Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2017
I've known about low-carb diets since I was a kid in the 70s and my parents went on the low-carb "Atkins Diet," but I've avoided them because I love carbs (who doesn't?), but earnest to lose 40 pounds at the age of 56, I started to investigate the role of insulin in weight gain and Dr. Jason Fung's The Obesity Code proved to do an excellent job of driving home several important points between the role of carbs, insulin, and weight loss.
For one, Fung gives us a narrative to show that doctors were making the claim that too many carbs led to obesity as early as the 19th Century, but these claims were eclipsed by the non-scientific Eat Low Fat, Watch Your Calories Diet, which Fung shows does not work. No amount of willpower can fulfill the expectations of a low-fat, low-calorie diet because carbohydrates high on the Glycemic Index stimulate insulin and high insulin results in two horrible things: fat storage and constant hunger.
Fung makes it very clear that lowering one's insulin mostly by eliminating all processed sugar and carbs and eating in their place whole foods one can control one's appetite, which goes off the tracks when one eats breads, waffles, pancakes, pasta, etc. This research is also supported by Dr. Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance.
The book does not offer extensive prescriptions for daily amount of carbs or detailed menu plans, so I read some other books on achieving a state of ketosis for weight loss, and what I find is that the prescribed carbs per day tends to differ. For strict "orthodox" ketogenic, low-carb champions, such as Amy Ramos, author of The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners, the amount is usually a mere 20-50 for the "first phase" followed by a maintenance level between 75-100 grams. However, some authors, such as Michael Matthews, author of Bigger, Leaner, and Stronger, say one can eat as many as 150 "good" carbs a day, or even more for some. By good carbs, I am referring to carbs from whole foods, not processed flour and sugar. Some authors, such as Amy Ramos, will say you can't eat quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, or legumes of any kind, but other authors, such as Michael Matthews, are less dogmatic on this point.
From reading The Obesity Code, I would suggest one experiment to find the right carb threshold and correct mix of ingredients since Dr. Fung, Dr. Lustig, and others seem to differ on this point.
Additionally, I'd say one should experiment with the sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans, and legumes. If one isn't making weight loss goals with these ingredients, then take them off one by one.
One point that Fung makes that is in contradiction with a lot of nutritional advice I've heard over the decades is that snacking is usually a bad thing because we are constantly stimulating our insulin. Fung observes that the low-carb craze of 2004 sank, not because low-carb diets don't work, but because the snack industry got involved and created all sorts of low-carb snacks, including chips, protein bars, and other snack foods, and this constant snacking kept people's insulin at a high level and brought in too many calories.
Fung seriously examines the benefits of long durations between meals and encourages eating only 3 meals a day, and even fasting every now and then. However, he is not dogmatic. He points out that if one must snack, one must be careful to focus on whole foods and not processed "snack foods."
By focusing on the role of insulin and showing that "being fat makes you fat" because a fat person is in a constant state of high insulin and high appetite state, Fung has made me very mindful of the carbs I put into my body. Highly recommended.
Update:
I've been following The Obesity Code, eliminating sugar, gluten, potatoes, and rice, for the last 6 months, and I have lost 50 pounds. My neuropathy burning pain in my left foot is 100% gone. I'm a believer in this book, and I will be adhering to it for life.
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