Must-read books about metabolic health

A curated list of Levels’ favorite reads about how insulin, glucose and our modern diet affect our bodies and our world—and what we can do about it.

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  1. Why We Get Sick, Ben Bikman, PhD

    Levels advisor Ben Bikman reveals the link between insulin resistance and major conditions like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s—as well as a plan for preventing it. 

  2. The Blood Sugar Solution, Mark Hyman, MD

    Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine’s Dr. Mark Hyman presents an overview of the epidemic of “diabesity,” and offers practical advice for losing weight and preventing disease through healthy metabolic living. Dr. Hyman is also a Levels advisor.

  3. XX Brain, Lisa Mosconi, PhD

    Women are far more likely than men to suffer from conditions like depression, migraines, and strokes, and twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi explores how this may be rooted in poor blood sugar control, and how metabolic health declines as estrogen declines in menopause. She offers an empowering plan to address the unique risks of the female brain.

  4. The Obesity Code, Jason Fung, MD

    Dr. Fung does a deep dive into why high insulin levels thwart weight loss, and offers a five-step plan for losing weight and keeping it off using intermittent fasting and breaking the cycle of insulin resistance. We also love The Diabetes Code, which looks at using the same tools to prevent and reverse Type 2 diabetes. 

  5. The End of Diabetes, Joel Fuhrman, MD

    Dr. Furman argues persuasively that we can prevent and even reverse diabetes with the right nutrition choices. His “Nutritarian” eating philosophy focuses on the quality of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and emphasizes a high micronutrient-to-calorie ratio.

  6. Mastering Diabetes, Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

    With actionable advice and recipes, this book describes how a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet can reverse insulin resistance in all types of diabetes, including gestational. They believe that while the pervasive low-carb, high-fat keto dietary approach to glucose control may improve short-term metrics, it also increases long-term risk for chronic diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, and fatty liver disease. Both authors are scientists with Type 1 diabetes and have followed a high-carb WFPB diet while minimizing insulin need.

  7. The Personalized Diet, Eran Segal, PhD and Eran Elinav, MD, PhD

    Segal and Elinav are responsible for the groundbreaking scientific research behind a core Levels concept: The way people respond to food is not universal. This book shows how you can create an individualized diet that works for you. 

  8. Grain Brain, David Perlmutter, MD

    Neurologist and Levels advisor Dr. David Perlmutter reveals the many methods by which the sugar contributes to neurodegeneration (which can eventually lead to diseases like dementia), how insulin resistance reduces the brain’s ability to function properly, and what you can do about it.

  9. The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes

    Taubes has been an insightful critic of diet orthodoxy since he wrote a bombshell New York Times article about sugar in 2002, and here he turns his attention to all the ways sugar is killing us and how we got to this place. 

  10. Brain Body Diet, Sara Gottfried, MD

    Levels advisor Dr. Gottfried explains the relationship between brain health and our overall health, and how both can be impacted by sugar consumption and poor metabolic fitness. She presents a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle plan to improve the well-being of our metabolic systems, and by extension, our brain.

  11. Fat Chance and Metabolical, Robert Lustig, MD

    Levels advisor Dr. Lustig’s 90-minute video Sugar: The Bitter Truth helped millions of viewers see the destructive power of sugar. In Fat Chance, he dives deeper into the history and politics of our sugar-filled diet, and offers a plan for overhauling the global food system. In his new 2021 book Metabolical, Dr. Lustig takes on processed food—the damage it does to our bodies and the systems that have taken root to push it on us.

  12. How to Not Die, Michael Gregor, MD 

    The man behind the incredibly useful Nutrition Facts website, Dr. Gregor looks at the top 15 medical causes of premature death in the U.S. and makes the evidence-backed case that diet and lifestyle choices play a larger role than you think. We particularly like the chapter on “How Not to Die from Diabetes.”

  13. Wired to Eat, Robb Wolf

    In Wired to Eat, Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, goes beyond paleo to look at how we rewire our brains for weight loss, including a 30-day Reset Plan to get your metabolic health back to normal.  

  14. The Hacking of the American Mind, Robert Lustig, MD

    Another favorite by Dr. Lustig, this book dives deep into the ways corporate interest and government policy worked together to get us addicted to unhealthy lifestyles and offers both policy-level and personal advice for breaking free.

  15. Food Fix, Mark Hyman, MD

    We like that this book takes the problems of obesity and food-related disease and puts them in the context of the global food system with an incisive look at the policies that make them possible. 

  16. The End of Alzheimer’s, Dale Bredesen, MD

    Based on 40 years of research and experience, Dr. Bredesen argues that Alzheimer’s—which he breaks into three distinct conditions—can be reversed, with the right combination of diet and lifestyle choices.