Alarming weight gain

(Alec) #61

Yes, I sat through 3 hours of Q&A sessions (as they were the only ones with low carb presenters/pannelists). It was painful to listen to.

But I think your central point is that at least this insurance giant is seeing the benefits of starting the conversation. I was intrigued by this statement in the conference blurb:

“Swiss Re believes that improved nutritional advice will lead to better health outcomes and greater societal resilience against lifestyle diseases.”

Suggests to me that there is some understanding that we have got it a bit wrong at the moment. The problem for me is that there doesn’t seem to be an acceptance that low carb has a contribution to make: how many low carb presenters were there at this conference? In round numbers? Er, about zero.

(Eli) #62


I would agree with the others and go for an extended fast. Maybe try a day or two then move up to a few days or more a week or so later. A LOT of people on here and Reddit have had great successes with fasting when they’re stalling or even gaining weight. Seeing how your weight had gone down/steadied after that 1 day fast I’d say that that’s the best indicator that fasting is the way to go.

Please give us an update when you can :slight_smile:


Yup, as long as your really working out and not screwing off you’ll burn it more or less by workouts end. I actually did just that today. Feel pretty good and had a pretty descent workout, sugars are a little lower than normal fore in the low 80s which is awesome, although I never caught a spike it could be a rebound drop, not sure. I tested post workout, then each hour for 3 hrs and kept looking good. So I dunno, may keep it up while tracking everything and see if there is a muscle difference in the next couple weeks. Not 100% sold on it yet though, just seems so wrong.

(Brian) #64

Not trying to argue, but what would you consider to be science on this subject? Would you consider tracking a few thousand people doing various kinds of fasting and seeing the results to be good science? I’m not sure how much more science you’re likely to get in our modern world than Dr. Fung. I like that he’s not just talking about it, making up theories, he’s living it with real people in a daily medical practice with real feedback on practically a daily basis. I like that he’s not a PhD trying to prove a point so he can get rich with the next dieting craze or get some huge grant from a drug company, he’s a real physician that sees real patients. I especially appreciate that because life tends to be more messy than most theories.

I have noticed that Dr. Fung is pretty careful about recommending longer fasts and tends to advocate being under a doctor’s care for those. I suspect people can do some really crazy and stupid things in the name of “fasting” and maybe that’s somewhat to cover his butt. Can’t blame him for that. People can be pretty stupid and some can find some incredibly innovative ways to mess up just about anything.

(Doug) #65

Gabe, I sure wish I had something of demonstrable good to say. To varying degrees, we want order in the universe (I certainly do), but somethings things are chaotic.

Glad to see you posting - yours is an interesting story and I hope to keep hearing it.

(Todd Allen) #66

I’d argue that regardless of what the science says we need to check things out for ourselves.

I’m much more interested in how my body responds to the various approaches to fasting than what science suggests is typical for others. I’ve been trialing a different regimen every 3 to 4 months bracketed by dexa scans. Dexa scans may be overkill and many might do fine with just a tape measure or skin fold calipers or other favorite method to guesstimate body composition - photos, records of physical performance, etc. It’s hard to sort out the impacts of diet, fasting and exercise from everything else that matters such as sleep, stress, sicknesses & injuries, etc. but in general one can sort out things that are strongly good or bad fairly quickly and there’s plenty of time to fine tune the rest.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #67

Mainly randomized controlled trials.

So do homeopaths and aromatherapists. This does not prove the science-based efficacy of something. I’m not saying Fung is anti-science, far from it, but I bet he would agree that there just, objectively, indisputably, aren’t many peer-reviewed published studies on this subject.

For those who argue, “well who’s going to fund it?” I say that’s irrelevant. Science requires the scientific method. Don’t tell me you “believe” something is efficacious when there’s no hard evidence for it.

I keep saying on these boards that what brought most of us here is “show me the science.” So let’s not be hypocrites and say that the sizeable group of us who practice regular fasting are doing something that’s heavily science-based. I hear from a lot of you that it’s been highly effective for your weight loss, and that’s great – but we don’t have a lot of solid evidence of its efficacy nor of its safety.

Another reminder: Phinney is against anything longer than IF.


How can the funding question be irrelevant? Science requires the scientific method, but framing and publishing studies requires funding and an ok from the ethical bodies. Fung tried to get the ok to gather and publish the data that he’s gathered in his years of fasting people, and the ethics board turned him down. Their reasoning: fasting is known to be dangerous and if they published data to the contrary, then people might try it and hurt themselves.

N=1 experimentation can be the scientific method at its best. Not double-blind (which is impossible in food studies anyway) but specific to exactly what works for each of us, and I think there are enough animal studies, anecdotes, and FMD studies that I think we can extrapolate enough of the mechanisms to do experiments on ourselves.

(bulkbiker) #69

Seems to be a bit of a contradiction in what you say… Sizeable group here do it successfully so that isn’t solid evidence?

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #70

To answer you Mark and also @Madeleine, N=1 and “sizeable group here do it” are anecdotal evidence. Neither of these are substitutes or really even comparable to peer-reviewed science.

I am open to the occasional fast, so I am far from dogmatic on this issue. But I make some caveats:

  • The science is utterly embryonic. Unlike LCHF and ketogenic diets, which have substantial science behind them.
  • I do not believe that regular fasting ought to be the only way we should be able to keep our weights in check over the course of our lifetimes. If the LCHF science is right, there’s no evidence Western populations a century ago were fasting to keep their weight stable; LCHF alone (and particularly the absence of sugar and processed food from the diet) were sufficient to keep people lean.
  • We do not know the long-term effects of fasting. Again, we don’t have enough science.

As much as Dr Fung is a friend of our community, I don’t feel the need to understate the level of wariness I have for treatments that are untested.

I like to be intellectually honest. So when I criticize vegans for their unscientific claptrap, I want to be rigorous about holding my own nutritional behaviour to the same standard. I am quite confident that LCHF is healthy and effective; I do not have that same confidence about longer-term fasts. And indeed it has been noted above that Dr Fung warns people not to do longer fasts without physician supervision.

(bulkbiker) #71

Sorry Gabe but I have to disagree… when most of the “science” is based on food questionnaires and usually only for short periods then I would take any amount of anecdotal evidence over them. As Dr Fung often says mankind has been doing some form of fasting for centuries in almost all religions. Phinney is dealing with athletes for the most part so has a different population set in mind. I’m pretty sure intermittent fasting has helped me control my blood sugar since diagnosis and extended fasts have got me through a couple of stalls so I’m a fan.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #72

That is the same kind of observational evidence on which Ancel Keys based his hypothesis. If we are going to condemn Keys on the basis of “association does not imply causality,” then we cannot claim similar evidence to be scientific proof, either, and most especially not because it appears to support an idea that we like—after all, Keys liked his idea, and he liked his data because they appeared to support it.

Sorry to come down on you, Brian, but that thought needs to be addressed. Dr. Atkins had even more data that his diet greatly helped to alleviate heart disease than Dr. Fung has about fasting, but he was the first to admit it didn’t constitute scientific evidence. He begged researchers to come in and design a proper study.

What Dr, Fung’s case notes can do is to suggest that there is an idea there worth testing and that it ought to be safe enough for an ethics board to permit such a study to be conducted.

And to address points raised in other posts, I don’t believe that Dr. Fung is merely covering his butt when he suggests that people be under medical supervision when attempting a long fast. From the way he and Megan Ramos talk, I suspect that they and Dr. Phinney are not as far apart as may appear, where the risks of long-term fasting are concerned.

Lastly, the need for ethical review boards is self-evident. That short-sighted boards may sometimes stand in the way of valuable research for the wrong reasons does not diminish their value. The specter of Joseph Mengele is never far away.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #73

Paul thanks for putting this case far more delicately and eloquently than I did. Well said.

I guess my central point is not that fasting is bad. It’s that we ought to be as hard on ideas we like as we are on ideas we don’t.

Back to the main point of this thread though: I do think the keys to preventing further weight gain and inducing further weight loss revolve around improving insulin sensitivity and increasing basal metabolic rate. I’m sure there are other variables to consider but I’m guessing these are the primary ones.

To me, the most promising ways to do this seem to be:

  • continuing LCHF
  • making sure to stop when I’m full
  • perhaps change my feeding window and stop eating late at night
  • consider dropping dairy completely
  • consider removing nuts completely
  • zero alcohol, zero sweeteners
  • work on my sleep hygiene
  • meditate and otherwise work on my stress levels
  • put on muscle using slow burn strength training methods
  • and, yes, fasting

Any potential tools I’m missing?

(Brian) #74

No offense taken, Paul.

I suppose my earlier remark was more of a question as to just what would be acceptable “science”?

In this area of interest, there really just isn’t much in the way of double blind research studies. They just don’t exist. And they’re not likely to, for reasons stated above. So from the practical side of it, Dr. Fung’s work seems to be about as inclusive of a data set from an “in the trenches” view as we’re likely to find at this point. Perfect, far from it. “Science?” That might be more speculative.

But also consider the idea that formal research studies are often clouded with ambiguous inputs and small numbers of participants. But if they’re “peer reviewed” and published, they’re often treated like gospel even when in total opposition to what many of us experience on a daily basis.

So in that light, the question remains, how close do thousands of n=1 experiences here or thousands of n=1 experiences of Dr. Fung, or Dr. Hallberg or any other practicing physicians come to being “real science”?

I would suppose my thought is that like Fund and Phinney, as you mention, they may not be as far apart as they might seem.


I actually agree with you on most of your points, but I think as we go through our own health path, we can rely on a combination of common sense, anecdote, personal inclination and proven facts.*

*well, as much as anything in biology can be said to be definitively proven

My N=1 is anecdote for you, but for me it’s not just science; it’s the most relevant science. I don’t need to know what percentage of people has x, y, or z happen when fasting if I can do experiments on how my own body reacts. That doesn’t mean I’m going to try a 100-day fast out of the gate (or ever, actually) but it does mean that I am not going to wait for peer-reviewed studies that are unlikely to ever be done because the folks responsible for decided what’s peer-reviewable are hampered by a massive set of blinders.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #76

That’s fair enough. Neither am I; I’ve said I’m prepared to fast. I am simply making the point that there’s not much hard science on this subject, and we don’t know much about its efficacy or consequences. Maybe it’s safe and healthy and efficacious, maybe not.

Again, I’m not denying that fasting may be useful. But I’d query your contention that it’s science for you but anecdote for me. It’s anecdotal, period. Thousands of N=1 are anecdotal evidence, too. N=1 isn’t science.

There are thousands of people who claim to have been abducted by aliens. All of those N=1 anecdotes do not constitute scientific proof of aliens.

That’s just not how science works, and while I’m prepared to consider fasting, it’s on the same basis that I’d have considered Atkins in the 1970s – unproven, but promising.

Forgive me for speaking so forcefully, but I’d rather speak up when I see this community which claims to be about “show me the science” risk devolving into quackery. This community is more serious than so many others because of our reliance on scientific evidence. Not because of its reliance on “N=1.”


N=1 is science. It’s just highly specific to one individual.

An N of 1 trial is a clinical trial in which a single patient is the entire trial, a single case study. A trial in which random allocation can be used to determine the order in which an experimental and a control intervention are given to a patient is an N of 1 randomized controlled trial. The order of experimental and control interventions can also be fixed by the researcher.

I’m not sure why you think that “science” is only something that happens in one particular form or setting. I don’t mean that anyone else should draw conclusion from my n=1, but for me it’s highly relevant, and (depending on how I conduct the experiment) can be excellent science.

I’m not sure how to address the alien thing but I don’t think that’s an experiment so I’m not sure how n=1 enters into it.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #78

We will have to agree to disagree on this.

Phinney has spoken frequently about the dangers of fasting for more than 24 hours. It is a proven fact that a great deal of lean body mass is lost after 24 hours of fasting as you go into famine mode. Fasting can permanently lower your resting metabolic rate.

See from about 17:30 here:


Oh, I’m with you most of the way: I think that anyone considering fasting should read about all the reasons we might not want to do it!

There are threads on here all about the lean body mass loss. It’s pretty interesting.

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #80

Yeah, actually now that I watch Phinney talking about this again, I’m resolved to probably stick with 24 hour fasts for now.

This is the most explicitly I’ve seen him condemn longer-term fasts; he says the keto community has been “having a love affair” with fasting and then he categorically condemns the practice as dangerous and problematic. Very, very instructive, imho. In the past he’s cited numerous sources; in this video, interestingly, he merely refers to them without citing them specifically.

I have a lot of respect for Phinney. The man seems to know what he’s talking about!