Controlling hunger — part 2

Dr. Jason Fung
9 min readApr 17, 2019

Controlling hunger is crucial to weight loss. How do you reign in hunger? We all think that eating more or eating more often will prevent hunger, but is this really true? Standard dietary advice is to eat 6 or 7 small meals per day with the hope that this will stave off hunger and prevent overeating. If you can prevent hunger, then you may also be able to make better food choices. On the surface, it seems pretty reasonable. However, on the surface, the disastrous Eat Less, Move More or Calories in Calories out paradigms also seemed pretty reasonable, too. Like fool’s gold, appearances can be deceiving, and we must dig deeper to appreciate the truth, otherwise we are the fools. So, let’s think about this a little more.

The most important determinant of how much you eat is how hungry you are. Yes, you can deliberately eat less, but you can’t decide to be less hungry. So if you are constantly eating less, but are still hungry, it takes a toll on you, day after day, month after month, year after year. And the moment you let your guard down, you are going to eat more. You are constantly fighting with your own body. If you are less hungry, then you’ll eat less. But you’ll be working with your body, not against it.

Obesity, as I’ve explained in my book, The Obesity Code, is not a disorder of too many calories. It’s a hormonal imbalance of hyperinsulinemia. The main reason we eat more calories is not lack of willpower, it’s hunger. And hunger and satiety are functions of our hormones. You can decide what to eat, but you can’t decide to be less hungry. In the long term, it is the amount of hunger that determines how much you eat.

On the other side, ‘Calories Out’ is not primarily a function of exercise. It’s determined mainly by the basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy (calories) required to keep our body in good working order. Energy is needed to generate body heat and to keep the heart, lung, kidneys and other vital organs working properly. You can exercise more, but you can’t decide to have a higher metabolic rate. It doesn’t work like that. And neither is the metabolic rate stable over time. It can fluctuate up or down 40% depending upon our hormones.

Fat accumulation, even from a Calories In, Calories Out standpoint is almost entirely a hormonal problem. It is not something that people…

Dr. Jason Fung

Nephrologist. New York Times best selling author. Interest in type 2 diabetes reversal and intermittent fasting. Founder