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Off-Topic Jason Fung Did Nothing Wrong

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Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
For some people - like me - Jason Fung's two-compartment model is much more useful than the completely useless (20 years tried never worked) calories in calories out model and Dr. Fung's assertion that The Hormonal Model drives the human body's fuel management, is eminently helpful compared to calories in calories out.

mere caloric restriction was and is wrong for me.

Calories in Calories out
Eat less Move more
Energy balance so-called

wasn't specific enough for me to be useful and backfired every time I tried.
the hormonal model of human biological energy management is sound.

to state and use a calorie is a calorie and have success is in my eyes getting the answer right by accident.
it is a PHYSICS model applied to a BIOLOGICAL system. which apparently works in some cases. it regularly failed me.
I was as they say a chonky boy. heck I've always been a bigger or fatter kid, at various times, and in a state of dysregulation went from fat at around 225 to fatter at around 265 in a notably short amount of time. this was years ago now. and the army almost booted me for it. a retention NCO one day - casually slipped in that whenever he needs to lose a few pounds he does Protein power? I said, protein what? he just said that I should check out the book. that was all. thus began my journey toward where I am now, as a carnivore. more or less. I'm still a big guy, with a belly. but I'm just working on getting stronger. this was the period of time I was running daily and worked up to traversing over ten miles a day from city to city , town to town, across the freeways and back. and I was so so frustrated.


the trajectory of jumping up towards 275 lbs of more and more fat in a very short amount of time was one that I was merely confused by at the time.

I'll put it this way:
people have different talents.
some people can throw a 100 mph baseball.
others can run 100 meters in 4 seconds.
I could be - the fattest man alive. if it were my life's aspiration I might be able to weigh 700 or 1000 lbs.
If insulin had its way I would have just kept right on past 300 lbs. I was in the midst of it. I couldn't stop it. it was just happening.
My brother used to make fun of my weight gain - call me names - and tell me just don't eat. you're so fat you could live forever(which is ironic; looking back).

It wasn't until ...
Until I met Drs. Eades in Protein Power.​
Until I met Dr. Atkins.​
Until I met Dr. Attia, Dr. Fung, Dr. Naiman, Dr. Saladino, Dr. Barry, Dr. D'Angostino, Dr. Baker, etc.​
... that I finally had something I could use to control my fat gain.​

in the end - in my view of bouncing back from the brink, of just gaining more and more fat around my waistline - while I was running for miles daily before I injured my ankle preparing for a PT test (second one - last chance) to prove to the army that I could stay in - when I bounced back I realized how unhelpful the usual advice was. the water cooler stuff. the stuff in Men's health, men's fitness. the supplements, smoothies, shakes, bars, and everything else a desperate neophyte like myself - after all that desperation it was a doctor who shared the views of Dr. Fung that could help me. Drs. Eades, who wrote protein power.

I spent basically a decade suffering the uselessness and ultimately the threat to my military career that was - calories in calories out.
The advice that never helped. that couldn't help. because ultimately hunger rules all. there is no solution other than satiety, ultimately if you are hungry enough you will eat.

and let me tell you about big fat people. the ones that weigh 500-600 lbs. I was almost going to be one of them, once. I might have joined them if not for that sergeant who mentioned the book protein power. they are as hungry as can be as the adipose signaled by insulin drains the serum of every last drop of fuel that might have been in there before the brain even has a shot. I was so hungry - all the time. it was basically torture and eating was a respite. and that's valuable.

in the end - eating is a slave to hunger and satiety.
hunger mitigation is the only real way forward.

Dr. Fung addresses hunger mitigation.

Fasting stands heads and shoulders above all others as the single most potent strategy I could use and do use aggressively to purposefully manage my food intake. Full stop.

Calories in Calories out sabotaged me. it was less than useless. it was harmful. the lie that the composition of the source of the calories didn't matter was a harmful lie. and just like I've got a bit of a chip on my shoulder about pop fitness and how it got me moving but never really got me anywhere, so too, do I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the metabolically privileged telling me about how I should "just lower your calories mannn... it's easy" - and my waistline kept growing and growing. as my military career became more and more at risk.

now all these years later, I'm retiring from the military after 20 years on my own terms, all thanks to the work of doctors just like Doctor Jason Fung, who looked deeper and something more relevant to those who were not so gifted. some guy like me whose stomach grows even by glancing at a bagel. Doctor Fung described the 2 compartment model of fuel management. Doctor Fung asserted the Master Diet of Fasting and unleashing ketosis in full.

thank goodness now that I eat only meat I can be so satiated that I can pass up a donut, or chocolate. but I remember that time when I was not so equipped and I was clearly paying the piper for listening to silly statements like a calorie is a calorie.
 
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Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
I've never heard of the guy, so take my $.02 for whatever you think it's worth.

If his 'method' or 'framework' or whatever it is was useful to you, then it was useful to you. If it continues to yield positive benefits to you, even better.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean what he's selling is valid (let me reiterate - I know nothing about the guy, so I'm NOT saying it is or isn't). In S&C, there are a bazillion hucksters selling an endless amount of routines, splits, exercises, and supplements... and every single one of them is going to have at least a few 'true-believers'. One might argue, "Well, if they're getting results, then what does it matter if what they're selling is actually a good product or not?". Psychology and placebo-effect are huge and, I'm sorry, but if what you're selling is little more than placebo, then I'm calling BS on that.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I've read Fung's stuff and it's as sound as any fasting research I've found, which is a field that desperately needs more studies before we can draw firm conclusions. I'm inspired by your words and I'm glad you were able to take control of your life like that. I wanted to fast frequently in November, but it didn't go the way I wanted. I think December will be better as I'm slowly adjusting to what I'm demanding of my body. Sometimes it's easier for me to fast than other times, generally based on the stress in my life.
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
I've read Fung's stuff and it's as sound as any fasting research I've found, which is a field that desperately needs more studies before we can draw firm conclusions. I'm inspired by your words and I'm glad you were able to take control of your life like that. I wanted to fast frequently in November, but it didn't go the way I wanted. I think December will be better as I'm slowly adjusting to what I'm demanding of my body. Sometimes it's easier for me to fast than other times, generally based on the stress in my life.
Well, not knowing anything in particular about your current state or your goals, I will just say I don't think fasting is all things to all people. and stated differently, I'll say that I'm of the perspective that a problem isn't a problem until it's a problem.

I've heard it described that on average fat stores can unpack about 30 calories/lbs. of fat / per day. if that's true, then you won't necessarily want to dig into extended fasts if you're outrunning your fat stores because next up on the table for harvesting fuel is actually muscle tissue. the more slender you are, the less excited I'd be about someone taking up a long fast, at any point. at the lightest weights - just eating within a so-called eating window of fewer hours between your first and last meal each day to autophagy may have a good chance of working to repair and replace existing structures.

So, I'd say that there's a limit to its relevance and usefulness and a spectrum of applicability.
Fast in accordance with your body fat stores ability to unpack adipose, and you'll help mitigate lean mass loss.
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
In S&C, there are a bazillion hucksters selling an endless amount of routines, splits, exercises, and supplements... and every single one of them is going to have at least a few 'true-believers'.
Totally legit response. I appreciate the food for thought.
Circumspection is valuable.
 

Hrungnir

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m sorry but this reads like Healthy At Every Size/Fat Activism propaganda. Metabolically privileged?! Caloric restriction works on a level that can’t be disputed, there’s a reason you don’t see pictures of obese Jews in concentration camps.

Also typing out these diatribes while still being firmly within the obese camp, seems strange to me. Why can you speak on nutrition when you have yet to be within a healthy BMI and have no formal education on it? I view nutrition (and fitness) as a meritocracy, if you have no success within it you shouldn’t speak until you do.
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
Congratulations Adachi. But I didn't understand the principles you followed to make it work. It must be because of my bad English.
What exactly did you do and what regimen did you follow?
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
because ultimately hunger rules all. there is no solution other than satiety, ultimately if you are hungry enough you will eat.
100% agree with this statement.

I spent years eating myself towards 300lbs (I think I topped out at 270, but stopped getting on the scale after 255), I did IF, Slow Carb, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, Scarsdale, Zone, Anabolic Diet, pretty much every diet that has had a book written about it. At one point I was even checking my glucose levels 1 hour and 2 hours after every meal to make sure I didn't eat too many carbs and "cleared the glucose properly after every meal". Weight just kept on piling on. The fast and feast approach really started to look like fast and binge. Once I realized none of them are very special at all and satiety was what drove the caloric imbalance I dropped 30lbs almost without effort... Once I focused on eating satiety-promoting foods. Lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, and fruits. Eating practices that increased my receptiveness towards satiety signals, things like every meal should take 20 minutes to consume, putting the fork down between each bite, not worrying about leaving anything on the plate all did wonders. (Josh Hillis's Lean and Strong was a huge influence on me)

Yeah, CICO is descriptive of what happens when you get fat... But it doesn't dictate a requirement to count calories to adjust the equation. Nor does the ineffectiveness of calorie counting long-term mean that CICO is incorrect.

I like Dr Attia, and think he is an excellent source of cutting edge information. His views have changed DRASTICALLY over the past 15 years. He no longer advocates keto as a panacea, he no longer supports the CIM, no longer claims IF is a special fat loss tool beyond CICO, and has taken a much more nuanced stance towards nutrition.

I like Dr. D'Angostino too. He too takes a more nuanced approach and has stated that keto doesn't work for everyone and fat loss is a function of CICO. His Interview with Dr Layne Norton is a fantastic podcast.

But the obesity model Dr Fung talks about in his books is provably false. The former head researcher for NuSI (The organization started by Gary Taubes to fund research into the Carb Insulin Model free from industry bias), Dr Kevin Hall, lost/resigned his position because he refused to falsify/not publish data that disproved the CIM. If you equate calories, there is no fat loss difference between keto, vegan, IF, etc. Knowning that gives you the freedom to choose whatever eating style works to consume less calories for you. If you do OMAD but consume too many calories in that one meal, you will gain weight. No hormone manipulation during the fasting period will prevent that. And Fung's dismissal of the ED risk of fasting is just irresponsible.

"But square cow in a vacuum!" you might say when confronted with this.

Well even when they just let people eat as many calories as they wanted, they found people on a high protein high carb diet ended up eating fewer calories than the keto group in a majority of people. No, it wasn't a very large majority, but it really illustrated that the idea keto doesn't help most people eat fewer calories. but both groups had people that ate fewer calories!

You have to find a way of eating that controls hunger for you the most and you can sustain for the long term. Because at the end of the day, Calories in and calories out is what drive fat gains/losses. Calories in are mainly a function of satiety hormones. The effectiveness of Semaglutide is a huge testament to this. (which if you are obese and have negative health markers due to obesity is something you should consider, don't let the skinny fitness folk yelling "mindset and discipline, medication is cheating" sway you from getting actual effective help. Its not a game, its your health. There is no cheating.)

I'd link the studies... but at this point I've realized nobody who still believes CIM is going to click those links and change their mind. And they have been linked over and over again in the nutrition forum.

Also this is probably a better fit for the nutrition forum.
I've read Fung's stuff and it's as sound as any fasting research I've found, which is a field that desperately needs more studies before we can draw firm conclusions.
It is starting to get fairly mature research wise. We are past the phase of "Look at all the cool stuff fasting does in rats!" and well into the human RCT and meta-study phase.

The problem is a lot of the hardcore "fasting is the ultimate and only solution" advocates are finding that the benefits of fasting are primarily a function of regular old caloric deficit. Everything from fat loss to autophagy all points back to CR. If your entire brand is built around a tool, and research starts showing that tool as being nothing special, and has unique risks that are significant to some populations, suddenly you find yourself with a nothing special brand. So they keep pushing goal posts and fighting back against the assault to their core identity... Which is why the nutrition forum is kind of hid nowadays. People tend to turn diet into identity and get real angsty.

Why can you speak on nutrition when you have yet to be within a healthy BMI and have no formal education on it?
There is a huge difference in losing 30lbs when morbidly obese and losing 10 when slightly overweight...
General rule of thumb is when looking for "what helps" for obesity the best advice comes from those who were obese and obesity researchers. There is a reason it is a specialty science.

I do realize I am typing that after writing an essay about why Dr Fung is dumb but fasting and trying different eating styles isn't.
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
in the end - eating is a slave to hunger and satiety.
hunger mitigation is the only real way forward.

I agree with this. When I was at my highest body fat percentage (which is actually about the weight I am now, but with much less muscle) in my late 20s after my son was born, I remember being so confused about why I was SO HUNGRY when I was clearly getting enough calories, and even HUNGRIER THAN THAT when I would try to cut back. It was like that in my teens as well. What I finally figured out is that I had to eat in a way that improved satiety (reduce sugar to minimal, control overall carbs, eat enough protein, eat fruits and veggies for adequate fiber), and work on constantly improving how I felt regarding satiety, hunger, and energy, rather than constantly trying to adhere to a calorie amount without addressing food quality. This has made bodyweight much more manageable through my 30s, 40s, and 50s. Strength training has helped as well.
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
I agree with this. When I was at my highest body fat percentage (which is actually about the weight I am now, but with much less muscle) in my late 20s after my son was born, I remember being so confused about why I was SO HUNGRY when I was clearly getting enough calories, and even HUNGRIER THAN THAT when I would try to cut back. It was like that in my teens as well. What I finally figured out is that I had to eat in a way that improved satiety (reduce sugar to minimal, control overall carbs, eat enough protein, eat fruits and veggies for adequate fiber), and work on constantly improving how I felt regarding satiety, hunger, and energy, rather than constantly trying to adhere to a calorie amount without addressing food quality. This has made bodyweight much more manageable through my 30s, 40s, and 50s. Strength training has helped as well.
it boggles my mind how simple and effective "eat the foods that make you feel full and have the fewest calories" is and how long it took me to arrive at that solution.

Why is the only diet book I picked up that actually focuses on this some book with hardly any sales and published by some small publisher that I never would have heard of if I didn't happen to be a huge Dan John fan?
 

Kirill

Level 2 Valued Member
The principle behind intermittent fasting is management of hormones, by adjusting sensitivity and resistance in a certain way. Since hunger (ghrelin), satiety (leptin), and fat deposition (insulin) are controlled by hormones, it's beneficial to induce ghrelin resistance along with leptin and insulin sensitivity.

There is an important factor that's always ignored by the "fasting-minimizers" and that is willpower. We now know that willpower is a finite resource that diminishes throughout the day, and resisting hunger depletes willpower. One good way to improve this situation is to minimize the feeling of hunger by, drumroll, ghrelin resistance. Without it, it doesn't matter how many calories one counts, if there isn't a sustainable way to maintain the willpower to do so over the long term.

Anecdotally, my feelings of hunger are non-existent. The only real hunger I've experienced was after an aborted multi-day fast complicated by trouble sleeping. Now that was hunger, the rest is just boredom on an empty stomach.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
@Adachi
I personally have had more the opposite issue of trying to gain weight. I always thought I had a very good handle on my CICO and yet often struggled to get things to work they way they should.

It wasn’t until quite recently in the scheme of things that I sat down and did the 3 day average. Every morsel broken down by calorie and macro, and it turned out I was barely in the ballpark on any of it.

For me, meal planning is by far the most effective tool in my bench. And as controversial as it sounds, limiting dietary fat to no more than 20% of my macros most of the time. This provides a large cushion, since ingested carbs have a big effect of REE and in an exercising individual almost none of a moderate surplus will be converted to fat.

Exercise provides the lion’s share of what fasting does, so I simply exercise regularly, 3 meals a day, occasional snack, desert, whatever.

The buddhist mindset toward food was also a help - "medicine that cures starvation”. And being mindful when eating.

There is a lot of talk that a 3square meal approach makes one drowsy, incapable of going without food for very long etc. I experience none of this. For me, CICO works with almost metronomic precision and missing a meal or an entire day of food barely has any effect.

But, I have long maintained that in exercise and in diet, we have to ultimately find our own way. Good to hear you’ve cracked this thing, whatever works…works!
 

Geoff Neupert

Level 7 Valued Member
Beast Tamer
Thanks, @Adachi, for posting your results/experience.

I was just thinking about Dr. Fung earlier today.

Personally and professionally, CICO as it's currently presented, has some real holes in it, but here's some food for thought (no pun intended), and in no particular order that you and others may find helpful:
  • I have seen repeatedly over the last 20 years the need for "refeeds" - temporary increases in caloric consumption - to speed up stalled fat loss.
  • "Eat Less, Exercise More often backfires." Dr. John Berardi wrote about this concept about 15+ years ago and called it "G-Flux."
  • Super high carb diets, according to long-term studies, appear to be just as effective as Keto, for fat loss, thus negating CIM
  • Fasting can be detrimental if used by the wrong person at the wrong times
  • Protein Power is a great book - bought my copy around 20 or so years ago. I ALWAYS build my meals off protein first and have been doing so since '96. (Protein Power appeared to explain why I was experiencing what I was experiencing - probably a little confirmation bias thrown in for good measure too.)
  • Speaking of protein, there's a new(-ish) concept called "Protein Leverage" which you may find interesting. Here's more info: Protein leverage and energy intake - PubMed
  • Hormones DO matter. Drop a man's T levels through the floor and he'll dump muscle and pick up fat in record time
Finally, at the end of the day, calories DO actually matter. I too, often use the concentration camp victims as proof.

A less grisly proof point is Angus Barbieri, who fasted 382 days and went from 465lbs to 180lbs.

But as I tell my clients, "There's a lot that can happen between here and the end of the day."

So, keep on experimenting and refining what works for you.
 

Hrungnir

Level 6 Valued Member
There is a huge difference in losing 30lbs when morbidly obese and losing 10 when slightly overweight...
General rule of thumb is when looking for "what helps" for obesity the best advice comes from those who were obese and obesity researchers. There is a reason it is a specialty science.

I do realize I am typing that after writing an essay about why Dr Fung is dumb but fasting and trying different eating styles isn't.
Agreed, but he has yet to stop being obese. So he wasn’t obese, he is. That isn’t someone who should be giving diatribes on nutrition. I have a degree in nutrition and I still don’t like to give advice on it because I ended up not working in the field. The level of misinformation that exists is perpetuated by posts like this, not helped.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Fast in accordance with your body fat stores ability to unpack adipose, and you'll help mitigate lean mass loss.
I came across a formula years ago on a running forum. Was a theoretical model but backed by a lot of research. Essentially your ability to mobilize fat stores is a % of your surplus above that needed for steady state fuel and visceral padding.

The number of calories could be many hundreds per day at higher bf% to less than 200 when you got down into the low teens. This jives with my personal experience and why it so tough to avoid losing lean mass if you really want to run at super low bf%.

I’ll see if I can find it.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
In the process of losing 30kg I went on lots and lots of diets discarding each and moving to the next due to dissatisfaction with the results, but everything works for a while so I ultimately reached my goal. Looking back the most effective approaches (for me) were diametrically opposed ideologically: Weight Watchers, Ultra Low Carb and Ultra Low Fat. I would describe all three as very effective short to medium term body fat reduction strategies. Weight Watchers has the advantage of being able to eat anything but it’s a bummer if portion control isn’t your thing - I was often mildly hungry. Ultra Low Carb means carb intake low enough to bounce around ketosis (without keto being the goal) and in a world saturated with carbs requires some advance planning around meals. Ultra Low Fat is not as inconvenient because bread and rice are cheap and plentiful, you just need to be choosy about what you put on them. Ultra Low Carb and Ultra Low Fat have the advantage that portion sizes don’t seem to matter as much.
 

guardian7

Level 7 Valued Member
Like many complex issues, it doesn't seem to need EITHER/OR thinking.

1. Control overall calories to start.
2. Eat for saiety and balanced macronutrients
3. Monitor hormonal factors, some genetic, some lifestyle.
4. Monitor for individual characteristics or what is working or not working for you.
The relationship between all of these will determine the outcome and affect the other variables. Low calorie, junk calories, inadequate saiety=hunger. Long-term low calorie=lower metabolism. etc.
 
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Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
@silveraw
I do appreciate your thoughtful response.
Most of which I actually agree with.

A few note worthy thoughts that you bring to mind. (Actually I apologize for the narrative format, the the quote mechanism was reporting errors that mitigated my ability to quickly respond in particular to many good quotes in your post)

As to what calories in calories out does or does not demand...
While calories in calories out doesn't I'm and of itself declare, therefore counting calories is how one should proceed... I had about 100% hit rate of asking for diet advice and getting told things like eat less move more , or cut your plate in half. Or some such thing. It was every where. I got it from my family , my PT NCO , my friends who were obviously getting results in the gym , and everything I was seeing in the media, as I was searching for a better way forward.

As to those who are married to the carb insulin model...
I'll go ahead and claim that I'm not exactly married to the carb insulin model per se. For example, the carb insulin model is actually currently under threat of replacement by the seed oils narrative. And that's currently dueling for attention amongst the endocrine disruptors stories. The bisphenols and the forever chemicals which mitigate hormonal signaling. And I for one have not been bothered by the possibility of a changing of the guards, here. My defense I launched is fueled by my intimate knowledge of my experience, such that I found it to be a useful model. I used it in the way it was presented and it merely responded in the way it claimed it would. I eat less bread, I lose some fat. That was a reliable input output relationship for many years. Today, over a decade later, At the behest of my family I do partake in birthday cakes or pies etc for social reasons and it costs what it costs.

As to complications from fasting...
I believe that all models have some applicable domain, and there are likely cases that live outside of that domain. I see that fasting is most applicable as a healthful practice when the most adipose is available to fuel daily activity. I personally know cross fitters , females , who ended up having trouble with their monthly cycles, and added carbs back in and felt much better after. I don't think fasting or low carb or carnivore or, you name it , are all things to all people. But when I know that it is a model that works, and what it works for... I may be inclined to defend it's virtue. Especially if I think it can be helpful to others similarly situated.
 

WxHerk

Level 7 Valued Member
Don’t worry about seed oil or narratives or CIM, etc. Stick with what works for you. It’s easy to let the shiny objects distract you; do what works for you.

As far as female crossfitters and their cycles, what does that have to do with your dilemma? You gotta ignore the things that are obviously irrelevant.
 
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