New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes delivered a lecture on March 30, “Why We Get Fat: Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity,” as part of a series of events sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Food Law Society.

Presenting findings from his fourth book, “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” (December 2010), Taubes said he wrote to the book to “convince public health authorities that they should rethink everything they know…about obesity and chronic disease.”

In his landmark best seller, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (2007), Taubes argued that the obesity epidemic can be directly linked to the overemphasis on certain kinds of carbohydrates in the average diet, rather than to an excess of fats or calories. The book was borne out of a piece Taubes wrote for The New York Times Magazine in 2002 called “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?,” which brought both controversy and acclaim. In this week’s New York Times Magazine Taube outlines the case against sugar in his article “Is Sugar Toxic?”

“Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories from food than he or she burns,” Taubes said in his introduction to his talk. “That’s how the NIH [National Institute of Health] puts it. The US surgeon general says that being overweight is a result of caloric imbalance and is mediated by genetics and health.

“How many people believe this? How many people in here think this is meaningful?”

Over the course of the lecture, Taubes explained why he believes that research and discourse surrounding nutritional science in the past century have been misguided and damaging.

Click here to view the lecture.

The Food Law Society provides students with hands-on exposure to the numerous issues in law, policy, science and management that confront professionals in the field of food law. Members participate in clinical projects and conferences, host speakers, and collaborate with groups throughout the University and the world in their effort to address food issues.

Recent Food Law Society events have provide opportunities for leading experts in food law, policy and science to provide critical analyses of primary scientific literature on the subject of nutrition, and for students to gain insight into recent developments in agriculture as well as an understanding of the nutritional requirements for optimum health and performance.

Most recently, the society hosted a discussion of the dietary factors involved in the development of the metabolic syndrome and autoimmune diseases with Dr. Mathieu Lalone titled “The Science of Nutrition,” as well as a talk by Professor Frederick Kaufman of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, “The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions, Got Away With It . . . and Is Doing It Again,” regarding the relationship between financial speculation and world hunger.