Why We Get Fat

After being unhappy with how I looked in some vacation pictures last year, I decided to try to lose back the extra weight I’ve gained over the past few years. I’ve been able to lose back most of my goal, but still have a bit to go.

But, there’s so much contradictory information about weight-loss and diet out there that I wanted to find out a bit more about what theories the best evidence supports in this area.

So, I recently read Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It.

This isn’t so much a diet book, as it is an explanation and history and survey of theories about what causes (heredity, calories in/calories out, fatty foods, lack of excercise, carbohydrates, etc.) people to get fat, and related health problems Spoiler Alert: It’s carbohydrates.

Heredity definitely plays a role, and exercise is valuable for other reasons, but it seems like carbohydrate ingestion dominates factors that one can control.

Taubes is very much driven by the evidence and I found the book easy to read and very persuasive. Again, it’s not primarily a book filled with menu suggestions (although there’s a bit of that in the Afterword); it’s mostly an argument for eating few carbs. Low-carb diet details and suggestions can be found lots of other places.

Do You Have The Right To A Private Conversation?

I just watched this Reason.TV video of Ladar Levison (founder of Lavabit, the successful secure email provider he chose to shut down rather than comply with the FBI’s efforts to compromise the privacy of his users).

It was inspiring, and I’m very happy that there are people like him around, helping us to maintain a shred of privacy.

I’m also intrigued by the Darkmail Technical Alliance he’s promoting, along with the principals from Silent Circle (which also shut down their secure email service rather than compromise privacy).

Secure electronic mail that’s easy enough for non-technical people to use will be challenging to develop and it could be even more challenging to achieve widespread adoption.

I wish them luck.

My answer to the title of this post is “YES!”, I think we do have the right to a private conversation, and I hope we’ll all be able to exercise that right without having to take heroic measures in order to do so.