Why Can't I Lose Weight? – HTLW 12

Why can’t I lose weight? I hear this question all the time. It’s usually followed by something like “my best friend SkinnyBitch used this internet diet and lost 30 pounds. Why can’t I?” The basic question is something like this. If their friend uses a LCHF diet to lose weight, why doesn’t it work for me? Or, if somebody uses a Paleo diet, why doesn’t it work for me?

The answer really lies in the multi-factorial nature of obesity. Let’s go back to our Hormonal Obesity Theory (HOT) diagram.NewHOT12

If you don’t remember all the parts to the aetiology of obesity, you may want to review my 6 part lecture series on YouTube or review the last 45 or so blog posts about the aetiology of obesity. Start with Calories part 1.

As you can see, insulin is the main driver of obesity. But there are many things that can increase or decrease insulin. Refined grains, carbohydrates, and animal proteins can all increase insulin levels. Cortisol is also a major player in stimulating insulin secretion. Fructose increases insulin resistance directly which indirectly leads to increased insulin levels.

There are also factors that are not related to the ‘what we eat’ question. This is the key role played by insulin resistance. Insulin resistance both causes and is caused by high insulin levels – a classic vicious cycle. This accounts for the time-dependent nature of obesity. The fat get fatter. The longer you have obesity, the harder it is to get rid of it.

Why? Because the longer you go through the cycle of high insulin –> insulin resistance –> high insulin, the worse it gets. So long standing obesity is much harder to eradicate than recent obesity, as everybody already knew.

There are also a number of protective factors against obesity. The incretin effect, vinegar and fibre all help protect against the rise in insulin and play a protective role.

The key to understanding obesity is that many different things can contribute to the development and the treatment. Consider the analogy of your car not starting. There could be multiple problems. For example, the battery is dead, the car ran out of gas, or the spark plugs are worn out. So, if your problem is that the battery is dead, filling up with gas will not help. Neither will replacing the spark plugs. That seems kind of obvious.

But then, websites proliferate about how changing batteries is the cure for cars that don’t start. It is filled with testimonials of how people changed batteries and their cars effortlessly started. Other people attack the website saying that they changed batteries and nothing happened. Instead, they filled up with gas and the car started, so obviously, the key to starting the car is filling up on gas.

That’s exactly what happens in the sad sack, wacky world of weight loss. When you try to lose weight, people assume that there is only one problem for everybody. If your problem is insulin resistance, then reducing carbs may not be the best strategy (intermittent fasting may work better). If your problem is sleep deprivation/ stress, then increasing fibre is not going to be too good.

Cutting sugar works well for those people whose problem is excessive sugar intake. They write books and websites about how sugar is the devil. Others think that is ridiculous and think that refined grains (wheat) is the real devil since they’ve done well reducing grains. Others think that stress relief is the major problem in weight loss. Others blame calories. They all ridicule each other and fill the internet with testimonials. Worse, they all start bickering about how the real problem is carbs, or sugar, or wheat, or calories, or stress, or sleep deprivation, or fibre, or animal proteins etc.

You must understand that they can all be correct. Obesity is not a single problem. There is no single solution. A low sugar diet works amazingly for some, and not at all for others. Just as replacing the battery will work for some cars amazingly and not at all for others.

So – why can’t I lose weight?

Because you must be targeting the wrong pathway. You must find the particular problem that is causing your obesity and target that pathway.

Example 1– Let’s say that you suffer from a chronic pain syndrome, or fibromyalgia. This increases your stress level and your cortisol is chronically high. This leads to high glucose and insulin stimulation. This causes weight gain. Since cortisol is your problem, then you need to use treatments that target that pathway. This would include medical treatment for chronic pain, acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga etc. This will help lower your cortisol level and treat your weight gain problems.

Reducing your carbohydrate or calorie intake will not be particularly successful. This is because these were not the problems increasing insulin levels in the first place.

Example 2 – Suppose that you are chronically sleep deprived. We know that this situation increases cortisol levels and will lead to weight gain. Lowering the sugars in your diet will not be particularly successful, because that was not your problem. You need to either find a new job, or improve your sleep hygiene or just plain get more sleep.

Example 3 – Suppose that your main problem is the insulin resistance cycle. This vicious cycle has developed over decades and insulin resistance is now the main stimulus to your high insulin levels. Reducing carbs may not be the most effective treatment. Why? Because your problem is the insulin resistance. Lowering carbs will lower insulin and reduce the vicious cycle, but this cycle has been running for decades.

So what do you need to do? Remember that the question of insulin resistance is mostly a question of ‘when to eat’. Therefore, to break resistance, you need a sustained period of low insulin. This means that fasting will be more effective here than simple carb restriction. You will also need time, because it took time to develop and will require time to resolve.

Example 4 – Suppose your friend takes fibre supplements and loses weight. But it doesn’t work for you. Why? Because your friend’s problem may be excessive carbs and fibre will help reduce the insulin spikes associated with carb intake. However, if your problem is not that, then increased fibre won’t work so well.

Example 5 – Why did the Asian Rice Eater of the 1990’s not develop obesity? At that time, China was eating extremely high carbohydrate (white rice) diets. But they also ate virtually no sugar, very little animal protein, high vinegar (pickled vegetables), high fibre, and no snacks. That means that all the other pathways to insulin were shut down as they were only eating rice. They ate lots of protective factors. They did not eat constantly, so did not develop insulin resistance. They had almost no sugar and therefore did not develop insulin resistance. The end result? No obesity

Example 6 – Suppose you eat a diet very high in unrefined starches, like sweet potato. At the same time you severely restrict animal protein. Will that work? It sure could. This increases carbs, yes, but decreases animal protein. You also significantly raise dietary fibre. This may be enough to sway the balance and decrease insulin which will lead to weight loss.

I should make clear that I am not anti-carbohydrate. That is only one piece of the puzzle – although refined grains and sugars tends to be a rather large part of the puzzle. They are certainly obesogenic, but there are other ways to compensate so that overall insulin does not increase. I’m anti-hyperinsulinemia. Insulin causes obesity. If carbs raise insulin then carbs will cause obesity. But you can certainly tweak your carbohydrate heavy diet to lower insulin. After all, the Kitavans ate a very high carbohydrate diet and still had insulin levels lower than 95% of the Swedish population. The Okinawans ate at diet of almost 70% sweet potato with no obesity at all. Of course, both populations still ate virtually no sugar, and no refined grains (wheat).

Cortisol

The number one mis-diagnosis we see in our Intensive Dietary Management program is chronic stress/ cortisol confusion. We see people who come in and swear that they cannot lose weight. Then, upon taking a history, we find that some non-dietary factor is responsible for weight gain. For example, we may find somebody who is taking some anti-psychotic medications. Some of them increase insulin. Or we’ll find pain syndromes. Or sleep deprivation.MindfulMeditation

Well, no wonder dietary changes didn’t make any difference. That wasn’t their problem. It was the cortisol/ stress pathway all along.

While I wish I could write that we helped fix them, the unfortunate truth is that these problems are much harder to fix. While there are time tested ways of reducing stress and cortisol levels, most patients simply do not take our advice to look into mindfulness mediation/ prayer/ religion/ yoga/ acupuncture/ massage. They came to a diet clinic and got advice to meditate. They look at me or Megan like we have two heads.

There is, however, good evidence that things such as mindfulness mediation can have an effect on weight loss.

At the University of California, San Francisco, a trial was done with mindfulness meditation and showed that they could reduce cortisol levels. This is no surprise since meditation has been done for thousands of years as a stress relieving method. This decrease in cortisol was closely paralleled by a decrease in abdominal fat.

The important thing to know about it is that meditation does not change the actual stressor. For example, suppose your boss is driving you crazy. You will be under a lot of stress. Meditation won’t change that one bit. What it will change is your body’s response to the stress. In the end, that is what is important. By decreasing the cortisol response, there is a decrease in abdominal fat. Your boss is still the jerk he was before. You have only changed your body’s response to this stressor.

One final thought about stress relief. It’s always a little amazing to me how far organized religion is ahead of the game. Think about the practices they preach. Prayer (similar to meditation). Belief in a higher power/ confession (stress relief). Weekly ceremonies, like mass (sense of community and continuity – important for stress relief). Small group session (friendship and sense of belonging – stress relief). Fasting. Yes, fasting. All of these practices that are so important for good health have been established thousands of years ago.

2017-09-02T11:54:13-04:0067 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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Karen
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Karen

Once again, an excellent post. Stress control is something I’ve recently started to address in my life and issues with me health. I’m Christian, but failed to practice the day of rest that God exampled for us. Thank you for your work, Dr. Fung.

Ash
Guest
Ash

Hi Dr. Fung, Great article! I did have one question regarding the following statement though: “There are also a number of protective factors against obesity. The incretin effect, vinegar and fibre all help protect against the rise in insulin and play a protective role.” Based on your first diagram and the incretin effect article, I thought the incretin effect was a cause of high insulin and not a protective factor. Is there something I’m misunderstanding? Dr. Jason Fung: Great question. The incretins increase insulin at mealtimes, but also provide protection against obesity by increasing satiety. This may be due to… Read more »

Troy
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Troy

Steak also causes a release of the hormone glucagon. Doesn’t it neutralize the effect of insulin?

Donay
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Donay

? the light bulb goes on in this 12th article. I’m ll and fasting mon we’d fri 7-7. Lost weight
25lb since April and still off, I eat semi Palio but stuck. Insulin is creeping up again and sugar craving is as well. I found that plaguing sleep interrupted leg and feet cramps were eased by the increase of carbs. Huge doses of Magnesium and potassium did not really help. Still, I’m encouraged to do longer fasting. I really want off the not so merry go round of insulin injections testing and so on.

Alalia
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Alalia

Always glad to see someone understand that there is more going on then simply calories.

Any particular thoughts on this odd situation :
High fasting +postprandial total & free insulin
Flat postprandial curve
Fasting and postprandial hypoglycemia
Normal glucagon, Lipase, amylase ect. s

Low triglycerides, low albumin, high globulin(chronic)
Gastroparesis, idiopathic
No weight loss at very low calories, low carb.
no apparent disfunction to thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, liver or cortisol.

What are the targeted pathways would you address in this odd situation, and how?

Birgit
Guest
Birgit

Hello Dr. Fung, This is a GREAT article!. I am one of those people who has difficulty losing weight. I also have severe chronic pain, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Your suggestions are excellent and they make a lot of sense. Following a strict ketogenic diet and using a ketone meter to confirm, as well as your intermittent fasting protocols, I have lost 34 lbs in the last 23 weeks and have reduced my diabetes meds to only metformin, although I also take acetyl l-carnitine, chromium and vanadium to help with the insulin resistance. About… Read more »

aline
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aline

Well done figuring out your solutions! I had many of these symptoms of stress, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc. until I started upping my Magnesium for severe day and night muscle spasms starting a Ketogenic diet. Result was waterfall diarrhea. Solution? Topical spray Magnesium Oil, Espsom Salt baths and Epsom Salt cream. Have to add other electrolytes to balance, including salt, potassium, zinc, and boron. Most people find this stops Restless Leg syndrome immediately. Also helps with post-work out DOMS. Natural Calm Mag Citrate powder makes you fall asleep easily. Good luck!

Julia Billen
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Julia Billen

Dr. Fung – First thank you for your this blog and all the past. I’ve read each one! My question – I’d like to consider adding more fiber into my diet for the protective value. Do you have an opinion on this product – http://www.vivagave.com/products.php – it has 10G of fiber and 10G of carbs for each TBS. It can be added easily to food. However, I’ve always tried to stay under 20G of carbs a day so was concerned that it might adversely affect my BS #s (T2D). Do you have an opinion? – Julia (proud member of Fung… Read more »

Raphi Sirt
Guest

Hello Dr.Fung,

you mention acupuncture as a possible stress/cortisol reducing intervention. From what I understand, it is at best a ‘theatrical placebo’ of sorts. See a short analysis by pharmacologist David Colquhoun of University College London here http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/sep/05/publish-perish-peer-review-science.

I would appreciate your commentary on the matter.

Cheers!

JohnBob
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JohnBob

If the purpose is to lower mental stress then a placebo (which only works in the mind) sounds like the perfect solution.

BobM
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BobM

Even though there are populations of people who apparently can eat a very high carbohydrate diet, there are those of us who cannot. I’m one of those. At one time, I used to eat a very high carb, low fat diet. I ate oats for breakfast, pasta for lunch and brown rice and beans (with salsa) for dinner. I often cooked my own beans, although I did use store-bought salsa. I ate very little or no sugar (and any sugar I did eat was very infrequent). I was biking 3+ days per week (about 4.5 hours) and lifting weights several… Read more »

BobM
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BobM

Further to my comments, there must be some type of genetic component to all of this (whether on a population basis or not). My wife and I both struggle if we eat anything with carbs in them. Our oldest child (now 8) has the same problem: if she eats too many carbs of any type, she can gain weight; if we see her gaining weight, we gently persuade her to eat differently (fewer carbs, higher fat/protein). We are all stout people: I haven’t been in the normal range of BMI since I was 14 or so, as I simply have… Read more »

Amy
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Amy

Bob, I eat an all meat and water only diet. No vegetables/fruit, no dairy, no grains, no eggs–ONLY fresh, unprocessed meat with no sauces, marinades, rubs, spices, or herbs (just salt/pepper only). I feel fantastic, and I am never hungry and never have cravings of any kind. I eat twice daily–around 9:00am and 5:00pm–and fast 16 hours until the next morning. I didn’t adopt this way of eating to lose weight (I’ve actually gained 7 lbs, but I’m still the same size). I did it to become free of food preoccupation and obsession, cravings, and constant hunger. I no longer… Read more »

Deb Griffith
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Deb Griffith

I totally agree, Bob. I also, as well as many of my friends here and friends abroad who are all doing IF, cannot tolerate carbs. I have stress, chronic pain (treated but always there), etc., but the ONLY way I lose is fasting and carb reduction/ elimination. And my “cravings”, when they come, are identical to my mother’s, and our bodies are identical as well ( except that now I am no longer overweight, therefore am breaking the cycle of heart disease and diabetes). I absolutely believe that DNA is involved in how we eat, and how our bodies respond… Read more »

Amy Berger (@TuitNutrition)
Guest

Bob, with your question about the genetic component to carbohydrate tolerance, I think you’ll like this post I wrote a few weeks ago. I address that very issue: http://www.tuitnutrition.com/2015/06/keto-carbs-stop.html (Bottom line: I think you’re correct!)

T Collins
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T Collins

Well I just wasted 5 minutes of my life reading a negative article on how this doesn’t work for you. Did you miss the part where he talked about the dead battery in the car (filling with gas won’t make the car start). Apparently, the thin family’s diet is not what works for your body.

Bernard P.
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Bernard P.

*** Fructose increases insulin resistance directly which indirectly leads to increased insulin levels ***

…sad to say, but my wife and I spent years using pure fructose instead of table sugar, on the advice of prolific French weight-loss author Michel Montignac. Montignac, now dead, was advocating fructose because of its lower glycemic index, probably without knowing its effect on the liver.

http://tinyurl.com/q3dyx5y

Jim M.
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Jim M.

Example 3 – Suppose that your main problem is the insulin resistance cycle. This vicious cycle has developed over decades and insulin resistance is now the main stimulus to your high insulin levels. Reducing carbs may not be the most effective treatment. Why? Because your problem is the insulin resistance. Lowering carbs will lower insulin and reduce the vicious cycle, but this cycle has been running for decades. So what do you need to do? Remember that the question of insulin resistance is mostly a question of ‘when to eat’. Therefore, to break resistance, you need a sustained period of… Read more »

Suzanne
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Suzanne

As long as I do not have to become involved in any form of organised religion, I’ll happily follow any advice from you, Dr Fung:-)

Deb Griffith
Guest
Deb Griffith

Here, here! IMHO, religion can cause stress! All those rules and behavior guidelines!

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I’m Catholic. Anyone who sees religion as all about rules and behavior have missed the entire point, which is to increase intimacy with God and with others. If I go to Mass, eschew lying, give to the poor, etc., it’s because those things–if done with an open heart–will bring me closer to God and to the people around me. It will make me a more loving, more honest, kinder, and more generous person. My children have to follow rules and we have behavioral guidelines, but they are not arbitrary and capricious; they exist to foster relational intimacy so that we… Read more »

matt20
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matt20

I want to thank you for putting together a formula for understanding obesity. You have the most logical and consistent material I’ve found. Your information on fasting made sense, and I started adding it to my low carb diet. It worked. I’m approaching my high school weight – down 50lbs. I will continue this long term. You may be interested in the NYT article about how Coca Cola is funding science to deflect blame for obesity from poor diet to lack of exercise: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/ Dr. Jason Fung: Thanks for sending this terrific article. It is similar to what I wrote… Read more »

Doris
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Doris

Dear Dr Jason Fung, Another great article from you! However, I have a question regarding the diagram demonstrated “Animal Protein” is under “Incretin Effect” for High Insulin and therefore leading to Obesity. Consumption of high fats from meat, fish, cheese and butter are essential under the LCHF diet. These foods are high in animal protein as well. Consumption of high fats will help to slow down the insulin whereas high animal protein will help to increase insulin. A little confusion here…please enlighten me. Thank you. Dr. Jason Fung: Animal proteins stimulate insulin, which may lead to obesity, but also comes… Read more »

Dr.Garry Lee
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Dr.Garry Lee

Why do you distinguish between animal protein and plant protein? Animal protein is first class, but when proteins are absorbed, they are absorbed as amino acids. How does the body know what their origin is? I know that different proteins have different proportions of the amino acids. Is there any SCIENTIFIC basis to this distinction, excluding veganoid propaganda? Perhaps you need to be more critical of circulating “knowledge”. The Vegan religion leaves its muddy footprints everywhere! Dr. Jason Fung: Perhaps you should review some of the previous posts for the scientific basis of this distinction. Animal proteins – dairy, meat… Read more »

Deb Griffith
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Deb Griffith

My thoughts exactly! One only has to look at the Pennington diet and the cascade of high protein, all meat programs that followed. I fast plus eat low-cost no carb, moderate protein/fat, and have lost 30 lbs. And all blood markers are excellent.

Dr.Garry Lee
Guest
Dr.Garry Lee

My reply is this. I eat protein, most of it of animal origin. I eat meat, fish, yoghourt by the bucket, cheese etc. I eat 50g carbs a day. On this regime I lost 40lb and I’ve kept it off, for 14months so far. Please tell me why, in my case, in practical terms, eating animal protein is bad. I’ll tell you why I think it isn’t. It’s because it’s more satisfying. I don’t eat buckets of whey. Who in his right mind would? I’ve never eaten whey in my life and there’s not much in Yoghourt and cheese. I… Read more »

Calvin
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Calvin

Hello Dr Fung! This is incredible your contribution in educating us about insulin resistance and its nuances. I have a question about Low calorie diet vs Fasting approach: While one is fasting the insulin level drops and this is a good thing you say but if during fast glycogen provides the energy required and this glycogen/glucose has to reach all the cells in the body the carrier insulin should be present, In this scenario does the pancreas produce insulin to carry this glycogen/glucose to the cells (which means some more insulin floating in the body) OR the glycogen/glucose spikes the… Read more »

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Sarah
Guest

Would a 22 hr daily fast be effective to reduce insulin resistance if we were to follow a moderate carb, moderate protein and high fat diet after breaking the fast? Currently I’m finding it hard to stick to a Low carb diet due to headaches and migraines as well as the temptation of carbs/sugar which causes me to binge later on.

Deb Griffith
Guest
Deb Griffith

Sarah, there are several daily fasting regimens out there: 16:8, 19:5, 20:4, as well as weekly fasts:5:2, 4:3, etc. I currently do 5:2 (2 weekly 36 hour fasts of 500 calories), plus 16 hour daily fast, with low to no carb. I feast 1 day a week. My understanding is that any time after 12 hours after your last meal will reduce insulin and start using stored fat for energy. You just have to experiment a bit to see what works for you.

Bernard P.
Guest
Bernard P.

Sarah, a 22 hour fast is essentially the same as 24 hour fast, as the 2 hour difference is close to the one hour required to eat. Thus, alternate-day fasting, if you eat at the same time every day, will provide for an actual 23 hour fasting period. My wife and I are using a low-to-moderate carb/moderate protein/moderate fat diet with great success… It’s difficult in practice to eat fat without also eating proteins. We allow ourselves some carbs in the morning (whole wheat toast with our eggs and cheese), but almost none for the rest of the day. ….… Read more »

Cristi Vlad
Guest

Your wisdom increases with each new post! Context always matters Dr Fung. And like you said, to efficiently tackle a problem you need multi-factorial approaches, not myopic strategies. Keep it up!

Martin Edhouse
Guest
Martin Edhouse

Thanks for the great dietary advice yet again, Jason. In fact I’d go so far as to say that this article is probably the single most sensible thing I have ever read on diet. Thanks for all the work you do; you’re a life saver.

Ellen Renegar
Guest

Dr. Fung I have a stressful job coupled with sleep deprivation. In my notes, I recorded phosphotidyl serine has been shown to decrease exercise induced cortisol levels. Do you know of any supplements that can actually lower cortisol levels?

Dr. Jason Fung: There are no supplements that I know of. Traditional, time tested remedies for cortisol include massage, touch, peer support, meditation, yoga, and exercise. Luckily, those things are all free!

Maria
Guest
Maria

There are many herbs that will lower cortisol and stressors effect on the body. Look up Adaptogens. These have been used for thousands of years in Chinese, indian and Japanese cultures. I still think it’s critical to address stress and sleep as you can’t just supplement away the deprivation… but adaptogens can also help.

Oscar
Guest
Oscar

Is there a lab test for cortisol that would indicate abnormal levels?

matt20
Guest
matt20

Interesting effect of cortisol. I wonder if obese people have higher cortisol secretion as a feedback mechanism? “Previous information indicates that cortisol secretion is elevated but that circulatory concentrations are normal or low, suggesting that peripheral disappearance rate is elevated.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11054598

So maybe reducing obesity also reduces cortisol secretion?

Margaret p
Guest

It is obvious that different reasons can effect our weight. We change our diet to address our health problems. You have driven home the point that fasting can lead to better control of diabetes, lower insulin resistance. This can help prevent CKD. My question is ….. What about the people who already have CKD as their biggest underlying problem. What will help them. Can they fast or will the use of vinegar, fiber, and low protein (incretin effect) be their best diet. I know 6 people who are diabetic and they are getting worse, but they have kidney problems also..… Read more »

Toni Bissell Legates
Guest
Toni Bissell Legates

I am so confused as to what may be going on. I watched one of your videos on YouTube and decided this idea of fasting made a lot of sense. I had previously been placed on two types of insulin about 2 years ago. I was DX’ed with type 2 about 6 years ago. Admittedly my BG levels were really high. I would take the night time dosage of long acting insulin and pretty much rebelled when it came to taking it after meals. I just knew it would only make my diabetes worse. My sugars were high between 450… Read more »

Liz
Guest
Liz

I would stop the fasting, honestly. Those high sugars are most likely caused by your liver pouring out glucose in the absence of insulin which acts to turn off the glucose production by the liver. The liver can’t sense blood glucose directly, it can only “see” insulin which acts as a switch to turn off liver sugar production. Do a test – try having a small snack with a small amount of slow acting carb in it (like a quarter of an apple with almond butter) then test your BG an hour and 2 hours later and see what it… Read more »

Toni Bissell Legates
Guest
Toni Bissell Legates

Hi Liz, Honestly I was scared to death for a while but I’ve stuck with the fasting and the sugars are beginning to do a dive again. They are now coming down below 200 and again. I don’t think shooting insulin into me is going to turn this around. Everything in me tells me not to give up. My weight is coming down slowly and seeing spikes in the low 200’s now is very encouraging. I’m even getting some readings below 120. It took my body a very long time to get this insulin resistant so I’m not ready to… Read more »

Ravyne
Guest
Ravyne

Hi Toni, Dr. Fung has stated over and over again that the higher the insulin resistance, the longer it will take to reverse it. I am doing a long fast to help mine, I am currently on day 2 of a week fast. Dr. Fung has assured me that a longer fast is needed for this, so that is what I am doing and as long as my BGL doesn’t drop too drastically and I don’t feel sick from it, onward I go. Keep working the fast and allow your body to heal naturally. It WILL respond. I will just… Read more »

caju
Guest
caju

Is it possible that when you are fasting, the insulin is leaving your system, meaning insulin is not present to draw down your sugar levels? In other words, sugars are able to freely flood your system and hence high sugar levels. When you have food, your insulin kicks in to mange the sugar increase in response to the food which, effectively, decreases sugar levels while increasing insulin. Then you begin the process again of fasting, so insulin leaves your system meaning the sugar levels are able to be rampant again in the absence of insulin. I would suggest that all… Read more »

Toni Bissell Legates
Guest
Toni Bissell Legates

I don’t know Caju. I’m pretty much clueless to how any of this works. I know I must be able to produce insulin and my body must be using some of it because my sugars do rise and fall. I’m sure that wouldn’t be possible at all without my producing some insulin. Its so hard to find information to help me figure this out. So I’m here watching and continuing my fasting journey. I actually love the fasting part of this. I no longer crave sugar and I’m not starving before I break my fast each day. At first it… Read more »

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David Anderson
Guest
David Anderson

Dr. Fung
Can lemon juice give a similar effect as vinegar, in reducing insulin resistance?

Colin
Guest
Colin

Your car analogy hits the nail right on the head.

Richard S Stone
Guest
Richard S Stone

I watched the videos, and I have read some of the blogs on this site. I have been on a LCHF diet for the last 5years or maybe slightly longer. I was in good shape before I started with that LCHF program and I did it because I wanted to stay that way. I’m 70 now, and 5-7 and 165#, in great shape because I lift weights regularly and play tennis three times a week. My 28yo gf has been telling me recently that I am staring to get what she considers to be overly muscular. I am inclined to… Read more »

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ManD
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ManD

Dr. Fung, I am currently 380 pounds and was considering doing an extended fast (shooting for 5 days, but might go longer if I feel good), and I had 2 questions, and maybe you could make a post about them if you have the time. The first one is, what affect does fasting have on gut flora? I would assume it kills them off, but to what degree and do we have any idea what the consequences of that are? My other question is would eating small amounts of protein limit the beneficial affects of fasting? For instance maybe eating… Read more »

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Marsha
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Marsha

I am loving your videos and blogs. The advice of my Dr. is to do 2 days of fasting a week. I have basically been low carb, high fat for about 3 years. My blood sugars are between 115-140. I find it hard to exercise due to some chronic autoimmune disorders. I believe I have been eating too much meat and eating at wrong times. I have had great success for reducing my stress doing a program called “Emotion Code” from Dr. Brad Nelson (www.healerslibrary.com). Works very quickly and efficiently. My weight has seemed to be going up this last… Read more »

Jeff
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Jeff

Wonderful 12 articles! I stumbled across these yesterday searching for more information on fasting. I am currently 5 days into 1 large healthy meal (22/23 hour a day) fasting. These 12 articles REALLY help clear some of my unanswered questions, reinforce what I have already learned/knew and piece together the puzzle. Going through your videos on Aetiology of Obesity today and looking forward to your book (which is properly named).

Ana
Guest
Ana

You say “While there are time tested ways of reducing stress and cortisol levels, most patients simply do not take our advice to look into mindfulness mediation/ prayer/ religion/ yoga/ acupuncture/ massage.” This is exactly what you criticize in those doctors that say that diabetic patients simply don´t follow the guidelines… the problem is not in the advice , they say, but in the patients. Here you take the same attitute and blame the patients because they cannot follow your advice and you can´t fix the problem. But if they cannot follow is because, as you say, ” the advice… Read more »

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Sylvia
Guest
Sylvia

Hello I’ve been fasting for 4 days now and unfortunately I have not lost any weight… In fact after day 1, my weight increased by 1.2 kg. After 3 days it dropped by 1kg but it’s just back to where it started before the fast. My stomach feels swollen and much bigger. I drink 3-3.5 litres of water, 2-3 coffees with a very small amount of the unsweetened almond milk and herbal teas (green and matcha teas) I use stevia in my drinks. I also have 2-3 cups of bone broth with herbs . I chew sugar free gum (1-2… Read more »

Rhonda Kaye
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Rhonda Kaye

Sylvia, I think the reason this is not working for you is related to the sweeteners you are using. According to page 172 of Dr. fung’ book, “despite having minimal effect on blood sugars, both aspartame and stevia raised insulin levels higher even than table sugar.” “Artificial sweeteners may decrease calories and sugar, but not insulin.” The sweeteners also cause more hunger, and cravings for sweets. I can only imagine that you must feel starved most of the time if that is the case. I changed my diet and meal timing about 10 weeks ago, and I’ve lost 30 lbs.… Read more »

Elaine
Guest
Elaine

Hello, I just finished your book, ‘The Obesity Code’…. I’m Bipolar and the drugs I’m on cause weight gain, not to mention the constant STRESS of being bipolar, and every time i try to fast my mind spins off in bad directions… so by the end of your book I was left utterly without hope.

Is there NOTHING I can do?

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

Elaine, some people get decent results from a LCHF diet without fasting or without much fasting, so never lose hope!

Sandhya
Guest
Sandhya

Excellent article Dr Fung,
I am a believer. However one obstacle I faced when I tried IF is headaches. My headaches (when skipping a meal) led me to eat and eat more. Drinking water did not help. What should I do? Please help.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

Hi Dr. Fung,
I’ve read all of the fasting tips. What I don’t see and can’t find anywhere is what effect does fasting have on Hashimoto’s? I was diagnosed with that and menopause at the same time. I am on bioidentical hormone replacement, naturthroid and cytomel. Can I fast and have good results? I am currently doing one meal a day and feel pretty good but I want to feel better and get some weight off. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you 🙂

April
Guest
April

This set of articles has been a great help to understanding fasting and what happens to our bodies during various forms of fasting. I have been following intermittent fasting now. Eating around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, then not again till the same time the next day. I think I need to try a longer fast for healing of Rheumatoid arthritis. So, my question is, in your experience how long before you see some shrinking of the nodules at the joints of fingers in RH patients? I am sure it varies, but just an idea of how long it… Read more »

Jeremy irons
Guest
Jeremy irons

There is a bug in this page: there’s no “next article” button. Please add one!!

Jonas
Guest
Jonas
Nannette
Guest
Nannette

I love the way you teach!! Great article!! Thank you.

JUAN
Guest
JUAN

02/07/2018 5′-9″ 300lbs, Colesterol 205, BP 130/81, starting the 16hr fast, eat 2x between 11:00am to 7pm, Sardines or Salmon and some Pysillium, vitamins, braggs apple cider vinegar.
Next weight check 03/07/2018.

Christa Bedwin
Guest

Thank you so very much for your excellent writing. I’m so grateful that a friend turned me on to your proper scientific answers to the questions I was asking!