7 of the Best Books on Intermittent Fasting
It isn’t just a trend!
Engaging in periods of fasting has deep historical roots. People fast for numerous reasons, including weight loss, scarcity of food, or religious fervor. But over the past decade, intermittent fasting has become an uber-popular dieting trend. A-list celebrities from Gisele Bündchen and Jennifer Aniston to Reese Witherspoon and Halle Berry swear by the on-again, off-again eating plan. And there’s lots of science to back up many of its claims.
For the most part, an intermittent fasting plan includes diets that are usually simple to follow, however, there are numerous fast plan structures you could use. There are also many different ways to incorporate intermittent fasting into a healthy lifestyle. So, the real challenge, if you seek to adopt an intermittent fasting practice, is to choose the fasting diet that fits with your health, wellness, and weight loss goals. This is where books on intermittent fasting can really help.
There are a number of excellent intermittent fasting books that can illuminate the methodology behind fasting and teach you how to tailor the practice to your needs. Here, we provide an overview of intermittent fasting, explain the pros and cons of this dieting approach, and review the 7 best books on intermittent fasting to help you find the right one.
How to lose weight: 7 books on intermittent fasting
There are scores of diet books out there—and dozens more specifically detailing various intermittent diet plans. Some offer a complete guide to the vast intermittent fasting world, while others hone in on specific intermittent fasting approaches.
There are a variety of goals an intermittent fasting book may address, such as weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight, improving mental health, slowing aging, or achieving a healthy lifestyle. Other books devote their pages to exploring the science behind intermittent fasting.
So, picking the optimal fasting book that addresses your needs is key. This is especially important as you are much more likely to stick to the fasting diet you choose if the plan resonates with you. Below, we review the best books on intermittent fasting. But before we delve into that, let’s review exactly what an extended fasting diet is as well as the benefits of embracing an intermittent fasting lifestyle.
What is intermittent fasting, and can it help with weight loss?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that incorporates periods of fasting into your daily eating plan. This approach to eating basically involves withholding food for specific time periods. Various fasting plans (and the intermittent fasting books explaining them) each look a bit different, with some offering a complete guide to fasting, while others are tailored to a specific approach.
This vast range of approaches to the fasting lifestyle suit different needs, such as intermittent fasting for beginners and intermittent fasting for women. Additionally, some fasting plans will focus on achieving aims like permanent weight loss, intuitive fasting, fasting-mimicking, or how to stay healthy. Others offer meal plans or explore the science behind intermittent fasting as well.
However, essentially, those embarking on the intermittent fasting world will be restricted from eating for various stretches of time. For example, you might have set times of extended fasting within each day, alternative days, or every few days. Or you may have periods of restricted calories. In this case, rather than not eating, you are counting your calories to ensure you only consume the allotted amount during proscribed times each day.
Types of Fasting Diets
While the vast intermittent fasting world includes a multitude of ways to utilize this trend, there are several common methods. One of the most popular approaches is to limit the hours you can eat to specific times each day. This can be more or less restrictive. One version is the overnight fasting plan which calls for a 12 hour fast each night, with normal eating allowed during the other 12 hours.
A more extreme alternative is called the 16:8 method. In this approach, dieters can eat for 8 hours a day and must not eat for the remaining 16. You may also tweak this method by making your eating window a bit shorter or longer, depending on your preferences.
Another well-known approach is 5:2 fasting. With this type of fast diet, you follow an unrestricted diet for five days each week, but drastically restrict your eating on the other two days to just 500 to 600 calories per day. Note that you can also adjust this (and any other) fast diet parameter to suit your health and weight loss goals. So, for instance, you might restrict your daily intake on your two fasting days to 800 to 1000 calories per day, as needed or desired.
Other intermittent fasting diet options include having one or two 24-hour fasts per week or only eating one meal per day. Additionally, some intermittent fasters alternate days of fasting (or restricted eating) with days of typical eating.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The science behind intermittent fasting is somewhat divided. However, a variety of studies conclude that, when followed in a healthy manner, intermittent fasting meal plans can provide a wealth of health benefits.
In fact, according to scientists at Harvard University and other prestigious research universities, fasting diets can provide both physical and mental health benefits. The key is that fast diets need to be used with care and only should be used by healthy individuals.
Overuse can lead to malnutrition and other health problems. But when used appropriately (this is where a book can be helpful), fast diets offer a range of possible benefits. Some studies show that intermittent fasting may:
- Boost your metabolism
- Enhance cognitive function and focus
- Foster intuitive eating (with periods of intuitive fasting)
- Help you lose weight
- Improve mental health
- Prevent weight gain
- Promote a healthy lifestyle
- Provide some protection against various diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart disease
- Reduce the need to count calories or restrict food choices
Additionally, many proponents of the intermittent fasting lifestyle, enjoy the simplicity of many of these eating plans. Instead of worrying about what to eat, you only need to remember when to fast. Often dieters can still lose weight, while eating whatever foods they like on their non-restricted days or time periods.
The secret is that by limiting your window for eating, you’re likely to consume less calories over the course of a day, whether you’re eating french fries or an egg white omelette.
Why should I get an intermittent fasting book?
Books on intermittent fasting offer a complete guide to this approach to eating.
Many offer specific meal plans as well as all the answers to common questions that may come up as a dieter follows a specific fasting method. Additionally, many books provide information on the science behind intermittent fasting. Essentially, getting an intermittent fasting book will explain how fasting works and give you a detailed playbook on how to properly follow the fast diet promoted by its author.
How to choose a book on intermittent fasting
The best way to choose an intermittent fasting book is to pick one that aligns with your health and fitness goals, beliefs, and lifestyle. So, if you’re new to the intermittent fasting lifestyle, choose a book for intermittent fasting beginners. If your goal is permanent weight loss, select one geared toward losing weight—and keeping it off. If you hate counting calories, pick one that only restricts when you can eat, not how much.
Additionally, you’ll want to pick a book that simply appeals to you. This may mean that its core philosophy just speaks to you in some way. Or that the way it’s structured fits in well with your lifestyle.
Make sure intermittent fasting is healthy for you
For many people, fast diets can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. However, they are not safe for everyone. Some people should not try intermittent fasting due to various health concerns that make this eating plan unwise.
Avoid Intermittent fasting if you have an eating disorder, as fasting can compound these issues. Likewise, fast diets are contraindicated for those with chronic health conditions like diabetes.
Generally, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children, and young adults who are still growing should also not fast, as restricting their caloric intake can be dangerous and impede their body’s ability to function and develop optimally.
The bottomline is that it’s a good idea to consult your doctor to make sure intermittent fasting (and the version you are considering trying) is a good fit for you.
Best books on intermittent fasting
While there are many great intermittent fasting books, there are several that really stand out. Here is our complete guide to the best books about the intermittent fasting practice.
Delay, Don’t Deny
Gin Stephens’ best-selling “Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle” focuses on limiting the hours when you can eat, rather than having you count calories or eliminate favorite foods. This book is ideal for people who want to lose weight without restricting the types of foods they eat. This approach changes when you can eat instead of altering the meals themselves. The book explores the science behind intermittent fasting and also offers a variety of ways to adjust the plan to suit your needs. Stephens’ method also shines in its simplicity—all you really need to remember is when you can and can not eat.
The Complete Guide to Fasting
“The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting,” by Dr. Jason Fung, MD, delivers on its promise of providing a complete guide to the fasting lifestyle. Dr. Fung offers a full range of fasting diet approaches that can be used for a variety of purposes from maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight to simplifying your eating plan, improving health, or boosting your body image. The author explains the difference between starving and fasting and gives you all the tools you need to use fast diets to reach your health and fitness goals.
Fast. Feast. Repeat.
“Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don’t Deny Intermittent Fasting” is another book by “Delay, Don’t Deny” author Gin Stephens. In this book, she offers an even more detailed guide to her method. It also includes a jumpstart program, “28-Day FAST Start,” which promises: “Change when you eat and change your body, your health, and your life!”
Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50
If you’re a woman over 50, try “Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: The Fuss-Free Program for Losing Weight. Discover 300 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes.” This fasting lifestyle guide for older women by Anna Evans offers everything from recipes and healthy living advice to information on the best ways to detox and speed up your metabolism. Its comprehensive approach considers the whole woman—and how being over 50 impacts health and eating. The book succeeds by helping women get the weight loss results they want without feeling like they’re on a restrictive diet.
Intermittent Fasting Diet Guide and Cookbook
Becky Gillaspy’s “Intermittent Fasting Diet Guide and Cookbook: A Complete Guide to 16:8” explains the basics of the popular 16:8 fasting plan. The 16:8 plan springs from the idea of simply extending your nightly fast to 16 hours, while also eating what you like during the rest of the day. Still Gillaspy also points out that even more health and weight loss benefits come to those who don’t overindulge during their hours of eating. The beauty of this book is that it also offers a swath of healthy and delicious recipes to enjoy when you’re not fasting.
The Wiggle Factor
In Cody Smith’s “The Wiggle Factor: Intermittent Fasting and Dieting Made Easy,” you can learn how to make the fasting lifestyle your go-to eating habit. The book offers easy-to-understand explanations, guidelines, and rules to help you adopt the fast plan diet and timing that will work best for you. Smith breaks down the science of fasting to make sense of how the practice impacts our metabolism, body weight, and overall health. The author also shares foods to avoid and what to eat during your eating window.
The Longevity Diet
The fasting-mimicking diet detailed in this book was developed by cell biologist and biogerontologist professor Valter Longo, PhD. A prominent researcher on how to extend life, Longo’s “The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activism and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight” explains how fasting can help keep you young. The book is less focused on losing weight than it is about combating aging, but it also offers effective tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
While intermittent fasting is not for everyone, many people find that fast diets can be a sustainable way to recharge metabolism, simplify dieting, and maintain or lose weight. In fact, one of the big pluses of these diet plans is that they are much simpler to follow than traditional diets. Even better, simply you cut down on the hours you can eat rather than depriving yourself of specific foods.
If you’re interested in giving a fasting diet a try, consider getting one of the best intermittent fasting books detailed above. Reading one of these fasting books will immerse you in the fasting lifestyle. The best of them give you a deep dive into the science of fasting and the nitty-gritty of each specific plan—providing all the information you need to stick with it.