How to Control the Body Weight ‘Thermometer’

Contrary to what most people believe, long term weight loss is not simply about cutting a few calories here and there. Sure, it sounds like it works, but the bottom line is that it does not. This has been proven in countless studies and also the countless tears of unsuccessful dieters desperately counting their calories like Ebenezer Scrooge counting his pennies. We pretend we live in a world where nutrition demands scientifically  rigorous proof  that prescribed treatments are effective. So, where are the studies that show that cutting calories causes long term weight loss? After 50 years of desperate, intense research, guess how many studies prove its effectiveness? How about zero? That’s right, Nada. Zilch. Zero. The only reason we think the ‘caloric reduction as primary’ strategy is effective is because it’s been repeated so often. It’s like Santa Claus. When I was a kid, I thought “So, some random guy is just going to give me presents for no reason?” But repeated often enough, these tales gain an undeserved sheen of truth.

No, the key to successful weight loss is to control your body’s ‘thermostat’ – the body set weight (BSW). A room thermostat is set to your desired room temperature and in the summer, when the outside temperature is hot, it turns on the air conditioning. In the winter, it detects the temperature is too cold, and turns on the heat. Your house stays at the perfect temperature despite wildly varying outside conditions.

In our bodies, we have the BSW, also called an appestat or obesistat, essentially a thermostat for body fatness. Some people believe we are designed to eat everything in front of our face and now that food is so easily available, we have no choice but to gain weight. This is false and completely ignores normal human physiology.

Instead, we have multiple overlapping powerful satiety mechanisms to stop eating. We have stretch receptors in our stomach to signal when it is too full. We have powerful satiety hormones such as peptide YY and cholecystokinin that stop us from eating. Think about a time you’ve eaten too much at a Chinese buffet. Would you be able to eat two more pork chops, just because they are available and free? Think about those restaurants that will give you a free meal if you can eat 40 oz of steak in 1 hour. Are they going bankrupt anytime soon? No. Because it is really, really hard to keep eating once we’re full. Yet these are the very same pork chops or steak that we hungrily ate just a few minutes ago, prior to the meal.

From an evolutionary standpoint, these satiety mechanism makes a lot of sense. Our body is designed to stay within certain body fat parameters. If you are too skinny, you will die during the hard times (winter). If you are too fat, you will not be able to catch food, and you might just get eaten yourself. Wild animals almost never become obese to the point of being unable to function normally. Where are the morbidly obese antelope? Caribou? Lions? Tigers? Fish? When food is plentiful, numbers of animals increase. You don’t get a few morbidly obese rats. You get thousands of relatively normal sized rats.

The BSW sets an ideal body fatness that it defends just like our house thermostat. If we are too skinny, we try to gain weight. If we are too fat, we try to lose weight. The clearest experimental demonstration of this was done by Dr. Rudy Leibel in 1995. In this experiment he took volunteers, and overfed them to make them gain 10% more weight. Then he returned them to their regular weight, and then to 10% or 20% weight loss. At each point, he measured the basal metabolic rate (BMR), or how much energy (calories) the body is expending. After 10% weight gain, the body burns about 500 calories more per day compared to baseline. As the body returns to it’s original weight, so does the metabolic rate. After 10% weight loss, the body burns about 300 calories per day less.

The body tries very hard to maintain its BSW in the original position, acting just like our house thermostat. This directly contradicts the ridiculous Calories In/ Calories Out (CICO) viewpoint that hold that simply eating too many calories causes body fatness without regard to the BSW or satiety hormones or pretty much any other physiologic signalling. If you deliberately overeat, your body tries to burn it off.

‘Calories’ is not a physiologic notion, as we’ve previously discussed. Our body has no ‘calorie’ receptors and does not know how many calories we eat or don’t eat. Over the past several centuries, we’ve decoded many of the human metabolic pathways. Do you see ‘calories’ mentioned ANYWHERE in this complex diagram? A calorie of carbohydrate is metabolised entirely differently from fat or protein. So why pretend they are the same? It’s like saying that humans and a tree trunk share the same physiology because we both weigh the same and would produce the same heat if burned in a calorimeter. Believing this totally ridiculous notion is a big part of why we’re losing the war on obesity. This notion of ‘A calorie is a calorie’ is mostly pushed by processed food companies trying to convince you that it is fine to swap 100 calories of avocado for Coke in terms of weight gain. You’d have to be pretty dense to believe it. For food companies, the calories model is like Santa Claus. As long as they keep people believing, its a gift that keeps on giving. They can sell sugary beverages and tell people with a straight face that 100 calories of sugar is as fattening as 100 calories of kale.

Take artificial sweeteners. It has no calories, so we can fool our taste buds, but can we fool our appestat? Not at all. How many people do you know have lost weight by switching to sweeteners? If all we had to do to lose weight was eat fake sugar and fake fat and no calories, we’d all be eating Olestra and Stevia and lose weight. There would be no obesity crisis. There would be no type 2 diabetes crisis. But there is.

Why ‘Caloric Reduction as Primary’ does not work

Suppose our house thermostat is set to 72F degrees, but we now want to be at 70F. Ignoring the thermostat, we turn on the portable air conditioner in. At first, the temperature drops to 70F but then the thermostat turns up the heat to return the room to 72F. We don’t like that, so we put a second and third air conditioner in. In response, the thermostat turns the heat on full blast. We continually fighting against ourselves in an ultimately futile attempt. Well, that didn’t work. What is a simpler solution? Turn down the thermostat.

This is analogous to reducing calories to lose weight because it completely ignores the BSW. Suppose our BSW is set at 200 pounds, but we want to weight 170 pounds. Conventional advice tells us to cut 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. Initially weight goes down to 185 pounds, but then our appestat kicks in to make us gain weight. We become more hungry and basal metabolism slows in order to regain the weight. So we try even harder by cutting more calories. But our body responds by further slowing our metabolism. We continually fight against ourselves in an ultimately futile attempt to lose weight. Well, that didn’t work. What is a simpler solution? Turn down the appestat or BSW. How to do that? Read on, my friend.

The Body Weight ‘Thermostat’

So how does our appestat work? Recall that obesity is a disease caused by excessive insulin, not excessive calories. It is a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one. If you are not familiar with these ideas, you can find details in The Obesity Code book or review my past blogs at www.IDMprogram.com. If you need further help, you can contact us for personalized coaching or join our membership program. Insulin signals our body to store food energy in the form of body fat. When we fast, and insulin goes down, we burn some of that stored energy and this is why we don’t die in our sleep every night. Yes, we are able to survive without stuffing muffins in our mouths every 2 hours.

A thermostat works on a negative feedback loop. If the temperature is too low, the thermostat turns on the heat until it gets to the proper temperature and then it stops. The body also uses a negative feedback loop in the BSW. Excessive insulin leads an increase in the size of fat cells. They produce more of the hormone leptin which travels to the brain and signals that ‘we’re too fat’. Appetite decreases, we stop eating, and this lowers insulin. This signals our body to start burning fat instead of eating and storing it and returns us to our original, desired BSW.

This feedback loop keeps our weight relatively stable despite wide fluctuations in calorie intake and calorie expenditures day after day, week after week and year after year. After all, most people become obese by gaining 1-2 pounds per year. Over 40 years, this can add up. Assume that 1 pound of body fat is roughly 3500 calories. In a year, we might eat 2000 cal/day times 365 days = 730,000 calories. To gain 1 pound a year (3500 calories), we would need to accurately match calorie intake and expenditure to a 99.5% accuracy rate. That’s impossible. I have maintained an even weight since grade school, but I have no idea how many calories I eat and how many I expend. How do I maintain a 100% accuracy rate? Clearly, I could not do this through conscious regulation of my food intake/ exercise. No, body fat is regulated by a feedback mechanism – the BSW ‘thermostat’.

Obesity is therefore not a caloric balance problem, but rather the gradual increase in the BSW thermostat (appestat) over time. Let see how that works.

Obesity

The BSW is created by the balance of insulin effect versus leptin effect, just as the thermostat is regulated by the balance of heat versus cooling. In those who are obese, we know that insulin effect has prevailed over leptin effect. For example, if we inject exogenous insulin, we gain fat because we have tilted the balance towards insulin. In normal human obesity, this could be due to a number of reasons, but eating foods high in refined grains, eating frequently, eating lots of sugar (causes hepatic insulin resistance directly) are all culprits in keeping insulin levels high despite leptin’s best efforts to curb appetite to lower insulin. If insulin is extremely low, as in type 1 diabetes, the body loses weight continuously no matter how many calories are eaten.

The battle royale for the BSW is Insulin vs. Leptin. One is trying to make us gain fat, the other is trying to lose fat. It’s Rocky vs. Apollo Creed. These two heavyweight hormones that control body fat percentage are trading body blows. If leptin wins, then we are able to reduce appetite and/ or increase basal metabolic rates sufficiently to burn off the excess calories being eaten. This is exactly what we saw in Rudy Leibel’s study of deliberate weight gain.

But obesity is by definition a disease caused by too much insulin – hyperinsulinemia. If you are obese, it’s because insulin prevailed over leptin. As the fat cells stay over-filled, they produce more and more leptin in an attempt to fight insulin. This should help in the Battle Royale. And it does, often for decades. However, the root problem of hyperinsulinemia has not been solved (eating too much sugar, too many refined carbohydrates, eating constantly), so insulin also continues to march higher. And persistent high levels of hormones result in resistance. Eventually, persistent, high levels of leptin cause leptin resistance. Persistent high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance. But just as true – persistent high leptin levels cause leptin resistance.

This leptin resistance is virtually universal in common obesity. With leptin down and out, insulin is now unopposed to cause weight gain. The insulin vs leptin battle has been lost, and the BSW thermostat is reset upwards.

So, what’s the answer? Suppose we use the standard dietary advice of cutting dietary fat, reducing calories but eating lots of carbohydrates and eating 6 or 7 times per day. Since dietary fat has little insulin effect, this caloric reduction strategy has not reduced insulin effect and makes no difference to this Insulin vs. Leptin battle. Yes, you can cut calories, but no, you didn’t reduce insulin’s effect. The BSW is unaffected and our bodies desperately try to regain the lost weight. This is precisely the dietary advice given over the last 40 years that has failed so spectacularly. Eating frequently means constant stimulation of insulin, which is also detrimental to weight loss efforts.

The key to combating obesity, then is to help in the Insulin vs Leptin fight by lowering insulin. Everything depends upon it. Leptin is already maxed out. The only thing left is to lower insulin. How to do that? Well

  1. Eat less sugar
  2. Eat less refined grains
  3. Moderate protein and high natural fats
  4. Don’t eat all the time (time restricted eating or intermittent fasting). Stop snacking
  5. Eat real unprocessed foods (lower in insulin effects)

Funny. That’s precisely the sort of no-nonsense advice your grandmother would have given. Low Carb Healthy Fats + Intermittent Fasting. Boom. If you need further help with weight loss, consider joining the IDM membership program.

2018-03-27T10:41:39+00:0096 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.

96
Leave a Reply

avatar
28 Comment threads
68 Thread replies
39 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
71 Comment authors
FranksteveRobin HJenniferAaron Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I would like to see info on hormonal women’s inability to lose weight, even when IF-ing for years. Women have to most problem and so.many are left on the roadside because their body type doesn’t fit the narritive.

Srinath
Guest
Srinath

IF and keto take a long time to break stubborn insulin resistance. Even for men. Then when you don’t see results your start to eat cheat meals and generally fall by the wayside.
I broke my insulin resistance via long fasts up to 20 days at a time, and eating 1 very big, but ketogenic meal and going right back into the next long fast.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I recently started the LCHF-IF lifestyle and it has been amazing. Not only did it turn my life around, I now weigh less than I did in High School. I am 54 years old and am now down to 111#! ( I am very short so don’t be alarmed) The diet combined with the IF really made the difference. I have spread this out to so many family and friends. My Father is 81 and is in his best health now ever. Keep the faith!

Srinath
Guest
Srinath

Yea LCHF and Long Fasts got me to a scarcely believable 145lb. My goal weight is around 165 which I am holding at.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Let’s see how this works over the long-term.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Srinath may I ask what a “very big, but ketogenic” meal looked like during your extended fasting? How much weight did you lose, and how long did it take? Thank you!

Srinath
Guest
Srinath

My 20 day ended with a huge thanksgiving meal @ my office lunch. Lots and lots of turkey slathered with butter, pulled pork and cheese steak and several other types of meat, then finishing with the topping off an entire pecan pie. I lost 70 lb in 90 days in that window. Basically I ate 1 meal a day for 28 days then went 2,3, 5, 8, 6, 9 and 9 and 20 days between meals.

mark
Guest
mark

Hi srinath, sounds amazing. did you take any vitamins or supplements in that 28 day fast? Any side effects? I’m just getting into IF and am intrigued by longer fasts

Mira
Guest
Mira

WOW! I’m happy that is worked for you I’m kind of at the assumption though that the meal you described was not a good idea after a 20 day fast. the more you fast the more careful you should be with the breaking your fast. Did you have any medical supervision during that time?

Srinath
Guest
Srinath

Its the worst. But what did I know, I only discovered Dr Fung about 2 days prior to that meal. I essentially fasted and lost lots of weight, getting all the way to 148 (I’m a 5′ 9.5″ 49 yr old medium frame man BTW) knowing nothing of “technique” or what not. The take away though is that – even if you do a lot of wrong things, it still works. It works to the point you wont have time to get pics or buy clothes in every size. You’d be losing belt sizes morning to evening. I have clothes… Read more »

Jennifer Savage
Guest

Sarah, I believe you raise a timely and valid point. Much of self help today covers areas of interest in broad strokes without taking into consideration the very individuality of the person. There are many things that provoke the inability to burn fat. Hormones definitely play a part. Nutrient deficiencies play a part. Mineral balance plays a part and many other factors as well. Without knowing ones own baseline of health and nutrient status, it is like shooting in the dark to hit a target that will tell you what imbalance exists that is preventing fat loss. I support Dr.… Read more »

mandelmazza
Member
mandelmazza

Hi Sarah, I happen to be one of them. LCHF-ing since 2007 with a few lost years lately given a lot of changes. Never lost much even in the earlier younger days, in fact got a nicer shape but scales crept up, and I never ever got the ..I can survive on one meal a day only feeling that most of my fellow LCHFers in Sweden would have. More exercise, more stringent eating. The I discovered Dr Fung three years ago, and thought..golden bullet, I shall commence again but with a better arsenal of weapons. By now at least twenty… Read more »

CSue
Guest
CSue

I agree. I gained 15 pounds after menopause and calorie reduction, low carb, even 16:8 had no effect. Only longer fasts do. My insulin throughout this time was very low, so something else is going on. Also, while I understand the medical need to focus on people who are obese, it would be nice if these theories were sometimes taken down to the level of the slightly overweight, rather than obese. (After all, many people become obese from years of trying to get rid of 15 pounds.) Surely lowering insulin in obese people is helpful. But what about people who… Read more »

Donna L Enyart
Guest
Donna L Enyart

I totally agree. I am in this same boat.

Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz
Guest
Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz

Yes, yes, yes!!!!

JohnLocke
Guest
JohnLocke

Tired of feminism narrative … Men have more weight problems than women (statistics).

gary
Guest
gary

not everything that involves talking about women is “feminism”, you absolute walnut.

Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz
Guest
Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz

Yes it is. But feminism is a good thing. It argues that women are human beings.

CSue
Guest
CSue

I guess in your world women are supposed to pretend to be men? My post simply gave my situation, which happened to be female, but wasn’t even about that, it applied to both sexes. Crawl back under your rock.

Edna
Guest
Edna

Yes, I’m 65 and being on Keto I believe is the way to go, but it seems to be a struggle

gpisabela
Guest
gpisabela

Hi Sarah, I totally understand what you mean. I ate LC, LCHF, keto, IF lately, for the last 13 years (with a pregnancy/breastfeeding break in between). Never got to a normal weight. 1 1/2 years ago I thought I finally got it, I was losing weight steadily, when pre-menopause hit and my struggle is totally different now. Main difference is, if I am too restrictive and start to lose weight, I also lose my sleep, get palpitations, HBP etc. If I am not restrictive enough (but still LCHF), I gain 1 lb/week. I feel like I’m walking a very wobbly… Read more »

Robin H
Guest
Robin H

I did low carb and intermittent fasting for 20 years, but after my mid 40’s it didn’t work for me at all anymore. I suddenly lost insulin sensitivity and was no longer able to do intermittent fasting, or even stick to 3 meals. After gaining about 25 lbs over a period of a year or two (despite eating a 90% whole foods diet), I finally found something that works for me. It’s the all potato diet (the “potato hack”). I know it sounds crazy as it’s pure high glycemic carbs, but it did work for me when nothing else did.… Read more »

JJ Walters
Guest

If someone only consumed a packet of sugar (15 calories) every 30mins for 24hours a day, would they not lose weight over time (only amounts to 720 calories)? Of course they would. This insulin theory does not make sense either as many people in the moderate carb (200+) moderate protein (90+) low fat diet have successfully lost weight (not true that there is zero evidence of this as stated here). Prolonged calorie restriction is the only thing borne out by research. Due your own homework folks. I knew eventually this guy was going to start monetizing his research/site. It was… Read more »

SKG
Guest
SKG

No, you’re wrong and running on outdated information, JJ (or do you work for Big Food or Big Pharma, lol) Dr. Fung has tons of free information in this article as well as on the internet and youtube. No harm in him trying to make a living on additional one-on-one help. If you ate sugar all day you’d probably become diabetic or at the very least, very sick. If you research his work, he’s got tons of evidence that proves his work. And if you don’t believe the insulin theory, what about the “reverse diet” theory which adds calories–for those… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

Thank you!! I’ve successfully been doing both for 3 months and feel great. You have been a primary source of knowledge and inspiration. And I’ll gladly buy some tea so relax JJ…

Wayne
Guest
Wayne

All his information is still available for free on his blogs. Would much rather fast and eat low carb than to count calories and be hungry all the time. It’s working with hormones vs against.

Srinath
Guest
Srinath

@ 720 calories a day as sugar, you will wonderfully lose maybe 1/4lb a day for 2-4 weeks. Then beautifully your body will live on 720 calories, and as you keep doing that year over year, you will nicely start to gain weight and grow bigger than your original size.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Exactly!!! 🙂

Mary
Guest
Mary

If you want an anecdotal example, for most of the past 30 years I consumed 600-800 calories a day and still managed to keep gaining weight. I switched to Paleo about 5 years ago and was able to eat 800-1000 calories a day and maintained my weight (after dropping about 20 pounds). I switched to keto almost 2 years ago and now I eat 1500-2000+ calories a day and I weigh 75-80 pounds less than I did pre-Paleo. For me it is all about insulin.

Srinath
Guest
Srinath

Its always about the insulin, even when you think its not the insulin, it is. If someone were to eat only a 100 cal a day or even 0 cal a day, but say they keep taking insulin intravenously, I’ll probably guess they would live on 100 cal, as in, they will go into a hibernating state like a bear and sleep and barely make it – yes over 6 months they would lose weight but likely suffer a whole lot of muscle loss. Even in extreme calorie restriction diets weight loss as fat only happens when insulin is low… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

“If someone only consumed a packet of sugar (15 calories) every 30mins for 24hours a day, would they not lose weight over time (only amounts to 720 calories)? Of course they would.”

LOL!!!

Give it a try, sport! Be sure and get back to us on how you make out!

Bill
Guest
Bill

JJ, your logic is spurious beyond belief. It’s not that simple, and no one ever said it was. That’s like saying, I have 10 numbers that add up to 37. One of them is 3. What are the numbers? So 3 is the answer. No, there are 9 more numbers you didn’t mention that go into the equation.

Ron
Guest
Ron

JJ, I think you meant, “do” not “due”.

sten bjorsell
Guest
sten bjorsell

You may well have read the article yet understanding nothing. Give it another try, please. BWS, what did that mean to you? Or are you working for ILSI or something similar? Hardly a homeless t r o ll.

VAM
Guest
VAM

So far I haven’t posted any comment on the blog even though I read it regularly, but now I can’t resist the urge: ” moderate carb (200+)” and “moderate protein”. (90+) … You can’t be serious…

Jaz
Guest
Jaz

This has really gone over your head – you don’t get it do you. Sure you will lose weight eating 500 calories of sugar for a month – we’ve all lost weight before- the problem is maintaining that weight when hunger pounces like a tiger as the body tries to regain it. This is what this post is about – have you even read it? All you can parrot is “eat less and move more” – how is that going for the general population? I bet you have never been obese either because you seem blissfully unaware of the struggle.

JohnLocke
Guest
JohnLocke

Do you know about pro bodybuilders ? They are the living proof that Fung theoris about hormones are right and work for humans.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I think YOU need to go back and do YOUR homework again until you get it right! lol

Carlos
Guest
Carlos

There’s everything wrong with your case: 1.- You assume it is possible to sustain such a behaviour for any extended period of time, on mere will. Try holding your breath till you die, and see if you can. 2.- You assume such a behaviour would cause permanently elevated insulin levels, but 2a.- It possibly wouldn’t, given that ingested sugar would not compensate for glucose expenditure, and once liver glycogen was depleted, blood glucose could be lowered to the point where a packet of sugar does not require insulin response 2b.- Or it possibly would, if, once the liver was depleted,… Read more »

Robert
Guest

Thank you so much!! I’ve successfully done both for 3 months and feel great. You have been a primary source of knowledge and inspiration. And I’ll baugh with glad some tea.
I found more helpful tips on the wiki type sites: https://weightstudy.quora.com/7-Fat-Burning-Foods-that-can-help-you-lose-weight

dawn.ash
Member
dawn.ash

I cannot in good conscience take advice from an individual who doesn’t know the difference between the words do and due… You are on the wrong website…

Kathy McGraw
Guest
Kathy McGraw

Great article! Thx! 👌👍❤️

JJ Walters
Guest

What’s the outdated information I am running on? I’ve laid out a scenario where insulin can be kept constantly high and weight gain would not result. Go read about the hundreds of studies done on successful weight loss with high-carb diets. Look into the experiences of bodybuilders. All I am saying is that it is not the only factor. People are in denial about what they eat and how often. Eat less move more is sound advice that works. It’s your fault for eating those donuts and cookies. Your poor metabolism has crashed – oh no, let’s blame the food… Read more »

Larry
Guest
Larry

Are you joking when you say “Eat less move more is sound advice that works.”

Steph
Guest
Steph

???
More explanations…

sfel1x
Member
sfel1x

Moving from refined to unrefined carbs is a highly positive move IMO. A lot of people have lost weight eating unrefined carbs…. it probably takes longer than LCHF. I can’t help wondering if the high carbers manage to get on top of carb cravings effectively as unrefined carbs still results in large amounts of glycogen being released into the blood stream. Legumes and lentils are very nutritious and healing – I plan on re-introducing them in moderate amounts once I hit goal weight using LCHF.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Too funny! Bodybuilders use steroids – no comparison to normal folks! Yes, 10% of the population can lose weight on a high carb diet, but that is only 10%. 😉

steve b
Guest
steve b

i stopped using stevia during my fasting hours in my coffee but i am not happy about it 🙂 i have type 2 although i completely reversed it (from 15 to 5.5) in a few months. i havent been able to lose weight after an initial 4 months of losing. I assume my fat % climbed a bit too high. supposedly stevia doesnt effect insulin and i am not sure about erythritol. I use them in my feeding period which cant be that bad because going without sweet tastes completely seems wrong? your appestat explanation is confusing because if there… Read more »

labourlc
Member
labourlc

Page 172 in the Obesity Code:

“Despite having a minimal effect on blood sugars, both aspartame and stevia raised insulin levels higher even than table sugar(14).”

Robin H
Guest
Robin H

labourlc, I think the referenced study was in vitro though, so it’s not clear cut. Other studies show increased insulin sensitivity and diabetic benefits of stevia (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16278783). I personally do not find that stevia increases my appetite at all, unless it’s added to something that would otherwise be too bland for my taste (like plain oatmeal). Then yeah, I’ll eat more of that oatmeal. Having stevia in coffee or tea during a fast doesn’t seem to cause me any issues though, personally.

Doubting Thomas
Guest
Doubting Thomas

I don’t totally agree with this article, but I will say that a low carb, high protein diet is the real way to lose weight. I’ve lost 50 pounds just by cutting a lot of sugar out of my diet and eating a lot fewer carbs.

RobC
Guest
RobC

I know what you mean I did that too. Try replacing extra protein with fat and the pounds will melt off even faster! Excess protein is converted to glucose which works against people trying to control blood glucose levels or stay in ketosis.

Pete
Guest
Pete

So don’t over eat and don’t eat too little. If only there was a way to track how I’d be doing that exactly.

RobC
Guest
RobC

A scale would work. Gain a little weight, then either skip a couple meals or eat less refined carbs.

Online calorie calculators are of little value due to how much our metabolism shifts from day to day.

steve
Guest
steve

dr mercola has a free macro and calorie counter. i got bored with it after a while but it is useful because there are some items that you may think are low carb that are not. this app will let you know in an instant. there are more hidden carbs than you would imagine.if you track in the app for a few days i can almost guarantee most people are eating way more carbs than they think. some docs say low carb veg doesnt count in salad for example but i am beginning to think it does.

Roger Bird
Guest
Roger Bird

There is a Santa Claus, only he isn’t a fat old white guy. He is a slim young Asian guy.

Toni
Guest
Toni

I thought Dr. Fung was Canadian?

Han Li Chang
Guest
Han Li Chang

“Asian” is an ethnicity not a nationality.

Roger Bird
Guest
Roger Bird

I prefer “oriental” even if it is outdated simply because it makes sense. At least 66% of the people living in Asia are not what we currently mean by “asian”. And, “oriental” means “eastern”. How much more eastern can a people get? “Asian” is politically correct; therefore I ignore it. Some people are so afraid of seeming racist that they are willing to be stupid to avoid that appearance. I am not afraid of the censure of such shallow people.

Robin H
Guest
Robin H

My 80 year old mom prefers the term “oriental” as well, and for the same reasons. She’s from Japan. I never thought of it this way. But the truth is no one says “oriental” anyone, so it just sounds like you’re old and clueless.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

eh?

Roger Bird
Guest
Roger Bird

I think that over-eating makes me hungry. Really. I do One Meal A Day or OMAD, and I eat a heck of a lot for fear that I won’t make it to the next day without eating. Today I decided to stop over-eating, and it is now exactly 9 hours since I ate at noon, and I am still waiting to get hungry.

Gary
Guest
Gary

There is a difference in stop eating when you’re no longer hungry vs stop eating when you’re full (stuffed). The former will occur much earlier than the later. Your body will use fat reserves for fuel if needed. I’m having to learn that lesson on my OMAD schedule.

Dr Joe McAfee
Guest
Dr Joe McAfee

Do you guys recommend stevia or not ?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Page 172 in the Obesity Code:

“Despite having a minimal effect on blood sugars, both aspartame and stevia raised insulin levels higher even than table sugar(14).”

CaliforniaKeto
Guest
CaliforniaKeto

That’s really strange given this:
https://www.marksdailyapple.com/artificial-sweeteners-insulin/

The studies cited here imply that aspartame (and several other sweeteners) have NO insulin response. Dr. Fung, can you help clarify?

Sandra V
Guest
Sandra V

I recently added Stevia to my Ketogenic diet (tea) and since that time I have regained 7 pounds….Time to cut it out again and see if that is the culprit for the weight gain.

thetruth
Guest
thetruth

I do admire the simple elegance of this blog, but I’m afraid Dr. Fung is fighting a losing battle. Carbohydrates are everywhere, cheap, and subsidized. Sugar is everywhere and in everything. Food is constantly marketed and produced in huge quantities. When you couple this with the natural slowdown in metabolism and activity in middle age, and the social aspects of eating, the fact is that middle aged people will become overweight or obese, and will have huge trouble getting it off. True. Yes, you as an individual can have great success. But society? Forget about it. They won’t change. Americans… Read more »

April
Guest
April

I can tell you that society is made of individuals and individuals have the great power to set example and lead others to change and do better. call me an insufferable optimist but I know this from experience. First I experimented on myself the eating rules by dr. Fung , when my husband saw the results he got inspired and quietly followed the steps with some positive change for him as well. We educate our son to look at food not as just a pleasure and to be careful of what he puts inside his body…. So as we have… Read more »

JohnLocke
Guest
JohnLocke

Don’t care about society. Society want your loss. Care about yourself.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Hardly a losing battle when thousands are more healthy due to Dr Fung. This war is one person saved at a time.

JJ Walters
Guest

Google the Twinkie Diet if you don’t believe me. Fung himself claims he doesn’t understand how Asian nations can have a heavily rice based diet, do no time restricted eating and not experience the obesity issues seen in North America. It about food density, sedentary lifestyles and poor individual decision-making. His claims that exercise has nothing to do with weight loss is a complete joke. Go check how much champion Norwegian Cross Country skiers eat per day, including tons of heavily processed junk food (10k cals). I can prescribe you an all carb diet that will guarantee weight loss if… Read more »

Mathieu
Guest
Mathieu

Good one. Some people lost common sense, and I agree that Dr. Fung makes wrong claims here.
It is also not surprising that around this low-carb/keto community, no one made a comment about the latest NuSi funded study, showing not benefit of LCHF vs HCLF for weigth loss.

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

JJ I think you are on the wrong website! I’m not sure why you are bothering to stir up trouble against someone who has helped so many. As a non-diabetic due solely to following this advice I am offended by your nonsense.

Richard
Guest
Richard

Jenny, there are always people like Mathieu and JJ posting on websites that might have an impact on the big food business. Dr. Fung should take it as a mark of respect that he’s hit a point of having a real impact. I lost weight on low carb and high fat, but it is a diet. It can be a quick way to lose weight. One way of viewing the LCHF type diets is that you are limiting things that truly cause insulin production, both carbs and protein. The problem with eating excessive carbs is that insulin is produced AND… Read more »

Mathieu
Guest
Mathieu

So your coconut oil doesn’t come from a factory ? 😉
The problem JJ and I point out, it that Dr. Fung makes claims that are not scientifically supported.
The insulin obesity hypothesis has not been proven (quite the opposite).
Yes excess sugar is bad, excess carbs is bad, but that’s also true for anything in excess (fat too).
Keep an open mind and don’t get your information from only one source, and challenge your ideas

Carlos
Guest
Carlos

Missing the point. Here’s a thing: all diets work, all diets fail. That’s Fung’s, line, by the way. What is, exactly, a working diet? It’s not one that makes you lose weight, almost all diets (even the twinkie diet!) can achieve that. It’s not one that gets you effectively to your desired goal, even. Strong will and a bit of random luck (or informed choices) will get you there, eventually (although strong will is not, sadly, available for everyone). A working diet is one that: 1.- Is psychologically sustainable (because will is finite, non the least in fat people) 2.-… Read more »

Bails from Oz
Guest
Bails from Oz

I’m and Australian on holiday in Bologna , Italy. I was sitting in a caffe today, and watching the people pass in the street. In my hometown in Australia, I would observe a goodly proportion are overweight, and some are truly enormous, i.e perhaps 2 to 2.5 times their ideal weight. Whereas here in Bologna, the overweight are quite scarce, and I haven’t seen a single example of the enormous. What is the difference? Well they eat carbs in pasta and bread, but little else. I’ve seen virtually no fast food chains except near the Central Railway Station. The closest… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Would love to see Dr. Fung weigh in (no pun intended) on how Thyroid function, fasting, metabolic syndrome and weight management all tie in together with Insulin and Leptin. I lost my Thyroid to Radiation Therapy over 15 years ago and am on replacement T3/T4 daily (3 grains). Anytime my Thyroid meds are off (even a little bit) and I go back into Hypo territory, I gain weight. Even if I am eating full Keto and near 0 carbs, I gain weight because my metabolism is messed up. Would love a more detailed understanding of what happens when T3 (Active… Read more »

Manon Plante
Guest

I have been doing keto since Nov.2017. Was Paleo prior to that. I lost 12lbs in 25 days then gained a few back. I was told to count my macros. I would sometimes go over because I was hungry. I just recently got bloodwork done my estrogen went up high. I am so confused count don’t count. The article is awesome but I still don’t understand how to reset my BSW.

sgs
Guest
sgs

Thanks so much for all the info you provide Dr. Fung. I fought the spare tire for 31 years, however, since I read your books this year I lost 35 pounds of pure fat with a welcome surge of noradrenaline. I found 36 hour fasts work best for me because you burn fat like crazy, but 48 hour fasts crank up the adrenaline too high. Finally, I know how to maintain bmi 24 for the remainder of my life. You have probably added decades to my potential lifespan. I was bmi 29 just 3 months ago.

Tammy
Guest
Tammy

Is there a scientific way to measure ‘set point’, and any published studies that show ‘set point’ can indeed be lowered with IF / EF?

loren
Guest
loren

Really niice article Dr. jason its helpful.
however i read about this 2 week diet and it seems interesting,people talking about it. i saw several videos reviews of the diet.
check it out: https://bit.ly/2ImDlIE and tell me your opinion about it, it might help a lot of people to control their weight.

Ginny
Guest
Ginny

I am so grateful to Dr. Fong for providing so much in the way of no-nonsense videos, books and discussions. I have fought weight for years – losing and gaining it all back and more several times. I have been following his protocol since October 2016, and have held my ideal weight since then without changing anything. My kidney function has also improved, my physician took my stage 3 kidney failure off of my chart! I am 77 years old, and wish I had learned all this earlier, as the lose skin after losing 50 pounds at my age isn’t… Read more »

Nadja
Guest

Hello Ginny, may I ask, how long it took you to loose that 50 pounds? For how long have you been holding your weight now? Would you go in detail with the protocol you are following? Thank you so much for your answer.

Ginny
Guest
Ginny

Hello Nadja,
I suppose it was about 8 months total, but I really wasn’t watching the scales that closely, but my clothes were getting loose. I started in October 2016 and have maintained my weight loss without any effort since. I eat all I want until I’m satisfied, and vary between 3-5 pounds up or down whenever I happen to weigh. I don’t even think about my carb/protein/fat percentages, and just naturally eat the foods that are part of Keto, and keep the carbs low. Good luck!

Elliotthr
Guest
Elliotthr

I’m a body builder, however, am very interesting in manipulating hormones in order to maintain a better physique year round with minimal effort.
I currently weigh 185lb and want to lower my set point to around 175lb. I’ve been following strict keto and IF for the last 3 months and eat roughly the same quantity of food each day (C.2600kcal)
Does anybody have advice on how to permanently lower the “thermostat”? Perhaps longer fasts?

vicky
Guest
vicky

I want to say thanks to Dr. fung.
After reading obesity code, I cut all sugary food. Since I am l breastfeeding my 3-year-old daughter, I only fast 15h everyday.I cut portion of white rice and substitute nuts and black sesame.
By 3 days, I dropped 2 kg. The best of all is my rhinitis improved and I could stop taking prition! My acne improved too.
After a week, although weight doesn’t drop much, my appitite dropped thus my eating portion. Unlike dieting, fasting doesn’t induce fantasy on food. I will try longer fast after my daughter weans off.

Roger Bird
Guest
Roger Bird

The word should be like thermostat. Thermo is from the Greek for warm. We need a word from the Greek for weight or body fat + stat. Not thermo or “body weight” meter. Meter is for measuring the warmth or weight. I set my thermostat at home to automatically regulate the warmth. The hormonal balance regulates the weight, not the heat. I have tried to find the Greek word for weight, but I could not. If weight in Greek was “abcxyz”, then the word that we want is “abcxyzstat”, not “warmthstat.

Ale,
Guest
Ale,

I have two questions. Does it not matter at all to BMR if you end up eating super low calories every day with a 16 hour fast? Also, should we be concerned with getting the 3 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day in a intermitten fast? What about recommended levels of fiber and vitamins every week in fasting?

JUDY SAYDAH
Guest

I have the same question about it. If anyone only consumed a packet of sugar (15 calories) every 30mins for 24hours in a day, would they not lose weight over time (only amounts to 720 calories)?

Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz
Guest
Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz

I have followed a keto diet for a year with minimal results, then on a IF and EF protocol lost 2 sizes in 8 weeks. My normal protocol is 48-18-18-24-18-18, but I am currently on a single 7 day fast to support my husband, who is fasting to try and heal psoriatic arthritis. I have two questions. 1) My husband is not overweight and I worry that he will become too thin. I would also like to see a discussion on fasting and autoimmunity. 2) I had a hysterectomy in April 2017. Keto diet got rid of my hot flushes.… Read more »

D. T.
Guest
D. T.

I have had similar results on extended (several days) fasting…I believe the fat loss causes too much estrogen to be lost at once, which triggers the hot flashes. I find I do much better on 24-36 hour fasts maximum. My extended 6 day fast also brought heart palpitations on. I believe that type of fast can be too much for some women’s menopausal hormone balance. Try using some herbal supplements like Maca, Borage Seed Oil, or Black Cohosh to control those symptoms and keep the fasts to fewer hours at a time. Good luck!

Yaz
Guest
Yaz

Shouldn’t insulin resistance help in stopping the progressive weight gain?
Because with insulin resistance, this means insulin should have no effect on BSW.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

If someone was 50 pounds overweight for 10 years, and then lost those pounds (by whatever means), how would they go about resetting their BSW? Long term fasting? Short term fasting? Maintaining that new weight for 10 years? How long should it take to get that BSW down?

Frank
Guest
Frank

I found Dr Fung’s website about 1 year ago. I read pretty much all of Dr Fung’s blogs, and his 3 books (The Obesity Code, The Complete Guide to Fasting and The Diabetes Code). Every time I think that I understand the insulin resistance mechanism, Dr Fung mentions a case study where a patient had done LCHF and IF for X amount of time and obtained normal levels of glucose and A1C, thus, reversing insulin resistance. I have a problem with this. I have been on the Atkins diet before I found the Fung blogs and reduced my glucose and… Read more »