DIET WAR – Dr. Oz vs Gary Taubes

Yesterday the low-carb blogosphere was abuzz with talk of the interview Dr. Oz conducted with one of their heroes – Gary Taubes.

Gary Taubes - aka The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says Is Wrong

And all around those blogs,  a lot of the talk focused on their belief that Dr. Oz was unfair to Mr. Taubes.

The low-carbers felt that while Gary presented a logical, science-based argument in favor of a reduced carb diet, Dr. Oz served up a plateful of USDA diet platitudes topped with a big hunk of cheesy tv theatrics.

For example, in an attempt to demonstrate/discredit low carb dieting, Dr. Oz had a camera crew follow him around for 24 hours of low-carb eating.

Here’s what Dr. Oz’s ate:

  • Breakfast – 2 fried eggs + 2 sausages
  • Snack #1 – pork rinds
  • Lunch – salad with chicken & bacon
  • Snack #2 – pepperoni & cheese sticks
  • Dinner – a massive steak & green beans (yum)

Eerily reminiscent of the Atkins Diet induction phase n’est-ce pas?

And after the audience finishes laughing at Dr. Oz’s jokes about the origins of pork rinds, Mehmet reports his findings to Mr. Taubes.

Dr. Oz reports that:

  • His breath turned stale
  • He felt nauseated
  • He had headaches
  • He was constipated
  • And was irritable

Doesn’t make low-carb sound very good does it?

But wait…it’s not over yet. Thinking that he has Taubes on the proverbial ropes, Dr. Oz attempts to knock him out…. by asking Taubes to submit to a cholesterol test.


Cholesterol and a low-carb diet.

That’s gotta hurt.

Kind of a cheap shot considering that:

  1. Dr. Oz knows that while Taubes thinks that the total cholesterol test is a waste of time.
  2. He also knows that his audience thinks that lowering your total cholesterol is vital for good health.

And considering that audience approval is the ultimate prize in this Diet War, Dr. Oz makes Taubes look like a bit of a kook in the eyes of his audience.

And is officially declared the winner.

Or is he?

According to low-carb guru Jimmy Moore (Livin La Vida Low Carb), sales of both of Taubes’ books have been going through the roof all day.

Almost as if some of Dr. Oz’s loyal low-fat viewers were cheating on him…or maybe just a low-carb curious.

Personally, I think it’s like Gandhi said:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

From what I can see, Gary Taubes has just reached stage #3.

To reach stage #4, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Gary asks Dr. Oz for a follow-up show
  2. 2 months prior to the show, they both take a complete set of (agreed upon) diagnostic tests
  3. After completing the blood tests, Dr. Oz goes on a 4 week low-carb diet designed by Taubes, while
  4. Taubes goes on a 4 week low-fat diet designed by Dr. Oz
  5. They run the tests again
  6. They go back to their own diets for another 4 weeks, and
  7. Repeat the tests a third time
  8. Present the results live on Dr. Oz’s show.

So, whaddaya think…will Dr. Oz go for it.

Probably not, but wouldn’t it be interesting?

Here’s a link to his Facebook page – post a link to this article and see if he responds.


Here’s a youtube video of the show – no idea how long Dr. Oz’s lawyers will let it stay up



  1. I loved this:

    Personally, I think it’s like Gandhi said:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    From what I can see, Gary Taubes has just reached stage #3.

    I couldn’t agree more. I read Good Calories Bad Calories a few years ago, and wow… So well researched and written!

    As for your stage #4 though, I must disagree. Even if they tested each other I think that would miss the central point of Taubes’ work, and would be too small of a sample size. In any case, he is suggesting that there is a subclass of people who have an abnormal hormonal reaction to refined carbohydrates, pretty much those of us who are overweight (this is the same argument as Dr. Sears by the way). So to test the 2 doctors theories they should gather a large number of overweight people, distribute them evenly into 2 groups and randomly assign the people to a Dr. Oz group and a Taubes group. Do the agreed upon testing on these groups and see what the outcome is.

    I would love to see these a good test of these theories though!

  2. @Mark

    I agree that a proper scientific study would be best for us health & fitness geeks.

    But when you consider the effect this lopsided interview had upon the sales of Gary’s books, it makes me wonder if my little “made for tv” experiment wouldn’t have a greater effect on the general public. Or at least encourage more people to buy the books, read the already published studies, change their own diet, etc…

    The point is probably moot anyway – It’s highly unlikely the Dr. Oz show would go for it anyway – nothing to gain, everything to lose

  3. I truly believe Gary Taubes has it right, as I once believed Dr. Atkins did. Somewhere along the way I became scared to do Dr. Atkins diet through media and so called friends, although it worked so well for me. I think the biggest mistake Gary is making is letting everyone think processed foods are OK. They aren’t. Pork rinds? Processed meats and cheeses? Choose healthier by choosing real meats, eat nothing from a package or box. Any good nutritionist will agree that foods that are not processed are better for you!

  4. Dr. Oz was responsible for those food choices – and I am assuming they were carefully selected to help prove his argument

  5. I thought that Gary Taubes missed several good opportunities to make salient points. He failed to explain how saturated fats are preferable to PUFAs, saying only that trans fats should be avoided. Then he failed to refute the logic behind Dr. Oz’s demonstration of artery-clogging fats when Oz made a tube out of pepperoni and stuffed it with the cheese stick. This is consistent with Oz’s general concept of the relationship between saturated fat and heart disease. (In a previous show, Dr. Oz had made the comment that saturated fat remains solid in the human body, which is ridiculous on at least two fronts: 1) saturated fats become liquid at 98.6 degrees F, and 2) dietary fat does not enter into the bloodstream without first going through a complex digestion system.) Taubes also failed to explain why Total Cholesterol numbers are meaningless and why excessive carbohydrates, rather than fats, are responsible for high triglyceride numbers, which are important. He also failed to talk about rancidity issues in PUFAs that lead to oxidized cholesterol, which is a problem. Finally, Taubes failed to ask Oz why he now approves of coconut oil if saturated fat is so bad for you.

  6. I hear that Dr. Oz gave Taubes a chance to have ANY test he wanted to have, this would be a great time for a hs-CRP test, or even directly measuring VLDL. And I’m pretty sure that Oz must be the fastest fat-adapted person in the world if it took him 24 hours to go into ketosis (though Taubes says nothing about deep ketosis in anything), as it takes about 14-28 days of eating 20 carbs to become fat-adapted by the whole world.

    And I agree with one of the previous posters, this is the worst choice of food ever listed, pork rinds? I am generally low carb (100-120 carbs a day) and very high in fat (70% of calories), yet I eat nuts, veggies, oils, etc. which are far cleaner than any of the options Oz felt like taking apparently.

  7. @Jay

    Take a look/listen at the interview Jimmy Moore conducted with Taubes discussing Gary’s appearance on Dr Oz – he references the tests

  8. Two things:

    1. I think it was unfair for Dr. oz to try Taubes diet for one day only, there’s no way his body would be able to acclimate in time and switch over its energy mechanisms to accommodate the severely increased fat intake/decreased carb intake. Like you suggested, I think it would be a really interesting experiment if they tested key vitals beforehand, tried each others diet for a month, and then re-tested their vitals afterwards. We’d actually be getting some concrete evidence about Taubes’ diet, which brings me to point #2…

    Taubes may be at stage 3, but he’s never going to be “winning” unless he can show personal evidence that his diet and philosophy works. It’s honestly shocking, he has no idea what his cholesterol levels/triglycerides are and he’s not open to testing them…that’s absurd. It’s one thing to challenge conventional wisdom about cholesterol and saturated fat, but at least have the personal backing to support what you’re saying. I actually posted my views on the interview a week back @ if you’re curious

  9. @Bryan – Jimmy Moore did an interview with Gary Taubes about his experience on Dr. Oz. It answers a lot of questions about his appearance on the show and how the show was edited to make taubes look bad.

  10. Is there a way to eat low carb and not eat meat? I have never liked meat, the smell alone of all meats, including fish just make me gag, the smell of it cooking when entering a house has made me run out. The texture, the grease, taste, all of it turns me off. I just love my carbs, would get too depressed and never stick to any way of eating that would deprive me of popcorn, cake, pasta, potatoes. I have tried some of the low carb versions of carbs and they were horrible, but that was years ago, maybe they have improved? Don’t like eggs or most dairy either. Do like most fruits and vegetables.

  11. As much as I lvoe Dr. Oz I do tend to favor Gary Taubes diet approach.

    The evidence is visible. While both are obviously not overweight; Dr. Oz is pale and thin. Gary Taubes is lean with a healthy glow to his cheeks and he doesn’t have the same pale palor to his skin that Dr. Oz has.

    Just sayin’ is all…….

    I’m going to give Gary’s recommendations a try.

  12. While I don’t subscribe to high volumes of protein and saturated fat consumption, I would be more likely to go there than to eat carbs.

    The work done by Gary and Dr. Lustig point to a very serious crime going on in the food industry regarding sugar.

    Findings by UCLA also show how fructose essentially creates a thriving condition for pancreatic cancer.

    Dr. Otto Warburg’s Pulitzer Prize winning work on cancer identified the source of cancer is replacement of normal cell respiration with fermentation of sugar (glycolysis). He also showed that anaerobic environments are acidic while aerobic environments are alkaline. In other words, be sedentary and eat sugar and you create a great environment for cancer. The UCLA work suggests Dr. Warburg’s connection between cancer and sugar were right.

    As far as cholesterol goes, there is some pretty interesting alternative beliefs about this given that cholesterol is a fundamental building block of cells. One such belief (Dr. Ron Rosedale, The Rosedale Diet) is that cholesterol raises in response to the need to repair inflammation (damaged tissues).

    And with regard to the link between high cholesterol and heart disease, that was based on the Farmington study. I understand there was a preliminary report that suggested the link and raised all the hoopla and created an opportunity for anti-cholesterol drugs. But the 30 year followup showed high cholesterol is not predictive of a heart attack after age 50.

    For me, I am all about low carb with adequate protein from diverse sources without saturated fat, with excellent hydration. Lots of vegis, nuts, beans, occasional fish, very rare-occasion red meat, no dairy. I feel better than my mid 20s (over 25 years ago) and I’m down 50 lbs from when I ate the American food pyramid way.

  13. Ooops… That’s Farmingham study…

    I also left out I use lots of polyunsaturated fats, Omegas in proper balance and mono-saturated fat (coconut oil).

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  15. Taubes explained all this — and the Oz show producers CUT IT OUT!  They couldn’t let Dr Oz be shown up on his own show, nor do they want to anger his advertisers: Big Grain and Big Pharma.  I used to say that if I needed heart surgery — I’d take Oz in a heartbeat (not pun intended) but he has become SUCH a (disgusting) idiotic liar to get ratings, I no longer think he has integrity — and I’d pick another surgeon!

  16. Dr. Oz is full of baloney. Just look at the daily nonsense he dishes out. He’s the “Dr. Phil” of medicine and they both cannot produce results. They are both products of the Oprah nonsense phenomenon of trying to put together a popular TV show every day that is made popular in the same way grocery store tabloids are made popular – sensationalism with no science or bad science. Read Taube’s book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (you have to read it more than once because it is very long and very detailed) and then read some of the blather Oz puts on his blog and on this show.

  17. I watch the Dr. Oz show with interest, and I always ask “what is the real agenda.”
    He does bring interesting facts to light, but I believe that if you monitor his content you might end up quite confused. He invited a cardiologist and a nutritionist (Sinatra and Bowden) to put forward the argument against statins (especially for women, and certainly for over 90% of the population) and low fat diets, but a few days later and many times since I have had the impression that he is still pushing the treament of “bad cholesterol” through low fat diet and statins, including for women? In his very busy life, i wonder if he ever gets the chance to actually read and consider the well-researched alternative hypotheses. He is so powerfully influential, I often wonder how many of his audience are actually approaching all this information in a curious and critical way. Having expressed my view that the underlying agenda may be to support the status quo, I am very glad that he includes folks like Taubes, Davis, Sinatra, and Bowden.
    On a lighter note, I am always highly amused when he lays out piles of vegetables the would have to be eaten on a daily basis in order to ensure the “recommended daily dose” of vitamins and minerals. Does he not see how illogical that is. If we needed to eat two pounds of broccoli a day, we would have been designed to be able to eat and digest the vegetable instead of take a synthetic supplement.

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