With the publication of The Obesity Code (2016), we can confront the worrisome worldwide increase in obesity and ask what we can do to reduce the dangers to our health. To begin, Jason Fung believes that it is essential to dispel widespread misunderstandings regarding the causes of obesity, starting with the outdated notion that all dietary fats are to blame. The newest research must be scrutinized carefully, and the root cause of the problem must be addressed: insulin resistance..
Who is it that reads the book The Obesity Code?
- Anyone who is interested in losing weight
- Doctors and dietitians are on the case.
- Both food producers and consumers are concerned about the environment.
Who exactly is Jason Fung?
Jason Fung, a kidney specialist and the director of the Intensive Dietary Management program at Scarborough Hospital in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, has over a decade of experience. Fung is a well-known specialist on type 2 diabetes and obesity, and he is also the author of many books, including The Diabetes Code, The Longevity Solution, and The Complete Guide to Fasting (all available on Amazon).
What exactly is in it for me? Learn the real story of obesity by watching this video.
Obesity is often attributed to an excessive intake of calories. It is only one of hundreds of myths that have been instilled in us since we were young, according to Jason Fung, who calls it the "caloric fixation." They are not only founded on flawed research, but they are also directly responsible for everything from fruitless yo-yo diets to the fact that the real causes of obesity stay undiagnosed for far too long. These notes lay many of these old misconceptions to rest and get to the core of the matter in a straightforward manner. Based on the most recent medical studies, they demonstrate that the majority of fats are an important component of a balanced diet and that refined sugar and carbs are the primary drivers of obesity. Why? It all boils down to one hormone, insulin, which is responsible for regulating a wide range of physiological functions.
And it is the workings of that hormone that Fung investigates in his book. Once we have a clear understanding of the facts, we can begin to take measures to preserve our health and prevent obesity. So keep reading to find out what the most recent research has to say about the age-old nature vs nurture argument; why you should avoid snacking and instead fast between meals; and what makes impoverished individuals more prone to obesity and other health problems.
Obesity is more closely associated with genetic characteristics than with social environment.
Obesity is often portrayed as a nature vs nurture issue, as is the case with many other societal issues. So, what exactly is the root cause of obesity - is it a result of people's metabolisms or their way of living? It's possible that the answer may surprise you: according to the most recent study, social environments are not the main driver of obesity in children.
We know this because of scientific research of environmental variables that have an impact on children as they grow and develop. Adopted children and their families are the greatest example of how essential they are to determine their importance. That is precisely what Albert J. Stunkard accomplished. In 1986, the New England Journal of Medicine published his findings on adopted children in Denmark, which he conducted himself. What is it about Denmark that interests you? Because the nation is very good at maintaining accurate adoption records, Stunkard had little trouble comparing his subject's adopted and biological parents when he conducted his research.
Stunkard demonstrated that there was absolutely no relationship between the weight of these juveniles and the weight of their adoptive parents. This demonstrated that environmental variables had little or no influence on whether or not children grew fat. The findings of the research came as a complete surprise. Before then, the default assumption was that the social environment was the most significant element when it comes to obesity. However, that premise was proven incorrect. The notion that childhood exposure to junk food was a contributing factor to obesity has been disproved.
Genetic factors were the only ones remaining. Stunkard, on the other hand, didn't simply reject an old idea. In addition, he presented data in support of a novel theory. The results of his study revealed a significant connection between the weight of adopted children and the weight of their biological parents: the offspring of fat parents were considerably more likely to become obese themselves, even if they had grown up in a household where everyone else was quite slim. Several years later, in 1991, Stunkard released a follow-up research that placed a monetary value on his claims. According to his recent study, hereditary variables are responsible for about 70% of a person's risk of becoming obese throughout his or her lifetime.
Understanding obesity necessitates taking into account both caloric expenditure and caloric intake.
People have a natural tendency to think that weight reduction is only dependent on how much they consume. Reduce your caloric consumption, the reasoning goes, and your weight will drop as a consequence. That seems fairly reasonable, doesn't it? There's only one issue with that - it's just not true. Indeed, there is no link between calorie consumption and obesity in terms of a causative connection. A contributing factor to this misunderstanding is that there is a link between increased calorie consumption and increased obesity rates. According to the Mortality and Morbidity Report by Doctors J. D. Wright and J. Kennedy, released in 2004, calorie intake in the United States rose by an average of 250 calories per person per day between 1971 and 2000, with the greatest rise occurring between 1971 and 2000. However, this was not the root cause of obesity in the United States.
Take it from U. Ladabaum, a physician who released a research in the American Journal of Medicine in 2014 demonstrating that this connection was not causative. It seems that between 1990 and 2010, the average calorie consumption did not increase, according to Ladabaum's statistics. Obesity, on the other hand, continues to rise at a rate of 0.37 percent each year. So, what exactly is going on here? Simply decreasing your total calorie consumption will not be sufficient to assist you in losing weight on its own. The explanation for this is straightforward: bodyweight is determined not only by the number of calories you consume, but also by the number of calories you burn. In other words, calorie production is equally as essential as calorie intake.
It is this misunderstanding that leads us to another: the belief that the calories we eat are immediately transformed into fat. The evidence simply does not support this claim. When it comes down to it, calories are needed for a variety of purposes, including the production of heat as well as proteins and bone and muscle tissue, as well as feeding your brain and raising the volume and pace of your pulse. Your body uses the calories you eat for a variety of purposes, fat formation being only one of them. Obesity, on the other hand, is not an issue caused by overeating; rather, it is a problem caused by excessive energy consumption. Some people's body will turn calories into fat, while others will simply grow larger bones and muscles, or utilize the energy to improve their attention and focus more effectively. And the interesting thing about calories is that they are considered socially harmful only after they have been consumed for the first time.
Lowering the metabolic rate and energy expenditure as a result of reducing calorie intake is beneficial.
Consider the consequences of drastically reducing your calorie intake while maintaining the same level of energy expenditure. You'd certainly perish! As a result, when you consume less calories, your body lowers its total energy expenditure. We've been aware of this for some time. Consider the results of a famous research performed in 1919 at the Carnegie Institute in Washington, D.C. A rigorous diet was instituted, with each participant consuming somewhere between 1,400 and 2,100 calories per day, which was a decrease of about 30% compared to their previous diets. They were interested in seeing what kind of impact this might have on their physical bodies, so they recruited volunteers.
As a consequence, what happened? The energy consumption of the subjects decreased as well. It dropped by about 30%, from 3,000 to 1,960 calories per day, a reduction of approximately 30%. Their new diet didn't result in any substantial weight reduction; instead, it just reduced the amount of energy their bodies were spending to maintain their weight. One method in which bodies decrease their energy consumption is by slowing their metabolic rates, which has a variety of negative consequences for other physiological processes. In 1945, Ancel Keys, a Minnesota-based doctor, performed studies that demonstrated this to be the case. Starvation was a topic that piqued Keys' attention since it was an issue that scientists and politicians predicted would grow more severe in the postwar years. In order to examine its effects, he drastically decreased the caloric intake of his patients.
His research discovered that this did not result in weight reduction, as Keys had predicted, but rather in the subjects' frequent complaints that they were feeling chilly. Because their metabolic rate – which, among other things, controls body temperature – had decreased by 40%, they were experiencing this feeling as a result of their condition. They had also experienced a significant slowing of their pulse, which had dropped from 54 beats per minute to only 34. The activity of their brains, on the other hand, revealed indications of severe damage, which explained their lethargy and difficulty to focus. This just serves to demonstrate that restricting calorie intake is not a realistic solution to weight problems. Why? Caloric intake is not the devil that it is often portrayed to be, though. In the next note, we'll take a deeper look at who the actual perpetrator is.
High insulin levels are the true cause of obesity, but the precise mechanism by which this occurs is yet unknown.
Putting on weight is a simple process. The most efficient method to pack on the pounds, according to common perception, is not to indulge in binge eating sessions. To gain weight quickly, all you need to do is inject yourself with insulin, a hormone that your body already generates in large amounts. The primary culprit in the development of obesity is insulin, or rather elevated insulin levels and the hormonal imbalances that result from them. According to a research conducted by L. C. Kong in 2013, this is true. Following Kong's study, it has been shown that decreased insulin levels are directly responsible for about 75% of all effective weight-loss attempts. The research conducted by Kong also shown that medicines that increase people's insulin levels promote weight gain, while treatments that have the reverse effect produce weight reduction.
The most important thing to remember in this situation is that your body is not under your conscious control. So, who, or rather what, is the actual driver behind the wheel? In a nutshell, hormones are to blame. It is these regulatory chemicals that are responsible for your feelings. Ghrelin, for example, is a hormone that causes you to feel hungry. Leptin, on the other hand, informs your body when you've eaten enough food. And it is at this point when insulin comes into play. After a particular level of insulin is reached in your system, your hormonal balance is disrupted, which may result in behaviors such as overeating and binge eating.
Having said that, the precise mechanism by which elevated insulin levels are linked to obesity is still a bit of a mystery. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and obesity specialist located in California, proposed in 2004 that insulin interferes with leptin's ability to perform its regular metabolic functions. That seems to be a reasonable hypothesis. The way it works is as follows.
According to Lustig, the hormone leptin rises when a meal is consumed. This signals to your brain that you have consumed sufficient calories. The same is true if you have recently gained weight and your body fat percentage has increased: the leptin hormone produced by your body inhibits your hunger and promotes weight reduction. When you look at fat patients, on the other hand, you will frequently discover that the reverse is true. Because their leptin levels drop after meals, they are unable to experience the sensation of satiety - the sensation of being satisfied. Because there is no natural feedback system, they are able to continue consuming. However, despite the fact that their body fat levels are increasing, their leptin levels remain low. Lustig's theory indicates a possible link between insulin and obesity, however it is still untested in the lack of rigorous experimental data supporting it.
In between-meal snacking raises insulin levels and increases the risk of developing insulin resistance.
Oprah Winfrey has battled with her weight in front of the whole world. After dropping more than 60 pounds in 1988, she began to gain weight once again the following year. Since then, she has gone through a pattern that is familiar to everyone who has attempted a variety of diets at some time in their lives: losing and gaining weight in an unending loop. So, what is it about dieting that makes it so difficult? High insulin levels, it seems, are to blame for the problem. Insulin resistance eventually develops as a result of this. But first, let's take a deeper look at the substance known as insulin in general.
Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for extracting sugar from your circulation and storing it in your body's cells, thus controlling your blood sugar levels. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. When you consume carbs and sweets, your body responds by producing more insulin to cope with the influx of glucose. Eating a disproportionate amount of sugary or carbohydrate-rich meals may put this delicate process out of balance.
Your cells ultimately become insulin resistant as a result of this condition. What this translates to is that your cells grow resistant to the insulin hormone receptors and cease to take in sugar molecules from your bloodstream. As a consequence, individuals who are insulin resistant have a far more difficult time reducing weight. As a consequence, their cells only absorb a tiny fraction of the carbohydrates they have eaten and are continuously clamoring for more food, which results in increased weight. That's also why even the most effective diets inevitably fail since the majority of individuals eventually cave in to their bodies' cravings for food.
Snacking in between meals is a major contributor to elevated insulin levels in the body. Why? Each little food, on the other hand, causes a spike in insulin production. If you're continuously snacking in between meals, your body will be constantly generating medium to high amounts of insulin, which is bad for your health. That's an issue since, in a perfect world, your body would have regular times of low insulin levels, which would be beneficial. It is only feasible to do so if you fast for about four to five hours following a meal, giving your body a chance to decrease the increase in insulin production that occurs just before your next meal.
Obesity and poverty are associated with one another, and this is partly due to agricultural subsidies.
When it came to their thinness, the lowest strata in society were pitied in the past since it was assumed that it was a reflection of the fact that they were often malnourished. Over time, thinness gained popularity as a desired characteristic. Obesity, on the other hand, is now more closely linked with poverty than with income. In today's culture, there is a significant connection between fat and poverty, and this isn't simply a figurative representation.
Take, for example, the Pima people, who are Native Americans who mainly reside in southern regions such as Arizona. Generally speaking, their communities are impoverished, and about half of all people are overweight or obese. It wasn't always this way, however. According to the historical data that we have, the Pima were strong and vigorous agriculturalists and hunters throughout most of the nineteenth century, according to the historical evidence that we have. Following the settlement of colonists on their territory and the disruption of their way of life, things began to deteriorate for them.
As they tried to adjust to the new culture that was forming around them, their eating habits altered as a result. White sugar and processed carbs such as wheat and maize, which may be found in pasta and cereals, have suddenly become mainstays in the American diet. It's no surprise, given that they're usually inexpensive and simple to store. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most common causes of insulin resistance in the population. As the Pima tried to find their place in a society that discriminated against them, they slipped into poverty and grew more dependent on staples such as corn and beans. Across the United States, this is a pattern that has been repeated over and over. Marginalized communities and groups are often confronted with poverty and forced to rely on low-cost, processed foods in order to survive. For this reason, obese people are disproportionately prevalent in less wealthy regions such as Mississippi.
So, why are sugar, maize, and wheat so much less expensive than more nutrient-dense options like vegetables and fruits? Because of the way the United States government subsidizes farmers who produce these products, to begin with, Consider the findings of a 2011 research conducted by the United States Public Interest Research Group. It revealed that a staggering 29 percent of all subsidies were allocated toward maize production, with a further 12 percent going to help wheat farmers maintain their incomes. By providing artificially low prices for refined foods, they have become much more cheap than other foods such as fruits and vegetables (for example). It's no surprise that these items dominate the diets of America's poorest people, and that obesity is rampant in the country's worst neighborhoods!
Dietary fats are not harmful - with the noteworthy exception of trans fats that have been changed.
During the second part of the twentieth century, obesity became widely recognized as a public health problem. Experts and laypeople alike came to the same apparently logical conclusion: people were gaining too much weight because they were consuming too much fat. There was just one issue with this theory: it was completely incorrect. In reality, the majority of dietary lipids are not harmful in any way. Despite the popular belief that fats were to fault, there has been evidence to suggest that this is not the case for quite some time. To illustrate, consider the findings of a 1948 research performed by Harvard scientists in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts.
The researchers were aware of the link between high cholesterol and heart disease, but they were interested in learning more about the factors that contributed to the increase in cholesterol levels in the first place. Their working theory, to be precise? Dietary fat must be the source of the problem. According to the findings of the study, there is no link between consuming significant quantities of dietary fats and having higher cholesterol levels, and the researchers were unable to confirm this. Nonetheless, the notion that fats must be to fault had become so ingrained that scientists were simply unable to accept the findings of their own research that disproved this association. Once again claiming that there was little to no connection, a second group published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1981, ignoring their own data and coming to the exact opposite conclusion as their predecessors.
Today, there is little question that the findings of these previous research were accurate, even though their authors had a difficult time admitting it at the time. Does this imply that you may consume dietary fats without having to worry about your health? As is usually the case, there is an exception that confirms the rule: trans fats that have been changed. These are very harmful to your health. Please take a closer look at these individuals. Your undoubtedly heard of saturated fats - its name comes from the fact that their molecules are saturated with hydrogen, which prevents them from deteriorating as rapidly in the presence of oxygen and heat as polyunsaturated fats. However, although the majority of vegetable oils are naturally polyunsaturated, the majority of vegetable oil products such as margarine are chemically saturated in order to prolong their shelf life. It is for this reason that they are referred to as modified trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
There's no denying their value, but there's also plenty of data to indicate that you're better off avoiding them altogether. Take, for example, a 1990 study conducted by Dutch academics. According to their findings, modified trans fats raise bad cholesterol while simultaneously lowering good cholesterol. This was confirmed in a follow-up research, which revealed that a two percent increase in modified trans fat intake raised the risk of heart disease by 23 percent.
Sugar consumption should be reduced in order to decrease the risk of obesity, and coffee is not as harmful as you may assume.
By this point, you may be asking what all of this implies in terms of your diet: what foods should you consume, and which foods should you stay away from altogether? So, here's the key takeaway: the issue isn't dietary fat; rather, the problem is added sugar. reducing your sugar intake can also help you to reduce your chances of becoming obese by a significant amount Examine this devilishly delicious health danger in more detail.
Sugar accomplishes a number of things that increase the likelihood of obesity and associated health problems: First and foremost, it raises your insulin levels, which, as we have seen, ultimately results in insulin resistance, particularly in the liver. This is due to the fact that sugar, also known as sucrose, includes a sugar known as fructose, which is a kind of sugar that can only be absorbed by the liver. When you eat an excessive amount of this material, your liver is unable to keep up and starts converting fructose into fatty acids.. This, in turn, raises the likelihood of developing insulin resistance and interfering with normal digestive processes.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the only substance that is worse for you than sugar. In contrast to regular sugar, which is composed of equal amounts of glucose and fructose, high-fructose corn syrup is composed entirely of the latter — thus the name. As a result, it is much more harmful to your liver. Consequently, if you want to decrease your risk of becoming obese, start by reducing your intake of sugar. However, keep in mind that sugar may be found in the most unlikely of places, so always read labels before purchasing. Please do not buy anything that includes a lot of sugar or any high fructose corn syrup from the store shelf!
It is not necessary to deprive oneself of pleasures in order to maintain good health. So here's the silver lining: coffee isn't always harmful to your health. The fact that caffeine has no harmful side effects may seem strange considering the continuous debates over caffeine's alleged dangers, yet there is solid data to support this assertion. As an example, consider the results of a 2005 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It was discovered that coffee has more beneficial benefits than negative ones. The reason for this is because it is high in antioxidants, which delay the aging process in cells, and also contains magnesium, which is beneficial to your bones and heart.
Other studies, including those performed in 2008 and 2012, have shown a connection between coffee consumption and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Although these studies seem promising, it's probably better not to start guzzling liters of coffee every day just yet since they're not conclusive. So losing weight isn't as simple as dramatically lowering your calorie consumption and increasing your physical activity. Reduced intake of foods that increase insulin levels, particularly sweets and refined carbs, as well as avoidance of continuous snacking, make a significant impact.
These notes convey the following important message: Obesity is a public health issue in the industrialized world, and it is on the increase. But here's the rub: decades of just-so tales have led us down the wrong road, with their assertions that the solution is fast weight reduction and avoiding dietary fats as the only options. In reality, obesity is mostly a hereditary problem that is related to insulin levels. Instead of fat itself, the actual problem is the incorrect types of fat — modified trans fats – and highly processed carbs and sweets, which contribute to insulin resistance and weight gain. Reduce your intake of these foods and you will be far less likely to be at risk for obesity and associated health problems. Advice that can be put into action: Try intermittent fasting to see how it works for you. Fasting is frequently a very effective method of lowering insulin levels and preventing insulin resistance from developing. Of course, the best way to choose when and how frequently to fast is to consult with your doctor, but here are a few suggestions to get you started. Fasting one day per week is one alternative. This involves abstaining from eating but making sure to be well hydrated with a liquid breakfast of water or tea, additional hot drinks, and vegetable broth for lunch. By the time dinnertime rolls around, you'll want something light and filling to eat - preferably, some protein and healthy veggies. Carbohydrates and sugars should not be included. The next day, return to your normal eating schedule. If you maintain this regimen for a period of time, your insulin levels will be significantly reduced.
Written by BrookPad Team based on The Obesity Code by Jason Fung