Intermittent Fasting and Lemon Water

Read time: 90 seconds

If you’re new to intermittent fasting, or even if you’re a veteran to it, then chances are you experience the sensation of hunger.

To be clear, the sensation of hunger is natural and should not be feared. As such, nothing is wrong with acknowledging it, and it may be healthy and helpful if we don’t deny that hunger exists. It tells us that we’re doing something good for the body.

The sensation of hunger is a natural occurrence not too different from a mild cramp in your calf (after you spent the entire night dancing the Naploleon Dynamite alone in your bedroom).

In the case of hunger, as in the case of the mild cramp, you can shake it off.

But similar to massaging out the cramp in your calf with your hand, sometimes you have to shrug off your hunger with a little help. This is when I always find lemon water to be helpful. Squeeze lemon into an eco-friendly container of water, and keep the bottle nearby throughout the fasting period.

A squeeze of lemon has virtually no calories, and a little squeeze goes a long way. You can even drink tea, if you wish. And some people even go for coffee. Even drinking plain water helps just as well.

It’s really a simple cure for hunger, especially helpful to those new to IF. Overcoming hunger enough times and eventually the body resets the hunger schedule. In other words, the sensation of hunger eventually decreases in magnitude and frequency.

Water’s suppression of hunger may be just as psychological as it is physical, or it may even be purely psychological; but this strategy has worked for many and, at least in the Western world, is a social norm among those who use it.

Learning to deal with hunger will give you control and makes you the master of your eating habit. You eat what you want, and when you choose.

This is ultimately liberating.

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27 Responses to Intermittent Fasting and Lemon Water

  1. lolo says:

    Ah, hunger, lately i dont even know how that’s feels like Johnny. ( I wonder why?) Im noticing that when i overfeed ( on animal products) on my 1 / 2 hrs feeding window, then im able to fast A LOT longer with not effort / hunger at all. ( sounds silly / obvious dsnt it?) Exp, after my 27h fast, did my back and then ate all i could manage for 1:30 mins… 33hrs later and i haven eaten anything yet( sleep like a baby for 13 hrs!) did a few push ups, took a shower, and now my belly is making all kinds of crazy noises, but i still i dont FEEL any hunger at all! Amazing. Lost 2kg, mostly water i guess. Im going to buy a shitload of cheese and meat now, lets see if that visual stimulates my hunger. Im not going to lie to you, the idea of eating substantial amount of candy just crossed my mind, but we all know thats not really hunger. So lemnon? i might try it if i feel any hunger. sorry if all this sounds ” arrogant” no BS here, and im loving every single minute!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi lolo,

      There’s good evidence that it’s not so much a low carb diet that prevents or delays hunger, but that a diet higher in protein is more satiating. If carbohydrates were kept at the same level, and some of the fat is replaced with protein, the satiation of the meal is superior.

      From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The satiating effect of protein.

      However, the satiating effect of protein is only a small contributor to overall appetite and satiety — there are many other influences, too great to place all of our bets on just a single macronutrient.

      Also, many studies have found that protein is much more satiating than fat. But many people report that fat is satiating; however, this may be due to fat’s pure density in calories — and not the fat itself — that contributes to satiety. So high-carb/low-fat, or low-carb/high-fat… in the end, overall caloric control is the undisputed king for effective weight loss.

      Best,
      Johnny

      • lolo says:

        Hi Johnny, regarding protein, any excess protein will be mostly converted to glucose,
        ( gluconeogenesis) which requires a considerable amount of insulin to be used, while a high fat LC diet tend to have rather low levels of insulin ( actual quote from Hyperlipid, trust me, Pete really know his stuff) Basically im following the Kwasniewski Optimal Diet ratios ( liminit protein to just 67gr, it is hard with all the cheese i ate! ) my carbs = mostly from milk, and cheese. No refined grains, nor fruit. Also If you can, you should really try to avoid fructose, not good for the body. Recommend reading Panu / and specially peters high-fat-nutrition blog, excellent source for information !

      • Johnny says:

        Hi lolo,

        I regularly read Dr. Kurt G. Harris’s blog, as well as Petro’s blog. Both are great. I have no trouble with eating a high-fat diet, as I’ve done it before. I have trouble with people claiming that a high-fat diet is the only way to go.

        Additionally, the insulin response to protein intake is immediate, while gluconeogenesis occurs after muscle and liver glycogen is depleted. Therefor, insulin response to protein intake (excess or moderate) is not necessary due to gluconeogenesis.

        Best,
        Johnny

      • lolo says:

        http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2008/05/weight-loss-when-its-hard.html

        “A freely available energy supply from adipocytes should reduce the need to obtain energy from food, ie less hunger” and that gentlemen is why i dont feel any hunger at all!

        I know eating fat sounds counterintuitive, but i can attest it works! ( so does Pete, he is skinny as hell and he dsnt event fast)

  2. Johnny says:

    I just started IF last week. My feeding window is 8 hours, from noon till 8pm. So far I am doing pretty well. I feel good, and I have lost a little bit of weight, 2-3 pounds. However, I can really feel the hunger coming on the few hours before noon. I imagine that will start to go away after a while.

  3. My strategy is to drink heavily the night before so I’m too sick to my stomach to eat. 🙂

  4. lolo says:

    @Johnny, lower the carb, eat moderate protein and up the fats that should curb your hunger ( op diet ratios?) , @Chris interesting strategy 😄 thanks good im not much of a drinker, so back from the supermarket, still no hunger, this is freaking me up!

  5. johnny says:

    Yeah, I do the Primal Blueprint way of eating, so my carbs are usually around 50 grams per day, and up to 100 on workout days. I get about 50% of my calories from fat. I think it’s just getting used to not eating breakfast.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi J,

      Because I eat mostly a whole-food diet, my daily carbohydrates intake is naturally anywhere between 50 to 150 grams per day, similar to yours.

      I personally don’t aim for any specific number, but vegetables and fruit — essentially stuff that’s nutrient-dense but calorie-sparse — tend to be naturally low in carbohydrates as compared to the average composition of the typical Western diet.

      I eat this way more for nutrition without excessive calories.

      (As a side note not entirely unrelated, I had a conversation with a buddy today about the acidity and inflammation effect of grains and sugar. Basically neither he nor I are concerned about those factors as their presence and their effect in the body is more complex than merely eating a little grain-based products. For example, it’s not the grains themselves, but their dose that can determine the effect in the body. Plus, a variety of food stuff in the diet can have synergistic effects on ph-balance and anti-inflammation. Not everything is black and white.)

      Best,
      Johnny

  6. Johnny says:

    The regulation of appetite and hunger is based on very complicated interactions between numerous hormonal and psychological factors, not to mention social factors, which has been shown in several studies to have profound influence in dietary selection and habit of the individual (such social factors include: community, peers, family members, politics, and culture).

    Many people over-simplify an extremely complicated process, thus are misguided in believing that appetite and hunger are blamed on a single hormone or a single macronutrient, such as insulin or carbohydrates. There are many people (and multiple whole cultures) who are able to control appetite and hunger, despite continuous consumption of carbohydrates (sometimes in significant amount).

    Look at this study just to see the sheer amount of hormones and their multiple pathways for appetite and hunger control. You’ll see that there’s not just one single factor.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18061414

    Best,
    Johnny

  7. Johnny says:

    Johnny,

    Thanks for the info on your diet, especially about the carbs. Being on the Primal Blueprint, most of the members seem to be preaching low carb. So, it’s good to see someone in your kind of shape proving that good, healthy carb intake is not detrimental to your weight loss or physique.

    Blueberries and bananas are my main source of fruit, but I will have apples on occasion as well.

  8. Paul says:

    @ lolo

    I made bad experience with a high fat approach. It’s a healthy diet, for sure. And you will get skinny if done properly.
    But panu and Kwasniewski diet is not optimal at all for getting a ripped body. Show me a Kwasniewski follower with a decent body (abs)

    • lolo says:

      @ paul, mkay: kinda small but i have 2 from my ego days.

      op + hiit “nonsense” (75kg, initial days clearly some visible “Marbled fat” there)

      a few months later started doing just push ups

      Btw this pics are old ( more than a year ago) Now im much bigger / ( doing weighted chins, squats, pushups) and WAY leaner ( 64 / 68kg) but at that time i was already doing op diet + some form of fasting, not every single day like now.

      • lolo says:

        ups- now that im thinking- those pics are even older than i thought… would gladly put more recent (and biger) pics but i have my shirt in all of them, ( useless) and they feature my family so i don’t feel comfortable posting them on the intertubes, anyway, like i said, op works ( for me) i have more muscle now than ever, and my waistline is 3 sizes smaller( ex the shorts in using in those pics need some serious readjustments now) could be the diet, or maybe is just all this fasting, i dont really care, it beats the alternative( refined crap) XP

      • Johnny says:

        lolo,

        Those pictures are impressive! You’re another clear example of how one can become lean despite the ratio of macronutrients used. I know a few people who follow a high-carb diet and maintain extremely sharp physiques year-round, and without struggling with excessive appetite.

        Best,
        Johnny

  9. Johnny says:

    lolo wrote: “A freely available energy supply from adipocytes should reduce the need to obtain energy from food, ie less hunger” and that gentlemen is why i dont feel any hunger at all!

    Johnny’s response: while the statement is true, that an energy constancy reduces the need for calorie intake, it has little relationship to appetite. When referring to hunger, it must be differentiated between the two types: somatic and limbic. A constant availability of fat may displace somatic hunger, but nothing has been said about limbic hunger, which can still occur even in the state of fuel sufficiency.

    Some people have strong limbic hunger, while others don’t. One size does not fit all.

    best,
    Johnny

    • lolo says:

      Interesting insights Johnny, instinctive behaviors are fascinating!
      J”2″ : animal products: red meat, yolks ( discard the protein) butter, cream, cheese, milk, water. fish if i want to lower the fat / protein. One meal ( 1 hour) per day pattern, fast the rest of the time. Today 4pm:

      “infinite chimichurri”
      400gr Ribeye steak (fatty)
      150gr cheese (pategras)
      200gr porsalut cheese, (maybe more)
      1 “Salchicha parrillera”
      6 yolks + 1Tablespoon of cream mix fried in butter (homelete)
      70gr almonds (yay omega6, no maca here)
      1 liter of whole milk ( that did it)

      Way 2 much protein, (addicted to cheese…) this is my rest day, tomorrow im going to workout at 9 / 10pm then ate ( if im hungry)

    • lolo says:

      Johnny wrote: Those pictures are impressive! You’re another clear example of how one can become lean despite the ratio of macronutrients used.”

      Thanks Johnny, but i was merely transforming there ( before that, i used to be FAT -90kg-grain eater @ drug addict -sibutramine-) i think the diet change was important, initially i did the Paleo /hiit / tabata thing, i was in deep ketosis most of the time, (wrong) it felt great and really bad at the same time, lots of energy but little to no sleep ( 3 hrs max) constantly sprinting on the beach, jumping like a monkey, that sort of thing… hyperactive and burning myself, (and then i was eating pizza!) body weight resistance training ( + fat and milk) changed that… all this at home btw, i think a chin up bar is the single greatest idea ever, it really helped taking thinks to another level and made things easier ( in those pics i have like 0 % lats btw) ok thank you for your words and wisdom!

  10. Johnny says:

    Lolo,

    What’s your diet like?

    johnny

  11. Johnny says:

    Lolo,

    That’s a lot of food for one sitting. I estimate over 3000 calories. Wow. I am sitting here worried about eating more than 1700-1800.

    johnny(2)

  12. lolo says:

    3200 aprox, ? (is hard to know) almonds are mostly fiber w poor absorption, cheese 90 % fat with little protein, ( lol according 2 the label) butter and cream pure fat, yolks a bit of protein there but not that much. meat ditto, fattiest cut ever, but with the milk @extra i kinda blowed the protein ratio XD. didnt feel “full” or ” bloated” even had room for dessert (which i didn’t have) the meal before that was larger, had a much bigger and” meatier” steak, more milk / cheese, 100gr + almonds and i ended up losing weight.i think : no stress + good sleep + moderate to intense exercise + good eating + good fasting > numbers

  13. Paul says:

    @ lolo

    I am impressed. You do look very good. Thx for sharing your pics.

  14. Nic says:

    what is the effect of drinking wine in the evening? I have been sticking to one meal a day around 4 or 5 pm. but then having several glasses of wine in the evening with no more food.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Nic,

      Wine is dense, empty calories. The liver turns it to acetate, and fat-loss experts warn that when acetate is available in the blood, the body burns it instead of fat. The fact is, the body burns whatever fuel that’s available in the blood — fat, protein, carbs… or acetate.

      I enjoy a glass or two of wine every night even if my body turns to burning acetate — it’s not different than eating a piece of sweet potato or a piece of fruit and letting the body burn the carbs from them. I don’t worry because I do daily intermittent fasting.

      In a short-term fasted state, the body resorts to burning stored energy — fat. As you already know, this is one of the many benefits of intermittent fasting.

      Best,
      Johnny

  15. Mike says:

    Hey Johnny,

    Sorry to chime in late, but I was intrigued by your comment regarding ph-balance and acidity. Since meat and most sources of protein tend to be some of the most acidic foods, I guess I have found myself questioning the amount I eat. On the one hand, protein definitely promotes a feeling of satiety and is quite delicious, however it greatly skews the ph-balance in the body toward the unfavorable end of the spectrum.

    Look forward to hearing more about your current experiment.

    Thanks for the awesome reading material!

    Mike

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Mike,

      I don’t worry about diet and pH balance in the body. The last time I researched this, there wasn’t much evidence either way, and I also know that the body has amazing ways to balance it out.

      I think it’s more complex than calcium leaching or nitrogen loss. There seem to be many people and cultures who eat very high protein (meats, etc.) without bone mineral and nitrogen deficiency.

      Let us know if anyone has heard of anything new with pH balance and diet.

      Best,
      Johnny

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