Gary Taubes should be considered a national treasure

(Bob M) #1

He hits it out of the park again:

This one about artificial sweeteners.

I can only hope that if I give a presentation or write something, that I can make concepts as clear as Gary Taubes can make them.

(Joey) #2

Outstanding. Many thanks for this link. :+1:


Thank you. For some reason I have a much higher tolerance of reading long pieces than I have of watching long clips on youtube.

(KM) #4

Some quick takeaways:

Over years, everyone gained weight. High artificial sweetener users gained a little more, but not much.

This is an epidemiological study. In other words self reported use.

He suggests two interesting possibilities:

  1. that people who consider artificial sweeteners bad chemicals and don’t use them may also be abstaining from a lot of other things they consider bad, or doing other lifestyle hacks in pursuit of better health. It’s possible that the “natural” weight gain is the amount gained by the AS users, and the abstainers are partaking in a behavior / diet choice that leads to less weight gain, that has nothing to do with AS.

  2. That causality might be reversed here. In other words, people who struggle with their weight tend to use artificial sweeteners because they struggle with their weight, not that they struggle with their weight because they use artificial sweeteners. Who knows how much fat these strugglers would have gained if they didn’t use AS.

(Joey) #5

Same here. Most adults read much faster than people typically speak. I set all my podcasts and most YT posts (except musical performances) to play at 1.25x to 1.5x speed to make it more tolerable.

(KM) #6

So do I. I also appreciate the fact that written word can be long winded, but not nearly as much as the people who hem and um and go off on a dozen tangents before they reach the point (if they actually ever get back to it at all) because they’re ad-libbing. And of course the joy of no commercial breaks. Anyone else amused by the irony of a fasting or carnivore YT interrupted every 3 minutes for a Taco Bell commercial?

(PJ) #7

Taubes is the bomb. His ‘good calories, bad calories’ just blew my mind. I had to rant on the phone to my best friend about it every night while reading it. I was sure if the population actually knew about half of this stuff there’d be riots. And it was the first thing that made me realize my ‘issues’ were not just some weird quirk with my biology but an issue for humans period, including my young daughter (at the time). I stopped making her carbs and me lowcarb, fed her whatever I ate at home, and she lost weight and felt great.

I have a real sociological interest in the human process of science and other endeavors and the book is as interesting in that area as the others.

PS Yeah, I mostly watch youtube on 1.25 - 1.75 speed if it’s someone talking or I’m bored out of my mind. Maybe I’m getting ADD as I get older but someone rambling just can’t hold my attention. The internet has ruined me I guess, now I see a video about any topic and I’m like, “Really? What needs to be said about this that could not be concisely done within 12 minutes? You want me to waste 90 minutes of my time listening to you ramble?!”

(Doug) #8

Good to see you post, PJ. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Bacon enough and time) #9

The extra gain is minimal, especially over 25 years, and the statistical significance is not very high, either. In physics, I am told, p < 0.001 or less is a requirement for anyone to take data seriously. (Not being a statistician, I don’t know how sigma value relates to this, but Sabine Hossenfelder, the condensed matter physicist, says that in her field, at least 6-σ is required to accept that the data represent a real signal, and not just a random fluctuation.)

(Alec) #10

I finally got round to reading this… and I LOVE his final paragraph… this is class…

Last note. Before I moved out of New York City in 2010, I had lunch with an old friend at The New York Times who was one of the paper’s best medical reporters (and, no, not Gina Kolata). We were discussing what kind of caveat could be put at the top of any article reporting on the associations observed in these epidemiological surveys such that the reader would know what to expect. One problem with newspaper journalism is usually the caveats go at the end (inverse triangle style, in the journalism lingo) and by then, the impact, if the reader gets to the caveat at all, is minimized. My friend, who had an iron-clad policy never to report on these studies, suggested that every story should begin with the words, “Everything you’re about to read may be ■■■■■■■■ and probably is.” I think she nailed it.

(Kirk Wolak) #11

Yes, when you realize the SMALL amounts…
And how hard is it to find someone like me?
I would drink 2-4 LITERS of Diet Soda/Day… Every Day.

Assuming about 3 cans per liter… You quickly see I was consuming 12 Cans/day.
And their 5th Quintile were no where near that. How?
How do you find people using this stuff.

Now, factor in the 1-2 Coffees with Cremora, and 2 Splendas.
My Old Ice Coffee with Cream, and 4-6 Packs of Splenda.

You suddenly realize, I had a SWEETNER problem

I sure did… In hindsight. But I had been TRICKED into believing this was better than consuming all of that “Sugar”.

Unfortunately… Not Really.
First, this does it’s OWN damage. Second, it maintains the addiction.
I was always one “event” away from a BINGING episode. Little Debbie was a BIG PROBLEM then…

Okay… fast forward many years. I admit I am an addict to sweets/caffeine.
Keeping them out is as important as eating carnivore for me.

[I do “use” Xylitol… But that’s for plaque issues, which it really helps! Just so I am being honest! And I have my antenna up… To be careful]

But to the article. What a wonderfully detailed Critique of a paper.
He truly is a National Treasure!