Why obese people can't fast 9. September 2009 William Davis (21) Why do obese people claim it is impossible to fast?Most overweight people are terrified at the prospect of facing any period of time without ready access to food. Persuading them to begin a program of intermittent fasting is a hopeless cause. They just refuse. Contrary to popular opinion, this is not just glutonny at work. It is the effect of what I call "the cycle of hunger," the 2-hour up and down cycle of rising sugar and insulin, followed by their inevitable fall. The precipitous fall of sugar and insulin triggers mental fogginess, fatigue, and insatiable hunger. (By the way, this is the same phenomenon underlying the silly notion of "grazing.") According to an LA Times article, fasting may be difficult to impossible for some people: "Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian in Burbank and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Assn., says she frequently sees such extreme strategies backfire. 'You're hungry, fatigued, irritable. Fasting is not very comfortable. People try to cut back one day and the next day they're starving and they overeat.'" (Not surprising, coming from the American Diatetic Assn. They, along with such agencies as the American Diabetes Association, are vocal proponents of low-fat, high-carbohydrate, "healthy whole grain" diets--you know, the diets that make us fat and diabetic.)Ms. Frechman is correct: Having someone engage in a period of fasting, no matter how brief, when the diet leading up to the fast is filled with "healthy whole grains" and other carbohydrates will result in painful hunger that eventually overcomes any effort. A period of overeating typically follows the aborted attempt. Fasting cannot work as long as the 2-hour cycle of hunger continues. The first step: Eliminate the 2-hour cycle of hunger by dramatically reducing or eliminating carbohydrates. Our preferred method is to eliminate wheat, cornstarch, and sugars. (Just be aware of wheat withdrawal, the fatigue that develops in the first 5 days after wheat elimination that affects up to 30% of people.)Once wheat, cornstarch, and sugars are eliminated, hunger reverts to that of physiologic need--appetite will be smaller and less intense, since it is driven by your body's needs, not by abnormal stimulation from wheat, cornstarch, and sugar. The fear of not having food dissolves, the 2-hour cycle of mental fogginess, fatigue, and hunger will be gone. Intermittent fasting is a wonderful strategy for reducing weight; gaining control over lipids, lipoproteins, and coronary plaque; regaining appreciation for food; reducing appetite. But it's not even worth trying unless you've already eliminated the unnatural appetite triggers that will booby-trap any fasting effort.