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“We are wired for feast and famine, not feast, feast, feast.” – Dr. Jason Fung. This quote is a concise and powerful synopsis of the core message that Dr. Fung and his co-author, Jimmy Moore, deliver in The Complete Guide to Fasting – Heal Your Body Through Intermittent Fasting, Alternate-Day and Extended Fasting. In this book review we will hit the high points of this excellent book so that you can have confidence in adopting this (or a similar protocol).
The Complete Guide to Fasting – Author Introductions
This book is co-authored by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore. Both contribute to this book in meaningful but different ways. In order to fully appreciate their opinions it is important to learn more about this qualifications.
Dr. Jason Fung
Dr. Fung is a nephrologist who has established his primary practice in Canada. He is the co-founder of the Intensive Dietary Management clinic. He is an author of three great books – in addition to The Complete Guide to Fasting (The Obesity Code, The Diabetes Code and Life in the Fasting Lane).
As a nephrologist (kidney specialist) he was struggling in finding workable solutions for his patients that were regularly struggling with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
As a nephrologist he saw that patients with kidney problems followed a similar path. They normally had kidney complications stemming from their Type 2 diabetes. Accompanying the diabetes was obesity. So, before he could start developing workable solutions for the kidney issues, he needed to work on the diabetes, which required work on the obesity.
He learned that “conventional” treatment methods (medication, eat less – move more, etc.) simply were not working for his patients. This is where he began working intensely in the world of intermittent fasting.
A dynamic group of “fungsters” have created a vibrant community on Facebook where any and all things “Fung” are discussed. You can join here.
Jimmy Moore has established himself as an “expert” in the low-carb and ketogenic world. He is the voice behind the blog Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb as well as a podcast call The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show. He also has a very vibrant Facebook community of fans. You can join his page here.
He shot to notoriety in 2004 when he experienced a dramatic change in his personal health. He lost 180 pounds during 2004. This weight loss allowed him to drop prescription drugs for respiratory problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This transformation not only changed him physically but it also gave him a new purpose and direction in life.
Moore has written several books (too many to list here. If you are interested please see the bottom for a full list of all of his books*).
Complete Guide to Fasting – Review
This book approaches the topic of fasting with great reverence. Dr. Fung and Jimmy Moore really view fasting as a panacea to many of the things that ails us. For example, they suggest that fasting has widespread health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduced disease risk and longer lifespans.
The primary goal of this book is to provide a path forward to readers in which they can ditch the prescription pills. Above all, the goal is to use diet and food timing to generate a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
“The basics of good nutrition can be summarized in these simple rules. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Avoid sugar. Avoid refined grains. Eat a diet high in natural fats. Balance feeding with fasting.” – Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
Complete Guide to Fasting – Broad Section Summaries
There are large topics tackled in this book. We will summarize and review these broad subjects so you can gain insight into what knowledge is woven through the pages.
What is Fasting and What is it Not?
“Fasting, by taking a completely different approach, is much easier to understand. It is so simple that it can be explained in two sentences: Eat nothing. Drink water, tea, coffee, or bone broth. That’s it.”- Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
Dr. Fung dedicates a great deal of time in this book to providing a clear and actionable framework for what constitutes fasting.
He makes it clear that fasting is not a diet. It is not a mode of involuntary starvation. Quite simply, it is the cycling between periods of eating and periods of restricting yourself from eating. Rather than starving, fasting is a conscious and voluntary decision to refrain from eating for the purposes of gaining health, wellness or spiritual benefits.
After reading this book any confusion that may have existed in the mind of the reader about the basics of fasting will be cleared up.
The book spends an appropriate and necessary portion discussing the benefits of fasting. After all, most readers are interested in this topic because they are looking to make some personal changes. Above all, readers want to fast for a reason. Otherwise, we would just continue doing what we love – eat. Therefore, this book addresses how fasting will assist with losing weight.
Perhaps even more exciting is the section of the book that dives deep into the topic of body repair. Fasting has an amazing ability to trigger internal cleaning mechanisms, including a process called autophagy – or a process of cellular cleaning.
You won’t need to be a PhD to understand the information in this book. Even when it gets technical, it is written in a fashion that is easily digested and manageable.
Insulin Resistance and Why That is Important?
“Once we understand that obesity is a hormonal imbalance, we can begin to treat it. If we believe that excess calories cause obesity, then the treatment is to reduce calories. But this method has been a complete failure. However, if too much insulin causes obesity, then it becomes clear we need to lower insulin levels.” – Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
Insulin resistance sounds like another very complicated topic for a lay person to tackle. And, that might be the case if you were trying to read about in a medical journal. However, this team does an excellent job of bringing this big topic down to our level.
The Complete Guide to Fasting is, for all intents and purposes, hinged upon this key concept of how our habits (both food choices and food timing) have led to cultural insulin resistance.
Any guess as to what the “cure” to insulin resistance may be? You guessed it….intermittent fasting. Returning our body to a state of insulin sensitivity is the goal. Fasting is the tool.
Kudos to the authors because anybody with some patience and dedication can be schooled in this important subject.
Myths about Fasting
“The healthy snack is one of the greatest weight-loss deceptions. The myth that ‘grazing is healthy’ has attained legendary status. If we were meant to ‘graze,’ we would be cows. Grazing is the direct opposite of virtually all food traditions. Even as recently as the 1960s, most people still ate just three meals per day. Constant stimulation of insulin eventually leads to insulin resistance.”- Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
The authors keenly understand that most people, when they hear the term fasting, will be skeptical. The average person has heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” If you fast, all you are doing is slowing down your metabolism, which will lead to a rubber-band bounce back of the weight once you come back to your senses. And the one quoted above – that we should be eating a bunch of small meals throughout the day to speed up our metabolism.
Time and energy is dedicated to educating before prescribing. The authors take time to explain the logic behind the advice (which is to come). Fasting is not a popular commercial concept because….it is free. There is no pill to sell, no piece of equipment, no pre-made shake. Rather, it is the opposite. It is advice to stop spending so much money on food and eat less.
The Complete Guide to Fasting makes it clear that so much of our energy as a country has been directly focused on “what” we eat rather than “when” we eat. The authors dispel these age old myths and fearmongering that have surrounded fasting.
“This is the ancient secret. This is the cycle of life. Fasting follows feasting. Feasting follows fasting. Diets must be intermittent, not steady. Food is a celebration of life. Every single culture in the world celebrates with large feasts. That’s normal, and it’s good. However, religion has always reminded us that we must balance our feasting with periods of fasting—“atonement.” – Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
So, at this point, you probably are very interested in getting to the point. How do I fast? What are the options? I’ve heard that I should do this or that I should not do that. Which is right?
The authors do a great job working through the various fasting protocols. I implore you though….please make your way to this section after reading through the rest of the book. If this book teaches you anything, it should be that making meaningful health changes in your life will take time. At least dedicate the time necessary to read and understand the reason for the reasoning.
The answer to which fasting protocol will work for you is not an answer you will walk away with from this book. Not because the ultimate information is missing. But rather because it will be a process of trial and test. Re-trial and re-test. It is not a process of trial and error but rather one of trial and test. Explore the various options and see what works for your schedule, for your family and for your forever.
The authors in this book do a great job of helping you dip your toe into fasting. Once you get the toe in the water this book is comprehensive enough to allow you to submerge yourself in the life changing benefits of fasting. EMH could not recommend this book any higher. You will not regret adding this book to your bookshelf (after reading it a few times of course).
*Jimmy Moore’s Books
Here at EMH we have taken a stab at some intermittent fasting articles that we think could be a great supplement to The Complete Guide to Fasting:
- EMH’s Low Carb and Intermittent Fasting Diet
- Intermittent Fasting and Exercise
- Intermittent Fasting and Caffeine