In Categories: Practical Tips

Our Medical Director, Dr. Sarah Hallberg, gave a talk for TedxPurdueU three years ago that remains one of their most-watched videos. This video has taught millions of people how food affects our bodies and our health, and many have followed the nutrition advice she gave.

Dr. Hallberg says,

Obesity is a disease, not something created by lack of character. It is a hormonal disease. There are many hormones involved, and one of the main ones is a hormone called insulin. The vast majority of obese individuals are resistant to insulin and that causes a lot of trouble. So, what does being insulin-resistant mean? Insulin resistance is essentially ‘pre-pre-type 2 diabetes.’ Insulin’s job is to drive glucose or blood sugar into cells where it can be used. In a nutshell, when someone has insulin resistance, they are having trouble getting glucose where it needs to go, into the cells. It can’t all hang out in the blood after we eat, or we would all have a diabetic crisis after every meal. When there is resistance to insulin, our bodies will just make more of it. The insulin levels rise and rise and for a while, years usually, this will keep up and blood sugar will stay normal. However, eventually it can’t keep up, and even elevate insulin levels are not enough to keep blood sugar normal, and blood sugar rises. And that is diabetes.

Learn more in her Ted Talk.

About Dr. Hallberg:

Dr. Sarah Hallberg is a Medical Director at Virta Health. She also created theMedically Supervised Weight Loss Program at Indiana University Health Arnett and serves as its Medical Director. She is an adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Hallberg is an expert in diabetes care and is board certified in Internal Medicine, Obesity Medicine, and Clinical Lipidology and also a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist from the ACSM.

Dr. Sarah Hallberg holds a Doctor of Osteopathy from Des Moines University as well as a  Master’s and Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Illinois State University.


  1. This is the talk that gave me my path forward to lowering my HbA1c. Thank you Dr. Hallberg.


  2. i take a lot of insulin every day do you have a book that i can buy.i would like it very much if i could reverse this diease.i need your help.


    1. Virta Health

      Because you are on diabetes medications, we recommend getting medical supervision before making any dietary changes. You can apply for the Virta treatment here:

      Here are a few resources that could he helpful:


  3. Is this okay to use against gestational diabetes? I have PCOS and am pre-diabetic. I actually followed this way of eating (before seeing the Ted talk) with my first GD pregnancy and was scolded by the nutritionist. Yet my blood sugar was kept below 98 and I lost 15 lbs and our son’s blood sugar was perfect with an apgar of 10. So I’m thinking of just going this way again despite the ADA’s recommendations.


    1. Virta Health

      Thanks for your question! Dr. Phinney wrote a short answer on this topic here:


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