Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments (Hardcover)

Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments By Gary Taubes Cover Image

Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments (Hardcover)


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An eye-opening investigation into the history of diabetes research and treatment by the award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Why We Get Fat • "[Gary] Taubes’s meticulous, science-based work makes him the Bryan Stevenson of nutrition, an early voice in the wilderness for an unorthodox view that is increasingly becoming accepted."—Niel Barsky, The Guardian

Before the discovery of insulin, diabetes was treated almost exclusively through diet, from subsistence on meat, to reliance on fats, to repeated fasting and near-starvation regimens. After two centuries of conflicting medical advice, most authorities today believe that those with diabetes can have the same dietary freedom enjoyed by the rest of us, leaving the job of controlling their disease to insulin therapy and other blood-sugar-lowering medications. Rather than embark on “futile” efforts to restrict sugar or carbohydrate intake, people with diabetes can lead a normal life, complete with the occasional ice-cream cake, side of fries, or soda.

These guiding principles, however, have been accompanied by an explosive rise in diabetes over the last fifty years, particularly among underserved populations. And the health of those with diabetes is expected to continue to deteriorate inexorably over time, with ever-increasing financial, physical, and psychological burdens. In Rethinking Diabetes, Gary Taubes explores the history underpinning the treatment of diabetes, types 1 and 2, elucidating how decades-old research that is rife with misconceptions has continued to influence the guidance physicians offer—at the expense of their patients’ long-term well-being.

The result of Taubes’s work is a reimagining of diabetes care that argues for a recentering of diet—particularly, fewer carbohydrates and more fat—over a reliance on insulin. Taubes argues critically and passionately that doctors and medical researchers should question the established wisdom that may have enabled the current epidemic of diabetes and obesity, and renew their focus on clinical trials to resolve controversies that are now a century in the making.
GARY TAUBES is the author of six books, including the best sellers Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. He is a former staff writer for Discover and correspondent for Science, and his writing has appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine and in The Atlantic, Esquire, and numerous “best of” anthologies, including The Best of the Best American Science Writing. He has received three Science in Society awards from the National Association of Science Writers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. He lives in Oakland, California.
Product Details ISBN: 9780525520085
ISBN-10: 0525520082
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2024
Pages: 512
Language: English
"One of the crucial responsibilities of scientists and science journalists is to question established beliefs and common assumptions. Gary Taubes accomplished precisely this in this thought-provoking book. Through his extensive research, Taubes offers significant insights, shedding light on the evolution of our understanding of diabetes, for good or bad. Additionally, Taubes delves into the potential of promising and efficacious treatments, offering a glimpse into the future of diabetes management."—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies

“Decades of research have brought us shifting and even contradictory recommendations on managing diabetes. In lucid prose, Taubes sifts through and critically reviews what is known. Rethinking Diabetes convincingly makes the case for a new paradigm for the prevention and treatment of this common disorder.”—Abraham Verghese, M.D., author of The Covenant of Water

"Given the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, health and science journalist [Gary] Taubes...offers a crucial reassessment of the proper diet for controlling the disease...When it comes to the connection between diet and chronic illness, Taubes has consistently proven himself to be a superb investigator... [Here] He convincingly makes the case... Like a Michelin-star chef, Taubes has prepared a tantalizing offering spiced with sound science and heavy on fat calories."—Tony Miksanek, Booklist, starred review*

"The author of The Case Against Sugar and Why We Get Fat returns with an investigation of diabetes... A must-read book for diabetics... doctors will also learn a lot."Kirkus Reviews, starred review*

"[A] provocative study...Exhaustively researched and providing cautionary insight into the fallibilities of medical advice, this intrigues."—Publishers Weekly

"If there is one book that can help us understand where diabetes treatment has gone wrong and how to fix it, it is Gary Taubes’s Rethinking Diabetes. Taubes’s new book is both an objective, methodical history of type I and II diabetes—among the deadliest and costliest conditions of our time—and a blueprint for how to move forward. Taubes’s proposed approach leverages decades of evidence of efficacy of low-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional strategies that can reverse diabetes in most people. This book should be required reading for our nation’s leaders and citizens alike, especially those failed by a standard of care dictated by misguided scientific dogma."—Jan Ellison Baszucki, author of A Small Indiscretion and founder of Metabolic Mind

“Rethinking Diabetes is more than a definitive account of the greatest health epidemic of our time. It is also a roadmap powerful enough to change and save lives, all laid out by a master researcher who builds his case on unshakeable foundations until a simple and stunning truth emerges. In this groundbreaking, hopeful, and beautifully written work, Gary Taubes will change the way one thinks about diabetes, science, and the world itself. The most important book I’ve read in a decade.” —Robert Kurson, author of Rocket Men

"If any disease needs to be rethought, it is surely diabetes, and that is the premise of Gary Taubes’s latest book...[This] message is important and should be heard...“Rethinking Diabetes” builds on arguments that Mr. Taubes has made in his other books...and he seems to have read every study ever conducted on the relationship between food and diabetes." — James S. Hirsch, The Washington Post

"This is [Gary] Taubes’s fifth book about nutrition science, and I would argue that his meticulous, science-based work (he is a three-time winner of the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Journalism award) makes him the Bryan Stevenson of nutrition, an early voice in the wilderness for an unorthodox view that is increasingly becoming accepted."—Neil Barsky, The Guardian

"Gary Taubes has a well-earned reputation as a brilliant and fearless scientific thinker. He also happens to be a remarkable historian and writer. I'm going to recommend Rethinking Diabetes to everyone I know at risk who wants to be healthy. I'm also going to recommend it to my science writing students as a model of how it's done."
—Sam Apple, author of Ravenous

“A monumental work of journalism that reads like a detective story. Taubes’s reporting offers a riveting account of the history of diabetes treatment and suggests a more hopeful pathway ahead." 
David Bornstein, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network

"Gary Taubes gives us an unsurpassed context and commentary on twists and turns in our understanding of diet and diabetes. A consummate science writer, Taubes challenges the conventional wisdom regarding our reliance on traditional therapeutics and, instead, elevates food and nutrition as our North Star for good health. A must-read for anyone who cares about health care, health equity or health."
—Kelly Close, founder, The diaTribe Foundation/Close Concerns

“Gary Taubes has once again done a masterful job exposing the bias of those who promoted and entrenched high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets as part of the management of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and the lack of evidence supporting this dietary approach. Rethinking Diabetes is an outstanding book, a must read for all people with diabetes and those who treat them.”—Martin Abrahamson, M.D., former chief medical officer, Joslin Diabetes Center, co-author of Conquer Your Diabetes

“Nobody can read Rethinking Diabetes and walk away with their faith in the scientific establishment unshaken. The good news is that there is a path forward for the nearly one out of ten Americans who will suffer from diabetes, a largely preventable disease. With this book, Gary Taubes cements his status as one of America’s greatest living science journalists."
— Michael Shellenberger, author of Apocalypse Never

“With the rigor and clarity that mark all his work, Gary Taubes tackles the history of the science of diabetes, and he reveals why and how much of the conventional wisdom is misguided—and, even more important, how a better approach is possible. This book is indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand this disease.” – Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

“A blockbuster historical explanation of the science and the sociology of why diabetes is running rampant internationally.  As Taubes frames the story, it’s easy to understand how and why Americans lost and diabetes won." — George Lundberg, editor-at-large, Medscape

"In this meticulously researched, wonderfully well-written book, Gary Taubes tells the story of how the medical community over time repudiated the wisdom of earlier generations of doctors, who knew that high-carbohydrate diets were exactly the wrong thing to recommend to people with diabetes. It's a cautionary tale of politics and power in academic medicine that distorted medical practice and public health for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, even as science produced startling breakthroughs that, in a better world, should have led to better outcomes for patients. An absolute must-read for anyone who cares about science, medicine, and health."
Jay Bhattacharya, Professor of Health Policy at Stanford and co-author of Health Economics

“ Kudos to Gary Taubes for writing a remarkable tour de force that should be of considerable interest to all persons with diabetes and clinicians and researchers in the field. The historical narrative is both erudite and gripping.  A must read.” — Sanjiv Chopra, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Co-author, Conquer Your Diabetes

“In Rethinking Diabetes, one of our finest science writers tackles one of our most persistent and perplexing health issues. In re-examining how we came to believe what we do about diabetes, he suggests where we have gone astray and where successful treatment lies. This is an essential, vital contribution to the ongoing debate about an ongoing scourge.”—Marty Makary, author of The Price We Pay

“A fascinating deep dive into the history of diabetes and how new treatment paradigms may be game- changing.”— Jason Fung, M.D., author of The Obesity Code

“Gary Taubes embeds the story of diabetes in human context, illuminating the role of researchers, doctors, and establishment organizations in coming up with hypotheses and guidelines and then holding on to them long past their sell-by date. Rethinking Diabetes is a riveting tale of how the human impulse to confirm one’s beliefs rather than reexamine them, let alone change them, has impeded our understanding of diabetes—as well as a celebration of the brave souls, doctors and patients alike, who defied tradition and convention to come up with more effective treatments.”—Carol Tavris, coauthor of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)