The Obesity Code
By Jason Fung, MD
Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist (kidney doctor) who’s personal goal is to eradicate the problems of obesity and type 2 diabetes. He is a leading expert in the areas of intermittent fasting and how to use low-carb nutrition plans to reverse the effects of insulin resistance.
In his early years, he followed much of the advice taught through conventional medicine. He prescribed medicine. He counselled patients to reduce their fat and calorie intake. He encouraged his patients to exercise more. But his patients did not see lasting results. This lead Dr. Fung to look for alternate explanations for why his patients and a majority of the adults in North America are experiencing so many health complications as a result obesity.
The Big Idea:
Dr. Fung explains that obesity is not an issue of caloric dysfunction, but an issue of hormonal dysfunction. As a result of hormonal messages, the body’s “set weight” is set too high and obesity results.
Because obesity and many of the associated diseases aren’t the result of a caloric issue, focusing on calories isn’t a viable solution. Dr. Fung details five false assumptions that most people believe to be true. And explains how there is evidence to show that our misunderstanding of these assumptions contributes to our lack of success in fighting obesity.
- Calories in and calories out are independent of each other.
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is stable.
- We exert conscious control over the calories we consume.
- Fat storage is unregulated by the body.
- A calorie is a calorie.
The reality is that the total energy expended by the body on a daily basis is the sum of six different events: BMR, the thermogenic effect of food, non-exercise activity, thermogenesis, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and exercise. As a result of our daily energy expenditure being much more complex than most people give it credit for, we tend to generalize and make assumptions about how many calories we can burn each day. We also overemphasize the effects of exercise directly on the prevention of obesity
Through the process of homeostasis, the body works to find an equilibrium or “set weight” to manage both what it consumes and expends each day. Dr. Fung gives insight that the key to understanding obesity is to understand what regulates the body’s “set weight”, why it is set so high, and how to reset it lower.
Since Dr. Fung is referring to obesity as a hormonal dysfunction, he proposes that we must have a better understanding of how our hormones effect obesity and our “set weight.” He details the roles of Insulin and Cortisol as two hormones that have been shown in multiple scientific studies to cause people to gain weight and store more fat on their bodies. As a result of high insulin levels, the body becomes insulin resistant. From here a vicious cycle beings as insulin resistance triggers even more insulin to be released and the process continues.
The Bottom Line:
Dr. Fung gives a solution to the problems of insulin resistance, obesity, and the associated diseases through a three-pronged approach. He explains the importance of understanding what we eat and how much we eat as triggers for insulin release. He also goes on to explain that when we eat is equally important to reversing these issues. He details a solution through the use of intermittent fasting to help reverse insulin resistance.
My 2 Cents:
As someone with a background in biology and fitness, I believe Dr. Fung is on the right path to reversing the effects of obesity. Danielle and I have lost a combined 150 pounds and we have kept it off for over 5 years. Our success is a result of changing what we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat.
From experience we have learned that knowledge and application are two different things. And while people know what they need to do, getting started and staying consistent are much more difficult tasks. And when you add in the stress of life today (work, family, kids, etc) lasting results without the help of a coach are not very common.
Danielle has gone on to earn multiple certifications in mindset and nutritional coaching while I have become certified as a strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). Our knowledge and experiences have opened the doors to coach hundreds of people through the same process we used to achieve our results.
If you would like help getting started or if you have hit a plateau and need assistance we would love to help you reach our goals and live your best life possible. In fact, we offer FREE 30 minute consultations where we can offer our advice and support. It’s our way of paying it forward.
To your health,