Book Review: The Complete Guide to Fasting

My friend Jimmy Moore has written a timely book – The Complete Guide to Fasting. There are so many therapeutic benefits to fasting including weight loss, inflammation reduction and so many more. 

Thousands of books have been written about the latest and greatest diets that will help people lose weight and improve health. But a key element in any successful nutritional health program is a tried-and-true method that most people haven’t thought about—yet it could be revolutionary for taking health to the next level. This ancient secret is fasting.

Fasting is not about starving oneself. When done right, it’s an incredibly effective therapeutic approach that produces amazing results regardless of diet plan. In fact, Toronto-based nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung has used a variety of fasting protocols with more than 1,000 patients, with fantastic success.

In The Complete Guide to Fasting, he has teamed up with international bestselling author and veteran health podcaster Jimmy Moore to explain what fasting is really about, why it’s so important, and how to fast in a way that improves health. Together, they make fasting as a therapeutic approach both practical and easy to understand.

Top Fasting Benefits

There are many benefits to fasting, that can help improve your help in more ways than one. Those benefits include:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduces Inflammation and pain
  • Improves mental clarity and concentration
  • Induces weight and body fat loss
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Increases energy
  • Improves fat-burning
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
  • Extends life
  • Reverses aging process

How and Why to Fast

The Complete Guide to Fasting explains:

  • why fasting is actually good for health
  • who can benefit from fasting (and who won’t)
  • the history of fasting
  • the various ways to fast: intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting
  • what to expect when starting to fast
  • how to track progress while fasting
  •  the weight loss effects of fasting
  • how to ward off potential negative effects from fasting

The book also provides tools to help readers get started and get through their fasts, including a 7-Day Kick-Start Fasting Plan and healing liquid recipes.

Some Excerpts

The following excerpts were taken from The Complete Guide to Fasting.

Why Fasting Lowers Cholesterol

The liver produces the vast majority of cholesterol found in
the blood. Eating less cholesterol has almost no effect on the liver’s production. In fact, it may be counterproductive. As the liver senses less incoming cholesterol, it may simply increase its own production.

So why does fasting affect the liver’s production of cholesterol? As dietary carbohydrates decline, the liver decreases its synthesis of triglycerides—since excess carbohydrates are converted to triglycerides, the absence of carbohydrates means fewer triglycerides. Remember that triglycerides are released from the liver as VLDL, which is the precursor of LDL. Therefore, reduced VLDL eventually results in lowered LDL.

The only reliable way to reduce LDL levels is to reduce the liver’s production of it. In fact, studies prove that seventy days of alternate-day fasting could reduce LDL by 25 percent. This is far in excess of what can be achieved with almost any other diet and about half of the effect achieved with a statin medication, one of the most powerful cholesterol-reducing medications available. Triglyceride levels drop by 30 percent, similar to what can be achieved with a very low carbohydrate diet or medication. Not bad for an all-natural, cost-free dietary intervention.

Plus, whereas statins carry the risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, fasting reduces body weight, preserves fat-free mass, and decreases waist circumference. In addition, fasting preserves HDL, unlike low-fat diets, which tend to decrease both LDL and HDL. Overall, fasting produces signi cant improvements in multiple cardiac risk factors. For people worried about heart attacks and strokes, the question is not “Why are you fasting?” but “Why are you not fasting?” (Chapter 8: Fasting for Heart Health, pgs 162-163)

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Our bodies are in a constant state of renewal. While we often focus on new cell growth, we sometimes forget that the first step in renewal is destroying the old, broken-down cellular machinery. But apoptosis and autophagy are both necessary to keep our bodies running well. When these processes are hijacked, diseases such as cancer occur, and the accumulation of older cellular components may be responsible for many of the effects of aging. These unwanted cellular components build up over time if autophagocytic processes are not routinely activated.

Increased levels of glucose, insulin, and proteins all turn to autophagy. And it doesn’t take much. Even as little as 3 grams of the amino acid leucine can stop autophagy. Here’s how it works: The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is an important sensor of nutrient availability. When we eat carbohydrates or protein, insulin is secreted, and the increased insulin levels, or even just the amino acids from the breakdown of ingested protein, activate the mTOR pathway. The body senses that food is available and decides that since there’s plenty of energy to go around, there’s no need to eliminate the old subcellular machinery. The end result is the suppression of autophagy. In other words, the constant intake of food, such as snacking throughout the day, suppresses autophagy. (Chapter 7: Fasting for a Younger, Smarter You, pgs. 151-152)

My Take on The Complete Guide to Fasting

I personally love the recipes they include! There are so many delicious ones to choose form. I personally loved the avocado fries and the the grain-free cauliflower pizza!

There are also some wonderful and very touching success stories that show you how, when done safely, fasting can be a beneficial health tool.

About the Authors

Dr. Jason Fung of Intensive Dietary Management earned his medical degree at the University of Toronto, where he also completed his internal medicine residency before heading to UCLA for a fellowship in nephrology (a branch of medicine concerned with the kidneys). He currently practices as a kidney specialist in Toronto.

During the course of treating thousands of patients, it became clear to Dr. Fung that the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity was getting worse. The prevailing dietary recommendations for reducing dietary fat and calories were clearly ineffective. In response, he founded the Intensive Dietary Management program (intensivedietarymanagement.com) to provide a unique treatment focus for type 2 diabetes and obesity that promotes simple yet effective dietary changes rather than focusing on medications.

Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb catapulted onto the health scene in 2004 after a phenomenal 180-pound weight loss enabled him to come off prescription drugs for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems. He is the energetic personality behind the uber-popular blog Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb and the host of the longest-running and top-ranked iTunes health podcast, The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show, as well as Low-Carb Conversations and Keto Talk. He has interviewed well over 1,000 of the world’s top health experts and has dedicated his life to helping people get the best information possible about nutrition so they can make the right decisions for their health. He’s the international bestselling author of The Ketogenic Cookbook, Keto Clarity, and Cholesterol Clarity. Learn more about Jimmy and his work at Livinlavidalowcarb.com.

Get Your Copy!

The Complete Guide to Fasting is available now wherever books are sold in stores and online.

in Articles/Diet/Weight Loss

Wendy Myers, FDN, CHHC, is a functional diagnostic nutritionist, certified holistic health coach and founder of Live to 110. Her passions include getting you healthy, Modern Paleo, retoxing and detoxing. Discover her Mineral Power Program and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with metal detox.