Jason Fung, the author of The Obesity Code, is a doctor with a fire in his belly.
I first came across Jason’s work in January 2015 after watching his “How to Reverse Diabetes Naturally” video which has now had more than 600,000 views. I then consumed his Intensive Dietary Management blog.
Jason Fung’s primary thesis is that constantly elevated levels of insulin drive by our modern processed diet will lead to insulin resistance which in turn causes obesity and a host of metabolic issues. Jason says that fasting, not more medication, or even a low carb diet, is the most aggressive way to reverse insulin resistance.
Jason has developed a significant following in a short amount of time due to the fact that he has joined a few fundamental dots when it comes to diabetes, weight loss and insulin. He also doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to communicating the message that people who are producing too much insulin due to hyperinsulinemia and obesity probably don’t need any more insulin.
You may think of Jason as ‘that fasting guy who says insulin is bad’ however his work is much more extensive and comprehensive. Inspired by a hunger to understand the situation and how he can help his patients, he created a massive six-part six-hour Aetiology of Obesity series and an extensive blog for his patients.
The Etiology of Obesity series on YouTube is not just about insulin or fasting. It’s a comprehensive review of a plethora of relevant research and theories in the areas of nutrition, weight loss and obesity.
But why has a busy nephrologist (kidney specialist) gone to all this effort when he could be making a lot more money treating sick people? It seems he got fed up with treating symptoms and wanted to start addressing the upstream root cause of the diseases that his patients were suffering with.
Jason’s new book The Obesity Code is not just about fasting, it’s about the full aetiology (causation or origin) of obesity. He has done an excellent job of setting out the multiple facets of how obesity develops so we can gain a better understanding of what we can do to remedy obesity.
If there’s one drawback of his videos and previous work, it’s that the production quality of the lectures for his patients doesn’t do justice to the quality of the content. Jason’s new book, The Obesity Code is a polished, professional product that sets out all the research that’s gone into his videos and blog into one cohesive, comprehensive piece of work.
There are many factors that affect our metabolic health and lead to obesity. Jason delves into each one and joins the dots between them.
In chapter two Jason talks about the genetic factors that influence insulin resistance.
In chapter three he talks about how the body adapts to energy restriction and thwarts our weight loss endeavours.
In chapter four he talks about how exercise makes us hungry and also doesn’t reliably lead to weight loss.
He talks about how we are educated by food marketing to eat all the time, thus keeping insulin and blood glucose levels high.
And on he goes through insulin, cortisol, the pros and cons of low carb, hyper palatable foods etc etc etc.
In the end, you need to address the thermostat, or the set point, which is controlled by the master hormone insulin. Intermittent fasting is the most effective way to lower insulin and restore insulin sensitivity.
Jason covers a wide range of topics thoroughly, logically and with extensive research and references. This is practically a textbook on the different facets of the subject that is easy to read and engaging for the educated layman.
It was Jason’s observation about the food insulin index, and the effect of protein and fibre that, after watching his video series, sent me down the rabbit hole to develop the concepts of ‘insulin load’ and ‘percentage of insulinogenic calories’. I wanted to formularise them to see how we could apply them to identify foods that would reduce insulin.
At the time scoured the Intensive Dietary Management blog looking for recommended foods to align with Jason’s lower insulin load approach but found nothing. I have now created a range of lower insulin load food lists that will align with different goals, sort of an Obesity Code Diet Plan if you will. The table below will help you find the ideal foods for you based on your current blood glucose control and your weight loss goals.
I am also appreciative that Jason has referred many to optimising nutrition in search of low insulin load foods. So, I extend a big “thank you” to Jason for inspiring me and supporting me in this adventure into the blogosphere.
Back in November 2015 I had the privilege to present at Low Carb Down Under events in Melbourne and Brisbane. While I was a bit out of my comfort zone stepping out from behind the keyboard, it was a great opportunity to share some thoughts from the blog and meet some amazing people.
managing insulin to optimise nutrition
The first video, Managing Insulin to Optimise Nutrition, outlines my take on the Food Insulin Index and how we can use it to rank foods based on their insulin demand. To date the article, the most ketogenic diet foods, has received more than 125,000 views and the video has been viewed more than 3000 times. I hope the video will help to get the word out there more about what I think is a very useful concept!
Thanks again to Dr Rod Tayler for the labour of love that is LCDU and to Peter Williams who is a gentleman and the consummate professional with his video production. Together they have not only facilitated some great events but have also created a massive free resource of online videos.