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Gary Taubes: Unintended Consequences of “Wonder” Drugs

Rethinking Diabetes, Insulin, and Ozempic

Did you know that doctors were treating diabetic patients with high fat, low carb, diets all the way back in the 1700’s?

Until the discovery of insulin in the 1920’s, diabetes was largely treated and managed with dietary intervention, using high-fat meats and fibrous veggies, then called the animal diet. 

Though high fat, ketogenic diets were found to effectively treat diabetes for over a century, they were largely abandoned due to the rapid adoption of insulin in the 1920’s, which was considered a “miracle cure.”

Prioritizing drugs over lifestyle with insulin therapy, however, led to unexpected long-term complications in patients including damage to large and small blood vessels that results in heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, neuropathy, amputations, blindness, dementia, and a decrease in life expectancy.

Now more than a century after the discovery of insulin, despite all advances in modern science and medicine, blood sugar control is getting worse at a population level.

Once a rare condition, diabetes is now so common that drugstores dedicate entire aisles to it. One in every $4 dollars spent in American healthcare goes to diabetic patients, with over $300 billion in direct costs every year. 

The diabetes story is a metaphor of the rapid adoption of a wonder drug without knowing the long term consequences. 

In an age when Hollywood, influencers and the media are touting the seemingly miraculous benefits of our latest weight-loss wonder drugs, GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic, it’s worth examining the long-term risks and consequences of heavy handed pharmaceutical interventions. 

Today we’re back with our friend, Gary Taubes. Gary is an investigative science and health journalist, and bestselling author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, as well as his new book, Rethinking Diabetes. He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the U.S. National Association of Science Writers and is the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. 

Gary has dedicated his work to dismantling conventional nutritional theory with his research, lectures and books. At this point, Gary is better versed in diabetes literature than anyone alive.  

Gary also writes on Substack with the wonderful

. I encourage you to check out their publication here: .

Also, a quick but exciting announcement. 

After speaking with a number of creative friends, mostly writers, podcasters and musicians (including Gary), I’ve decided to launch a brand new Substack! I’ll be exploring health, top performance, and technology, sharing our favorite recipes and much more. You can join my Substack for free or even support my work directly as a member and get access to ad-free episodes and other goodies. Come join the fun and leave a quick comment so we can connect, I always love hearing from you. 

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why lifestyle interventions that effectively treated diabetes for over a century were abandoned by the medical establishment

  • How flawed dietary guidelines in the 1970s recommended high carb diets for heart health without evidence

  • Why the push for plant-based diets is based on bad science and misconceived journalism

  • Why the wide adoption of weight loss “wonder drugs” like GLP-1 agonists should raise long-term safety and side effect concerns

  • And much more…

Hope you enjoy this episode with Gary, brought to you Ad-Free in video and audio as a thanks for following us on Substack.

Go ahead and comment below and let us know what you think!

Abel James’ Substack
Abel James Show
Achieve top performance with proven best practices for mental and physical health, and cutting-edge science and technology. Join NYT Bestselling Author and OG Podcaster Abel James for interviews with thought leaders in health, performance, creativity and beyond. Winner of 4 Awards, rated #1 in Health in 8+ Countries, with 90+ million all-time downloads.