Gary Taubes’ talk at Swedish

April 15, 2010

Gary Taubes at Swedish Medical Center 4/15/10Well, I was able to attend the talk this morning (4/15) at the First Hill location of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. While it was much the same talk that may be found online in a number of places, it’s always interesting to see the reaction of the people who attend. My guess is there were about 50-60 people there. While Gary noted there were few ‘white coats’ in the audience, I did notice more stethoscopes than white coats and the questions suggest the kind of crowd you’d expect to attend a “Grand Rounds.”

He warned the audience that he’d likely to go over. Even so, he appeared rushed in that he was trying to get through all all the slides in a reasonable amount of time. He spoke for a good hour & 15 – even with skipping a few of the the more involved topics towards the end of the presentation. Within a couple of hours after the presentation, the video from the talk was online and available for streaming. You may find it here (although, I did not get on camera, I did manage to get a couple of questions in during the Q&A period). Can’t say there was a general theme to all the questions posed, but there were some pretty narrowly-stated questions that surprised me a bit – about specific insulin response based on diurnal patterns or specific-meal insulin responses. The reason this surprised me is because the entire emphasis was on the cause of lipogenesis (fat accumulation) over a much broader window of time and what the causes of that lipogenesis might be. While it’s possible intra-day fluctuations might be a major cause, it seems highly unlikely.

One of the questions I posed was to inquire about Gary’s thoughts regarding Dr. Robert Lustig’s emphasis on fructose being the major culprit in the surge in world-wide obesity (marked increase in fructose consumption – sugar and HFCS – and a corresponding reduction in dietary fiber). I found that there have been talks between Gary and Dr. Lustig about writing a book together. That would be an interesting pairing, although my gut tells me Gary prefers to work alone.

While it’s a little unfair to deliver the presentation’s conclusions without all the supporting material, I do so here to encourage you to view it so you can be better educated and to be able to think more clearly and critically about the dietary guidance you do get.

    1. Obesity is a disorder of fat accumulation, not energy balance (not overeating and sedentary behavior).
    2. Fat accumulation is regulated fundamentally be insulin and dietary carbohydrates – “carbohydrates driving insulin driving fat”
    3. Increasing fat accumulation will cause compensatory increases in energy intake and/or decreases in expenditure.
    4. The only non-pharmaceutical remedy is to restrict or remove the causative agent – the carbohydrates

Worth your while to watch: Tags: ,,,

3 Responses to “Gary Taubes’ talk at Swedish”

  1. Great summary.
    May I point out to people who have previously listened to Taubes previous presentations at Berkely, Stevens and Dartmouth that this new version is the best.
    The slides have been updated/refreshed and the format is easy to move from slide to slide.
    Also there is an extensive Q&A session at the end.
    So even those who have watched previous presentations and read the book, will gain from watching this version.


    • KMT Says:

      Excellent point, Ted. Having the slides available makes a tremendous difference. You may also navigate inside the presentation on a slide-by-slide basis – a great convenience.

      Thanks for offering your comment.

      – Keith


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