How to Fix your Broken Metabolism by doing the Exact Opposite

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We saw last week with the Biggest Loser study that basal metabolism plummets when you lose weight with calorie reduction. As contestants lose weight, they burn a lot less energy – up to 800 calories per day less than before. Some of that is expected, since there is less body tissue to maintain, but nevertheless, these contestants burn far less than expected even taking this into account. Even 6 years later, their basal metabolic rate (BMR) remains depressed, as do the contestants themselves. The story got a lot of coverage, but one thing was consistently missing. How to fix it.That’s what I’ll show you today, and it’s the opposite of what most people expect.2CompartModel

So, let’s think about this problem in the context of the 2 compartment model of obesity that we have used before. There are two compartments for body energy. We take calories in as food. This gets stored in the short term as glycogen, or long term as body fat. Glycogen is easily converted to energy (calories out), but body fat, not so much. So we can consider the analogous situation where short term energy is stored in a refrigerator and long term in the basement freezer.NewHOT12

Insulin’s role is to direct food into the basement freezer. When there is excess food that can’t be kept in the fridge, insulin directs it to the freezer. This is body fat and manufactured in the liver by the process of de novo lipogenesis. What causes insulin levels to be elevated depends partly on the foods we eat, but also by insulin resistance.

Fructose, for example, plays a key role in elevating insulin resistance which will, in turn raise insulin levels. Insulin resistance leads to high insulin levels, which leads to higher resistance in a vicious cycle. That is, it can be self sustaining.

So during weight loss, if we don’t address the long term issue of insulin resistance, then some of the incoming energy is directed toward storage of fat. At the very least, we won’t be burning fat. Our basal metabolism gets energy from two sources – food, and stored food (fat). If high insulin levels blocks our access to fat stores, then all of our energy must come from food. If we have reduced food intake from 2000 calories per day to 1200, but basal metabolism must also fall from 2000 calories to 1200.

This is the logical response of the body. Where would it get energy from? Fat stores are locked away since high insulin will block fat burning (lipolysis). So, as ‘Calories In’ goes down, so does ‘Calories Out’. This is why the Biggest Loser contestants metabolisms plunged so heavily. This is the fallacy of the Caloric Reduction as Primary crowd. They only care about reducing calories in, and don’t realize that the game is all about ‘Calories Out’.

Consider the analogy of soccer. Soccer’s First Law of Thermodynamics says that to win, you must have more ‘Goals In’ than ‘Goals Allowed’. Goals can’t be created out of thin air. So, therefore if we increase the numbers of ‘Goals In’, we will win every game. So, we move our goalie and position players all to forward and ask them to stay in the attacking zone. Of course, we lose every single game. By trying to increase ‘Goals In’, we’ve increased ‘Goals Allowed’. The mistake is to assume that increasing ‘Goals In’ will not affect ‘Goals Allowed’. Then we blame players for not trying hard enough. But, in truth the strategy was bad.

Same goes for ‘Calories In’ and ‘Calories Out’. Reducing ‘Calories In’ will result in reduction of ‘Calories Out’. You’ll lose every single time, as the Biggest Loser proves. The mistake is to assume that reducing ‘Calories In’ will not reduce ‘Calories Out’. But it does. Every single time. Then we blame patients for not trying hard enough, but in reality, the strategy of ignoring insulin is bad.

How to Fix your Broken Metabolism

So, are we doomed to a life of ever growing waistlines? Hardly. Remember, the key to weight loss is to maintain energy expenditure (calories out). If you simply increase food intake again, you’ll simply increase weight. So, what to do?2CompartFasting

There are two compartments here. The body will get energy from food, or stored food (fat). So the answer is to unlock the door which is preventing us from accessing out fat stores. It is the high insulin levels that is keeping all the energy locked away in fat. Insulin is blocking the door so that we can’t get to that basement freezer. Once we understand that, the solution is simple. We need to lower insulin. The key is to release all the pent-up energy stored in the body fat. The crucial junction in weight gain/loss is not the calories, it’s the insulin because that is what opens up the door to release the fat for burning.

Lowering insulin will allow fat burning (lipolysis). This provides our body with lots of energy. If we have lots of energy coming in, the body has no reason to shut down its basal metabolism. The quickest, most efficient way to lower insulin? Fasting. Ketogenic diets will work, too. But remember that insulin has many inputs and is not simply carbohydrates. Cortisol, protein, fructose, insulin resistance, fibre, vinegar and countless other things play a role in determining insulin levels. Generally, though, cortisol and insulin resistance are the things least likely to be treated.

Once the doors to the ‘fat’ freezers are open, the body says, “Whoa, there’s lots of energy here. Let’s burn a little extra”. Studies of fasting show that basal metabolism doesn’t shut down during fasting, it revvs itself up. Four consecutive days of fasting increases basal metabolism by 13%.Heilbronn5

Studies of alternate daily fasting (ADF) shows the same thing. Basal metabolism is maintained, even over 22 days of ADF. Even with weight steadily decreasing, the resting metabolic rate is statistically identical at the end of 22 days. You can see from the table below, that carbohydrate oxidation plummets as fat oxidation rises, just as seen previously.

This is an important point. In standard caloric reduction strategies, the body reduces its caloric expenditure to adjust to the reduced caloric intake. Stores of energy locked away as body fat are not available. If your reduce your calories from 2000 to 1200 per day, then your body is forced to reduce calorie expenditure to 1200 per day since it cannot get any from the stored food (fat). Where’s the extra energy going to come from?

However, by lowering insulin drastically during fasting or alternate daily fasting, the body does not shut down. Instead, it switches fuel sources. No food in coming in. Insulin falls. Your body has a choice. It can reduce calorie expenditure to zero, also known technically as ‘dropping dead’. Or, it can force open the reserves and power itself from fat.TEE

Lowering insulin makes it much easier to open up these stores of fat. That it’s normal job. When you eat, insulin goes up, fat goes into storage. When you don’t eat (fast), insulin goes down and fat comes out of storage. Dr. David Ludwig showed a similar result when comparing diets. In his study, he compared the total energy expenditure after weight loss with three different types of diets – low fat (standard advice), low glycemic index and very low carbohydrate.

The low fat diet does nothing to reduce insulin levels. So fat stores are blocked from being used for energy. Basal metabolism drops almost 400 calories per day. But on the other extreme, very low carbohydrate diets would be the diet that lowers insulin the most. This allows access to the basement fat ‘freezer’. Now our body has the energy it needs to start revving up its metabolism.

It works with surgically enforced fasting such as seen with bariatric surgery, too. The one contestant, Rudy Pauls, who got bariatric surgery fixed his wrecked metabolism. So, is it possible? Definitely. Rudy Paul’s metabolism had slowed more than any other contestant. That’s why his weight regain was so dramatic. By forcing himself to fast, he has partially repaired his broken metabolism.biggest loser clip 3

In order to fix our broken metabolism, we need to allow free access to the energy contained within our fat stores. We need to allow fat burning (lipolysis) to proceed normally. We need to lower insulin. The answer is low carbohydrate diets, or even better – intermittent or extended fasting.il_570xN.380160499_gd9j

Fasting maximally lowers insulin and ignite the flames of fat burning. Caloric reduction wrecked our metabolism by causing it to shut down. How to fix it? Do the exact opposite of what you expect. Push your caloric intake towards zero! This is the George Costanza method. If everything you do makes things worse, do the exact opposite. It does not matter if you think it doesn’t make sense. Do it anyway and see what happens.

The standard nutritional advice given – to Eat Less and Move More is so bad, that doing anything, even the exact opposite beat it.

2017-09-02T11:54:10+00:00 129 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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129 Comments on "How to Fix your Broken Metabolism by doing the Exact Opposite"

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Samantha
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I appreciate these concepts, because like you, the bottom line is to help patients, not to subscribe to “correct dogma.” Understanding various theories can help a clinician when successful weight loss or health improvements are not occurring with a given strategy. We must all be willing to change a failing strategy. It is good to have a voice for fasting simply because our society has nearly erased all traces of the practice. It’s the antithesis of consumerism, no shopping, no prep, no expensive kitchen gadgets, no clean up, and no food. Vitamin or electrolyte supplement companies may perhaps be the… Read more »
BobM
Guest

I think the idea of eating all the time came from stabilizing blood sugar…for diabetics. They then assumed that this would apply to everyone. This is of course incorrect and has caused major damage (as has the whole low fat debacle). But I think they meant well.

Jin
Guest

spot on Samantha

Cheryl
Guest

I wish I had a health care provider like you in my life, Samantha!

James
Guest

I met with my endocrinologist yesterday and they said, “Fasting in the long term will make insulin resistance worse”. But when I wasn’t fasting my numbers hardly improved, but yesterday my results showed improvement after I started fasting. I feel so bad because so many people get bad information from doctors who don’t know any better.

johnnyv
Guest

Very concerning that an endocrinologist doesn’t seem to understand the very large difference between pathological IR as seen in T2DM vs physiological IR as seen in LCHF/fasting.
Did you ask them to explain how this actually occurs?
Also how fasting doesn’t result in very high blood glucose if that was the case?

Josette Eral
Guest

Isn’t that sad. I don’t trust most doctors and really never have. I guess I just follow my gut and what feels right.

John D
Guest

Dr Fung: I gotta say that as a layman who has studied the diet/nutrition/health axis intensely for many, many years, I find that your work has floated to the top of my pile of the incredible Docs and scientists who take the time to post about the science of optimal health.

Clearly keeping the pancreas as quiet as possible is the critical path for sustained lifespan/healthspan. Thanks for taking the time and making the commitment to do this great work!

Hudson
Guest
Dr. Fung – first, thank you for the work you’re doing. You’re really opening people’s eyes to the true causes of obesity and how to fix things. Thank you! I have one question about the bariatric surgery. In this article and others you describe it as a version of fasting – but isn’t it really just forced caloric reduction? How does it give the benefit of not eating when the bariatric patient is still able to eat (albeit smaller amounts) constantly? I have always been confused by this. I would assume insulin would still remain high after this procedure if… Read more »
Jin
Guest

Bariatric surgery results were the inspiration behind the Newcastle Diet according to Professor Roy Taylor. My personal experience on 600 calorien a day diet was one of weight loss and blood sugar levels falling to normal. Once you have done that it is easy to transition to full on fasting.

JW
Guest
This may be your successful N=1 but a 600 calorie diet followed by full on fasting is a fast track way to getting an eating disorder. The starvation response after a 600 calorie diet pounces like a tiger that very few can resist. This is how many women, including myself, end up with bulimia or a binge eating disorder. IF is the buzz word now on the pro-ana sites as it becomes more and more acceptable to fast. A woman’s fitness site promoting purely IF has before/after pics of women and most were not even overweight, just healthy. As a… Read more »
Jin
Guest

Hi JW,
Taking things slowly and seeing how you react to shorter periods of fasting and slowly increasing the length of your fasts should minimize the risk.
Personally I did not experience a starvation response and it was not my first fast either, I had many shorter fasts of varying lengths under my belt before attempting that one.

DrCollins
Guest
Dr. Fung, PLEASE…. I would love some clarification on this. You describe Bariatric surgery, AND EveryOtherDay (<500 calorie=25% food reduction type Intermittent Fasting – as "fasting", and refer to Research involving those types of eating, as Proof of Fasting Benefits. But it seems quite CLEAR that Both of these Ways-of-Eating are REALLY simply forced caloric reduction to a very-low-caloric-food intake. … which is the same as Very-Low-Calorie-Restricted Diets. EOD research -Dr. Varady- said that further research had "surprisingly showed that eating small amount throughout the day provided the same intermittent "fasting" benefits as eating only 1 meal throughout the day.… Read more »
ChicagoDoc
Guest
Very reasonable questions and I don’t know that any one truly knows, but some possibilities: 1. Bariatric surgery likely leads to major changes in the GI endocrine milieu (ghrelin, nutrient sensing in the small bowel, etc) in addition to the mechanical and caloric mechanisms which leads to weight loss and anorexia. How else could a patient endure daily starvation level calories , note that a significant amount of patients fail surgical efforts. In this sense it is not the same as fasting. 2. It simply may not all be about insulin, if it was then LCHF diets would be expected… Read more »
DrCollins
Guest

Please excuse typos in post above – no edit ability. A couple of the obvious errors were: “IT” meant “IF”, “he” meant “you”….etc. etc. etc.

Pam
Guest

That’s a good question…..

Karen
Guest
Dr. Fung, I know that you say that extended fasts work quicker to reduce weight and insulin resistance, and that you have said that it is really up to each individual’s preference to decide what their fasting regimen will be, but as someone with a little weight to lose, and undoubtedly some insulin resistance I’d like to reverse, but no diabetes diagnosis, I am wondering what regimen I should aim for. I have been doing 23 hour fasts regularly, and I have tried a few 42 hour fasts (which have turned out to be rather effortless). Should I try to… Read more »
Jeanne
Guest
My metabolic nightmare started in the ICU. Steroids saved my life. But while in the hospital, they started giving me insulin. I started as an athlete and became gooey. Gained just under 100 pounds in 8 months. I did exactly what they told me. HCLF and mild cardio. Before I found Dr.Fung, I went back to my athletic routine. I am now intermittent fasting and LCHF eating. I have lost 30 pounds since January and have gone from 48%BF to 38% BF. I am off insulin and several other medications. I can not thank you enough.
Kat
Guest
As a person who has been overweight or obese for over 40 years, has dieted and lost — regained of course — I have a broken metabolism and insulin resistance. A few years ago I very strictly reduced my carbs to under 20 and was in strong ketosis for months, yet my weight loss was still stalled. I pretty much gave up because of the frustration of being so strict and not losing weight. This time, however, I’m still on the very low carb woe of eating, but I fast every other day for 22-23 hours. And it works! I… Read more »
Joelle
Guest
Kat, You are describing me exactly. It was a revelation to read Dr. Fung’s book. I too have dieted many times and regained. Eight or nine months ago I tried the LCHF diet. At first it was great, big initial weight loss and I actually enjoyed eating that way. But then….nothing for weeks and I got super frustrated figuring that LCHF might work for some people but obviously not for me. Reading Dr. Fung’s book has really opened my eyes and explained so much. I too would say that I have a broken metabolism and insulin resistance. I’m excited to… Read more »
BobM
Guest

Kat, I totally agree with you.

Ahmad Luqman Alias Firdaus Bin Ab Patah
Guest
Ahmad Luqman Alias Firdaus Bin Ab Patah

Can we fix insulin resistant?

How aboug your a1c?

Jin
Guest

At the very least you will get improvement but yes people have fixed insulin resistance and brought their a1c back to normal.

Candie
Guest

Good for you Kat. This gives us all more hope.

Ginny
Guest

Can you give me an example of what you eat in one day please? I’m having some similar struggles.

Lisa Carroll
Guest

Could you give an update and elaborate more; I have insulin resistance and tried everything. Just like you have become very frustrated and looking for SOMETHING….ANYTHING….that will work. LC

ChrisW
Guest
Dear Dr Fung – thanks for this post which answers the questions I asked after reading your last post. I am a 54 year old man who has had weight problems on and off throughout my life, which I have gone to extreme lengths to overcome, but only with short term success. These recurrent weight loss efforts have no doubt left me with a low metabolic rate. I am now beginning to see great results by combining a lchf diet with 4 consecutive days fasting a week. This fasting regime, which will no doubt seem extreme to some, is only… Read more »
Richard S Stone
Guest
I want to add my comment to those many who happily point out that fasting is do-able, and it works. And not extreme multiple day fasts, but easy and manageable IF. My experience of what works is alternating days of not eating breakfast in the morning, which means waiting until noon or 1PM to have a breakfast (Why not have eggs and bacon then?), and then on the other days, skipping both breakfast and lunch and having any dinner you want. Hopefully, generally, a lchf dinner. Have coffee in the morning, but just black. Or tea without sugar. And without… Read more »
Walt
Guest

Actually, in Obesity Code, Dr Fung states having a little cream with coffee is acceptable. I was concerned over that issue as well. Certainly nothing wrong with drinking black coffee though. Just, if you hadn’t gotten Obesity Code, you might not realize coffee with a little cream is OK. For myself, I use 1 mini moo (10cal) and maybe a half oz of fat free. If we had 2% or whole milk, I’d bag the mini-moo but even at that I think the entire cost of coffee and creamer is like 20cal, not 400 or 600.

Thomas
Guest
Just wondered how the “potato hack” as proposed by Tim Steele fits into the LCHF paradigm. As a matter of disclosure, I have no connection to the author and/or publisher. It is a 3-5 day very low fat fast of just eating potatoes. I try to do the “hack” once a month. I have found two results. 1. I lose weight. 2. It appears to “reset” my metabolism at the lower weight. After the “hack” I then go back to eating a no sugar-no grain Mediterranean diet, which ends up being fairly low carb. Obviously, the sample size is n=1.… Read more »
Sue
Guest

Thomas,

Do you ever check your blood sugar when you do this? Just curious.

Thomas
Guest

No. But your suggestion is good. Next time I try the potato hack, I will check blood sugar. Recent fbs around 80-85.

April
Guest

I have red somewhere that some fitness enthusiasts have one day a week with very high carbs and calories intake. This so called feeding day they say is for maintaining their leptin by tricking the body that there is more than enough energy (food) comming and the baby shouldn’t be “worried” and going into a “saving mode”.

Ginny
Guest

I’m going to try the potato hack starting tomorrow. Thank you for posting this information or else I would not have known about it. Thank you again!

Dr.Garry Lee
Guest

I think the best thing is LCHF plus fasting if needed, and as much as is needed. I hardly ever do it other than by accident. You do feel really sharp when you do it, though.

CARL S MARTIN
Guest

I think this is a good choice, I use it to control my diabetes. This article is right on, it is all about insulin. When insulin is high you can not use stored fat. There was a fat rat experiment where rats insulin was kept high, they starved to death, fat. The fat could not be used because of high insulin levels.

Bo
Guest

For me Low carb barely made a difference. I really noticed a difference when I started the fasting.

Greg
Guest

For some one who is new to this, what fast recommendations are there? Looking for recommendation of frequency and duration. Also do you continue taking your Diabetes medication during this process or do you stop?

Nina
Guest

Thank you, once again, Jason, for a fantastic post!

Love your sense of humour…….

Joaquim
Guest

I’ve been in LCHF diet plus fasting every day (alternating 16h/24h) and the results are outstanding. Lab and life style reflect the good results I achieve. Took almost a year of preparation for that, but it worth every effort.

BobM
Guest

Hi Joaquim,

Do you eat lunch and dinner one day and only dinner the next day? Or lunch and dinner one day and nothing the next? I’ve been using longer fasts (say 2+ days) but am thinking of eating lunch and dinner twice a week and only dinner three days a week, for the workweek. Then probably eating lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunder, although I might eat breakfast every once in a while.

Leah
Guest

Thank you Dr. fung, I too love your sense of humor and always look forward to your new blog postings. Thank you for taking the time to keep us all inspired and on the right track. Your book was also great!

Heather
Guest

Totally agree Leah.

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tony
Guest

But if we fast aren’t we really Eat Less (zero/very little food coming in) and Move More (more energetic that makes us move more)?

Jin
Guest

tony my understanding of the article is when low calorie diet the body wont go to fat store and use food ingested all the while insulin levels remain high further blocking the burning of fat. In fasting insulin levels leading to fat burning.

Jin
Guest

I meant to say insulin levels drop leading to fat burning when fasting.

Kris
Guest

All foods induce an insulin spike, putting the body into a fed state – lipogenesis. When you are constantly snacking and constantly eating, you are keeping the body in a Fed state with high insulin, where your body is not pulling energy from fat stores.

This is different than bringing your insulin levels low enough to enter a fasted state lipolysis in order to oxidize and free up fatty acids from fat stores for energy.

Tony
Guest
Hmmm, I don’t quite follow this explanation. It is well documented that people following a low calorie diet DO in fact lose weight. Their fat stores are obviously accessed. I myself have experienced this throughout my lifetime. There is lipolysis going on. If there were not, then how else do contestants in the Biggest Loser manage to lose weight? I am not defending their approach by any means. They do of course gain the weight right back and their metabolisms do slow down. I wholeheartedly agree that Fasting is obviously a better choice and works much better for weight loss… Read more »
Alex
Guest
That’s a really good point. Plus intermittent fasting hasn’t come into vogue until the past five years, but there were many people before that who lost weight and stayed thin on a healthy diet with regular exercise. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting off and on for the past three years. I’m on it now doing one meal a day with about a 22-hour fast and exercise about five times per week, and I’ve lost 13 pounds and I feel great with very few food cravings. But when I stop my daily fasting, my weight increases relatively quickly. I think the… Read more »
Jin
Guest

You are right Tony low calorie diets do use fat when they are severely restricted. Somewhere on this site is post comparing diets reduced by 25% of calories to fasting. In that blog post Dr Fung talked about insulin levels staying high and blocking fat loss.

Bill
Guest

I think you have to consider short term fat loss compared to long term. Low calorie intake may force your weight down in the short term, but your body will keep fighting you every step of the way, and eventually ‘win’. By lowering your insulin and cortisol levels and reducing resistance, you are lowering your set point, and thus your body will not fight to maintain the higher weight.

Oola
Guest
I agree. It is misleading to claim that eat less, move more is that off the mark. If fasting isn’t eating less, I don’t know what is. Doeesn’t the body have to have a caloric deficit to even want to get the fat out of storage? Are people eating 2500 or 3000 LCHF calories a day or more and still losing weight? Because I’d guess that most overweight people are eating that much, so of course if they go LCHF and end up eating 1800 calories a day, they will lose. I can accept that when they do lose, their… Read more »
leavemealonegoaway
Guest

Agree w Dr Garry Lee. There is that dreaded keto flu that I experienced week one of VLCHF… and I was still eating!

I can’t imagine going through that transition AND enduring my first 24 hour fast. Once that ‘hangover’ feeling kicked in, I’d probably never try it again. I suspect people who try 16:8/short regimens and feel ok aren’t really tapping their fat stores too much.

I tell my friends who want to try to do a 2 week or longer VLCD (eg dietdoctor.com), get the flu out of the way, and THEN introduce different IF regimens. Virtually effortless.

Brendan F
Guest
The “keto flu” is usually a result of electrolyte(salts) deficiency, by the way (too little sodium, magnesium and/or potassium). On a ketogenic diet, you release more electrolytes, and early on you release a lot of the stores along with the water. On top of that, most ketogenic foods are not as high in various electrolytes as many high carb foods (and especially processed foods), so you need to do some extra planning to make sure you get enough salts, and that will help completely avoid the keto flu. First few weeks may still show weaker performance otherwise while adapting, but… Read more »
Srinath
Guest

When I eat myself out of ketosis, and drop back into keto, my keto flu lasts about 10 mins. I have on occasion dropped back into ketosis while still eating. of course in the last 6 months I must have spent less than 3 hours out of ketosis.

Sloan
Guest

The opposite of “Eat Less, Move More” would be “Eat More, Move Less.” Those who are already familiar with your writing may get what you’re trying to say but the analogy/semantics fell apart somewhere. (In a way, one is “eating” more by fasting because one is accessing the thousands of calories in stored fat.)
Vinegar & fiber are mentioned but thee is really no explanation of what they do. If you’ve written about them before, could you please link to the articles?

leavemealonegoaway
Guest

Hi Sloan

My take was that “Reducing calories wrecks metabolism”, so what’s the fix? The ‘obvious’ answer would be “Stop reducing calories!”; the opposite of this ‘obvious’ answer is “Drop calories to ZERO!!” (intermittently).

Agree that hyperlinks to the alluded factors would be nice. However, taking a weekend to read every single post from day one is even better..and it’s worth it! 🙂

Jin
Guest

Hi Sloan, there is a search box near the top, just type in and the appropriate articles will appear.

honeycomb
Guest

Go to the search function and type them in .. they’re there .. it worked for me when I tried it.

Tony
Guest

Sloan,
That is not a falling apart at all. It is the exact answer. You need to eat more of the correct foods and stop doing hours of useless exercise.

Steve
Guest

Greetings again Dr. Fung….another great post. I hope I’m not being a bother but may I ask again for a post on fasting and CKD/ kidney health? Surprisingly I can find very little on the subject other than a great article by Robb Wolf. Many of the fasting “haters” out there mention potential negative effects on kidneys if fasting. Of course, being a Kidney Doctor, I’m sure fasting has, at the very least, no major negative effects. Robb’s article mentions a case in which three weeks of hclf led to CKD recovery.

Again…many thanks!

angie
Guest

How does vinegar help or derail us? What impact does it have on our diet?

leavemealonegoaway
Guest

Typed ‘vinegar’ into the ‘search engine’ at the top of the page. Here’s one of many things that popped up:

https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/the-benefits-of-vinegar-hormonal-obesity-xxviii/

deb
Guest

It lowers insulin. Some IF’ers I know take some every day. Personally, I can’t get the stuff down!

leavemealonegoaway
Guest

I have romaine salad almost daily. I toss it with AC vinegar before I make the salad, even if I add a different dressing..tastes great.

leftie
Guest

I have begun taking 450 mg apple cider vinegar capsules with each meal. Not sure if it will react the same way that regular apple cider vinegar does though. Dr. Fung, what is your opinion on this?

Sue
Guest

Hi Leftie,

My husband started out with regular apple cider vinegar. Then switched to the pills because he hated the taste. But those were not as effective! So then we switched over to organic mother apple cider vinegar. The taste is better and the effectiveness was by far the best! We actually pour ourselves an 8 oz glass of water, add some soluble fiber and the vinegar and drink it down before every meal and 2 T of vinegar at bedtime. Works wonderfully!!

Wenchypoo
Guest

As a housewife, I can readily identify with the “freezer” part of your analogy and diagram.

The other day, my doctor offered me a cookie from a batch another patient brought in to her. I said, “No thanks–gotta keep the insulin down.” she looked at me and said, “But you aren’t ON insulin!” I replied, “I know–and I want to stay that way.”

Kathryn
Guest

How would you modify this advice for a type 1 Diabetic, producing no insulin, with weight to lose? Modify their insulin dosages as low as possible gradually?

Jin
Guest

Hi Kathryn,
I have heard of type 1s getting some type of relief from hflc.

KarenMarie
Guest

You want to check out Dr Richard Bernstein. He’s a T1 diabetic and engineer and pioneered the use of the type of glucometer you can buy in any drugstore today. He left his engineering career and went to medical school so he would be taken seriously when advocating the tight glucose approach to managing T1 he was using for himself.

His book is Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution.

HeyPete
Guest

Very informative post, as always. So on the subject of alternate day fasting being as effective as long fasts, 500-600 calorie on “fast” day does NOT “shut down” or slow our metabolism, is this why it still effective?

Pam
Guest

Yeah, what if we “fasted” by eating only 500 calories a day for several days?

HeyPete
Guest

@Pam well that’s not very sustainable way to go about it, I know that much.

Lastenia
Guest

I am wondering how an HCG diet affects the metabolic rate? I really hope I haven’t messed it up for good. Do the hormones you take during HCG keep your Metabolism from dropping as it does with normal restricted calorie diets? I am starting IF and LCHF diet hoping to keep the weight off and increase metabolic rate. Does anyone know the answer??

J. Emery
Guest

Something bothers me, Dr.
It’s confusing, because the Biggest Loser contestants also built substantially, increased muscle mass, the presence of which I associate with increased metabolism?
Fasting vs 1200 calories.
1200 calories is not enough for the body.
Fasting is not enough calories for the body.
The body recognizes that it needs to acquire energy from somewhere, because it isn’t enough, so we need energy to go kill an antelope.
Fasting, it draws from fat stores more easily, and maintains or elevates metabolic rate.
1200 calories, it does NOT draw from fat stores as easily, and it does NOT maintain or elevate metabolic rate.
Why?

Jin
Guest

High insulin levels vs low insulin levels while fasting, according to Dr Fung that’s the difference J. Emery.

Rob
Guest

I am reading an article published by UHN News about an Epilepsy diet clinic at Toronto Western. Dr. E.D Bercovici advises patients to consume high-fat, low carb food options at Canada’s first adult epilepsy diet clinic. The clinic is designed to provide an alternative treatment path for htose with difficult to control epilepsy. “If what your doing now isn’t working try the opposite” that’s a quote from memory Doc.

RCDad
Guest

Soooo, does fasting work if I only consume say 500-600 calories a day from Coconut Milk in my Coffee in the AM? Or do we really need to get Calorie IN down to ZERO for the day?

Jin
Guest

Although true fasting is zero calories Professor Roy Taylor successfully treated patients with type 2 diabetes on a 800 calorie per day diet for 8 weeks, Called the Newcastle Diet. Six hundred of the calories were from sugary shake called optifast I think.
In a recent post Dr Michael Moseley’s book shows you how to reverse diabetes on 800 calories per day using normal food. If you can go to zero calories it should speed up the process.

leavemealonegoaway
Guest

Some IF days I have coffee w 1tbsp butter and 2 tbsp coconut oil; some days I have zero cals. I personally have not noticed any ‘stall’ when I have fatty coffee (<500 cals total). Not sure re the science. I would like a proven answer as well (if one exists).

Jin
Guest

This is what Dr Fung thinks aboutt the Newcastle diet
https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/fatty-pancreas-t2d-9/
and here are his thoughts on Dr Meseley,
https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/book-review-8-week-blood-sugar-diet/

Pam
Guest

RCDAD,
I was wondering the exact same thing.

Gerry
Guest
Hello Dr Fung, fellow Canadian here working in the middle east. I’ve been following your blog for several months and I’ve read I believe everything here. Curiously enough I find this to be very interesting. On top of that I’ve purchased your book for my kindle. I’m not overweight nor do I have diabetes. I work out consistently plus eat well.I’m within my ideal body, bmi and fat percentage is around 15 to 18. My issue is the tiny stubborn belly fat! How can I finally rid myself of that? I can fast 48 hours and 24 hours without a… Read more »
Al
Guest

Try to do a very-low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet… also check your circadian rhythm, have plenty of sleep and get your Vitamin D from sunlight – best time in ME is around 10am to 12noon, when your shadow is shorter than you.

N
Guest

I have a question; If I’m able to reverse diabetes type 2 by fasting, eating less carbs etc. Will I have to keep doing this for the rest of my life, or could I re-introduce certain foods like rice and bread eventually BUT in small amounts and not too often?

Jin
Guest

Once you get into the habit of fasting then the occasional feast should be well tolerated indeed IMO necessary. When you eat those old foods you craved they will not taste as good as they tasted in your imagination and their hold on you will be broken.
Your old cravings will be replaced by cravings for healthy food.

If you deny yourself too much psychologically those old forbidden foods will eventually turn into overwhelming urges. Best to look forward to having them on occasion.

leavemealonegoaway
Guest

William Banting discussed this in his 3rd Edition of ‘Letter on Corpulence’. He said he allowed himself some liberties, but kept an eye on things. If he noticed a drift in the wrong direction, he would get ‘strict’ again and pull things back. Sounds like a reasonable strategy.

BobM
Guest
N, I think it depends on what your tolerance for that stuff is. I’ve allowed myself high carb at times, even making my own sourdough bread with Einkorn wheat every month or so. Sometimes, like when traveling, it can be very difficult to eat a low carb diet, too. And I still like good pizza every once in a while. But I just fast after this, and then transition back to low carb. Personally, I’ve been low carbing for about 2.5 years and adding IF to that for about one year. It used to be that if I ate high… Read more »
Jennifer
Guest

Hi there,
How would you incorporate a vegan diet into this program?

Jin
Guest

Hi Jennifer,
This is fasting Jennifer, when fasting all food intake stops, that’s it, does not matter what diet you are on, when breaking the fast just resume whatever diet you normally eat.

Joanne
Guest

“also known technically as ‘dropping dead’.” I’m still laughing!

karl
Guest

usually Dr. Fung has links to the articles he is discussing. does anybody know what article is mentioned above. i am referring to the table 2 graph and the jama 2012 mention. i usually look it up by author but neither is mentioned.

N
Guest

I just read about scientists in norway finding a potential cure for type 2 diabetes using “appetite surpressing hormones” in diabetes medication. Does this therefore confirm that fasting also cures diabetes?

Walt
Guest
Thank you Dr Fung. I viewed your six part series right before the NYT article came out. Hopefully you got a bump in OC sales and views of your 6 part series as I routinely gave shout-outs to both in the comments section of that NYT article. I have a problem now though. Jan2015 I retired from work after climbing to in excess of 300lbs, from 230 when I started 4 years earlier.Up to this point my fbs was fine always sub 100, ~85. In June2015 I was diagnosed NIDDM with an A1C of 8.5. With MFP in hand and… Read more »
Wendy
Guest

Dr. Fung why do people such as Mark Sisson at Marks Daily Apple keep saying that women shouldn’t fast? Its confusing and getting really super annoying. I don’t know what to believe or who to believe anymore. The article I read was annoying. Made it sound like women are so much more delicate than men, which is annoying in of itself. I actually trust you more but I still feel confused about it. What the hell?

Walt
Guest

Wendy, I am not Dr Fung but I did happen across a blog entry here entitled Women and Fasting. I am sure you can google it.

Wow…what service!
https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/women-and-fasting-part-10/

Fiona
Guest

THANKS it was exactly the article I needed to read
I have also been going around in circles.

Chris
Guest
Dr. Fung: I’ve been wondering about the evolutionary side of this for a while. I get that it doesn’t make sense for the body to reduce BMR when fasted, to enable hunting/food gathering. I also get that BMR is reduced when CI are reduced and insulin is high because the body can’t get to the fat stores. BUT: in the paleolithic setting, insulin was never high and Grok (to borrow Mark’s term) was always burning fat. Why then does it make evolutionary sense for the body to reduce calories when food was scarce but not non-existent? The need to be… Read more »
JoshNZ
Guest

Hi mark, I believe the answer lies in the types of foods as well as the timing.. In “groks” time the foods that may have been scarcly consumed were not pumping out insulin like a modern snack food does. On top of that.. Grok was staring from a point of normality with regards to insulin sensitivity and not a damaged feedback system as many of us have developed over years of high PROCESSED food intake.

Darrell
Guest
Hello Dr. Fung. Great blog. As a backdrop, I have seen good success following a 16:8 IF protocol. Improved blood markers, weight loss, higher testosterone levels, etc. You have written about various forms of “metabolic resistance,” on numerous occasions. And that makes a lot of sense to me. Now, if we accept that such “resistance” can develop with consistent and high levels of exposure to certain things, such as insulin, antibiotics, alcohol, cocaine (heck, even the success of carb-refeeds is predicated on the same theory), can/will sustained exposure to a consistent and unchanging fasting protocol (even a successful one) elicit… Read more »
honeycomb
Guest

Even Tom Hanks thinks he can reverse his T2D ..

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2067788-tom-hanks-blames-himself-for-type-2-diabetes-diagnosis/

I hope he has been reading your work.

trackback
[…] 9. Fasting combined with a low carb, high fat diet effectively solves all of the above problems.  Studies show that fasting actually increases your metabolism. This is different from a low calorie diet, which decreases your metabolism. Presumably our pre-historic evolution mechanisms tell our bodies to go out and look for food. I mean, seriously, if your body was to shut down when you’re fasting, then you’d die! The ultimate goal of any species, from a scientific point of view, is survival and proliferation so why would mother nature set you up for failure?! Mother Nature is much smarter than… Read more »
Walt
Guest
I believe there is something fundamental I am missing. In principal I understand the 2 compartment analogy. However, on the 24 hour fast regiment how does the body ever transition to burning fat? From Obesity Code (p.239), the body does not transition to that mode, ketosis or even Gluconeogenesis, until after 24 hours of fasting. However, one resumes eating at that point. So, wouldn’t that mean the patient oscillates between feeding and the post-absorptive phase? I believe I am correct in assuming the stored glycogen in the liver is exhausted in the time between finishing the evening mean and the… Read more »
Walt
Guest
I believe there is something fundamental I am missing. In principal I understand the 2 compartment analogy. However, on the 24 hour fast regiment how does the body ever transition to burning fat? From Obesity Code (p.239), the body does not transition to that mode, ketosis or even Gluconeogenesis, until after 24 hours of fasting. However, one resumes eating at that point. So, wouldn’t that mean the patient oscillates between feeding and the post-absorptive phase? I believe I am correct in assuming the stored glycogen in the liver is exhausted in the time between finishing the evening mean and the… Read more »
Walt
Guest

I had been using an incorrect email address which this last (repeat) post corrects.

Margaret
Guest
“If your reduce your calories from 2000 to 1200 per day, then your body is forced to reduce calorie expenditure to 1200 per day since it cannot get any from the stored food (fat).” Look, I agree with everything about LCHF, ketogenic diet, fasting etc., and I know calories in/calories out is nonsense, but this can not be completely accurate. If the body on a reduced calorie, SAD diet can’t get ANY calories from stored fat, then how does anyone lose weight this way? People DO lose weight at first on biggest loser/weight watchers crap diets and it can’t all… Read more »
Jin
Guest
Yes Margaret as you say yourself people DO lose weight at first. My understanding is that the body slowly adapts to “living within its means” When this happens weight loss stalls. As your insulin levels stay high so does your hunger,food is always on your mind. It takes a special sort of sadist to enjoy losing weight this way. From personal experience it is a pretty miserable way to try and lose weight. When you do give in eventually you end up heavier than when you started. Many more people find it easier to stick to lchf than lfhc. However… Read more »
Candie
Guest
This is, by far, the best article I’ve read. Tt explains things in laymen’s terms. Thank God! I’ve been doing Keto for a year & have taken the advice from all the guru’s (Jimmy Moore, Stephanie Person, Jacob Wilson, Dominic D’Agostino) & many others. What I would like to know is what to do when “physiological insulin resistance” resulting from LCHF or Keto & Fasting Blood Glucose rises over 100 (upwards to 115) & post prandial or post meal values are higher than that. Keeping a calorie deficit is what we’ve all been taught as far as we can all… Read more »
Candie
Guest
I’m not a diabetic by any means, however, over the past year, while on Keto, I’ve seen a slow rise in fasting blood glucose while keeping my macros on point. They started out under 80 & have progressively gotten higher. My blood ketones are usually between 1 & 3 mmol/s. I’ve read a lot about Gluconeogenesis, Dawns Phenomenon, Physiological Insulin Resistance (the kind that’s not related to diabetes). I’ve intermittent fasted before too. It’s very easy to fast on Keto because hunger is so easily controlled. I’ve done a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window days in… Read more »
Eli
Guest
Hi. Thanks so much! very interesting stuff. What I don’t get (and I think others are saying similar things above) is what the fundamental difference is between intermittent fasting, and restricted calories, as far as combating the lowered set-point. Why does bariatric surgery (which is forced reduced caloric intake) not (supposedly) affect the RMR long term, whereas a restricted “biggest Loser” diet does? Could it be that the intermittent fasting diet completely lower insulin or the glycogen while a regular restricted diet doesn’t? And if so, then there would need to be some guidelines as to how long a fast… Read more »
ANA
Guest

Hello Dr. Jason Fung or anyone who can answer.

I am an obese person, because I went from 127 kg to 105 with Lowcarb diet and now with fasting, my intention is to lose more weight.

I was fasting every other day but with time spent doing daily from Monday to Friday, leaving as few free Saturday and Sunday.

  I have the following question: do fast 23: 1 with power around 1000 calories, this form of fasting can harm me in losing weight?

Thank you!!

Kamran Karimullah
Guest
Dear Dr. Fung, I have read your excellent articles (and the links in them) on the potential benefits of adopting a low carb diet to help manage T1D. It seems that, at least in theory, a person with T1D on a low-carb diet could benefit from using a fasting regimen as well. I am very keen to hear if there are Type-1 diabetics who have any experience in practicing this type of regimen. I am particularly interested in insights into the duration of the fast, how to maintain regular glucose levels throughout the day (and night). Finally, when I was… Read more »
Paul
Guest
Hey everyone, Im a bit late to the party but hopefully someone will still see this and might be able to answer. I was wondering if there are studies on the effects of Alternate Day Fasting that lasted longer than the one Dr. Fung shows (22 days), especially does the RMR decrease over a longer period of time – the 22 day study shows a minimal decrease. Wondering if that would change in the long run. Im also curious what the study would show for a shorter fast, for example 20/4, would it also stop the RMR to drop due… Read more »
Roger Bird
Guest

(sarcasm) It is amazing that there are so many lazy people among the contestants, and yet they worked so hard to win. (/sarcasm)

Marie
Guest

I am very interested to find out if there is a connection between hypothyroid disease and insulin resistance and if insulin resistance could be largely responsible for the thyroid dysfunction. It seems coincidental that many of the symptoms of hypothroidism are so parallel to insulin resistance symptoms that are described in this blog and if a fasting protocol could help

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