"Exercise makes us hungry," he said, which causes overeating, and leads to the buildup of insulin mentioned earlier. He posits that thin people aren't thin because they exercise, rather, they exercise because being thin gives them the energy to work out.
Helerstein said Taubes is wrong about exercise. "I don't think that you have to wake up and exercise for four hours a day," she said. "But the answer to health is really keeping your lean muscle mass strong. And the older we get, the harder that is to do. So each year we lose a little muscle mass, and it's really harder to stay thin and healthy. But I think that again, if a person exercises in moderation and doesn't overdo it, it's a really important factor in health. "
Taubes said he isn't touting any particular diet (though he does say "Atkins was right"). He said he's just trying to get scientists to test the work of the researchers he quotes in his book and see if their theories are correct. But he's expecting a large helping of criticism when the book is released.
"First, they'll shoot the messenger," he said. "And then over the next 10 or 15 years, they'll debate the message and a good portion of it might be accepted. I'd say 70, 80 percent. But you don't thank people for pointing out your mistakes. It's not human nature, in general."
But for most people the bottom line is, our tastebuds and our hearts control what we eat. Raffaele Esposito, owner of the restaurant where we took Taubes to lunch, says pasta is the heart of life. "It's pasta and life," Raffaele said. "You know? If you stopped the heart, you die." Everything in moderation, he said. Everything in moderation.