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125: Dr. Jason Fung — On Cracking “The Obesity Code” – Making Better Food Choices and Eating Less

By January 26, 2018Podcasts
Reading Time: 6 minutes
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Dr. Jason Fung

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Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play
Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play
Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play
Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play


Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist and a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and LCHF (low carb, high fat), especially for treating people with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes. Dr. Jason Fung earned his medical degree and did his residency at the University of Toronto before heading to UCLA for his fellowship in nephrology. In addition to his practice as a kidney specialist, Dr. Fung is currently the scientific editor of the Journal of Insulin Resistance.

After treating thousands of patients, it became clear to Dr. Fung that we are losing the battle against the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity. The traditional dietary recommendations – to reduce dietary fat and calories – were clearly ineffective, so he founded the Intensive Dietary Management Program (IDM Program) to provide a unique treatment focus for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Dr. Fung believes that, rather than focusing on medications, the focus needs to be on simple, effective dietary changes.

In Dr. Fung’s first book, The Obesity Code, he explores the underlying causes of obesity and recommends effective strategies that target the root causes of weight gain. His second book, The Complete Guide to Fasting, is a practical guide to fasting, including fasting regimens, what to expect, and how to deal with problems.

Without any plan to have Dr. Fung on the podcast, I got a copy of his book. After getting half-way in, I was so compelled by his research, expertise, and recommendations, I reached out to invite him to be a guest on the podcast. He’s a traditional doctor with a non-traditional message – give your body a break from insulin by getting off the carbs and not eating so frequently. It’s a message many, many more of us need to hear.

Take out your pen and piece of paper, take notes, and share his message with others. Then give it a whirl to see if and how it works for you. I’ll bet in looking back on it that you’ll be thankful you did!

Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

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This episode is brought to you by The Good Kitchen.
125: Dr. Jason Fung — Author of The Obesity Code

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Episode Notes – #125: Dr. Jason Fung

  • The Atkins Diet paradox – Why would a diet like this (high protein, high fat, low carb) work when it was the opposite of what every other professional, academic and doctor was saying and recommending?
  • Why established medical practitioners are reluctant to change – ever.
  • If the Atkins Diet was so much better for weight loss, why wasn’t anyone else recommending it?
  • Why would doctors be recommending a high carb diet when these foods raise blood sugar the most?
  • 5 years ago, almost no doctor would even entertain a conversation about fasting.
  • Fasting is a therapeutic tool – it’s not necessarily good or bad – depends on the application.
  • Another paradox – there has been no research or science behind the recommendation to eat 5-6x per day, and yet, its what is generally accepted in today’s world as “right”.
  • Why your grandmother was right… don’t snack before dinner (or lunch).
  • Some athletes find that they perform better in a fasted state.
  • Why the act of eating doesn’t give you energy.
  • How food companies benefit from the “snack regularly” and eat more often message – and why they pay for advertising to make sure we don’t forget it.
  • Why the concept of calories is useless – your body has no idea what a “calorie” is.
  • But your body knows what to do when you digest sugar – store fat.
  • How companies like Coca-Cola changed the conversation from sugar causing weight gain to energy balance – you can (according to them) eat whatever you want as long as you exercise.
  • Why the calories in vs. calories out equation doesn’t work – it’s all about hormones
  • How we’ve overridden the body’s strong mechanisms to prevent weight gain
  • Insulin tells the body to store fat. Refined carbs have the greatest impact on insulin levels.
  • If you lower your insulin levels (through diet or fasting), your body can then access fat stores and stop storing fat
  • How baseline levels of insulin circulating in your bloodstream is the best indicator of potential weight gain.
  • 2 basic questions: What to eat? When to eat?
  • Insulin is the key regulator. If you eat foods that stimulate insulin release, you’ll gain weight.
  • All foods stimulate insulin to varying degrees.
  • Of two meals of equal calories, the one higher in sugar content will stimulate a higher insulin response. They are not equal just because the calories are equal.
  • Fasting is about controlling insulin, not about reducing calories
  • Insulin resistance comes from continued high levels of insulin. You can reset this by having periods of very low insulin – and the way to get the lowest levels of insulin is through fasting.
  • How the feeding/fasting cycle works
  • Does eating fat during a fast affect the effectiveness of the fast?
  • What are the benefits of fasting for people that don’t have weight to lose?
  • Why it’s important to choose a fasting protocol that works well for your life.

Connect with Dr. Fung

Selected Resources from the Episode

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.