I recently finished Dr. Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code, which was one of the most revolutionary books I’ve ever read. It seriously contains the secret to weight loss. Is it calories? Nope. Then what is it? Read on to find out!
Change is coming beloved and you are so capable of achieving it. Don’t give up. It wasn’t you all along. It wasn’t your failure. It was your hormones. You are not a failure and take heart, there is hope.
Dr. Fung begins the novel by describing the very real frustration of reading nutrition books because it is “mostly a game of ‘he said, she said,’ with many quoting ‘authoritative’ doctors.” Oh my goodness, I couldn’t agree more! That is why I am continually reading everything I can with as many opposing sides as I can find. Jason understands my pain:
“Who is wrong? In the science of nutrition, there is rarely any consensus about anything…Dietary fat is bad. No, dietary fat is good. There are good fats and bad fats…To discover the answers, we need to turn to evidence-based medicine rather than vague opinion.”
Jason studies the trends that have led North America to an epidemic of increased diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. He shows the failure of the American food pyramid and the unhelpful prescription for weight loss, of eat less, move more. We have also completely misunderstood calories: “The calories in – calories out mentality has led to lowered metabolism, which causes people to gain back more weight than they lost in the first place.”
The reason being:
“The root cause of obesity is a complex hormonal imbalance with high blood insulin as its central feature” (26).
Eat Less Does Not Work. That’s a fact. Accept it.
Losing weight causes the reduced metabolism and increased hunger, not the other way around.
Low calorie diets cause us to get hunger cravings and feel depressed and low energy; we will be unsuccessful if we are constantly fighting our own body
“Sam Feltham….decided he would eat 5794 calories per day…He followed a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet of natural foods for twenty-one days. Feltham believed, based on clinical experience, that refined carbohydrates, not total calories, caused weight gain. The macro nutrient breakdown of his diet was 10 percent carbohydrate, 53 percent fat and 37 percent protein…Actual weight gain, however, was only about 2.8 pounds. Even more interesting, he dropped more than 1 inch from his waist measurement. He gained weight, but it was lean mass.” (57).
What!? How can this be?
“And if excess calories don’t cause weight gain, then reducing calories won’t cause weight loss” (61).
BECAUSE weight gain is not caused by calories, but by hormones.
Insulin and cortisol cause weight gain → hormone theory
“So the low-calorie believers disparage the LCHF [low calorie, high fat] people. The LCHF movement ridicules the vegans. The vegans mock the Paleo supporters. The Paleo followers deride the low-fat devotees. All diets work because they all address a different aspect of the disease. But none of them work for very long, because none of them address the totality of the disease. Without understanding the multi factorial nature of obesity — which is critical — we are doomed to an endless cycle of blame.” (217).
Step 1: Reduce your consumption of added sugars
Sugar stimulates insulin secretion
Sugars are often added to foods during processing or cooking, which makes it hard to know how much you’re ACTUALLY ingesting
Sugar is easy to over consume because there is nothing in the food that makes you “full”
Names of sugar
Sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, molasses, hydrolyzed starch, honey, invert sugar, cane sugar, glucose-fructose, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, corn sweetener, rice/corn/cane/maple/malt/golden/palm syrup and agave nectar
Companies try to trick you so you don’t know you’re consuming so much sugar
“Asking how much sugar is acceptable is like asking how many cigarettes are acceptable” (221).
Artificial sweeteners ALSO increase insuin so don’t replace sugar with artificial
Step 2: Reduce your consumption of refined grains
“Refined grains such as white flour stimulate insulin to a greater degree than virtually any other food” (228).
Avoid: bread, bagels, English muffins, roti, naan breads, dinner rolls, bread sticks, Melba toasts, crackers, tea biscuits, scones, tortillas, wraps, muffins, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and donuts. Pasta and noodles of all varieties are also concentrated sources of refined carbohydrates
Whole grain pastas are a better choice, though not ideal
Healthy carbohydrates: eggplant, kale, spinach, carrots, broccoli, peas, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, avocados, lettuce, beets, cucumbers watercress, cabbage, etc.
Quinoa: technically a seed but used as a grain
Very high in fiber, protein and vitamins
Chia seeds: high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega 3, proteins, and antioxidants
Beans: versatile, fiber-rich carbohydrate staple of many traditional diets
Step 3: Moderate Your Protein Consumption
Proteins cannot and should not be eliminated from your diet
Should be 20-30% of your total calories
Step 4: Increase Your Consumption of Natural Fats
Dietary fat is the least likely to stimulate insulin
It is not inherently fattening but potentially protective
Virgin olive oil is the best choice
Nuts have significant health benefits (high in fiber and low in carbohydrates)
Full fat dairy is delicious and can be enjoyed without concern of fattening effects
Avocados are awesome!!!
Step 5: Increase your consumption of protective factors
Fiber can reduce the insulin-stimulating effects of carbohydrates
Natural, whole foods contain plenty of fiber
Fruits, berries, vegetables, whole grains, flax seeds, chia seeds, beans, popcorn, nuts, oatmeal and pumpkin seeds provide ample fiber
Vinegar is also protective and helps reduce insulin spikes
Reduce consumption of added sugars
Reduce your consumption of refined grains
Moderate protein intake
Increase your consumption of natural fats
Increase your consumption of fiber and vinegar
Other Golden Nuggets
Don’t just snack; eating all of the time causes constant stimulation of insulin
If you don’t have time to eat then don’t eat; it’s ok to skip meals
Moderate consumption of red wine, and even beer, does not significantly increase insulin so they can be enjoyed
Coffee appears to protect against Type 2 Diabetes so drink up!
The Most Powerful Secret of Weight Loss
Two factors to weight loss
WHAT to eat
WHEN to eat
High insulin maintains our high body set weight
To break this we need recurrent periods of very low insulin levels
“All foods increase insulin production. If all foods raise insulin, then the only way for us to lower it is to completely abstain from food. The answer we are looking for is, in a word, fasting.” (236).
The Power of Fasting
Fasting leaves more blood for your brain
It is a spiritual and medical practice
Glucose and fat are the body’s main sources of energy. When glucose is not available, the body adjust by using fat, without any heath detriment.
The Freedom to Feast, The Discipline to Fast
Feasting MUST be followed by fasting
This is the ancient secret
Food is a celebration of life
This is normal and good!
Religion has always reminded us that we must balance our feasting with periods of fasting — atonement, repentance or cleansing
We cannot feast all the time and we cannot fast all of the time
But It’s Hard…Is It Worth It?
Fasting is daunting but it gets easier with practice
It saves you money and can be done on any diet
Metabolism increases, energy increases and blood sugars decrease
Changing the fasting protocol is often what’s required to break through a plateau
What If It’s Not My Insulin?
You may have a CORTISOL issue, not an INSULIN issue
Cortisol is the stress hormone
How to Reduce Cortisol
Wow, that was a long post. Phew. Sorry for all of the information, there were just so many fantastic scientific facts I couldn’t stop myself from spewing information.
I hope some of this has helped you and that you leave feeling empowered.
Your body is beautiful. You can lose the weight. You can live a different life.
I hope you feel inspired and encouraged. The secret is out! Now lets go conquer insulin and cortisol together!