New York Times bestselling author and investigative journalist shares nutrition insights as part of the Longevity Project
Summit Daily's annual event featured investigative health journalist Gary Taubes and a panel discussion about nutrition with experts and community leaders
Summit Daily News hosted New York Times bestselling author and investigative health journalist Gary Taubes as part of The Longevity Project, an annual event and four-part reporting series, which focused on nutrition this year.
Taubes, whose books include “The Case Against Sugar,” “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” gave the keynote address Wednesday, April 12, at the Silverthorne Pavilion.
No stranger to controversy, Taubes’ instinct to challenge the status quo began when he landed a job as a staff writer covering science for Discover Magazine in 1982 after studying physics at Harvard University, aerospace engineering at Stanford University and graduating with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
During these years in science journalism, Taubes’ said he learned, “Scientists screw up all the time.”
Later, he added, “The question I always ask is: ‘How do we know?'”
His interest in reporting on nutrition began while he was working as a freelance journalist in Los Angeles. He said an editor at Science, an online science-based news website, asked him to look into an emerging trend called “DASH diet,” which is rich in fruits and vegetables while low in fats and sodium.
“It turned out to be a rabbit hole I fell down,” Taubes said.
One of the issues with nutrition science is that, unlike many other sciences, it is not possible to create double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, according to Taubes.
In placebo-controlled studies one group receives an active treatment while the other receives a placebo. Double-blind means neither the researcher nor the subjects knows which treatment or intervention participants are receiving until the clinical trial is over.
But, when it comes to subjects eating fruits and vegetables, for example, it is not really possible to create a convincing placebo, and it is just as hard to blind the researchers and subjects to what the subjects are eating, Taubes said.
“I pretty much follow a keto lifestyle,” he said. “… and the reason I do is I find the evidence compelling.”
Keto, or the ketogenic diet, is an eating pattern that includes high amounts of fat, low to moderate amounts of protein, and very little carbohydrates.
The Longevity Project event also included a panel discussion with panelists Dr. Lisa Pomerantz, a registered naturopathic doctor; Gretchen Broecker, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist working at Centura Health; and Brianne Snow, the executive director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center.
As part of a four-part series entitled, “Peak Nutrition: Fueling the mountain lifestyle,” Summit Daily News reporters spoke to experts to break down the ins and outs of navigating nutrition while living in the Rocky Mountains. The series published between March 17 and April 7.
Part 1 explored whether the active lifestyle Summit County residents live can outweigh nourishment, including whether its advisable to skip the apres ski or boycott burgers.
Part 2 focused on how recreationists can use food as fuel and how exercising at elevation can impact an athlete’s need to nourish.
With millions of dollars pumped into marketing diets and health-promoting products, Part 3 of the series debunked the myths surrounding popular fad diets with the help of registered nutritionists.
Part 4, meanwhile, noted the rising cost of living and sought advice from experts and advocates on how working-class residents can attain a nutrient-rich diet on a budget.
All of the coverage from the Longevity Project can be found at SummitDaily.com/longevity.
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