Calories Don't Matter
January 1, 1961
So this book was recently talked about in Gary Taubes' The Case for Keto. This review accurately describes the book and how to be wary of the seed-oil advice. In fact, Dr Taller was accused of fraud for encouraging unsaturated fat capsules and sentenced to 239 years of prison.
Herman Taller, MD, of New York, author of the best-selling book Calories Don't Count, was indicted March 11 by a federal grand jury primarily on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy, and violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. Three other individuals and two corporations were also indicted on the charges resulting from the promotion and sale of safflower oil capsules which were mentioned in the book. Safflower capsules were recommended in the weightreducing scheme presented by Taller.
Taller, who practices medicine in Manhattan, and the other defendants could be each sentenced to 239 years in prison and fined $85,000 if convicted on all 49 counts in the indictment.
Taller's book, which sold more than a million copies, claimed that certain unsaturated fats, such as safflower oil, help the body consume other fats. He recommended a diet for obese persons consisting principally of unsaturated fats and told readers where to....
Reviewed in the United States on January 14, 2018
This well-written book constitutes part of our history, and reflects some interesting viewpoints from the early 1960s. The author, Dr. Herman Taller, fluent in six languages before coming to the United States (and learning English), struggled with obesity himself before finding the work of Dr. Blake Donaldson and Dr. Alfred Pennington, involving high-fat and low-carbohydrate diets. His personal success with weight reduction led him to specialize in this field, and he reports his methods and results. For some reason, he then takes credit for this "new" approach, even though others had published books on the subject previously (for instance Dr. Richard Mackarness: EAT FAT AND GROW SLIM in 1958) as well as the broader findings of Dr. Weston Price reported in NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL DEGENERATION (1939 and 1945).
The one place where I part company with Dr. Taller flows from his recommendation of vegetable oils and margarine as the preferred fats. He apparently bought into the anti-cholesterol propaganda of the period, and steered people away from the natural fats of meat and dairy. Other than the type of fats recommended, and his advocacy of artificial sweeteners, I believe Dr. Taller was on the right track. Current authors such as Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz have brought this work forward with up-to-date scientific references. After reading their excellent books, it's fun to go back and see how close we came way back when.