    I would like to hear Robb school Gary on the insulin-sensitizing effects of the right kind of exercise. It’s time Gary got a chance to try CrossFit-style WODs. If this were a TV show, Gary would go visit NorCal S&C for a workout. I’d like to see Gary squat.

    I’d like to see Gary Taubes apply his story-telling abilities and research to the story of gluten sensitivities. Where did this idea that a person has to have total villous atrophy to have celiac but otherwise can just go on eating tons of bread. Why can’t they make the connection that high-carb (especially high-refined-carb) diets are adding to the illness?

    And another non-question, I’d like to hear Gary Taubes talk about the lipid hypothesis. Why is it ridiculous? Why do so many other people still believe it? Is saturated fat good for you? This would be a great one for Kurt Harris and Gary to discuss!

    Again, thank you Gary, for some great writing and for opening my eyes.

  22. Stefan Edwarfs says

    I’d love to hear some discussion relating to ketogenic diets and their role in treating various neurological disorders, particularily Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve come across a myriad of studies on Pubmed regarding the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients with strict paleo ketogenic diets high in MCTs and the results have been very promising. Sadly there’s been almost no media coverage on this and I figured that some discussion on this Podcast would be a good place to get the ball rolling. (If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m referring to I’d be happy to provide a detailed synopsis.). Thanks a lot!

  23. Irene says

    Just a shout out to greig (the Scottish listener) – you are not alone I am another Scottish listener (Edinburgh). I love the podcast and can’t wait to hear gt on it.

    Now if only we could tell robb about the delights of a Scottish diet that summed up by the deep fried mars bar washed down with irn bru.

  24. JoelG says

    Gary’s main audience, when talking about how exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss, is obese people who are in metabolic derangement. But I’d love to know whether Gary thinks weight loss can be accelerated through exercise–provided you’re sticking to a low-carb approach. It makes logical sense that a low-carber who ramps up the activity level could burn through existing fat stores faster.

  25. Julian says

    I am a huge fan of yours, I actually e-mailed you with a question just a few days ago and i’m very thankful that your going to be on this podcast! (Thanks Robb :)) My two questions I’d like to have an answer for include:
    1. Exercise and weightloss, since I know from reading your works that it doesn’t have to do with Calories out etc. What are your feelings on certain other factors ie. building more mitochondria in cells for fat burning, rise in testosterone, growth hormone etc.

    2. Why do you believe that if you ever see P90X infomercials and than look at the nutrition program they first remove carbohydrate and fat from the diet (atleast very low fat) and than in later stages they are able to go to almost a high Carbohydrate diet and remain lean.

    I know they are big questions but I’d greatly appreciate if you answered!

    PS: You too Robb! :) I’d like to see both of you answer these questions!
    Thank you two for your hard work and dedication!

  26. Julian Loy says

    On that note, I know I’ve heard in one of your podcasts with Jimmy Moore on the Livin’ Da Vida Low Carb Show that it may have to do with the paritioning of fuel and changing that dial from storing fat to burning it for energy. Can you if this is possible speak more on this. Again, You too Robb :)

  27. Lawrence Louis says

    First, thank you Robb and Greg for bringing Gary, who is undoubtedly a busy man these days, on your show. Thank you Gary for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer questions from the public.

    I have two questions for Gary:

    1. After having written “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat”, as well as having spoken to many people within the academic sphere concerning nutrition, have you seen researchers, doctors, and academics significantly improve the accuracy of the science that goes into their research and the conclusions that they draw from that research? It seems that one common theme in your books, articles, and lectures is that compared to other areas of scientific investigation (i.e. physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.) the research and conclusions done in the field of nutrition is abysmal from the standpoint of abiding by good science. So have you seen any significant change in the level of scientific rigor applied to nutritional research since the publication of “Good Calories, Bad Calories”?

    2. On the subject of good and bad science, what is your opinion on how scientifically sound the BMI and other weight and body fat standards are in determining things like longevity, diabetes , heart disease, and cancer risk? Do you believe that these standards are based on good scientific research, or are they just as specious as the research that demonized fat and lionized carbohydrates for the past 30 plus years?

    Thank you both Robb and Gary for considering my questions


  28. Julian Loy says

    Gary, Adding on to my last comment could you give your take on if intense resistance training (Ie.Crossfit,P90x etc) change the way your body partitions fuel? Is this why people on a diet that were fatter, get lean on a very low carb diet and than do not get fat when they add back in a lot more carbs like P90X people? Why do they stay lean do they fix their insulin resistance?

  29. Stephanie B says

    I keep hearing the term “broken metabolism”, as in, when we eat a SAD for many years, it may be harder to lose weight because of a broken metabolism. What exactly does this mean? I understand that maybe the insulin receptors are no longer functioning well, but is there more to it than just that? Than why not just use the term insulin resistant? Is it possible to heal my metabolism? What specifically does this mean, and how?

    Also, I had my DNA tested with 23andme. One of the genetic results that I received said that I have a particular gene (PPARG gene (rs1801282, also known as Pro12Ala) that correlates with greater waist circumference on a low-fat diet. It said I should stick to a high monounsaturated fat diet in order to lose weight. Of course, I had been on low-fat diets since the 80’s and gradually gained weight, finally losing 25 pounds when I went low-carb and Paleo a few years ago. Have you heard of this gene, and if science is aware of this type of thing, why is a low-fat diet still recommended for everyone, when clearly particular genotypes should definitely not eat a low-fat diet?

  30. Alix says


    Gary, your work is amazing. Robb, thanks so much for the podcast.

    My question is regarding the Master Cleanse. A lot of people I know cling to it as a great way to “detox.” However, my cursory knowledge of paleo/primal/good caloric eating tells me that it’s garbage. I’d like to know some of the science behind why the Master Cleanse is crap.

    Take care!


  31. Kevin Wilson says

    I attended a lecture by Gary at Ohio State University on April 12, and at the end of his lecture, he graciously answered questions of audience members that swarmed him at the end of the talk.

    There was a girl that asked him why he never mentions cortisol in his presentations, and Gary responded with something about cortisol and how the paleo movement is obsessed with it, but kind of dismissed the whole thing. I couldn’t really hear his whole answer, but he didn’t seem to think that cortisol was important. Perhaps you could ask him about this?

  32. Norcal Mike says

    Gary and Robb, I have read that the insulin secreted after consuming a protein-rich meal can be as high as after a carb-rich meal. Can you explain why the former does not tend to lead to fat accumulation nearly as effectively as the latter?

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