Wednesday, April 6, 2016

saving the best for last

As i began reporting the other day, Dr Jason Fung started his book "The Obesity Code" with information which might be considered common knowledge for those who follow modern nutritional research.  He even failed to impress through some questionable statements and assumptions.  Fortunately for his readers, though, he followed a technique used by mystery-writers, and saved some worthwhile material for the last chapter.

This "When to Eat" chapter contains the best of what Fung learned as a nephrologist, treating the overweight diabetics in his clinic (with plenty of references to studies finding the same things).  He explains how fasting differs from starvation (ie, low-calorie diets), and busts the myths originating from conflation of the two.  He details why the infamous Minnesota Starvation Experiment did NOT set off the body's protective measures in the face of caloric dearth.

But the real gold-star moment is when he explains that there is not a big difference between the sexes when it comes to responses to fasting -- yep, that dog don't hunt!  Miss ED over at Wolf's gym is WRONG.  Wrongwrongwrongwrongwrong.  SHE might do poorly with fasting, but it's because SHE is (and her agreeing friends are) fucked-up, not because women shouldn't fast.

In fact,
Several differences are noted in fasting between women and men. Plasma glucose tends to fall faster in women, and ketosis develops more quickly. With increasing body weight, however, the sex difference disappears.  Most importantly, the rate of weight loss does not differ substantially between men and women.  Personal experience with hundreds of both men and women fail to convince me of any substantial difference between the sexes when it comes to fasting.

Another ruby-in-the-dust is that, "unique among animals," human brains can use ketones extensively during food-shortage to spare protein -- in evolving our big, expensive brains, we also evolved ways of protecting and feeding them.  He also left absolutely no doubt about the centrality of eating-frequency to the creation of insulin-resistance and obesity in the first place.

So although there were rough patches in this book as far as i'm concerned, a good finale has atoned for previous shortcomings.  I'm still finishing up the appendices -- one of which offers what look like some useful tips while fasting -- but i feel pretty good about recommending "The Obesity Code" to other laypeople like myself.

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