Jason Fung’s – The Obesity Code aims to clear up myths on weight loss, and provide a simple formula for long term success. Below I’ll discuss aspects from the book, including an example diet plan at the bottom.

Since writing The Obesity Code Jason has followed up with The Diabetes Code (aimed at helping people prevent and even reverse type 2 diabetes), and The Complete Guide to Fasting (which covers intermittend and extended fasts).

Jason Fung – Author of The Obesity Code

Hormonal Roots of Obesity

Jason suggests that to understand weight loss requires understanding the hormonal roots of obesity. He explains that the hormone insulin is the key driver of obesity. Therefore obesity is a hormonal, not a caloric imbalance. He recommends we focus on two key areas:

  • What to eat
  • When to eat

What to Eat

Jason has some simple guidelines:

  • Reduce intake of refined grains and sugars
  • Moderate protein consumption
  • Increase natural fats
  • Maximize protective factors such as fiber and vinegar
  • Choose only natural, unprocessed foods.

The hormonal obesity cycle – showing the effects of excess glucose and fructose (image via IDM program)

When to Eat

  • Balance insulin-dominant periods with insulin-deficient periods (balancing feeding & fasting). Eating continuously is a recipe for weight gain
  • Intermittent fasting is a very effective way to deal with when to eat

Beyond what to eat & when to eat, Jason touches on another factor that affects of insulin levels; sleep. Not only does sleep affect insulin sensitivity, it also affects our ability to self control, and our desire for carbohydrates (increased grehlin levels, which is a hormone responsible for hunger signalling). Thus people who are chronically sleep deprived will often (through no fault of their own), make more impulsive food decisions, and crave more carbohydrates. Therefore its important that if sleep deprivation is a factor, it gets tackled alongside the dietary choices.

This image shows the difference in insulin secretion between a diet with no snacking, and a diet where food is constantly consumed. Insulin = energy storage. Therefore you want to have decent breaks in insulin secretion for a healthy body.

Sample 7-Day Meal Plan – 24-hour Fasting Protocol

The below meal plan effectively means that every other day you are partially fasting from dinner through to dinner (24 hours). To make this slightly more do-able, Jason suggests incorporating a cup of vegetable, chicken or beef broth in place of where lunch would be.

Treat the exact contents of the meals as guidelines, to be tweaked to your own taste. You may notice that only 3 of the 7 days include a desert for dinner – this seems to be Jason’s way of explaining that sweet foods should be an occasional treat, rather than consumed daily.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
Western omelet
Green apple
FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
All-Bran Buds with milk
Mixed berries
FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
Two eggs
Breakfast sausage/bacon
Strawberries
FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
Lunch FAST DAY
Water
Green tea
1 cup of vegetable broth
Arugula salad with walnuts, slices of pear, goat cheese FAST DAY
Water
Green tea
1 cup of chicken broth
Ginger chicken lettuce cups
Stir-fried vegetables
FAST DAY
Water
Green tea
1 cup of beef broth
Baby spinach and lentil salad FAST DAY
Water
Green tea
1 cup of vegetable broth
Dinner Herbed chicken
Green beans+ Mixed berries for desert
Asian grilled pork belly
Baby bok choy stir-fry
+ no desert
Halibut pan-fried in butter and cocunut oil
+ no desert
Indian chicken curry
Cauliflower
Green salad + no desert
Baked catfish
Sautéed broccoli with garlic and olive oil + seasonal fruits for desert
Peppered steak
Asparagus
Grilled chicken salad + dark chocolate for desert

Note: On mobile devices, you may need to scroll right to read the full table.

Sample 7-Day Meal Plan – 36-hour Fasting Protocol

This version differs from the above, in that rather than fasting from dinner through to dinner every other day, you fast from dinner through a whole day, until breakfast 2 days later (again, repeating the fast every other day)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
Western omelet
Green apple
FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
All-Bran Buds with milk
Mixed berries
FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
Two eggs
Breakfast sausage/bacon
Strawberries
FAST DAY
Water
Coffee
Lunch FAST DAY
Water
Green tea
1 cup of vegetable broth
Arugula salad with walnuts, slices of pear, goat cheese FAST DAY
Water
Green tea
1 cup of chicken broth
Ginger chicken lettuce cups
Stir-fried vegetables
FAST DAY
Water
1 cup of beef broth
Baby spinach and lentil salad FAST DAY
Water
1 cup of vegetable broth
Dinner FAST DAY
Water
Green Tea + No desert
Asian grilled pork belly
Baby bok choy stir-fry + No desert
FAST DAY
Water
Green Tea + No desert
Indian chicken curry
Cauliflower
Green salad + No desert
FAST DAY
Water
Green tea + Seasonal fruits
Peppered steak
Asparagus + No desert
FAST DAY
Water
Green tea + No desert

Note: On mobile devices, you may need to scroll right to read the full table.

Bone Broth

A core aspect of Jason’s diet regimen is the consumption of bone broth on days when fasting. There are a few key benefits to this:

  • Its low in calories and almost zero carbohydrates, thus not impacting significantly on the health benefits of abstaining from food
  • Its high in amino acids such as proline, arginine and glycine, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus
  • The salt and minerals help with staying adequately hydrated during the fast

Vegetarians – The substitute to a bone broth would be a vegetable broth. So you’d essentially just cook a vegetable soup (without blending), then strain the vegetables and leave the low carb, tasty wholesome broth.

Simple Bone Broth Receipe

At its core bone broth is very easy to make, its essentially the simmering of bones for 12+ hours. If any complexity creeps in, its in the sourcing of good bones, and then the additional ingredients that add to the flavour. These are the key things you need to begin:

  • Having a slow cooker (aka crock-pot) is ideal – but if you’re cooking on the stove, you just need to make sure you have a large pot
  • Sieve or strainer at the end to separate bones from the broth
  • Chicken or beef bones
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar to help extract the bones nutrients (Apple cider vinegar is a healthy choice)
  • Sea salt (or pink Himalayan salt) to taste
  • (optional) Additional seasoning and vegetables, to taste

If you’re cooking a chicken broth, perhaps the simplest way to acquire the bones is to purchase an (ideally organic) chicken. Cook it and first use it for the meat, then when finished, use it for your broth.

When you’re packing the chicken into your pot, its beneficial to crack some of the bones to let out more flavour and nutrients. This can be done by pushing down on the carcass until you hear cracks, alternatively some people go as far as to individually crack the bones with some scissors.

For a beef broth, its generally easy enough to source bones from a local butcher or market. Ideally grass fed cow bones, although this pushes the price up. That said, one of the core benefits of grass fed beef is the quality of fat (e.g. omega3 to omega6 ratio) obtained, which doesn’t apply to bones so much.

N.B. Having a little meat left on the bones is a non-issue, given that you’ll be straining the contents at the end.

Bone Broth Cooking Steps

  • Place bones in a pot
  • Add a tablespoon of vinegar (to help bring out the nutrients)
  • Season with salt, and optional extras like pepper or herbs
  • Cover with water
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce heat until simmering
  • Initially there may be some fat build up on the surface, which can be skimmed off
  • For chicken bones, cooking overnight is often enough time, up to 24h is not uncommon
  • For beef bones, overnight is possible, but due to being stronger than chicken bones, beef often needs a bit longer (say 24 hours)
  • When finished, strain the broth into containers
  • Let cool and then refrigerate or freeze what you don’t plan to immediately consume

See YouTube for a good beef broth example video and a good chicken broth example video.

Shop Bought Bone Broth

Whilst shop bought bone broths generally aren’t as good, or nutritious as a home made broth, they’re a good option when time is limited. Especially when the core focus here is to adhere to the fasting protocol itself. The bone broths are just a component of the overall plan.

Two off the shelf broths with good reviews are Pacific Organic Chicken Broth & Kettle & Fire Beef Broth. Pacific’s version is more affordable, but has a bit less marketing hype behind it.

The above is just a tiny snapshot of Jason’s book. The full thing contains vastly more content, including discussion of:

  • Disease prevention
  • Tips for fasting and intermittent fasting
  • + more!

You can find the full version of The Obesity Code on Amazon.com, along with Jason’s other bestsellers’s The Diabetes Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting.

Posted by Alex

Hi, I’m Alex, a writer with a broad interest in nutrition, hormones, cancer prevention and gerontology (study of ageing). I write this blog to answer questions I myself have had at one stage or another. With the hope that others find it useful.

4 Comments

  1. Stuart Barry May 6, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Nice summary – I’ve read most of the book buy need to remind myself of these key principles 0 thanks

    Reply

  2. Jayshri Patel May 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Hi – I am Jayshri. I would like to follow this fast, but I only eat chicken …. is there a way we can substitute the other meats for something else. I do not mind vegetable options. Thank you.

    Reply

    1. Hi Jayshri, yes replacing the meats with vegetarian alternatives would be no problem. The key aspect are the fasting stages, which need to be adhered to in order to achieve maximum results.

      Reply

      1. Jayshri Patel May 21, 2018 at 11:38 pm

        Thank you

        Reply

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