best intermittent fasting books

The Best Intermittent Fasting Books of 2020

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Fasting is not just for religious occasions anymore. Periodic fasting or "intermittent fasting" is becoming a popular way to lose weight. Why is it so popular? Unlike most diets, fasting doesn't require following rules for weeks on end. Personally, I get exhausted by calorie counting and a lack of sugary treats. However, with fasting, I can focus on "being good," and calorie restricted for one day. Then I eat a donut on a non-fasting day and not feel bad about it. Yes, there is a formula that includes both eating donuts and weight loss! 

When I was experimenting with fasting, I read a bunch of books on the topic. Some of them were intended for fitness crazies; others were geared toward people with health issues like diabetes or obesity. Check out my guide here to see which one will work best for you:

Intermittent Fasting: Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Lose Weight and Live Longer

Intermittent Fasting: Ultimate Beginner's Guide

This 42-page guide by Michael Wease is an easy read and will also enable you to discuss the "biochemicals" of fasting with your scholarly friends. Plus, you can read all of it in about an hour. Since it's such a short book, it touches lightly on biology and outlines fasting. Don't expect to be a weight loss expert after reading it.

  • Short but thorough introduction that touches on the science.
  • Great if you want to learn more about fasting in general.
  • Might not be a good fit for those with unique conditions.

Intermittent Fasting: The Easiest Way to Eat Whatever You Want, Burn Fat and Build Muscle

Intermittent Fasting: The Easiest Way to Eat

I was drawn to this book by the "free bonus" included at the end. While the bonus was nice, it didn't do much to spice up Brian James'  writing style. The 54-page book did have some useful points, like how to slowly break into fasting. It would be a better reference than a book to read all the way through. Another benefit of this book is that put me right to sleep two nights in a row!

  • Good overview of tools for fasting and achieving weight loss successfully.
  • Great if you are sold on the idea of fasting and want "how to's."
  • Not the best book for those seeking science or insight into unique conditions.

Intermittent Fasting: The Secret Weapon to Burning Fat and Building Muscle With Ease

Intermittent Fasting: The Secret Weapon

Written by a personal trainer, this 50-page fasting book focuses on exercise as much as fasting. I thought it was fascinating, but more, uh, sedentary, people may find it annoyingly dedicated to exercise. If you are an exercise nut like me, you may appreciate Thomas Rohmer's tips on making fasts successful and incorporating exercise. He also has some practical tips, like using a smaller plate for smaller portions, which I appreciated.

  • One of few books that talk about incorporating exercise at length.
  • Great for exercise nuts that want to fast too.
  • Sedentary people or those who don't exercise regularly may not appreciate all the pages dedicated to exercise.

Intermittent Fasting: Feel, Look and BE Healthier

Intermittent Fasting- Feel, Look and BE Healthier

Michael Green spends 62-pages helping you evaluate whether you should fast or not. Unlike some authors, he does mention that fasting is not for everyone. It's a good overview for newbies who are looking into fasting. However, don't expect any deep dives into science or health issues, like diabetes, in such a short book.

  • Helps you honestly assess if fasting is right for your weight loss needs.
  • Recommended for people who are thinking about fasting but haven't tried it yet.
  • Light on science and how to fast under unique conditions (like diabetes or obesity).

The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting

The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting

This 282-page book is almost as long as its author's name (VanDerschelden). With such an authoritative name, I expected the book to be written by an MD, but the author is a chiropractor. He still provides a good overview of fasting for a variety of conditions. Different health issues are chapter headings. Translation - you don't have to read this behemoth all the way through! Just flip to the section that concerns you.

  • Good reference for people looking at how fasting helps specific health issues.
  • Fasting newbies will find an easy introduction to science in this book.
  • A better reference than a read-through book.

Intermittent Fasting For Women: The No-Bullshit Guide To Effortless Fat Loss

Intermittent Fasting For Women

Joe Petrakovich's 20-page book doesn't quite live up to its name. It's filled with his personal experiences with fasting and tips for fasting more easily. Why do I have a problem with this? Joe is not a woman. While I appreciate the conversational and personal introduction to fasting, I think the "for women" part is a bit misleading.

  • Conversational tone makes it like learning about fasting from a friend.
  • Newbie fasters who hate reading will love the easy tone and small number of pages.
  • Unfortunately, women won't find too much woman-specific knowledge here.

Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Delay, Don't Deny

Any memoir lovers out there? This may be the book for you. Gin Stephens provides a 162-page introduction to fasting that is part science and part narrative. She describes her experiences with fasting, weight loss, and what worked for her in the past. Her approachable style even includes some science, including the role of insulin in fasting. However, she is pretty focused on what worked for her and doesn't cover all the different types of fasting.

  • Well-written and one of the easier books to read.
  • Good for people who want a friend to explain fasting and her own experiences.
  • Not for people who want to evaluate different ways to fast.

Intermittent Fasting: Lose Weight, Burn Fat, Heal Your Body:

Intermittent Fasting- Lose Weight, Burn Fat, Heal Your Body

Nicholas Ty's 100-page introduction to fasting is more fleshed out than the shorter 50-page guides. It talks about some specific health issues, like obesity and diabetes. He also covers different fasting time frames and how to calculate your caloric intake. However, it is a short book. There are limited recipes and only a few different methods for fasting.

  • It's like a Getting Started guide - a good mix of tools and background.
  • People with common health issues can find some useful specific knowledge here.
  • The science is limited, as are the number of meal recipes.

The FastDiet - Revised & Updated: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting

The FastDiet

In a nutshell, Dr. Michale Mosley and Mimi Spencer spend 256 pages addressing your concerns about fasting. If you aren't sure if fasting is right for you, this book may convince you. Dr. Mosley shares his personal experience about how a specific type of fasting helped him avoid diabetes. One nice thing about this book is that you can supplement it by watching his documentary about fasting.

  • Like Gin Stephens book, it's a "how it worked for me" introduction to fasting (but it is written by a person with a medical degree).
  • Great for those who aren't sold on fasting and want to know why people like me are trying it.
  • It's focused on the 5:2 fasting diet (5 days of normal eating and 2 of fasting) as a solution, so it doesn't explain many alternatives.

The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting

The Complete Guide to Fasting

With more qualified information, this book was cowritten by Toronto-based nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung. It's the fattest book of the bunch, weighing in at 304 pages. Therefore, you'd expect it to be the most complete. It does cover the biology of fasting in detail (as you'd expect a book written by a medical doctor to do). Obese and diabetic readers will find a lot of specific information for their health issues from Jason Fung. Free of outrageous claims, this a more cautious introduction to fasting. I just expected 304 pages to cover more types of fasting (like really long ones).

  • 304 pages and written by Dr. Jason Fung M.D., it's probably the most in-depth introduction that I've read.
  • Nice resource for people with health issues like obesity and diabetes.
  • Despite the vast number of pages, vegetarians will still not learn how to fast using this book.


There is a lot of information out there about intermittent fasting, but the right book depends on your unique health needs. An obese person and a fitness nut should probably not be reading the same book. Women also have different needs than men. For the best intermittent fasting experience, pair the right book with a good doctor and an openness to experimentation. There is no one-size-fits-all way to fast.

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