What if you kept buying food for your pantry, but never ate it? As you continue to cram more food onto the shelves, they’d get heavier and fuller. You’d eventually tap into your reserves before the shelves collapse, right? But if you suddenly stopped stocking up and lived off of your shelved goods for a while, you’d quickly lighten the load. That’s what fasting is like; when stop adding food to your body, you finally start to use all the fat you’ve been storing.
In The Complete Guide to Fasting, by Jason Fung, MD, and Jimmy Moore, Dr. Jason Fung lets readers in on the world’s best-kept secret for better health and longevity: not eating. He explains why our bodies were made for times of feast and famine, yet modern advances keep our bodies in constant feast mode. By self-imposing times of food scarcity, you’ll lower your blood sugar and insulin levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and you’ll lose weight. You can even prevent, treat, and reverse type 2 diabetes. Dr. Fung arms you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle both short and long fasts like a pro.
About the Authors
Dr. Jason Fung went into the study of nephrology (kidney disease) because it was known as a “thinker’s specialty,” and he loves puzzles. Dr. Fung says type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Tired of seeing his patients get worse instead of better, he came across the benefits of combining a low-carb diet with fasting for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of obesity and type 2 diabetes. He’s a pioneer in the use of fasting as therapy for metabolic disorders in his Intensive Dietary Management (IDM) Program now called The Fasting Method. He is also the author of The Obesity Code, The Cancer Code, The Diabetic Code, and the most recent book, Life in the Fasting Life.
Jimmy Moore is the bestselling author of The Ketogenic Cookbook, Keto Clarity, and Cholesterol Clarity. He’s also the host of the long-running health podcast, The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore. Moore lost 180 pounds in one year and came off three prescription medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and breathing problems with a low-carb diet and fasting.
The book is divided into four parts:
Part one explains what fasting is and why it’s good for you. You’ll learn the history of fasting, the truth about commonly-held myths, and the advantages of using fasting for weight loss, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer prevention, mental health, and more.
Part two describes how to fast by outlining the different types of fasts (such as dry fasts and fat fasts, water and juice-only fasts). Dr. Fung also runs through the most common fasting windows and his best practices for tackling short fasts (those ranging from 12 to 20 hours), longer fasts (between 24 and 42 hours), and extended fasts (fasting for days at a time).
Part three includes easy fasting schedules to follow. You’ll find specific protocols for 24-hour, 36-hour, 42-hour, and 7 to 14-day fasts. Each protocol consists of a table with boxes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for one week. Follow the table, and you’ll either fast or choose a recipe from the book to enjoy. You’ll also find an example of how and when to work each fast into your schedule.
Part four contains 20 recipes (with full-page color pictures!) to break your fast with healthy, low-carb ideas for breakfast, main dishes, sides, and essentials like homemade bone broth.
You’ll also notice nuggets of wisdom and advice from Fung’s “Fasting All-Stars” in the margins of every page. Quotes from this lineup of experts in fasting come from Dr. Thomas N. Seyfried, Dr. Bert Herring, Amy Berger, Mark Sisson, Rob Wolf, and others. You’ll also read fasting success stories from real patients at Dr. Fung’s IDM practice between chapters.
What You’ll Learn
While this book is easily digestible, it’s also loaded with great information and guidance, which means you’ll learn a lot. For example:
Fasting is simple, effective, flexible, practical, and convenient. It’s not about doing something; it’s about doing nothing. Just don’t eat. It’s free, actually saves money, and is “virtually guaranteed to work.” Fasting has been practiced for millennia and is still carried out by many for religious reasons.
Fasting is the most effective way to lower insulin levels. The underlying cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a hormonal imbalance. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. So treating type 2 diabetics with more insulin only makes their insulin resistance worse, like adding gas to a fire.
Combining a ketogenic diet with fasting improves both endeavors. In ketosis, your body is already used to burning ketones and fat stores for fuel, so it won’t be craving food. Fasting also boosts ketone levels. So the more fat-adapted you are, the easier fasting gets.
Fasting encourages autophagy, or when your body gets to clean house of all the old cell buildup and make way for new healthy cells. High insulin and sugar levels turn off autophagy; fasting stimulates it. This constant cell turnover is why Dr. Fung considers fasting “one of the most potent anti-aging methods in existence.” And it’s why many believe fasting is like a “detox” for your body.
What We Like
Dr. Fung breaks down the complicated science of fasting and explains the benefits in easy-to-understand sections with charts and graphs. He also provides references for the supporting research studies at the end of each chapter. We like the addition of tips from other fasting researchers and the inspiring personal success stories found throughout the book.
Room for Improvement
We wish the recipes included a macronutrient breakdown per dish and serving. Readers will need to manually enter ingredients in a food tracking app to find the protein, fat, and net carbs on their own.
The Final Word
The Complete Guide to Fasting gives readers the knowledge and confidence to start fasting immediately. While most weight loss methods don’t address how insulin works, Dr. Fung explains that if insulin is high, you’ll never be able to lose weight or reverse type 2 diabetes. Fasting addresses the underlying issues of metabolic syndrome and shows you how to attack and lower insulin without medication. Combine fasting with a ketogenic diet, and you’ll start making real progress towards your health goals.
Shop for The Complete Guide to Fasting here.