Like a gripping mystery book author, Dr. Fung explains to readers the intricacies of weight management in an engaging manner. Like a great professor, he presented a complicated topic in a simple-to-understand discussion.
The weight-loss hacks of Dr. Jason Fung
WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2019 - 12:00am

My first encounter with Dr. Jason Fung was through his YouTube videos. His lectures on diabetes reversal, fasting, weight loss and longevity were powerful and captivating. After watching several videos, I instinctively reached out for digital copies of his two books, The Obesity Code: Unlocking The Secrets Of Weight Loss and The Diabetes Code.

Like a gripping mystery book author, Dr. Fung explains to readers the intricacies of weight management in an engaging manner. Like a great professor, he presented a complicated topic in a simple-to-understand discussion.

The solutions to weight management issues have two parts, according to Dr. Fung: what to eat and when to eat.  As for the latter, he prescribes a prolonged fast of 24 to 36 hours in between intermittent fasts of eight-hour eating windows.

He has outlined five main points to consider when it comes to an effective diet plan. One, reduce the consumption of added sugars. Two, reduce the consumption of refined grains. Three, moderate protein intake. Four, increase consumption of natural fats. Five, increase consumption of fiber and vinegar.

“When it comes to the question of what to eat, you pretty much already knew the answer. Most diets very conspicuously resemble each other. There is far more agreement than discord. Eliminate sugars and refined grains. Eat more fiber. Eat vegetables. Eat organic. Eat more home-cooked meals. Avoid fast food. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Avoid artificial colors and flavors. Avoid processed or microwavable foods,” he writes in his book.

Dr. Fung gave other dietary tips for long-term weight management success. When you really cannot skip dessert, he recommends fresh, seasonal fruits or a plate of nuts and cheeses. Dark chocolate with more than 70 percent cacao is another healthy treat you may consider.

“Nuts, in moderation, are another good choice for an after-dinner indulgence,” he says. “Most nuts are full of healthful monounsaturated fats, have little or no carbohydrates, and are also high in fiber, which increases their potential benefit. Macadamia nuts, cashews and walnuts can all be enjoyed. Many studies show an association between increased nut consumption and better health, including reducing heart disease and diabetes. Pistachio nuts, high in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol and vitamins such as manganese, calcium, magnesium and selenium, are widely eaten in the Mediterranean diet. A recent Spanish study found that adding 100 pistachios to one’s daily diet improved fasting glucose, insulin and insulin resistance.”

Dr. Fung is also not a big fan of snacking. Most snacks are desserts and therefore loaded with sugar. “Are snacks necessary? No. Simply ask yourself this question. Are you really hungry or just bored? Keep snacks completely out of sight. If you have a snack habit, replace that habit loop with one that is less destructive to your health. Perhaps a cup of green tea in the afternoon should be your new habit. There’s a simple answer to the question of what to eat at snack time. Nothing. Don’t eat snacks. Period. Simplify your life,” he adds.

When it comes to drinks, he recommends just plain or sparkling water. To make water interesting, you may add wedges of lemon, orange or cucumber. Coffee is another staple drink in his eating plan, just like tea. Both should be taken plain, either hot or iced.

“Due to its high caffeine content, coffee is sometimes considered unhealthy. However, recent research has come to the opposite conclusion, perhaps due to the fact that coffee is a major source of antioxidants, magnesium, lignans and chlorogenic acid. Coffee, even the decaffeinated version, appears to protect against type 2 diabetes. In a 2009 review, each additional daily cup of coffee lowered the risk of diabetes by 7 percent, even up to six cups per day. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study estimated that drinking at least three cups of coffee or tea daily reduced the risk of diabetes by 42 percent. You can use cinnamon, coconut oil, vanilla extract, almond extract and cream to flavor your coffee without changing its healthy nature. Avoid adding sugar or other sweeteners,” Dr. Fung explains in his book.

Tea, whether black or green, has powerful antioxidants called catechins. Dr. Fung mentions that catechins may play a role in inhibiting carbohydrate-digestive enzymes. This will result in lower glucose levels and will protect the pancreatic beta cells. Green tea has polyphenols that boost metabolism. Aside from being an aid in fat burning, green-tea consumption increase fat oxidation during exercise, increases resting energy expenditure and lowers the risk of various types of cancer. Tea may be flavored with the addition of lemon peel, orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla pods, mint and ginger.

On the issue of fat, Dr. Fung believes that of the three major macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), dietary fat is the least likely to stimulate insulin. He maintains that dietary fat is not inherently fattening, but potentially protective. He suggests choosing a higher proportion of natural fats such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil, beef tallow and leaf lard.

“Olive oil contains large amounts of antioxidants, including polyphenols and oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Among its purported benefits are reduced inflammation, lowered cholesterol, decreased blood clotting and reduced blood pressure. Together, these potential properties may reduce the overall risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.”

So do consider Dr. Jason Fung, his books and videos, for practical tips and enlightening information about weight management.

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