I've been reading Jason Fung's new book, "The Obesity Code" -- respected sources have reviewed it, and i hoped to find some new insights although one critique observed that most of the material covered is already available on his website.
For about the first third of the book, i tended to agree, but soon i started seeing some disturbing patterns. I'm now 55% in -- and on the next-to-last chapter, not including appendices -- and my nebulous discontent has developed a distinct form.
For one thing, in speaking about weight regain after ANY diet, Fung resuscitates the old tired "weight setpoint" hypothesis. Granted, one seems to regain up to and slightly beyond one's original weight, if one is not damned careful to avoid weight-gain at all. Does this hypothesis otherwise have any legs to stand on -- does it "prove" there's a setpoint in any way whatsoever? NO. Nobody has ever revealed any mechanism legitimizing this concept, except a postulation that it might have something to do with leptin. I call BS until there's actually DATA provided -- he's merely begging the question.
He lies about the second wave of Atkins being a low-fat version of low-carb -- flat-out LIES. There is not only NO advocacy of lean meats in it, the "New Diet Revolution" is where we learn about fat-fasting! If Fung is merely confusing Atkins with some other brand that DID recommend combining LF with LC, it just makes him careless and sloppy -- not likely to make me have a lot of faith in his judgement.
In an early part of the book, he comes to the 21st-century conclusion that "calorie restriction as primary" (with his trademark acronym CRaP) is not a valid construct. Too many studies exist which make it clear that stand-alone "calories" are not as significant as the source of those calories. But when he comes to talk about various plans for weight-loss, Fung criticizes the "eat more ___" advice by saying, "To put it simply, you cannot eat more to weigh less, even if the food you’re eating more of is as healthy as vegetables." Sorry, Jason: you can't have it both ways when it comes to "calories counting."
Nor can you decry observational studies when it comes to "their" hypothesis but consider them perfectly valid when they support YOURS. This is a pet peeve of mine which has damaged my respect for nutrition-writers before now. Have this tattooed on the foreheads of everyone who cites population studies -- observations provide HINTS, not proofs. And for good measure, tattoo on their arms "healthy-user bias skews all observational studies."
I've still got a couple of chapters to go before i finish this book, and also the appendices to look over. If i actually LEARN something in the "What to Eat" and "When to Eat" sections, i'll let you know, but i'm braced for disappointment. At least i don't feel obliged to read through the recipe section for food ideas that might appeal to us ... cuz there aren't any.