The Root Cause: In Search Of A Core Explanation


Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash

© Andrey Cheremskoy, 2022-07-30

What did cause this?

Not once when faced with a problem we tend to come to a superficial conclusions that may be far away from the underling causes of the issue. This can be seen in almost any human endeavor, particularly in scientific research, in engineering, such as software programming or electronics, in medicine etc. Hence, comes the need for finding a root cause of the problem which allows to come up with a core explanation of the phenomenon at play.

There are a number of ways to uncover a root cause of the problem, for example there is a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) techniques that provide heuristics of how to search for a possible root cause or causes of the issue at hand. Ishikawa diagrams also known as fishbone diagrams is one such example of using root cause analysis that is used to uncover potential causes of certain events and it is used in industry for quality control.

Some examples

As it was mentioned root cause analysis is very useful in engineering, such as hardware development and software programming. In these fields it’s rarely the case that a systems that was implemented works for the first time it is used. Probably, you’ve heard about the phrase Smoke Testing, which is used in IT world, but it comes from electrical engineering. And it is not a coincidence that it mentions smoke, since it’s almost always the case that a system will behave in an erratic manner when used for the first time.

For example, software programmers are known to use Debugging Tools in search for defects in software, which are informally known as bugs. And Quality Control engineers, or software testers find and report these bugs as a way of living. The same is true about hardware, where even a small part, such as resistor that goes awry can cause a whole module to fail in unexpected manner.

When root cause can be misleading?

It is then reasonable to ask whether the existing root cause is the only one possible to explain the issue? This is a good question. It happens that sometimes due to an existing status quo among experts we may tend to think that the root cause is known very well and there is no need to look for it any longer. This is a dangerous situation and it happened a lot throughout human history when experts insisted that there is no other root cause and hence there is no need to search for one.

For example, physicists in the end of 19th century believed that there is nothing new left to discover in physics and what’s left are small unresolved phenomena, but then came the mystery of the black body radiation which was a door into quantum mechanics physics of 20th century.

Another example is from medicine. It was long accepted that the root causes of obesity were the larger number of consumed calories over expanded ones and a lack of exercises, while we now know that a true root cause was a high level of insulin hormone, which was caused by frequent meals and high consumption of processed food, particularly sugar.


In summary, it is important not only to strive to find the root cause of an issue it is also important to check whether an existing explanation of the phenomenon is the one that explains all available evidence in the best possible way.


Books that make you healthier

Reading is healthy

So far I’ve read 5 books on the subject of Intermittent Fasting and one about dangers of sugar. Here comes my short summary of each one of them.

Gin Stephen’s books

First two books I read were by Gin Stephens.

  • Delay, Don’t Deny was her first book on Intermittent Fasting from 2106. What’s interesting about it that it brings Gin’s personal side of things when it comes to fasting.
  • Fast. Feast. Repeat was, actually, the first book I read on Intermittent Fasting and it was this book that got me interested in trying this approach. This book is quite recent, it’s from 2020. This book is a little bit different from her first book. It’s less personal and provides more details about the science of why intermittent fasting works. Also this book contains 28 Days FAST Start approach to Intermittent Fasting that Gin came up with.

Dr. Jason Fung’s books

Two other books were by Dr. Jason Fung

  • The Obesity Code is from 2016, but it’s still relevant and has a detailed explanation about how we get obese and what to do about it. In comparison to Gin’s informal writing style, Jason’s style is a little bit more dry. But it could be because it’s was written by a doctor. Anyway, I liked it too.
  • The Complete Guide to Fasting was also published in 2016, and this book has very similar content to The Obesity Code, but there are a number of very important differences, which makes it the best of all the books I’ve read so far. First, this book is visually appealing, having lots of colorful diagrams and graphs that help better understand why Fasting works. Second, even though the content is similar to the previous book, it has a better balance between scientific details and user friendly explanations. Third, this book has personal stories of people who used Intermittent Fasting and were able to reverse their Type 2 Diabetes and obesity.

Science can be good for you

The 5th book I read was the book by Prof. Mark Mattson, who is the neuroscientist and biologist. He’s the leading researcher in the field of Intermittent Fasting.

  • The book is The Intermittent Fasting Revolution from 2022. This book is the most scientific out of all previously mentioned, but actually, it wasn’t a dry reading. I liked it very much especially the evolutionary biology explanation of why animals and humans are evolutionary adapted to Intermittent Fasting. Also, Mark himself is practicing Intermittent Fasting and doing 16:8 fasting for decades now and provides his personal advice on the subject.

But not sugar

The last book I finished reading today was a book by journalist Gary Taubes.

  • The book is The Case Against Sugar, it’s from 2016, but it’s relevant as ever. In it Gary Taubes describes the history of how sugar became such a commodity in our diet and how its consumption that grew to worrisome proportions was a root cause of all diseases related to Metabolic Syndrome. Back in 2016 it was still a hypothesis that sugar is a culprit. Now, it’s proven. Sugar is a poison that works in the long run.

Intermittent Fasting works, 7th week in a row

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

A status update after 46 days of fasting (7th week)

  • Since the beginning of the fasting on June 13th, I’ve lost 21.6 lb (9.8 kg) and 4.1 % of body fat following Intermittent Fasting eating pattern.
    Weight changed from 200 lb -> 178 lb (90.6 kg -> 80.8 kg), body fat from 30 % -> 25.9 %.
  • Average fat loss speed 0.5 lb a day.
  • Overall feeling is of lightness and agility.

Now, think for yourself, whether Intermittent Fasting works or not


I recommend you to check these two video clips about Gin Stephens. Thanks to her book I discovered about Intermittent Fasting.


A short video about Gin Stephens and her Intermittent Fasting story. Actually, she wrote a couple of books about her personal experience with fasting.

This video is from 2018, since then Gin wrote two additional books. I recommend you to read FAST. FEAST. REPEAT. It is actually, quite cheap at Amazon.

A recent interview with Gin Stephens

Intermittent Fasting results. End of 6th week.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Up to date results

This post is a continuation of the first post where I talked about how intermittent fasting can help reduce weight and reported about my progress. Today I will provide some status updates.

The projected weight and body fat for the 5th week were

  • 84.1 kg (185.4 lb), and 27 % respectively. What actually happened check in the table below.

My current weight as of 2022-07-22 is 81.3 kg (179.2 lb) and body fat 26.2 %.

The projected weight and body fat for the beginning of 7th week are

  • 80.7 kg (178.35 lb), and 25.9 % respectively.

WeekFast hoursEating window hoursWeightFat percentageWaitsWaist to height ratioBMI
116890.6 kg (199.7 lb)30 %N/AN/A27
217787.6 kg (191.8 lb)28.7 %100 cm0.5526.4
318686.6 kg (190.9 lb)28.3 %99 cm0.5426.1
419585.1 kg (187.6 lb)27.7 %98 cm0.5425.7
519584 kg (185.2 lb)27.3 %95 cm0.5225.4
Jul 22
204Current weight
81.3 kg (179.2 lb)
26.2 %
720480.7 kg (178.4 lb)25.9 %

Some math

By the way, in accordance with the book The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung the average daily body fat loss is about 1/2 pound, which is about 0.23 kg. I see exactly this thing happening.

What I observe is

  • The slope of the fat loss line is – 0.5 pound/day.
  • Also 0.1 % of body fat loss a day corresponds to 0.5 pound loss a day. This is how I was able to project the values of weight and body fat loss.

Good resources to reference


Since the beginning of the fasting I’ve finished reading all the books I recommended in this post, except for The Case Against Sugar.

Meanwhile, I bought another one on the subject. The book is Metabolical by Dr. Robert Lustig, which I recommend.


Practical Fasting: The Use of Therapeutic Fasting in a Clinical Setting by Megan Ramos.

The BITTER TRUTH About Sugar & How It’s DESTROYING Your Health by Dr. Robert Lustig.

Good resources on Intermittent Fasting

It has been a month since I’ve started to do Intermittent Fasting. In the previous post I’ve mentioned what were the results so far. In this post I want to partially repeat the references to helpful resources on Time Restricted Eating, also known as, Intermittent Fasting and provide new ones.


I’ve already finished reading books by Gin Stephens and The Obesity Code by Jason Fung. Now I’m in the middle of the book by Mark Mattson. Next one is Gary Taubes’ book and then The Complete Guide to Fasting.

image source Amazon
image source Amazon
image source Amazon
image source Amazon
image source Amazon
image source Amazon

Lectures at YouTube


Peer reviewed scientific papers

Intermittent Fasting helps reduce weight

Photo by حثل on Unsplash


Do not try intermittent fasting if you are

  • a pregnant woman
  • a breastfeeding woman
  • underweight person
  • a child under 18 years old
  • has a medical condition that requires consultation with a doctor

And so it begins

In this post I want to report some interesting consequences of trying to follow Intermittent Fasting regimen to become slimmer and healthier.

For about 10 years, I’ve weighted about 90 kg (198 lb). In 2018 I’ve tried to follow the low carb diet promoted in the The 4-Hour Body book by Tim Ferris, but without any success. Since then I felt no urgency to lose weight and become a slimmer person, but I wanted to do it eventually.

A mere happenstance caused me to discover Intermittent Fasting approach. It turns out that our family doctor advised my wife to read Fast. Feast. Repeat book by Gin Stephens to lower high blood sugar level. I’ve ordered the book on Amazon at my wife request. But to my surprise she didn’t read it. Since I value books a lot and also do not want to waste money on unread books, I decided to give that book a try. Boy, was I surprised. The book was interesting to read and it contained just enough information on the benefits of intermittent fasting and advice on how to start. Gin suggest to try 28-Day FAST Start method to get used to fasting. Indeed, that was the approach I’ve tried. As I write this post, it is the 26th day of the that approach to fasting. In accordance with her advise I am following this regimen

DaysFasting hoursEating window hoursMeal type and count
1 – 7168lunch, dinner
8 – 14 177lunch, dinner
15 – 21186lunch, dinner
22 – 28195snack or lunch, dinner


  • Fasting Hours stands for how many hours I do not eat anything except for drinking water, black coffee (no milk or sugar) or tea (no milk or sugar).
  • Eating window hours stands for the hours where I have two meals. I try, quite successfully, not to have any snacks between the meals.
  • Meal type and count is self-explanatory.

Below I provide some initial results for past four weeks, and the projection for the fifth week that starts on Monday, July 11th.

Where projected values are in Italics.

WeekFast hoursEating window hoursWeightFat percentageWaitsWaist to height ratioBMI
116890.6 kg (199.7 lb)30 %N/AN/A27
217787.6 kg (191.8 lb)28.7 %100 cm0.5526.4
318686.6 kg (190.9 lb)28.3 %99 cm0.5426.1
419585.1 kg (187.6 lb)27.7 %98 cm0.5425.7
519584.1 kg27 %97 cm0.5325.4

Good resources to reference

Gin mentioned in her book a number of valuable resources to reference. I recommend you to check

  • Jason Fung, MD website and his book The Obesity Code. I read it and it provides more scientific details of why fasting works and how it works to treat obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. He also authored another book which is quite colorful and interesting at the same time: The Complete Guide to Fasting.
  • Prof. Mark Mattson is one of the founding fathers of Intermittent Fasting research and has written recently The Intermittent Fasting Revolution book.