Gary Taubes Visits The Land of Oz

As soon as we finished watching Gary Taubes’ appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, Beloved began writing – this is the end product.  He has a deep and abiding love of wordplay and metaphors (especially mixed ones), but this is as an accurate assessment of the entire fiasco as any I’ve seen. – Jan

Taubes in Wonderland

From the time I heard that Gary Taubes was appearing on Dr. Oz in an episode named “The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says is Wrong” (as if there is only one), I was concerned about how well science would hold up to bling-bling. Why would an intellectual like Gary Taubes drink the potion that would make him shrink to the level of Oz? But in the end I do believe he handled it well and lifted the curtain of secrecy of Oz enough for anyone with half a brain to see that the emperor has no clothes.

In our McNugget news world, no one really expects an articulate in-depth discussion on the Dr. Oz show, but I never expected the White Rabbit ride this show provided.  Seriously, take a closer look at Dr. Mehmet Oz and his mannerisms and reactions.  Like a Moonie facing deprogrammers: fast talking, defensive, unable to stand still long enough to let Gary get a word in edgewise, he bounced all over the place like a cranked up drug addict.  You could just see the fox trying to coax the crow from the tree with the temptress strawberry, “go ahead, take the sugar: you will be back for more.” All the while eying it and licking his chops, hoping that he won’t take the bait and deprive him of his next fix. And don’t you dare take his pasta away – how could anyone sustain without it?

Or was that paranoia?  Could he, would he (in a house, with a mouse), or anyone in the entrenched/funded medical community, be able to slow down long enough to look objectively at an opposing viewpoint? Would he, could he, ever bite the hand that feeds his face, sacrifice the insulin and pharmaceutical sponsors or would the Sneetch keep his head in the sand?  When he accused Gary Taubes of not being a Doctor I so wish Gary would have whispered through a Cheshire grin, “Are you a scientist?” Of course not! Oz is a paid entertainer/bubble gum drug pusher – he wanted to emotionalize it with images of cutting open someone’s chest with a band saw.  Honestly, I wouldn’t let Oz use my coping saw, but that’s a judgment call.

Suddenly, Dr. Oz crashed and burned after his high, like Charlie Sheen going without a snort or a porn star, and spent a whole day pretending to stay clean. But a scientist would know about carbohydrate withdrawal and that indeed some people starting this diet feel tired the first day or two.  If I was Rip van Winkle hearing half this show I wouldn’t believe this overly emotive Spurlockian nonsense. I would have settled instead for the few hours it takes to read Gary’s latest book, but then again I would not build my house of straw (or on a straw man’s back). Notice that this recovering drug addict needed two snacks to replace his usual daily fare. This will strike Taubes’ adherents as odd (people who are well sated with three, even two meals a day of good nutrition), but Unicorns are accustomed to grazing all day. The insulin hormone spikes caused by the white powder: ALL carbohydrates are essentially sugar – it really is just another form of taking drugs.  Dr. Oz and the medical community not only say it’s okay, but that we NEED carbohydrates. Yet the lifestyle of a low carbohydrate, high fat, moderate protein diet is very easily sustainable and I could move the berries from his plate to mine and not bat an eye. If anyone pays any attention to this blog they know that there is nothing boring with a low carb diet, as my better half illustrates on a weekly basis. Taubes hit the nail on the head with his smoking analogy; it really is an addiction. Too bad the leprechaun couldn’t pull a Rumpelstiltskin and turn his straw into gold -melodrama spoke loudly over any hope of rational discourse but it served the addict’s purposes to continue with his denial and assure his continued revenue stream.

Gary Taubes did trip a bit as he skipped down the yellow brick road over the cholesterol issue, but not because he didn’t provide his blood work – even if his personal profile doesn’t look good (define “good”), it doesn’t mean he is wrong.  Where he slipped up was in not pulling out the big guns and directly challenging the man behind the curtain by asking him to cite his sources.  What studies prove that complex carbohydrates prevent Alzheimer’s, hypertension and cancer? What study proves that saturated fats cause arterial clogging, increase low density LDL cholesterol and cause cancer? Why are the western diseases (coronary heart disease, diabetes & cancer) almost absent in cultures that eat a diet without processed foods?  What do the clinical trials tell us? Those who know Gary’s work know that he would have humiliated Oz in a real debate. I am quite sure that rationality is unimportant to  a “medical professional” like Dr. Oz – who, by the way, once told a reporter, “When you move past a physical understanding of reality … you begin to realize that we live in a world where 99% is pretend and 1% is real.” How many times during this show did he say “I think” when he should have said “I know.”  I’m sure the producers would have edited out the intellectual massacre (after all it is a nursery rhyme rated, tarot card directed, tabloid game show), but it would have been fun to watch.

Go ask Alice

I think she’ll know

When logic and proportion

Have fallen sloppy dead

And the White Knight is talking backwards

And the Red Queen’s off with her head

Remember what the dormouse said

“Feed your head, feed your head”


The munchkin’s minions might have laughed at and cheered Oz’s shallow made-for-TV accusations, but in the end the emperor lay naked and exposed for who he is. Just because Oz is a doctor doesn’t make him right.

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday


6 thoughts on “Gary Taubes Visits The Land of Oz”

  1. I had false hopes that Taubes would have been allowed time to present his argument. Boy was i naive. Nice retort to the crap opportunity Taubes was given.

  2. “Like a Moonie facing deprogrammers: fast talking, defensive, unable to stand still long enough to let Gary get a word in edgewise, he bounced all over the place like a cranked up drug addict.”

    Haven’t seen it, but this sentence is awesome.

  3. Be – you rock! Jan should let you entertain us more often. All that cute and a brain too. LOL Seriously though It is better today than it was 8 years ago but low carb is still a dirty word to the general public. Including “Dr’s” or so called Doctors.

  4. Everywhere I go someone is bloody talking about Charlie Sheen. And I haven’t a clue who he is.

    The Jefferson Airplane is quite another matter. So maybe I am not culturally illiterate, just culturally in the wrong decade. Sigh.

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