I’ve learned a ton from books about fasting.
Today I’ll share with you some of the best books about intermittent fasting, extended fasting, and related topics that I’ve found.
I’ll also include a summary of each book.
Whether you’re a beginner with fasting, or a little more experienced, I think you’ll find some valuable options and info here.
Let’s get started.
Why I Read Health Books [And You Should Too]
Podcasts, blogs, and videos are nice, and you can learn a lot from them. But books are usually better organized, and more carefully edited.
And they cite more sources, so they tend to be more reliable.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve listened to more than my fair share of podcasts, and read a lot of blog posts about fasting and nutrition.
But overall, I think books are even more helpful when it comes to understanding the science behind fasting. (They’re also great for learning the relevant history.)
The best part?
When you get that in-depth understanding of how fasting can benefit your health, you’ll feel both motivated and empowered to take action.
Where Can You Find All These Books?
Naturally, you can find most of these books through Amazon or other bookstores. I’ll include the Amazon links in case that’s helpful.
Disclosure: The Amazon links on this page are “affiliate” links. That means if you buy something after clicking on them, I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Can You Get Them for Free?
In most cases, yes!
I checked most of these books out for free from the public library, using the OverDrive app.
Using that app, you can check out ebooks or audiobooks from your library without ever going there in person. (As long as you have a library card, or you can borrow someone else’s.)
You can also get 1 or 2 of them for free by doing a 30-day trial on Audible (and you get the keep the books even if you cancel after!).
What if You Don’t Have Time to Read?
I mainly listen to audiobooks (on the free OverDrive app I mentioned above) because they’re super convenient. I can listen in the car, at the gym, on neighborhood walks, while I’m cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, etc., etc.
Audiobooks are so ridiculously convenient that they’ve been a life-changer for me. I literally 10x’ed the number of books I can get through in a year by using audiobooks.
If you’re having trouble finding time to read, give audiobooks a try! 🙂
The Best Books About Intermittent Fasting (And Fasting In General)
Here are some of my favorite books about fasting.
These books are packed with great info, and you can learn a ton.
They’ll help you understand how fasting can transform your health, and keep you motivated to take action.
I suggest you pick at least one, and get started with it as soon as you can.
Naturally, this isn’t a comprehensive list…there are a lot of books out there!
I’ll probably add to it periodically. So feel free to make recommendations, and check back once in a while if you want to.
I’ve also included a summary of each book, so you can understand some key points and more easily decide which book to start with.
Author: Brad Pilon
This book came out way back in 2006, and kind of helped start the intermittent fasting movement.
I like this one because it’s nice and short. I think the audiobook was only about four hours.
(You can also download a PDF of the first 38 Pages for free on this page.)
Brad Pilon does a nice job of summarizing research about the benefits of fasting. He also breaks down a lot of common myths, and backs it up with science.
Ultimately, he recommends doing a 24-hour water fast once or twice a week. He likes this approach because it’s flexible, and can fit into most people’s schedules.
He’s not necessarily against longer (or shorter) fasts. He just thinks doing the 24-hour fast gives you the biggest bang for your buck, without being overly inconvenient.
I think this book is a great place to start for any beginner who’s thinking about fasting. If nothing else, you can get through it quickly and learn a lot in the process.
Then you might want to move on to…
Authors: Dr. Jason Fung, Eve Mayer, Megan Ramos
Dr. Jason Fung (a nephrologist) and Megan Ramos (a clinical educator) have been using fasting as a tool to help their patients lose weight, reverse diabetes, and generally transform their health for the past several years. They have a clinic in Toronto, as well as an online platform.
After failing repeatedly to lose weight, Eve Mayer ultimately used fasting to conquer obesity and transform her personal health.
They wrote this book as a collaboration.
Life in the Fasting Lane does a really nice job of mixing personal experience with scientific explanations and practical tips.
It kind of alternates between topics, as the different authors take turns. I liked that style, as it kept me engaged.
One other thing I found useful: Eve shares experiences and tips that can be helpful if you’re addicted to sweets (like me).
Overall, this book is a little more comprehensive than Eat Stop Eat (though still relatively short). It also has a lot of really actionable tips to help you get started with fasting, and lots of troubleshooting help.
(In case you’re interested, I also wrote a detailed summary of Life in the Fasting Lane, chapter by chapter.)
Authors: Dr. Jason Fung, Jimmy Moore
To be honest, I haven’t read through this entire book yet.
However, I’ve heard the authors talk about fasting on literally around 100 podcast episodes, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea what they would say.
The book also gets great reviews, and I’m sure it’s pretty comprehensive.
After all, it’s The Complete Guide….. to Fasting…. 🙂
If you’re new to fasting, I’m sure you’d find this book extremely beneficial. You could also use it more as a reference, and look up topics when you have questions.
Author: Satchin Panda, PhD
This book (and some related interviews with the author) are what got me really interested in time-restricted eating (i.e. what most people call “intermittent fasting”), back in 2017.
Satchin Panda has done a lot of really compelling research about the health benefits of eating in a shorter window of time each day (like 8 hours, 10 hours, etc).
The benefits don’t just come from the fact that you might eat less food, and therefore lose weight. There’s a lot more going on than that!
For instance, you’re probably aware that we have a circadian rhythm governed by the light/dark cycle. But did you know that we have a second circadian rhythm governed by food timing? That one is controlled by your liver.
Turns out, it’s better if both your circadian rhythms are coordinated with each other. In other words, it’s better for your health if you don’t eat too close to bedtime, so your body can finish with digestion before you start sleeping.
(And if you’re a shift worker, like I used to be, try not to eat anything after your night shift! Wait till you’ve slept.)
The Circadian Code goes deep into the science of time-restricted eating, and other factors that influence both our circadian rhythms. I find understanding the science very motivating, so this helped me really commit to doing intermittent fasting on a (near) daily basis.
Author: Dr. Jason Fung
This book isn’t just about fasting, but it really lays the groundwork for understanding why fasting is beneficial (and what else you can do to lose weight, or prevent obesity).
The Obesity Code was written entirely by dr. Jason Fung (the co-author of Life in the Fasting Lane and The Complete Guide to Fasting, listed above).
It does a great job of laying out why weight management is not just about how many calories you consume, and how many you burn. What’s more important are the hormones involved, which either allow you to burn fat or prevent you from burning fat.
In other words, the “calories in calories out” model of obesity (which I was taught in medical school and PA school) is wrong, and unhelpful.
In The Obesity Code, you’ll learn why insulin is the most important hormone when it comes to weight management. That’s because you can only use your body fat for energy when insulin is low.
Whenever you eat carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates like white flour or sugar), your insulin goes up, and you can’t burn body fat until it comes down again.
Because we like to eat processed carbs around the clock, most people have chronically elevated insulin. That means their body fat is “trapped”, and they can’t burn it off.
What can you do about this?
If you stop eating all the processed carbs, your insulin will be able to come down to a normal level. It also helps not to eat as often (i.e. fasting).
That’s when you can start burning off your body fat.
Dr. Fung also goes over other key influencers of weight control (which are often forgotten), like stress/anxiety and sleep quality. So the book is pretty comprehensive.
While The Obesity Code is not strictly about fasting, I think it’s a great starting point for understanding why fasting will benefit your health.
Other Nutrition Books I Recommend (Not Specifically About Fasting)
Here are a few other good books about nutrition.
Although they’re not strictly about fasting, the topics are closely related, and will help you understand how fasting can benefit your health.
They’ll also give you a better idea what you should eat when you’re not fasting, which is equally important.
Author: Ben Bikman, PhD
Dr. Ben Bikman is a prolific researcher, and an expert on the hormone called insulin.
In Why We Get Sick, he explains how excessively high insulin (a.k.a. insulin resistance) causes or contributes to nearly every chronic disease.
Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, you name it.
He also explains what you can do to avoid insulin resistance, with a comprehensive plan that includes lots of practical advice about dietary changes, exercise, fasting, and more.
One think I liked about this book was how evidence-based all the info was. He summarized tons of research, and synthesized it into his conclusions and recommendations.
(FYI, I’ve also published a detailed summary of Why We Get Sick, chapter by chapter.)
Author: David Ludwig, MD / PhD
Always Hungry? explains something that you’ve probably experienced-
When you eat something with a lot of sugar or refined carbs (like white bread, crackers, cookies, french fries, potato chips, juice, soda, sweets, etc), your blood sugar goes up pretty fast.
The quick rise in blood sugar makes insulin rise quickly as well. And that brings your blood sugar crashing down (because insulin pushes blood sugar into fat cells and muscle cells).
When your blood sugar comes down fast like that, it goes a little bit too low, which makes you start craving the carbs again. So you go find some processed carbs, and the whole cycle starts over again.
What’s the solution?
Stop eating so many processed carbs. Replace them with whole foods (i.e. not processed), which your body metabolizes in a more natural way.
Then you won’t get hungry so often, and feel like you have to eat all the time.
Author: Gary Taubes
Gary Taubes is a health journalist who’s done a lot of investigation into why the US dietary guidelines are so misguided, and what we should actually be doing to improve our health.
This book was written before The Obesity Code (2011), but basically makes a similar case:
The reason we get fat is because we eat a lot of processed carbs that raise our insulin level. And insulin promotes fat storage (that’s one of its main jobs).
So to stop getting fat, we have to stop eating so many things that raise our insulin so high. In other words, cut out the carbs (especially refined carbs).
The author does a nice job of citing research, and using historical evidence. Overall, it makes for an interesting (and motivating) read.
Author: Gary Taubes
The Case Against Sugar is a fascinating historical journey about sugar, and the sugar industry.
It also makes a compelling case that our increasing consumption of sugar is closely linked to the rise in various chronic illnesses (like diabetes, heart disease, and many more).
Turns out, refined sugar consumption was not very common until the past couple hundred years or so. Before that, it was mainly limited to the rich, and consumed in much smaller quantities.
In more recent years, sugar consumption has gone through the roof. And chronic diseases have followed.
I really enjoyed this book because I like learning about history. And it’s hard not to agree with the author’s conclusions, based on the evidence.
My favorite example from the book about how sugar has become entrenched in our society is breakfast cereal.
In the early to mid nineteen hundreds, cereal companies did some really effective marketing, and convinced everyone that they should eat cereal for breakfast. Now it’s become tradition.
If you think about it, cereal is such a scam. It’s marketed as a healthy breakfast, but that almost couldn’t be further from the truth!
Cereal is nearly always full of sugar and other refined carbs, so you’re basically eating dessert for breakfast.
End of mini-rant.
If you want to understand the history of sugar, and why it may be responsible for most of our health problems, check this book out.
There are a lot of good books out there about fasting.
I haven’t read all of them, so I didn’t try to review every single one. Instead, I’ve shared a few of the best books about intermittent fasting (and fasting in general).
Whether you’re a complete beginner, or a little more experienced, I think you’ll find some great options on this list.
Even if you just read one of these fasting books, I think you’ll learn a lot about the science and benefits of fasting. And that will help keep you motivated to improve your health.
I dare you to read at least one of them. 😉
I think you’ll be glad you did.