Solid science and energetic writing make the author’s bitter pill easier to swallow.

THE CASE FOR KETO

RETHINKING WEIGHT CONTROL AND THE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF LOW-CARB/HIGH-FAT EATING

Want to lose weight? Then eat lots of meat, the much-vaunted ancestral diet. “This book is a work of journalism masquerading as a self-help book,” writes science and nutrition journalist Taubes at the outset, explaining that he does not concern himself with specific recipes so much as nutritional science. For some people, a diet of grains and tubers is fine, but for most of us, specific categories of food—particularly carbohydrates—create a “hormonal milieu” in the body that serves to trap calories in the form of fat for later use rather than burning them off as fuel in the short term. The caloric equivalent of a single almond per day is enough to foster a 50-pound weight gain over a couple of decades, which means that a diet that eschews carbohydrates is the only way the heavy among us are ever going to lose weight. Taubes examines the history of obesity and responses to it, from its being characterized as the product of a mental disorder to the counsel of “almost invariably lean people” that the trick is simply not to eat so much. Instead, because people are metabolically different from one another, one person can eat exactly the same food in exactly the same quantity as another, and one will gain weight and the other not. The deeper science concerns how the body produces and uses insulin; “eating less and exercising…can be inefficient ways of lowering insulin levels,” writes the author. Instead, only a keto diet will do, keto meaning ketosis, the burning of fat as fuel. Moderation doesn’t work for most people, argues Taubes: It’s an all-or-nothing commitment to eating meat, some cheese, and cruciferous vegetables—and no sugary foods, beans, spaghetti, and the like, a diet that, for some people, would make life not worth living. Solid science and energetic writing make the author’s bitter pill easier to swallow.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52006-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT PANDEMIC

The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

more