Friday, March 4, 2022

Wisdom from the 2020 Gary Taubes interview with Jason Fung

Gary Taubes is the famous author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, one of the first books since the Atkins diet to look at obesity, carbohydrate, and insulin.

Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist who has popularized intermittent fasting as a diabetes treatment and weight loss method.

There's a lot to this video, but I pulled out a couple of pieces that I found interesting and paraphrased them below:


"Why did the plane crash?"

"It was a lift imbalance issue."

The thermodynamic theory of weight loss is "Calories in, calories out", which Fung and Taubes characterize as "not even wrong," meaning "irrelevant."  The issues for them is not why the plane's down force exceeded it's lift, but what was going on with the pilot, the computer systems, and the maintenance of the plane that caused it to crash.  They will consistently talk about insulin in this talk and what Taubes calls the "hormonal hypothesis for obesity."


"When you eat protein and fat, there are well known satiety hormones that get activated [omitted consciously, I don't want this to get into "bro" science], which tell you to stop eating.  If you are eating foods that tell you that you are full and don't want to eat more, that's a good thing.  If you are eating a bagel with jam, pure carbohydrates, a slice of toast and jam, you aren't activating those satiety signals.  That's why at 10:30 you are looking for a low-fat muffin."

One of my pet issues is that I wonder whether you have to be in ketosis to get the benefit of a low carb meal.  Meaning, if you eat pancakes at 8am, is there any benefit from eating low-carb for lunch?   If you think about the waves of hunger that come and go that Fung talks about in other places, maybe it makes sense that on some level each cycle of hunger / feeding / satiety is a little bit atomic.  If you eat low carb at a meal, you are more likely to eat less energy, have less of an insulin response, and shunt energy into fat, at that meal.  This is me, and not Dr. Fung though, so take with a grain.