Skipping Breakfast, or the Fasting 16-8 Weight Loss Diet

The standard practice is to eat breakfast every day. The saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has been drilled into my tiny brain since birth. For me it just was not so important. Over the years I have deviated from this breakfast practice on many occasions, mostly without issue. I say mostly because I often inadvertently delay until well past lunch. This is the 16/8 fast, don’t eat for 16 hrs a day, but eat for only 8. It is not as radical as you might think, as most of the time you are asleep.

Recently I have discovered Dr Jason Fung, a Toronto doc and nephrologist. Here are some really positive comments from Reddit.

How and Why Intermittent Fasting Works for Weight Loss

The food you eat contains sugar. Glucose, a type of sugar from food, is used by your body for energy. When not all used up, excess glucose is stored as body fat. When you do not eat for at least 8 hrs your body will use up all its glucose and therefore not store any as body fat. If you need energy, but with glucose depleted, the body will then begin breaking down stored fat, using it as an energy source. This combination of using up all your glucose, not storing excess glucose as fat and then using stored fat as an energy source, is a key to weight loss.

With 16 hours, intermittent fasting forces your body to use up all your glucose stores, after which you burn stored fat. If you do a workout at the end of your fast you will burn even more fat.

The added benefit for diabetes is that after 8 hours your body does not have glucose, and therefore has no need to produce insulin. On a daily basis your glucose level will significantly drop, and reset itself.

How you Gain Weight over Time
The corollary to intermittent fasting is the traditional meal schedule. You have dinner at 6:00pm. Your glucose will last you until 2:00pm. You then have a snack at 10:00pm, just before going to bed. Your glucose stores will last until at least 8:00am, but then you have breakfast at 8:00am, forcing your body to create more glucose, which will last you until 4:00pm. Lunch is at 12:00, when you again make glucose, which will last you until 8:00pm. Dinner is again at 6:00pm. With around the clock snacking and meals your body never uses up all its glucose. In fact, you produce an excess of glucose, which is then stored as body fat. As well, there is no way to use up stored body fat as a fuel source, so you cannot lose weight.

Over time on a daily basis at the end of the day you have a small excess of glucose, which is stored as body fat. As the years go by this accumulates and you gain weight. Body fat is impossible to remove, because you never need to use it as an energy source. With the modern diet you always have access to sufficient food and therefore glucose.

Intermittent Fast and Diabetes
The general idea of intermittent fasting is that you regularly do not eat from the night before until noon the next day. This intermittent fast exhausts your existing blood sugar or glucose level and you produce much lower insulin amounts. Without excess insulin levels your insulin resistance goes way down, and thus reduces your diabetes risk. The body then switches and uses stored fat. You may also lose weight. There are also theories about your body getting its insulin level stuck, and an intermittent fast will reset this.

Fung, a nephrologist who authored the books The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting, is one of the most vocal advocates of intermittent fasting, having seen its effects in his type 2 diabetes patients…

It was this observation that led him to intermittent fasting, as a way to quickly lower insulin in the body. Prolonged periods of low insulin force the body to turn to stored sugar as a fuel source, and when that’s been depleted, to turn to fat.

Insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, helps the body use sugar for energy, but insulin resistance and prediabetes can occur when the body doesn’t use normal amounts of insulin properly. Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure.


That is all well and good, but I don’t have a diabetes problem. The benefit for me is weight loss. I can watch what I eat, but not radically, and still lose weight. Not only is this less arduous, but skipping breakfast and/or lunch is pretty common for me anyway, and seems to have little effect on me. I don’t even feel hungry when I am busy. This supposed “diet”, one that I have been using by default for decades, all without knowing it, seems to work for me.

Dr Fung’s view on exercise mirrors mine. Exercise is excellent for bone density and muscle tone, but has little effect on weight loss. The best way to lose weight is to eat less. This is easier said than done. The weight loss diet one uses is the one you will consistently adhere to long-term.

Knowing what he does about insulin’s effect on weight gain, he says exercise is a very inefficient way to slim down. “There are a lot of health benefits, but they’re two totally separate issues,” he says. “If I had to guess, diet is 95% of the battle, and exercise is 5% of the battle. The problem is we over-emphasize exercise.

This cheeky Vice article talks about a 72 hr fast, or 3 days. That is a bit too radical for me.

There is the issue of excess ketones expelled from the mouth. I have yet to look into this.

When Fung talks about your body using your fat for fuel, he’s talking about ketosis. To get into ketosis, you don’t give your body any of its preferred grab‘n go fuel—glucose—and force it to look for alternatives… the body will start shaking down fat cells for energy…

…“One way the body releases ketone bodies is through exhalation therefore making the breath sweet and fruity,” says New York-based dietician Amy Shapiro… Research has shown that breath acetone is reliable indication that you have gone into fat burning mode…

If you are usually not hungry in the morning but want to lose some weight, this diet might be suitable for you and would be a painless and easy weight loss method.

2018 Oct 23 Many intermittent fasters skip breakfast. Here’s why that’s not a good idea.

2017 Jan 31 Why You Should Start Skipping Breakfast

2018 Dec 16 The benefits of fasting: from the 5:2 diet to tricking the brain with low-calorie foods

2018 Dec 20 Is Intermittent Fasting Really Worth It?

2019 Jan 14 Fasting diets are going mainstream — ahead of the science. Here’s why.

Fasting may even help you stave off disease and live longer. Maybe. Just know that there are lots of question marks about the long-term health consequences of fasting. And, as Longo said, there’s a reason fasting has been around for so long but very few people do it regularly: “It’s too difficult.”

2019 Mar 09 How meal timings affect your waistline

2016 May 10 I’m an obesity doctor. I’ve seen long-term weight loss work. Here’s how.

Looking to their success stories, published both online and as highlighted by Anne Fletcher in her book exploring the registrants, Thin for Life, the one common theme is that while maintaining their losses requires ongoing effort, that effort isn’t perceived by these weight loss masters as a hardship but rather as just living with new lifestyles, and lifestyles that they enjoy.

This is something I’ve witnessed regularly in my own practice. Looking to my experiences working with thousands of patients over the course of the past dozen years, it’s clear that liking the life you’re living while you’re losing weight is the key to keeping it off…

The truth is there will come a point where you can’t happily live any better — where you can’t happily eat less and you can’t happily exercise more — and your weight, living with that life, is your best weight. In every other area of our lives we readily accept our best efforts as great, and we need to do that with weight and healthful living too.

2019 June 04 Intermittent Fasting Made My Life Easier, and Happier

2018 May 28 7 Natural Ways to Raise Testosterone Levels (Raise Your T for FREE) This guy mentions that intermittent fasting raises testosterone and human growth hormone, naturally. reduce zeno-estrogen levels: don’t eat or drink out of heated up plastic

2019 June 18 How to Get Faster Results with Intermittent Fasting: He mentions sarcopenia and weight lifting in his IF talk

Jim Stoppani On Intermittent Fasting for Muscle Gains: intermittent fasting and HIIT. HIIT burns carbs during the workout, but burns fat after workout

What is intermittent fasting?, How to Maximize Fat Burning, Dr. Jason Feng, Dr. Jason Fung – ‘Therapeutic Fasting – Solving the Two-Compartment Problem’

kevin hall study on dieting, oxidation rate vs days of fasting, seen from Jason Feng

kevin hall study on dieting, oxidation rate vs days of fasting, seen from Jason Feng

There IS no secret…it’s Intermittent Fasting: An interesting piece of info is to do your workout at the end of your intermittent fast in order to maximize your fat burning. You make your first meal of the day your post-workout meal. This makes sense.

Eat, Fast and Live Longer:by Michael Mosley

I Don’t Get Hungry with Intermittent Fasting
I don’t get hungry, even after a 17 hr fast, and I don’t know why. Here’s a possible answer:

Hunger is mostly run by the hormone “ghrelin”. Studies show that a high carbohydrate diet causes a higher level of ghrelin, AKA more hunger. That same study found that higher levels of fat in the diet significantly decreases the hunger hormone. Lesson learned here: when your body uses fat for more of your energy vs. carbs, your cravings go down…

Intermittent fasting taps into your fat burning mechanisms and provides energy for your body by pulling from your stored fat energy systems. This results in boosted energy levels as well as natural fat loss. Because your body has energy flowing from your fat burning mechanisms, it doesn’t trigger ghrelin to go up…

Another theory is that by fasting your glucose level is reset to zero, your body produces human growth hormone and you turn to the alternative fuel source, fat. With HGH and a fuel source there is no need for your body to “ask for more food” by making you hungry.

When you sleep, your body produces anti-hunger substances like HGH (human growth hormone). Your insulin falls to base overnight. These things and others suppress hunger. When you wake and stay fasted, NONE of those things change just because you have woken up. Yes, if your body is used to eating right after waking you will get hungry but if you have been doing IF, you will just stay non-hungry.

Studies have shown that if you don’t eat after waking, not only will your insulin stay at base and your HGH not fall, your HGH will actually slowly RISE until you decide to eat. This high level of HGH has the primary effect of sparing (and even building) muscle during your fasts – by sparing your muscle it forces your body to use FAT for fuel which is what you want. But the nice secondary effect of keeping your HGH high while fasting is that is keeps your appetite suppressed! HGH stays elevated until insulin spikes, i.e. until you decide to eat.

It looks like intermittent fasting and not feeling hungry is a pretty common positive side effect.

Time-Restricted Eating by Ted Naiman MD This guide offers a very clear explanation of intermittent fasting and its benefits. He talks about the Leangains method, which is the 16-8 intermittent fast.

Fat burning during fasting, sugar/fat burning by time. by Ted Naiman, MD. After 12 hours your body changes from burning sugar to burning fat.

Fat burning during fasting, sugar/fat burning by time. by Ted Naiman, MD. After 12 hours your body changes from burning sugar to burning fat.

This chart is interesting because it shows that after 12 hours your glucose is depleted and your body will then burn fat. If you do the 16-8 method you will burn fat for 4 hrs/day. Seven days a week of the 16-8 method results in an additional 28 hrs of fat burning. Exercise after 12 hours, during the glucose burning state will accelerate your fat burn.

Japanese Fasting Study Reveals Complex Metabolic Changes in the Human Body

Ageing well: at 52 Baywatch star David Chokachi is in the best shape of his life. He shares tips on keeping fit and talks about redefining the ‘dad bod’

Of all the tips he shares – eating right, cardio, gym, yoga, running and hiking in the mountains, surfing, swimming – the one that stands out is his intermittent fasting. “I take 18 hours off eating, six days out of seven. I won’t eat anything after 8pm or 9pm and then I won’t eat anything until 2pm the next day.

“It’s a little hard at first but once you get used to it, it’s been really rewarding. I’ve read a lot about the benefits of fasting for longevity, for your brain … and to maintain abs.”

When You Eat Breakfast and Dinner Could Affect Your Levels of Body Fat

Fifty seven percent of individuals admitted that they didn’t think they could continue these meal time changes past the end of ten weeks. They also rated the diet a seven out of ten on a scale of difficulty. Seeing as the authors described this group of volunteers as “well-motivated” to follow the diet, these results might not bode well for the rest of us.

“As we have seen with these participants, fasting diets are difficult to follow and may not always be compatible with family and social life,” Johnston said “We therefore need to make sure they are flexible and conducive to real life, as the potential benefits of such diets are clear to see.”

Japanese Fasting Study Reveals Complex Metabolic Changes in the Human Body

…it’s safe to say that fasting is nowhere near as simple as it seems, and scientists are only beginning to bring the full picture into focus.

Why Backers of Intermittent Fasting Believe It Can Slow Aging: No proof of longer life

2020 Oct 12 Intermittent Fasting: Fad or Future? with Steven Gundry M.D., Jason Fung M.D., Carrie Diulus M.D.

2020 Dec 07 Intermittent Fasting vs Cutting Calories

My Fasting Notes after losing 100 pounds! Yikes! But there’s more…

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