Fasting and Hunger – Fasting 17

Does fasting increase your hunger to unimaginable and uncontrollable dimensions? This is often how fasting is portrayed, but is it really true? From a purely practical standpoint, it is not. From my personal experience with hundreds of patients, one of the most consistent, yet surprising things reported is the reduction, not an augmentation of hunger. They often say things like, “I thought I would be consumed by hunger, but now I only eat 1/3 of what I used to, because I am full!” That’s great, because now you are working with your body’s hunger signalling to lose weight instead of constantly fighting it.

The number 1, most common misperception of fasting is it will leave us overwhelmed with hunger and therefore prone to severe overeating. Thus you get pronouncements from ‘experts’ like “Don’t even think about fasting, otherwise you will be so hungry that you will stuff your face full of Krispy Kreme donuts”. Funny enough, these ‘experts’ often have zero experience with fasting either personally or with clients. So why does it seem so reasonable?

Approximately 4-8 hours after we eat a meal, we start to feel hunger pangs and may become slightly cranky. Occasionally they are quite strong. So we imagine that fasting for a full 24 hours creates hunger sensations 5 times stronger – and that will be intolerable. But this is exactly what does NOT happen. Why?

Hunger is, in fact, a highly suggestible state. That is, we may not be hungry one second, but after smelling a steak and hearing the sizzle, we may become quite ravenous.  Hunger is also a learned phenomenon, as demonstrated by the classic experiments of Pavlov’s dogs – known in psychology as Pavlovian, or classical conditioning.

In the 1890s, Ivan Pavlov was studying salivation in dogs. Dogs will salivate when they see food and expect to eat (unconditioned stimulus – UCS) – that is, this reaction occurs naturally and without teaching. In his experiments, lab assistants would go in to feed the dogs and the dogs soon began to associate lab coats (conditioned stimulus -CS) with eating. There is nothing intrinsically appetizing about a man in a lab coat (yummy!), but the consistent association between the lab coat and food paired these two in the dog’s mind.

Very soon, the dogs began to salivate at the sight of the lab coats alone (having now been conditioned) even if food was not available. Ivan Pavlov, genius that he was, noticed this association and started to work with bells instead and before you know it, he was packing his bags to Stockholm to get his Nobel Prize and taste some of those oh-so-delicious Swedish meatballs. By pairing bells and food, the dogs began to anticipate food (salivate) at hearing bells alone without the food. This was the Conditioned Response

The applicability of this Psychology 101 lesson to hunger is obvious. That is, we can become hungry for many reasons – some of which are natural (smell and sizzle of steak) and others which have become conditioned into us. These conditioned responses can be very powerful and cause great hunger. If we consistently eat breakfast every single morning at 7:00, lunch at 12:00 and dinner at 6:00pm, then the time of day itself becomes a conditioned stimulus for eating. Even if we ate a huge meal at dinner the night before, and would not otherwise be hungry in the morning, we may become ‘hungry’ because it is 7:00. The Conditioned Stimulus (time of 7:00) causes the Conditioned Response (hunger).

Similarly, if we start to pair the act of watching a movie with delicious popcorn and sugary drinks, then the mere thought of a movie may make us hungry even though we have already eaten dinner and would normally not be hungry. The movie is the conditioned stimulus. Food companies, of course, spend billions of dollars trying to increase the number of CS that will make us hungry. The Conditioned Response is hunger – for popcorn, chips, hot dogs, sodas, etc.

Food at the ballgame! Food with movies! Food with TV! Food in between halves of kids soccer! Food while listening to a lecture! Food at the concerts! You can eat with a goat. You can eat on a boat. You can eat in a house. You can eat with a mouse. Conditioned responses, every one.

How to combat this? Well, intermittent fasting offers a unique solution. By randomly skipping meals and varying the intervals that we eat, we can break our current habit of feeding 3 times a day, come hell or high water. We no longer have a conditioned response of hunger every 3-5 hours. We would no longer become hungry simply because the time is 12:00. Instead, we would still get the unconditioned response of hunger, but not the conditioned one. That is, ‘you get hungry because you are hungry’, rather than ‘you get hungry because it’s noon’.

Similarly, by not eating throughout the entire day, we can break any associations between food and anything else – TV, movies, car rides, ball game etc. Here’s the solution. Eat only at the table. No eating at your computer station. No eating in the car. No eating on the couch. No eating in bed. No eating in the lecture hall. No eating at the ball game. No eating on the toilet. (OK, that last one is gross, but I’ve seen it!).

Breaktime at Canadian Obesity Network conference – from weighty matters.ca

Our current Western food environment, of course, strives to do the opposite. There is a coffee shop or fast food restaurant on every corner. There are vending machines in every nook and cranny of every building in North America. In every conference, even at the Canadian Obesity Network, each break time is greeted by fattening muffins and cookies. Ironic and funny if not so heartbreaking. (Yes, we are doctors that treat obesity. Oh look, muffin! I’ll just eat it in the lecture hall even though I’m not really hungry!)

One key advantage of fasting is the ability to break all these conditioned responses. If you are not accustomed to eating every 4 hours, then you will not start salivating like Pavlov’s dog every 4 hours. If we are conditioned this way, no wonder we find it increasingly difficult to resist all the Mcdonald’s and Tim Horton’s stores while walking around. We are bombarded daily with images of food, references to food, and food stores themselves. The combination of their convenience and our ingrained Pavlovian response is deadly and fattening.

In breaking habits, you must understand that going cold turkey is not often successful. Instead, it is far better to replace one habit with another, less harmful habit. For example, suppose you have a habit to munch while watching TV – chips or popcorn or nuts. Simply quitting will make you feel that something is ‘missing’. Instead, replace that habit of snacking with a habit of drinking a cup of herbal or green tea. Yes, you will find this weird at first, but you will feel a lot less like something is ‘missing’. So, during fasting, you may, instead of completely skipping lunch, drink a large cup of coffee. Same at breakfast. Or perhaps replace dinner with a bowl of homemade bone broth. It will be easier in the long run. This is, of course, the same reason that people who want to quit smoking often chew gum.

Social influence can also play a large role in eating. When we get together with friends, it is often over a meal, over coffee, or some such dietary event. This is normal, natural and part of human culture worldwide. Trying to fight it is clearly not a winning strategy. Avoiding social situations is not healthy either.

So what to do? Simple. Don’t try to fight it. Fit the fasting into your schedule. If you know you are going to eat a large dinner, then skip breakfast and lunch. One of the easiest ways to fit fasting into your life is to skip breakfast, since that meal is very uncommonly taken with others and, during working days is easy to skip without anybody noticing. This will quite easily allow you to fast for 16 hours (16:8 protocol). Also, unless you go out to lunch every day with the same crowd, lunch is also quite easy to miss without anybody noticing during the work day. This allows you to ‘slip in’ a 24 hour fast without any special effort.

So, in essence, there are two major components to hunger. The unconditioned biological stimuli – that is, the part that will normally stimulate hunger naturally (smells, sights, and tastes of food) and the conditioned stimuli (learned – movie, lecture, ball game). These CS do not naturally stimulate hunger, but through consistent association, have become almost as powerful. That is, the movie, the TV, the sight of McDonalds, the sound of a jingle etc. They have become hopelessly intertwined but they are by no means irreversibly so. Simply change out the response (drink green tea instead of eat popcorn). Fasting helps to break all the conditioned stimuli, and thus helps to reduce, not enhance hunger. Hunger is not so simple as your stomach being ’empty’.

So – here’s the real question – does fasting lead to over-eating? This was answered in a study published in 2002. 24 healthy subjects underwent a 36 hour fast and then caloric intake was measured. At baseline, subjects ate 2,436 calories per day. After a 36 hour fast, there was an increase in caloric intake to 2914 calories. So there was a degree of over-eating – almost 20%. However, over the 2 day period, there was still a net deficit of 1,958 calories over 2 days. So the amount ‘over’ eaten did not nearly compensate for the period of time fasting. They conclude the “a 36 hr fast..did not induce a powerful, unconditioned stimulus to compensate on the subsequent day.”

Here’s the ‘spare me the details’ bottom line – NO, fasting does not lead to overeating. No, You will NOT be overwhelmed with hunger.

 

Start here with Fasting part 1

Continue to Fasting Part 18 – Cephalic Phase Response

2018-08-21T21:12:30+00:0081 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Fung is a Toronto based kidney specialist, having graduated from the University of Toronto and finishing his medical specialty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. He is the author of the bestsellers ‘The Obesity Code’ and ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’. He has pioneered the use of therapeutic fasting for weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal in his IDM clinic.

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charles grashow
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charles grashow

Any comments on Jimmy Moore’s proposed 30-40 day bone broth and water fast he’s planning for next January?

Roytaylorjasonfunglover
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Roytaylorjasonfunglover

Haha, that is to mean of you to ask about Charles Grashow, if you look deep inside your heart, I think you know what answer Jason Fung would give you about that particular question :p xD

Stephan Guyenet recently bumped this posts, I think Jimmy Moore is better of going a only potato only30 days experiment than that fast though.
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.no/2010/09/potatoes-and-human-health-part-i.html
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.no/2010/09/potatoes-and-human-health-part-ii.html
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.no/2010/10/potatoes-and-human-health-part-iii.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.no/2010/12/interview-with-chris-voigt-of-20.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.no/2010/12/potato-diet-interpretation.html

JW
Guest
JW

Can’t you leave Jimmy alone for one minute Charles? Your obsession with him is creepy…..

charles grashow
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charles grashow

Jimmy Moore is, IMHO, a very dangerous man. The practice of medicine without a license is illegal.

David
Guest
David

When has Jimmy Moore practiced medicine? Paul Jaminet has a good post here on JM, very revealing-
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2015/05/jimmy-moore-on-the-perfect-health-retreat/

charles grashow
Guest
charles grashow

Exactly what is mean about the question? Dr Fung is co-authoring a book with him to be called “Fasting Clarity” so I’m curious as to his opinion of a person doing a medically un-supervised fast for 30+ days.

Murray Braithwaite
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Murray Braithwaite

I would not describe Jimmy Moore’s fast as medically unsupervised. He has a plethora of tests done continually and is in regular communication with leading experts, such as Dr. Fung, who has extensive successful clinical experience with fasting.

Personally, I am pleased for Jimmy discovering Dr. Fung’s clinic as fasting seems to have been necessary for Jimmy to reverse what appears to be residual insulin resistance, which due to his extreme situation before low-carb meant low-carb alone was insufficient to reverse fully the insulin resistance.

Julian Fisher
Guest
Julian Fisher

I am in agreement with Murray.

Charlie
Guest
Charlie

So who died and made you GOD, how do you know he is doing his fast without supervision…!!!!!
Jason’s clinic has a Long Distance Program…..look it up and then make intelligent comments.

charles grashow
Guest
charles grashow

Jimmy Moore stated on his videos that he’s planning a 30+ day fast using bone broth, kombucha, and water. He will NEVER go on a potato fast as that would be in violation of his VLCHF diet paradigm.

You said – “if you look deep inside your heart, I think you know what answer Jason Fung would give you about that particular question.”

I have NO idea what Dr Fung would say that’s why I asked a very simple question.

JW
Guest
JW

Not a simple question as we all know Charles, you are purely shit stirring. You appear on just about every LC board with your endless bashing against Jimmy. I hope Dr Fung will respond to you but then again, why bother, nothing is going to stop your trolling. I have no thoughts either way of Jimmy except that I download some of his interesting podcasts with guests for my walks, however I’m sure many people can relate to his struggles. Haters gonna hate.

charles grashow
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charles grashow

It’s an extremely simple question that I hope Dr Fung will respond to. Doing a 30-40 day fast, without any medical supervision, in the winter is EXTREMELY dangerous. I’m curious as to how many of his followers will attempt the same and what consequences there will be.

Hater gonna hate”? please. I ask questions and that’s the best you can do?

charles grashow
Guest
charles grashow

BTW – since Dr Fung now has a vested interest in this, as the co-author of the forthcoming book Fasting Clarity, his response, if any, will be of EXTREME interest.

Elena
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Elena

comment for “Fasting for 30-40 days during winter without supervision is extremely dangerous”:
As you all well know fasting for 40 days before Eastern is a tradition longer than thousand years. It was and still is done by millions of people without medical supervision (starting in the dead of winter).

JW
Guest
JW

This is obviously not the place for you Charles, so go back to your cackling band of bullies over at Carbsane’s blog….cackle, cackle, snigger at Jimmy, like at couple of school kids. Even better for you, why don’t you create your own blog and post all the pics/sneers/snides at Jimmy to your heart’s content, as well your numerous cut and pastes (yawn). Dr Fung is helping sick people live better lives…what are you doing.

Sienna
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Sienna

Haters gonna hate – one of the worst expressions in the English language. Right up there with …you go girl! Yuck!

Charlie
Guest
Charlie

So who died and made you GOD, how do you know he is doing his fast without supervision…!!!!!
Jason’s clinic has a Long Distance Program…..look it up and then make intelligent comments.

Dr.S. Vijayaraghavan
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Dr.S. Vijayaraghavan

Thanks Dr Jason.
Every single patient ( especially chronic diabetics) who has tried intermittent fasting has had the same experience, though having reservations initially. In fact few would effortlessly ease into 2 to 3 days of water fasting. A couple of them continue alternate day fasting even after they have completely reversed their Diabetes.
Intermittent fasting is the most powerful tool to get the fasting sugars to normalise . This has consistently given results in all of my chronic Diabetics.
Conventional beliefs are meant to be challenged, and that is what you are doing.
Thank you Doc

Roytaylorjasonfunglover
Guest
Roytaylorjasonfunglover

Yo, where are you a doctor at? What does your colleagues think about these methods? I am full of respect for your ableness of using Jason Fungs method, and I hope all goes well with you in the future, your patients are lucky to have such a openminded doctor as you!

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Dr. Vijayaraghavan, Are you based in India? If so, which city?

Dr.S. Vijayaraghavan
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Dr.S. Vijayaraghavan

Dear Mr Andrew
I am from India, a primary care physician from in Chennai city.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Dr. Vijayaraghavan,
My mother lives in Chennai and I am asking for her.
How could i get in touch with you? Phone or Email?

Annlee
Guest
Annlee

I have fasted through business lunches with my customer – all it takes is a little firmness and a smile. “No, really, I’m fine. I’m just fasting today – water is all I need. Please do go ahead.” And then participate in the discussion as usual. The smile is key – don’t be grim and disciplined – make it clear *this is no big deal for me* – and so it need not be that for you.

Kok-Hong
Guest

Yes 18 hr fast is really not that bad…skipping dinner once or twice a week is working out for me…helps me reach fasting glucose < 90mg/dl

Peter Lawton
Guest
Peter Lawton

Some years ago I was required to fast for 3 days prior to an examination/ procedure in my gut. I was allowed black tea or coffee, beef tea (all solids filtered out) and water (warm or cool). I thought I would struggle to keep to the fast, and indeed it was a bit tough through the later part of the first day. Then something changed, and the pangs subsided, allowing me to complete the cycle with no more discomfort. Very interesting experience.

Karen
Guest
Karen

I think fasting is easier if you’re already on a LCHF diet. I know that in the past if I missed a meal, a few hours later I would be light headed and ravenous. Maybe because of timing, but also maybe because of sugar/insulin cycles. Now on LCHF it’s very easy to cut back to 1 meal per day, I hardly notice. My body seems to switch easily from burning fat I eat to burning fat I’ve stored. I normally eat a good lunch and a small evening meal. I skip the evening meal a couple of times a week… Read more »

jcm baril
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jcm baril

This article is very helpful to me. I am a relative newbie to intermittent fasting. To each of the points made in this article, the thought I hear in my mind is “Why, yes, that is indeed what I experience”. I am somewhat still in awe, scratching my head and walking around with thoughts of “Well, how can this be? Why am I not lying on the ground, writhing with hunger pains?” My first humble efforts to fast (24 hours) have proven to me that “the body remembers”. What I mean is, from one time to the next, I find… Read more »

Sarah
Guest

So in line with the famous saying “You cannot out-run a bad diet”, can you out-fast a bad diet? Can the damage done due to years of eating too much, too frequently and eating junk food, be reversed with fasting?

Cheema
Guest
Cheema

Yes Sarah it can be done surely. I have done it after watching Dr fung videos on you tube and his blog. I have get rid off my blood pressure, insulin dependant diabetes type 2, weight problems, lound snoring, joint pains, apparent importance, recurring kidney infactions comletly and enlarged prostate partially. To my understing fasting can cure most of the heath problems provided a long enough water fasting is undertaken under the supervision of expert. On the other hand a big mafia along with their agent, the pill pushers and insulin pushers ( because I being type two diabetic, was… Read more »

Kaye
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Kaye

i am on insulin and metformin and am really impressed with your fasting therapy. how can i get in touch with you? I would like to learn more.

Mike
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Mike

Kaye, I’m not Dr. Fung, but I know the answer to your question. If you scroll to the top of the page, and click the “Join” link, you’ll see information on how to work with Dr. Fung and his staff.

Good luck!

Vic
Guest
Vic

I am a T2 diabetic and struggling with my control for the past couple of years (No insulin but 2g Metformin and 120mg diaglucide daily). I have received so much confusing and contradicting advice from conventional sources which I followed that I have struggled unsuccessfully with weight loss (up and down, mainly up!) and T2D for many, many years. I have been researching extensively over the past year out of desperation and came across this website after Dr Fung presented at a LCHF seminar in Cape Town and have now read the whole blog to try and educate myself as… Read more »

Wenchypoo
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Wenchypoo

It would seem that sugar-burners have trouble fasting…at least, at first. Us fat-burners seem to have no trouble at all (at least, that’s what we here at home experienced). We fast 3 days/week, and it’s gotten to where we almost can’t tell the “eat” days from the fast days any more. A pitch for Keto O/S: As Jimmy Moore experienced excellent BG results while fasting and using Keto O/S, so did my husband–he was consistently in the low 70’s, both FBG and post-prandial, which leads me to believe that Hubby may have trouble converting fat to BHB. Prior to the… Read more »

Leah
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Leah

Dr. Fung, I have been following you for a few months now and I’ve been practicing both full fasts and intermittent fasting and the results are so encouraging. The intermittent fasts of 16 hours a day produce a really slow weight loss and are really easy to do on a day-by-day basis. The water/coffee/broth fasting produces a very quick weight loss of 1-2# per day. By combining the two, I’m actually losing weight AND keeping it off! I’m on day 3 of my 3rd water fast. The first water fast was 5 days. The second water fast was 20 days.… Read more »

BobM
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BobM

Wow, that is very impressive. What did you think of the 20 day fast? Did it start out and get better? Was it hard all the time or did hunger come in waves? How did you restart eating?

Mr Dickey
Guest
Mr Dickey

Dr Mary Veron says Insulin stops fat burning and and enhance fat storage. Is this True?

If I do your Intermittening Fasting what about Insulin Taking. Before eating 179 and after eating 289 till morning. I eat two bacon, two eggs adn 10cups salad Plus Olive Oil and Vinegar and Coconut Oil If eating fats will just make you more fat since insulin stops fat burning?

i am not looking for treatment now as I am American solder living in Thailand at age 70

Weight 107Kgs
If give me a phone number I would ring at your best time.

aline
Guest
aline

I am keen on fasting for 18 hours most days of the week to combat Insulin Resistance (I’m not T2 yet). I have been Keto Fat Adapted for 18 months. My question is, does anyone else find that eating too much protein raises your blood sugar to an unacceptable PPG or Fasting BG in the 100’s? I found after my recent 39 hours fast that I am addicted to eating too much protein when I break my fast. I’m glad I found this out. Does anyone else have the same experience. After all, we’ve been told that protein does not… Read more »

Charndra
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Charndra

Yes, look up ” glucneogenesis “, excess protein is how we get the glucose created by our bodies in the absence of carbs.

matt20
Guest
matt20

Yes. As Dr Fung has said. It is all about insulin. All foods raise it, some more than others. If you check out the insulin index of foods, you will find that a steak is 37. Tuna in oil is 16. It is worth while to find a list of foods with low insulin index. I have 20 that I eat mostly. Here is a site that may help:

https://optimisingnutrition.wordpress.com/the-insulin-index/

BobM
Guest
BobM

The main problems I’ve had with fasting is that the hunger while fasting comes in waves, and techniques are necessary to get around those. I had a bit of brain fog on a five-day fast. Every time I restart eating after 3+ days of fasting, I have horrible diarrhea. I haven’t figured that one out yet. It’s like my body stores all the water, and I don’t go to the bathroom at all. As soon as I eat, my body loses the water. I can also have leg kicks at night, so I need to take magnesium, potassium, and salt.… Read more »

TJtheGrouch
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TJtheGrouch

@BobM I had the same problem. What I do now is that I drink some bone broth with a heaping tablespoonful of psyllium seed powder carefully stirred into the broth the day before I plan on breaking the fast. It helped me, I hope it will help you, too. Good luck!
TJ

BobM
Guest
BobM

Tj, that’s what my wife has been recommending, too. I’ll have to give that a try.

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

That’s interesting. Maybe we can compare notes. When I fasted (21 days), waves of hunger were very obvious at the beginning (I also used the term “wave” to describe the phenomenon). I was very hungry around my usual meal times, but not so much in between. I wouldn’t reduce it to pavlovian conditioning, though. My hunch is that there is something happening at the cellular level, even without any input from the brain or any conditioned stimulus. Think circadian rythms, which would happen even if we were unconscious, at least for a while. By the third day of fasting, the… Read more »

Sarah
Guest

I had diarrhoea during my 3 days fasts. I thought that was normal as I was not eating anything and only drinking water, tea, coffee, apple cider vinegar in water, etc. However, my main problem is that the day after breaking my fast, I get really dizzy. Is this related to breaking the fast or a completely different reason? I did have a bad cold during the second time I fasted for 3 days. Or can it be because I am eating too much when I break my fast?

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

There is a phenomenon called posprandial hypotension (a drop incblood pressure after eating).
Maybe that is what you are experiencing. There are a few tricks suggested if you google it (I don’t know if they work as I don’t have this problem, but maybe it is worth trying).

Sarah
Guest

Thanks Valerie… I’ll check my BP, the next time this happens. Though when I googled about it, postprandial hypotension mostly happens to the elderly. I’m in my thirties.. though I’ve had BP issues a couple of years back after pregnancy…

BobM
Guest
BobM

Valerie, I also have to take magnesium (pills), potassium (“no salt” salt substitute) and salt, or else I will get leg kicks at night and/or cramps. I put salt and salt substitute in tea, fake tea (eg, ginger tea), and broth. The diarrhea lasts about a day, from basically almost immediately after I eat for another day. For my last three day fast, for instance, I broke my fast at about 1pm (so 3.5 days for the fast), then went to the bathroom I think 7 times that day. I normally just eat something, whatever I would normally have for… Read more »

BobM
Guest
BobM

Oops, that should say “Since I’ve been intermittent fasting, I eat breakfast only once PER WEEK when I’m eating”. That is, I almost never eat breakfast anymore. Which is shocking considering that I used to HAVE to have breakfast.

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

Ah well, I don’t have more ideas as to what could cause your intestinal issues. But I was curious so I googled it a bit. It seems you are far from being alone in your diarrhea-upon-breaking-the-fast issues: https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/diarreha-on-day-after-fast/ I haven’t read the whole thread, but maybe they have suggestions that could work for you. Or at least an explanation for what you are experiencing. Did you find a sure-fire way to prevent cramping? Minerals seemed to help somewhat in my case, but they were no panacea. Maybe the trick is to start taking them *before* the cramps even start. I… Read more »

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

I don’t know if you are ever going to come back and check this comment thread again, but in case you do, I just came across a thing called the gastrocolic reflex:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrocolic_reflex

Seems to be exactly what you are experiencing.

Dr. Jason Fung: I used to call this the ‘eat and poo’ reflex in medical school. I really should have been paying more attention in class.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I do modified(bone broth with seaweed and an amazing egg) for five days every month 1 to 5th. Looking at Walter Longos results this lowers WBC count by thirty percent and builds wbc and stem cells during refeed. During the rest of the month keto very low in am and 5 pm doses of 1200 calories. The more fat and less to zero carbs the better. Simple seems more effective and aids compliance mostly eggs butter beef salmon and coffee. Eric

Eric
Guest
Eric

Best vegetables?
Sea weed, bok choy, chinese broccoli
Cabbage cauliflower and broccoli

David
Guest
David

Is anyone familiar with the work of Dr. Schwarzbein? It seems her focus is not on insulin (she calls it a “building” hormone) but on what she calls “using” hormones- adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. It seems to come from the opposite direction from Dr. Fung. Thanks.

gavrilo
Guest
gavrilo

For the past year I’ve been fasting intermittently, every other day and up to 3 days. I’ve lost 42 lb. and all my health markers are excellent.

However, on eating days I get full very easily thus eat relatively little. Should I be concerned I’m undernourished?

Dr. Jason Fung: This is quite typical of what we see. It’s quite normal and you should not be concerned.

caju
Guest
caju

Gavrilo, 42lbs is a great, steady weight loss. on your non-fasting days, what do you eat? do you eat LCHF?

gavrilo
Guest
gavrilo

At 5’10.5″ height, I went from 210 to 168, and am still losing.

On eat days I try to eat LCHF but occasionally I eat more carbs than I should.

On fast days water and coffee. Nothing else. I’m used to it and do not suffer at all.

caju
Guest
caju

another quick question, gavrilo, are you generally in ketosis? I ask these questions because I’ve been LCHF for a long time (constant but varying levels of ketosis) and would like to lessen the intensity. I have lost weight but miss the flexibility of eating a wider range of foods and don’t think I can keep the ketosis state forever. IF with lower/no ketosis on eat days would be a perfect combo.

David
Guest
David

If you’re at an ideal weight, I’d think you want to eat more and/or decrease the fasting window, until your weight stabilizes.

gavrilo
Guest
gavrilo

another quick question, gavrilo, are you generally in ketosis? I have no idea.

Johan
Guest
Johan

Dear dr Fung. I thought we should not count calories? Yet here’s talk of an advantage of fasting being calorie deficiency. What have I misunderstood?

deirdra
Guest
deirdra

I think he was just countering the idea that many people would drastically overeat after a fast, wiping out any progress. By giving an example with counted calories, he shows that yes, people tend to eat a bit more after a fast, but they still end up eating less over the whole fast/eat timeframe.

Johan
Guest
Johan

Ok, but what confused me is that my understanding was dr Fung talked about it being the insulin level that causes obesity, not calories. Therefore this argument seems to contradict that position and somehow intend calories do matter.

Andre
Guest
Andre

I think what many misunderstand about this message is that calories still count (after all, can’t argue with the laws of thermodynamics), but once you get any hormonal issues worked out, it generally becomes unnecessary to count calories.

Johan
Guest
Johan

Could be, just for argument’s sake – There is no breach on thermodynamics if for instance all energy “in” is not combusted or stored, but excess such is “transited” out again. In such case calories wouldn’t need to count at all…

John
Guest
John

Thanks Dr. Fung for this awesome fasting series. I fast everyday for around 21 hours, and once a week I fast for about 45 hours. I did have a question, though. I read one of your posts on how fasting causes minimal muscle loss. Does this also apply to fit, healthy people that lift weights regularly? I was wondering how long a person who already has a relatively low body-fat percentage could fast without losing too much muscle because I would assume the less body fat you have the more muscle you will lose during long fasts. I do enjoy… Read more »

Pat
Guest
Pat

Matt20
Thank you for the site for the insulin effect of foods. Bit by bit I am getting information which all diabetics need and should have. Thanks again.

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[…] Dr. Fung: Fasting and Hunger […]

fiona
Guest
fiona

Been on a fast since 11pm sunday evening and I don’t feel hunger at all. Using peppermint tea & cinnamon which strangely goes together, chicken broth, water and coffee. Have yards of energy too, walked about 3 miles today with the dogs. Since finding out diabetic T2 about a month ago and presenting with high blood sugar, a LCHF diet pushed the fasting blood sugar down to about 6.0mmol/L. Used to fast in my 20s a lot and I had forgotten about this tool, until now. Find the videos and papers by Dr Fung enlightening to say the least. Not… Read more »

Sascha
Guest
Sascha

I’m on day 4 as well but I’m still very hungry. I hope it will get better today.

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[…] 8. Everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong — here’s the truth 9. Does fasting lead to overeating? 10. A Simple & Tasty Way To Eat More […]

DebbieC.
Guest
DebbieC.

I haven’t been able to push a fast past 70 yet, and I was so ravenous and light-headed at that point I finally caved. I can manage a 24-hour fast with the first 20 hours being pretty easy, and the last 4 being white-knuckle clock watching. Lately I’ve been finding eating a limited amount of fat-free potato helps me get through the day better, and when I eat potato I get better blood glucose numbers than I do when I totally fast – though still not where I like them to be. But I live in hope!

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[…] saw in our last post that much of what we perceive as hunger is actually a learned behaviour, and as such, can be […]

CS
Guest
CS

My experience: I am 71, compulsive over-eater, male, overweight but no longer obese. I have been doing a very lo-carb diet for years, and I never eat sugar at all. Cheese seems to be what stands between me and my goal weight, and quantities. Diagnosed a couple of years ago as just over the line pre-diabetic (6.1) I got ever more serious about lo-carb and all the blood work improved as predicted. This summer I compromised on a little bit of rice and polenta, and a good deal of fruit, and up went the blood sugar again. My doctor, who… Read more »

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[…] Continue to Fasting part 17 – Fasting and Hunger […]

Muddygurl
Guest
Muddygurl

Years ago I read a follow up/expansion of Pavlov’s study that revealed if the dogs were already FULL…they DID NOT salivate, despite bell or white coat. The researchers could not make the dogs salivate with bell ringing.

With people when we are ‘stuffed’ we DON’T keep picking up another hamburger, or dessert.. or drive to another restaurant to eat, right?

Not sure how this will relate, but the dog’s body did shut off response when food was not needed at all.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Please help! I tried 16:8 twice this week for the first time. I do take metformin and lantus, but no longer take humalog for my meals. The first time, I woke up to 5.3 sugar level and after four hours it raised to 11.5. After breaking the fast, with very very low carb meal, my sugar level stayed at 10.5 the whole day. I walked three miles as well, but when I went to bed it was still 8.8. The next morning it was 7.2. I was able to normalise my sugars the next few days, and tried the 16:8… Read more »

Monique
Guest
Monique

I am late to this thread but came across it because I am trying fasting to deal with obesity and T2 diabetes. I have done a few successful 16:8 fasts and am currently trying my first 24 hour fast. I have lost 34 kg through traditional caloric restriction/low-carb and exercise but I still have 30kg to lose and have been unable to lose any for the last 5 months despite really amping up my efforts. I found this thread because hunger is a real and difficult problem to me. I appreciate Dr Fung’s article and I believe it is very… Read more »

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

Monique, one thought is that perhaps your insulin level is still high enough to prevent you from burning your stored fat easily. How low carb is your diet? Sometimes there can be enough carbs in certain foods such as nuts, veggies, dairy, etc. to add up to too much (for your current metabolic situation, not necessarily permanently.) Also, if you eat too much protein it can be converted to glucose (gluconeogenesis.) Not an expert, am trying to figure out my own situation.

Seline
Guest
Seline

Hi. I love your posts, however I’ve noticed you only seem to applaud the ketogenic diet, with no regard whatsoever to an high carb low fat diet (really low fat, way less than 20% fat per day). Or even just a plant-based diet. Which means you don’t believe at all that a vegan diet could be healthy. I would like to hear your thought about this, it would be nice to see a well-thought analysis. An analysis not biased by possible misconceptions and prejudices. I’ve seen many doctors and nutritionalists saying a plant-based lifestyle is just wrong and that’s just… Read more »

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

Hi Seline, This an old thread so you probably won’t get an answer here. I suggest you go to Dr Fung’s latest blog post to ask your question. My impression is that high carb low fat diets have been thoroughly debunked. Fat doesn’t raise insulin. That said, plants are healthy for many other reasons, they have micronutrients and phytochemicals we need, plus fiber. I try to eat a low carb somewhat high fat diet, focusing on veggies when not fasting. I try to minimize meat since it’s said to shorten telomeres thus shortening lifespan. I too would like to hear… Read more »

Seline
Guest
Seline

Thank you! I’ll repost this comment then