I wanted to take a moment and share information on a new book I just finished called The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. It was recommended to me not because I struggle with my weight, but because I deal with analytical problem solving for a living. The book gets into cause & effect confusion about weight gain. The author’s logic, and years of available data on diet and exercise, supports his theory that excessive weight gain is not about calories-in vs. calories-out (so just eat less and move more). It’s really about what you eat and when.
Eating refined carbohydrates and sugar throughout the day, like cereals, pasta, breads and other baked goods, plus the occasional carbs-based or sweet snacks, causes high blood insulin. Sugar includes not only the stuff you put in your coffee, but any processed sugar like corn syrup, which is a main ingredient in many processed foods. Natural sugars, like in fruit, are not as bad because they are consumed with fiber. There is a whole chapter dedicated to the benefits of fiber as a kind of sugar antidote. And by the way, carbohydrates are just a kind of hidden sugar.
Any food will increase your blood insulin, but highly refined carbohydrates and sugar act like highly refined drugs; they get into the blood quickly and efficiently, so the body reacts by spiking-up blood insulin. Over time, high blood insulin causes insulin resistance in your cells, which prevents them from using the energy from the carbs/sugar efficiently. This in turn can trigger strong cravings, so you’ll eat more carbs/sugar (a vicious circle).
So per the book, it’s actually insulin that is the driving force behind the nation’s obesity problem, not the number of calories we eat or lack of exercise. And the history of obesity in this country mirrors the increased availability of highly processed carbs and sugar. According to the author, there are two keys to losing a lot of excess weight permanently. One is to greatly reduce carbs, sugar and eliminate snacking. The second key involves periods of fasting. It was interesting when the book got into data about fasting, and how it can break the body’s insulin resistance and help lower a person’s body-weight “thermostat”.
On a spiritual note, the author acknowledged the wisdom of any religion that promotes fasting because of the clear physical benefits, aside from the spiritual benefits. You’d have to read the book for details, but the fasting the author speaks of is more intense than what Catholics might do on Good Friday or Ash Wednesday. I suppose one could say it’s about breaking a food addiction.
To make the thinking “visible”, I put some of this information into what I like to call a troubleshooting triangle that looks like this:
Here’s a simple example…
Conventional wisdom would say the problem of obesity looks like this, but this is greatly flawed per the Obesity Code and has been leading people astray for many years.…
The problem is actually like this…
If you or someone you know struggles with obesity, you might want to check out the book. I think it’s revolutionary in my humble, yet professional opinion.