Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss (Why Intermittent Fasting Is the Key to Controlling Your Weight)
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It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to go all out and claim that we are smack right in the middle of an obesity epidemic. Despite all the diet advice available, we seem to be getting fatter. Jason Fung seems interested in bringing a new perspective to the conversation on obesity with his bestseller- The Obesity Code.
Jason Fung’s Perspective
Dr. Jason Fung is the world’s leading expert on intermittent fasting and a low-carb diet, especially for individuals looking to treat type 2 diabetes. He has written three best-selling health books and co-founded the Intensive Dietary Management Program. He is the proprietor of thefastingmethod.com and occasionally collaborates with Team Diet Doctor on fasting-related topics. His goal appears to simply be offering people the knowledge to help with intermittent fasting for improvement of general health, which is part of his work within The Obesity Code.
In this best-selling book, The Obesity Code, Dr. Fung sets out the original and well-supported theory of obesity. The tenet within the book is the provision of brand-new insights into how proper nutrition and weight loss are functions of hormones. Previously, we assumed this was due to not exercising and the intake and outtake of calories as originally thought out. Dr. Fung’s main focus seems to be primarily on insulin and how this powerful hormone appears to be the key to regulating one’s metabolism. Specifically, the book delves into insulin levels and how we essentially end up developing “insulin resistance,” which makes us fat.
Dr. Fung’s theories lean on the latest scientific research into the relationship between nutrition and obesity. This book encompasses a straightforward and accessible step-by-step guide on losing weight and rebooting one’s health. Further, this book doesn’t simply talk about numbers on scales. You’ll learn how to prevent obesity best and what is fundamental to your journey of potentially evading obesity.
StoryShot #1: The Obesity Epidemic
The first key takeaway is how obesity is an ever-present epidemic. Kidney specialists define obesity as being overweight to the point that weight has negative health consequences. He reiterates that to reverse said negative effects, you must lose weight.
He notes that most doctors and dieticians prescribe eating fewer calories and burning even more calories as the primary means of weight loss. These calories originate from the food we eat. A calorie refers to the units of energy calculated by burning foods in the lab and measuring the amount of heat released.
As you read through, you get a preview of the history of counting calories. Specifically, this practice began in the early 1900s with a series of bestsellers that pointed readers toward how calories were responsible for weight gain. These books primarily advised that the best way to lose weight was to cut the calories.
This idea couldn’t be more far-fetched. These earlier theories are thought of solely as calorie-focused diets or caloric diets. The main idea within these theories is that the reason you can’t lose weight is that you essentially eat a lot more than is necessary, and you are lazy.
The simple truth is that this is far from the case.
The opening paragraph reminisced the late 1970s when calories seemed to have got a pass. The new dietary enemy in town was officially fat. The latter causes heart diseases and obesity and, as such, becomes the new thing to avoid.
Everyone seemed to adopt a low-fat, high-carb diet in response to this new finding. The basis of the food pyramid soon shifted to bread, pasta, and potatoes. For decades, this high-carb diet has become the healthier solution.
Dr. Fung seems to set a new precedence. Calories and fat are no longer the cause of weight gain. Specifically, he pays homage to your hormones as the primary driver of weight gain.
Overall, the foods we eat contribute significantly to our hormones. What’s more, genetics link significant weight gain to our parents. However, you ought to avoid overstating the role of genetics when trying to understand what causes obesity.
Concisely, hormones are the primary drivers of how your body fat regulates. These control how much fat you store, where it ultimately grows, and how your body ends up using it for the future.
Overall, the main idea is that weight management goes beyond just keeping tabs on the calories you intake and ultimately lose.
StoryShot #2: The 5 False Assumptions about Calories
The second chapter in The Obesity Code deciphers the calorie deception.
The first of the five false assumptions is that you can cut calories and increase calories by exercising. This calorie-deficit diet is often not sustainable, and most will inevitably fail at it. While you are likely to see an initial weight loss, you are likely not to experience any long-term changes. If you cut incoming calories, you will eventually have to end up cutting the calories you burn.
The second fallacy is how it is that your metabolic rate is steady. This false idea comes from the deep-founded belief that you regularly burn a certain amount of calories. However, this belief fails to take into account all the variables of your metabolism. You need to be aware of your total baseline energy expenditure, which can go up and down 50%, every factor considered.
The third assumption about calories is the idea that we cannot control calorie storage. This idea seems to be based on the belief that since we take the time to eat, we assume that we can control our eating habits. However, our bodies are the primary driving factors in when we eat and the quantities we intake. The latter equates to breathing as body-fat regulation is, in fact, automatic. You essentially do not have to think about it.
The fourth is that fat growth unexplainably happens. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, nothing in our bodies accidentally happens. You’ve got to be aware of the fact that hormones control everything within our bodies. The latter is responsible for interfering in every single body system.
The biggest of the five assumptions is that a calorie is just a calorie. You ought to understand that not all calories are the same. The different building blocks, that is, proteins, fats, and carbs, all contain calories, and your body uses these in different ways. Each stimulates a different hormone, thus uniquely contributing to obesity.
StoryShot #3: Hormones and Not Calories Are to Blame for Obesity
The premise within the third section of the book is that hormonal imbalance is, in fact, responsible for obesity.
Understand that hormones are the molecules that deliver messages to the cells. An example you’ll encounter is how insulin tends to communicate to the human cells when to take glucose out of the blood and utilize it as energy.
To achieve the passing of this message from the human cell to the blood and vice versa, a hormone must first attach to the target cell by binding on the cell surface using receptors.
Insulin takes the most significant chunk of the discussion within this third section. It is more than just important as it pertains to the regulation of blood sugar. High insulin levels encourage fat storage, while the reverse is responsible for fat burning. What’s more, when the insulin level is high over an extended period, it is likely to result in the body storing additional fat, subject to where exactly your body accumulates all its extra fat.
There seems to be quite an insistence on the importance of insulin. It is possible to actually make you gain weight simply by prescribing you insulin. The fact is that the hormone is powerful enough to essentially outweigh what you eat or how many times you get in a workout. The overriding idea is that too much insulin over an extended time will most likely make you obese and all-around unhealthy.
Numerous studies and research back this theory. An interesting point is how regardless of the mode of insulin intake, either via injection, medication, or through food choices, high insulin levels for an extended period of time will ultimately lead to a greater storage of fat. The reverse is also true. The moment insulin levels are reduced, your body automatically stops the process of fat storage, and ultimately, you lose weight.
StoryShot #4: Social Factors Contributing to Obesity
While basic biology is the leading factor of obesity, there are social factors that make it hard for you to lose weight.
The influence of the food industry is clear. For starters, said industry offers you endless options best described as triggering messaging.
The ground-breaking idea is that it all comes down to money. Essentially, big companies and corporations monetize your food choices. This is to say that these companies will sell you what’s considered profitable to them. This might be despite their awareness of the health implications it could potentially have and how it could lead to obesity.
As part of the explanation for the bold, and otherwise outright statements, there are three myths peddled by the food industry.
The first is that snacking is good for your health. The other is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and lastly that adding fruits and vegetables to your diet makes it a healthy option.
Think of it. This is, in fact, a lie. Big companies and corporations design these to help them sell their products.
An additional aspect you need to be aware of is the tie between socioeconomic status and obesity. Specifically, this idea calls your attention to the fact that the states with the highest poverty levels also seem to have the highest levels of obesity.
The reason for this profound statistic is that the cheapest and most filling foods will often be refined carbohydrates. These end up being the cheapest, seeing as there are agricultural subsidies for corn and wheat growers.
The underlying idea at the end of this section is that there seems to be state-sponsored obesity that appears to target the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
StoryShot #5: Carbohydrates Are the Secret Assassin in Our Diets
At the climax, you get to view carbohydrates as the secret assassin within our diets. These carbohydrates drive up blood sugar, which consequently increases insulin levels. Over time, these high amounts of insulin lead to increased fat storage and, ultimately, weight gain.
Sugar is the chief villain. This component is primarily glucose and fructose. This drastically drives up blood sugar levels. The body is then forced to churn out more insulin, which contributes to sugar getting into the cells. The latter, fructose, has a different effect. It would appear that our cells do not particularly like fructose. This component is different from glucose. Specifically, it directly goes to the liver instead of getting stored in the cells. The liver then breaks the fructose down and ultimately stores the excess as fat.
The result is often a fatty liver which contributes to insulin resistance. The latter causes your body to produce higher insulin levels, which causes a significant spike in insulin levels. The effect is an even greater storage of fat in the liver and an even greater insulin resistance.
Overall, this is a bleak scenario. Basically, your liver is constantly fighting for its life due to your carbohydrate intake. The remedy is that you are better off cutting sugar out of your diet. The impact would be that your insulin levels will essentially come down, which ultimately causes a significant weight loss.
A great titbit is how it would be a complete fallacy to assume that you could completely eliminate sugar from your diet. Chemical sweeteners seem to be in most of the foods we consume and crave for. The hope is that you could alternate your craving with healthier options.
An additional tip is the use of the glycemic index to help with the breaking down of good carbs and bad carbs. The idea is that when a carb has a high glycemic index and load score, it is likely to have the greatest impact on your blood sugar. Ultimately, this means greater insulin levels.
You want to avoid high glycemic foods like white bread, processed cereals, soft drinks, and candy for low glycemic index foods like vegetables and some fruits, much as some might contain carbohydrates.
StoryShot #6: The Solution to Obesity
An opening statement for the solutions section of The Obesity Code starts with a reminder from Dr. Fung that essentially all diets work and fail in equal measure. As for why they fail, for the weight loss to be permanent, you have to lose weight until you reach your body’s set weight. In essence, this then resets your brain’s ‘fat thermostat.’
Steps to achieve the above include:
- Reduction of added sugars, simple carbs, and highly processed grains.
- Make proteins 30% of your total calories.
- Intake of natural fats.
- Increasing beneficial foods, such as fiber and vinegar.
But this is only one part of the solution.
The problem is that often, at the point of obesity, your body has already had long-term insulin resistance. Your body will also adopt additional mechanisms that make losing weight a near impossibility.
To offset this situation, consider fasting. You can fast for a full day or break this up into intermittent fasting according to your eating habits. The primary idea is to extend the periods without eating. You’ve got to extend your fasting window as far as you possibly can to achieve autography.
Additionally, exclude foods that cause insulin resistance from your diet. You want to cut back on added sugars, processed foods, and simple carbs. In their place, consider increasing your fats, fibers, and vinegar intake. The ultimate diet would be a low-carb, mid-protein diet full of healthy fats and fiber.
Final Summary and Review of the Obesity Code
The Obesity Code is a timely read that offers insight into what has slowly evolved into an epidemic in today’s society- obesity. It delves into the current myths on weight loss and offers incredible insights into factors that lead to obesity.
A review of key takeaways includes:
- A calorie deficit is not a primary driver for weight loss.
- Carbohydrate, and particularly sugar, is responsible for excessive weight gain.
- The food industry is partly responsible for the increase in obesity.
- Hormones, specifically insulin, are responsible for weight gain and integral to weight loss.
- Low-carb, mid-protein diets are best if weight loss is the goal.
- Intermittent fasting is crucial in keeping insulin at the optimum levels.
- Substitute added sugars, processed foods, and simple carbs with healthy fats, fibers, and vinegar.
- Avoid high glycemic foods like white bread, processed cereals, and soft drinks.
- Snacking is not good for you; breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. Adding fruits and vegetables to your meals doesn’t make them ultimately healthy.
- Both basic biology and socioeconomic factors are equally responsible for obesity.
Overall, The Obesity Code is a great read and, as such, warrants a 9/10 rating.
What did you learn from the book summary of The Obesity Code? What was your favorite takeaway? Is there an important insight that we missed? Comment below or tweet to us STORYSHOTS.