CrossFit | Interview With Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes

Interview With Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes

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ByCrossFitJuly 13, 2020
Found in:200714,Health

This month’s CrossFit Health Education webinar features Dr. Jason Fung, who will be discussing fasting as a therapeutic option for weight loss.

In preparation for the webinar, investigative science and health journalist Gary Taubes speaks with Dr. Fung about his research. Dr. Fung outlines his clinical experience with intermittent fasting — in particular how he came to use intermittent fasting in his practice despite receiving contrary recommendations from his peers and medical education. He describes the benefits of intermittent fasting to both diabetic and nondiabetic patients and explains how he implements fasting protocols on a patient-by-patient basis. This leads to a broader discussion of the metabolic impact of fasting, how these biological changes compare to those triggered by low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets, and how hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia contribute to metabolic disease progression.

CrossFit Health Education will be hosting a live webinar with Dr. Fung this Friday, July 17, at 9 a.m. PT. The webinar has been accredited with 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Webinar participants will have the opportunity to interact with Dr. Fung through a live online presentation and Q&A.

Friday, July 17, at 9 a.m. PT

Comments on Interview With Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes

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Tyler Hass
July 15th, 2020 at 7:29 am
Commented on: Interview With Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes

A really interesting meeting of two minds here. I had no idea Gary has been experimenting with intermittent fasting for the past several years.


The first point that Dr Fung makes: that insulin leads to weight gain and worsens T2D, seems so obvious that it would be impossible to miss. However, giving more insulin to people with hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin) and insulin resistance is still the standard of care. Eliminating the source of the elevated insulin makes so much sense that the medical establishment would undoubtedly ignore it.


It was funny that Dr. Fung’s first exposure to fasting was through a client doing a cleanse and he initially dismissed it. So-called cleanses have become popular and every social media influencer seems to be pitching one. 99.9% of the benefits are likely just from the fasting.


His version of fasting might seem extreme to people accustomed to eating 6 times a day. But the duration of fasts he recommends are nothing compared to the multi-week fasts in the early literature from the 1960s. The part at 32:30 really cracked me up. Those experimenters were brave dosing people with insulin after a prolonged fast!


The point about skin removal surgery (39:20) following weight loss is an interesting one. I’ve heard some disbelief regarding this claim, since most forms of weight loss result in lots of extra skin that must be surgically removed. People might be underestimating the power of autophagy. 


At 43:00, he discusses mTOR and I’d love to find out more about this. mTor is a protein-sensitive anabolic pathway that is elevated in both obesity and cancer. It’s gotten a bad rap in longevity circles. However, one thing that stimulates mTOR is muscle activation from weight training. I think there must be a distinction between exercise-elevated mTOR and systemic, chronic mTOR in disease states. I’m by no means an expert on this, but curious to learn more.


Their discussion of cancer and obesity  (48:00) was interesting, but woefully short. Same for fasted training and carb loading. Not a complaint, though, as this interview was a good length. It left me wanting more (the first rule of showbiz).

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Steve Kiely
July 15th, 2020 at 5:27 am
Commented on: Interview With Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes

So You all know that CrossFit is a completely Glycolytic Sport/ Activity... You can't Fuel it optimally without carbs... The very description "performed at a high intensity" suggests the need for carbs.... Asd glucose fuels highin intenisty activity.... NOT FAT...

I actually think sharing this Insulin Model is ridiculous on this page. Gary Taubes own study proved their theories wrong and he had a tantrum about it and blamed the researchers...

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Tyler Hass
July 15th, 2020 at 8:50 am

Fung and Taubes are not coaching elite athletes. In Dr. Fung's case, most of his clients are seriously ill and the carbohydrate-insulin model seems to be working well for them. I thought the discussion towards the end about George St. Pierre on fasted training was interesting. Fasted training ought to mean low-glycogen training, but some adaptation might occur that spares glycogen stores.


For elite-level performance in CrossFit or any predominantly glycolytic sport, you probably do need to top off your glycogen stores pre- and maybe post-workout. Doing this can have a minimal impact on staying in ketosis. The 'targeted ketogenic diet" is one example of this type of approach. Another is "carbohydrate back-loading". I don't know of a one-size-fits-all approach to combining keto and CrossFit. People have different tolerance levels to carbs in general and different sources of carbs in particular.

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Chris Sinagoga
July 14th, 2020 at 11:57 pm
Commented on: Interview With Dr. Jason Fung and Gary Taubes

Thank you guys for posting these for us! Great interview

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