Eat to Beat Your Diet

Burn Fat, Heal Your Metabolism, and Live Longer


By William W Li, MD

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The pioneering physician scientist behind the New York Times bestseller Eat to Beat Disease reveals the science of eating your way to healthy weight loss.

In his first groundbreaking book, Dr. William Li explored the world of food as medicine. By eating foods that you already enjoy, like tomatoes, blueberries, sourdough bread, and dark chocolate your body activates its five health defense systems to fight cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases, and other debilitating conditions.

Now in Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. Li introduces the surprising new science of weight loss, revealing healthy body fat can help you lose weight; your metabolism at 60 can be the same as when you were 20; yo-yo dieting can be good for your health; 8-hour fasting windows can be as effective as 12-hour fasting windows; and losing just a little bit of weight can have big impacts on your health. Eat to Beat Your Diet shows readers how adding the right foods to your diet can heal your metabolism, reduce unhealthy body fat, and result in the kind of weight loss that can increase your lifespan and help you thrive. Foods like:

  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Watermelon
  • Carrots 
  • Blueberries
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Mushrooms
  • Lentils 
  • Purple Maize 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Turmeric
  • Lobster
  • Mussel
  • Caviar
  • Oysters
  • Sea Bass 
  • Green Tea
  • Soy Milk
  • Coffee
  • Pomegranate Juice 
Both informative and practical, Dr. Li offers a four-week meal plan for food lovers; easy food swaps and shopping tips; and more than a month of crowd-pleasing recipes.




Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that; it is its nature.

Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself.

—Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace


The Surprising Science of Fat, Health, and Disease

If the word “fat” triggers a strong emotion when you hear it, you’re not alone. Our language is filled with words like “overweight,” “obese,” and “heavy” that can bring about judgment, discomfort, disappointment, and even fear. We wince when we see the fat on our frame in the bathroom mirror. It makes us feel less healthy. Even in the grocery store, we feel a negative reaction when we see a rind of fat on a cut of meat in the butcher section. Fat has a bad reputation—but I’m here to tell you that fat is not the villain we’ve made it out to be.

The truth is, fat is one of the most important tissues in your body. It stores the fuel that your heart needs for pumping, your liver needs to detoxify your blood, and your kidneys need to remove waste and extra fluid from your body. In fact, fat is essential to every organ’s functioning. Without any body fat, you would look skeletal and haggard—ultraskinny is a shocking look—and if you stopped eating, you’d run out of life-sustaining energy and die within a couple of months. If you had no food, your body could draw on its fuel reservoir of fat to help you survive—which would be depleted to zero in nine weeks for a woman and seven weeks for a man of average build.i

Fat insulates you like a sweater when you are exposed to the cold, and it cushions and prevents your internal organs from rupturing if you take a fall. More surprising, science has revealed that fat itself is an actual organ. It releases hormones and chemical signals that control your brain, heart, immune system, and virtually all your body’s health systems. Fat is not to be feared but rather respected, although we do need to keep it under control.

The Problem with Excess Fat

Excess body fat is a true villain when it comes to your well-being, even in slender people. A common misconception is that you only need to worry about body fat if you are overweight. In reality, even if the number on the scale says “you’re healthy,” you can have too much fat. Medical research shows that everyone needs to be concerned about the amount of body fat they carry inside their frame.

Whether you have a large body or a small one, excess body fat grows… like a cancer. Just like a tumor, fat needs a blood supply to nourish its mass. To grow larger and become dangerous, growing fatty tissue must take on an ever-increasing blood supply by recruiting new blood vessels through a process called angiogenesis—just like a cancer does. Tumors are angiogenesis-dependent, and so is burgeoning fat.

This property of fat has been confirmed using the very tools of cancer research. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School obtained chunks of belly fat from people undergoing gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity. They placed tiny pieces of fat in a plastic dish, bathed them with liquid nutrients, and observed what happened. Within four days, new blood vessels began sprouting outward like branches from a tree as the fat attempted to feed itself. This is shown in the two photos from the study (Figure 1.1). The dark mass in the left panel is a piece of fat with a starburst of growing blood vessels radiating outward. In the right panel is a close-up view: you can see the individual blood vessel cells organizing themselves into tiny tubes.ii

Figure 1.1. Fat removed during surgery for morbid obesity in a dish and growing new blood vessels. (Source: Image courtesy of Dr. Silvia Corvera, University of Massachusetts.)

Once fat improves its blood supply, more oxygen and nutrients flow to feed the cells. But also like a tumor, fat cannot grow if its blood supply is impeded. Researchers have shown in the lab that body fat will actually shrink if angiogenesis is inhibited, and this leads to weight loss.1 Administering a drug that inhibits angiogenesis can starve fat tissue and cause slimming of the body, even when there is no change in diet.2 Cutting off the blood supply to tumors is an effective way doctors treat cancer. Now this strategy, called antiangiogenesis, can be applied to controlling body fat.

The best news, however, is that you don’t need drugs to cut off fat’s blood supply. This approach has been borrowed to study the effects of food because many foods contain natural chemicals that can cut off the blood supply to fat and shrink it. Green tea, for example, contains a bioactive compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a potent angiogenesis inhibitor.3 Clinical studies have tested extracts from green tea and shown that people drinking them have reduced abdominal fat and waist circumference.4 Researchers at Inha University in Korea examined 10,030 subjects in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study and found that women who consumed four or more cups of green tea per week had a 44 percent decreased risk of abdominal obesity.5 All this to say:

You can eat to beat fat.

Eat to Fight Fat

We’ve known for centuries that eating less will help you lose weight, but the unexpected good news is that we’ve now identified certain foods that when eaten can help burn away excess fat. These foods improve your metabolism, which is vital to your health. You read that correctly: eating the right foods can actively promote fat loss and improve your metabolism. Even better, many of the same foods improve your body’s health defenses, too. A triple win.

If you are reading this book because you want to lose weight, chances are you have tried dieting before. You may have lost weight temporarily but soon gained it back, since most diets are just too hard to follow for long. You might have felt discouraged by diets that are all about restriction and elimination because you found them onerous and depriving. That’s completely understandable. We naturally prefer to enjoy our life and not fear food. So, you may be asking, “Is there a way I can combat fat while embracing and enjoying food?”

The answer is “Yes!” I am going to show you how.

In the chapters ahead, you will learn how you can fight harmful fat, improve your metabolism, and eat for pleasure—all at the same time. And I will show you exactly how to put the latest research to work in your daily menu.

Choosing the right foods can take your health to the next level. In my previous book, Eat to Beat Disease, I gave a comprehensive primer on your body’s health defense systems. Since then, medical research has greatly expanded our understanding of the many ways our health defenses are linked to our body fat, and vice versa. What this means is that eating to boost your health defenses can also help rein in your body fat. The harm caused by excess body fat also directly hinders the body’s health defense systems, making you more vulnerable to disease. In this first chapter, I will lay out, for the first time ever, the fascinating connections among food, fat, and your five health defenses. So let’s take a closer look at how each of these systems does its job and how they interact with your body fat.

Heroes of Health: Fat and Your Five Defense Systems

The Angiogenesis System

The prefix “angio-” refers to blood vessels, and “-genesis” refers to growth. Your body is filled with sixty thousand miles of blood vessels that form your circulation—enough to encircle the world twice. These are the highways and byways for blood and everything that’s carried within it. Your angiogenesis defense system delivers oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body. When your blood vessels are healthy, your organs are healthy. This defense system maintains just the right number of blood vessels at all times.

If you are injured and need to heal, or if you are building more muscle, or if you are pregnant and nurturing new life, your angiogenesis system springs into action to grow blood vessels wherever they are needed: just the right amount, not too few and not too many. On the flip side, the system also can adjust itself to prevent too many blood vessels from forming or prune away excess vessels. In short, to maintain good health, you need your angiogenesis system to be operating to groom your circulation.

More than seventy diseases can occur when your angiogenesis system is weakened and there are either excessive or insufficient blood vessels. Some of the most common diseases include obesity, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Insufficient angiogenesis leads to wounds that do not heal or an oxygen-starved heart and brain and organ failure. Excessive blood vessels, on the other hand, can leak fluid and bleed, causing organ damage. If this should happen in your eyes, leaking vessels can cause vision loss in conditions like age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Cancer can thwart your angiogenesis defenses by recruiting new blood vessels to bring nutrients and oxygen to cancer cells. This allows tumors to grow and spread (metastasize). A robust, fortified angiogenesis defense prevents this from happening. Without a new blood supply, a tumor cannot expand beyond 2 to 3 millimeters (about 1/10th of an inch) in diameter, roughly the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. If a cancer does manage to hijack the angiogenesis system, however, new blood vessels sprout into the tumor and nourish cancer cells, fueling the tumor’s ability to invade surrounding organs and lethally spread. Cutting off the blood supply to shrink tumors is the basis for cancer treatments called antiangiogenic therapy.

The same principle also applies to fat. The heftier the fat mass, the more blood vessels are needed to keep it nourished. Cut off the blood supply to a mass of fat, and it can’t grow larger.

Unlike cancer, however, blood vessels were already baked into your fat from the time you were born. In studies of people with severe obesity, the bigger their waistline, the more blood vessels were present and feeding their fat.6 The need for blood flow in fat is critical. As I mentioned earlier, a chunk of belly fat removed during surgery and placed in a plastic dish of nutrients will quickly sprout new vessels in an attempt to feed itself.

More than one hundred foods can fortify your body’s angiogenesis defenses by either stimulating or inhibiting blood vessel growth. Beyond green tea, foods like turmeric, soybeans, ginseng, and broccoli all prevent unwanted blood vessels from supplying nourishment to cancer cells, and they suppress the growth of fat cells, too.7 Other foods that support your angiogenesis defenses, such as fruit skins, barley, and even sea bass, can stimulate helpful new circulation for healing. Here’s the remarkable part: angiogenesis-inhibiting foods do not starve your organs, and angiogenesis-stimulating foods do not provoke cancer growth. Your body is designed so that when it comes to responding to healthy foods, it takes just what it needs, nothing more, nothing less.8

The Regeneration System

Your body contains cells whose job is to constantly regenerate and repair your internal organs. These are your stem cells, also called progenitor cells. They have the amazing ability to morph into any type of cell depending on your body’s needs. You were born with 750 million of these progenitors that are stored in your bone marrow, skin, and fat. Throughout life, your stem cells are spurred into action when a damaged organ needs to be repaired or when it grows—like muscle or fat.

The stem cells enter your bloodstream and circulate to the location where they are needed, then they home in to the organ, where they regenerate the tissue. This can occur literally anywhere in your body, such as your intestines, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, bones, liver, lungs, testes, ovaries, and even your heart and brain. Your blood cells and your immune system are constantly replenished by stem cells to keep them fresh and ready for action.

Your fat contains special stem cells called preadipocytes. These cells are essential for health. Preadipocytes create hormone-releasing fat cells—adipocytes—that help your metabolism process blood sugar and blood lipids. The hormones also influence your reproductive system, which in turn communicates with your fat.9 Your preadipocytes also produce the protective fat padding that safeguards your organs as you jostle through life.

The problem comes when your diet causes your preadipocytes to become overly active and create too many fat cells. Too much fat disrupts your hormones, so your preadipocytes need to be reined in. Foods such as blueberries, goji berries, and turmeric have restraining power over preadipocytes, taming them so that they do not create too many new fat cells.10

Another type of stem cell that lives in your fat is called the adipose stromal cell (ASC). These special cells live in the lacework of connective tissue that is embedded within a mound of fat. ASCs have a talent: they are master builders of blood vessels, the ones needed for healthy fat tissue to thrive. When they are overly active, however, ASCs can create an undesirable blood supply that nourishes and expands the fat around your waistline, under your chin, or anywhere in your body.

Medical researchers have tapped into the power of ASCs by pulling them out of a person’s fat and injecting them elsewhere in their body in order to tap into their regenerative power. Researchers collect ASCs using liposuction, the same procedure performed by plastic surgeons for body sculpting. The stem cells are harvested and cultivated like seedlings before being reinjected directly into the organ that needs to be healed. This ASC therapy is being tested in clinical trials to regenerate heart muscle in patients with heart failure, to regenerate brain cells in those with Parkinson’s disease, and to regrow nerves in people suffering from severe spinal cord injury.11 Significant clinical improvements have been seen in patients receiving ASCs for all of these conditions.iii

In a landmark case, a young man suffered a catastrophic fall that severed his spinal cord at neck level, leading to quadriplegia, a state of paralysis in which he could not move his arms and legs. He received an experimental injection of his own ASCs into his spinal cord to see if they could regenerate his nerves.12 Within months after the treatment, he began regaining movement, the progress of which is shown in Figure 1.2. The vertical axis shows a measure of his ability to move. The horizontal axis shows the time after ASC treatment. The boxed line represents the patient’s arms. The diamond line represents his legs. The improvement he experienced over forty-eight months following spinal cord regeneration led to a reversal of his paralysis—an unprecedented feat of medical science!

Figure 1.2. Result of ASC injection after spinal cord injury. (Source: Graphic by Diana Saville, adapted from M. Bydon, A. B. Dietz, et al., “CELLTOP Clinical Trial,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 95, no. 2 [2020]: 406-414.)

Remarkably, many foods can trigger regeneration in organs without adding more body fat. In fact, some foods can cause regenerative healing at the same time as they inhibit preadipocytes from creating more fat. Mushrooms, barley, cacao, omega-3-containing foods, and coffee and tea have been shown to coax more stem cells to be released into the bloodstream to promote regeneration, but, as you’ll soon learn, these are also foods that fight fat.13

The Microbiome System

Your microbiome is a health defense made up of 39 trillion bacteria, along with viruses and fungi. These organisms live mostly in your lower gut but also on your skin and in every bodily orifice. Bacteria in particular are surprisingly essential for your well-being. They fine-tune your metabolism, lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol levels, suppress inflammation, and enhance immunity. Your microbiome also speeds up wound healing and influences your emotional well-being by sending signals to your brain that instruct it to release crucial mood-enhancing hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.

When your microbiome is disrupted, your physical and mental health can fall apart. A growing body of evidence shows that dysbiosis, the state in which your microbiome is damaged, is associated with an array of diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and even autism. Your gut’s bacterial makeup can even influence the success of cancer therapy. Whether or not your microbiome is healthy can be a matter of life and death.14

Your microbiome is tied to your body fat. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied fifty-four pairs of twins of different body sizes and checked their microbiomes by collecting fecal samples. They found that twins with lean body types had a different mix of gut bacteria than twins who were obese.15 Lean subjects also had differences in more than three hundred bacteria genes compared to their obese counterparts.16

The diversity of bacteria in your gut is also important. As a general rule, the greater the diversity, the better your health. Lean individuals have a more diverse microbiome than people who are obese. What’s important is that you can influence your microbiome directly through the foods you eat. People who consume more plants in their diet have more diverse species of bacteria in their gut than those who shy away from fruits and vegetables.

One particular bacterium, Akkermansia mucinophila, is an especially important player among the trillions of bacteria in your body. Akkermansia plays a key role in controlling body mass and metabolism, as well as immunity. Researchers have discovered that people who are lean have more Akkermansia in their gut than obese people.17 Even among people who are overweight, those with more Akkermansia have a smaller waist-to-hip ratio and their fat cells are smaller in size.18 Foods like pomegranate, cranberry, turmeric, green tea, and chili pepper help Akkermansia grow in the gut because these foods make the intestines secrete more mucous, creating a welcoming environment where this bacterium thrives. Those foods can even help cancer patients respond to immunotherapy treatments because Akkermansia plays a role in the immune destruction of cancer cells.19

Your microbiome began to develop while you were a fetus in your mother’s womb, but it is shaped by your experiences and food choices throughout life. You “pick up” and swallow bacteria without knowing it from touching your pets; from hugging family members and friends; from objects you handle at school, work, restaurants, and shops; and while you are on vacation. What you eat directly influences your gut bacterial health. When you eat plant-based foods, the dietary fiber feeds your microbiome. When they are content and well fed, these bacteria produce three notable metabolites—acetate, butyrate, and propionate—known as short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are responsible for many of the health benefits of your microbiome, including streamlining your metabolism and lowering blood cholesterol.

Foods that contain lots of dietary fiber are called “prebiotic” because they nourish your inner biota, your gut bacteria. Leafy green vegetables; fruits like apples, pears, and kiwifruit; mushrooms; whole grains; and nuts like walnuts and macadamia are just some examples of prebiotic foods. “Probiotic” foods are those that contain live bacteria that contribute to the gut ecosystem. They are fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, and cheese. Fermented foods that contain fiber, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, which are made from pickled cabbage, are both prebiotic and probiotic. The products made and released by the bacteria as they grow in the fermented foods are known as “postbiotics,” and these aid your metabolism, too.

The DNA Protection System

Your DNA is a six-foot-long folded ribbon of genetic material coiled inside every single one of your 40 trillion cells (very similar to the number of bacteria in your body!). This ribbon contains your genetic code, the instructions for cells to make the proteins your body needs to stay alive. But less than 2 percent of your DNA is used to guide the creation of proteins. Most of your DNA is used to coordinate the inner workings of the two hundred different types of cells in your body to keep them functioning for health.

Your DNA is a defense system that protects your genetic code against the damage that can be wreaked by everyday exposures, including ultraviolet radiation from the sun; radon from the ground; microplastics in your drinking water; and chemicals released by wall paint, carpets, and furniture. These environmental forces create highly reactive atoms known as free radicals. These atoms behave like rogue samurai warriors slashing at your DNA. Left unrepaired, the damaged DNA can create mutations that lead to abnormal cells and, ultimately, to cancer.

Excess body fat also creates free radicals inside your body and increases the risk for cancer-causing mutations.20 Harmful free radicals are also created by emotional distress; lack of sleep; physical inactivity or extreme physical activity; and eating ultraprocessed food, grilled meats, and chemical preservatives.

Fortunately, damaged DNA is capable of repairing itself. Without this health defense, you would not be here to read this book. You can dial up (or dial down) the strength of the repair mechanisms with the foods you eat. Foods like kiwifruit, carrots, beans, strawberries, and omega-3-rich seafood can boost DNA repair.

Besides repair, parts of your DNA can be switched on or off by your diet, lifestyle, and environment. These are called epigenetic changes. Such changes can protect your health by turning on useful genes or by blocking harmful ones. For example, when parts of your DNA called tumor suppressor genes are turned on, they protect you against prostate, breast, and colon cancer. Foods like soy, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli sprouts, turmeric, and green tea can switch on these protective genes.21

Another type of epigenetic change, called methylation, is associated with lowering body mass. In methylation, the function of a gene is changed by a chemical structure, called a methyl group, which is inserted right into your DNA. The effect is like jamming a screwdriver into a conveyor belt. It halts the manufacturing of certain proteins that cause belly fat to grow and that disrupt your metabolism.

Methylation affects the function rather than the structure of your DNA. It is an extra move in the health defense playbook of DNA. A study by scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology compared the DNA of sixty lean and sixty obese women who were between twenty-three and thirty-one years old. They found there were ten specific sites in the DNA that were more methylated—helpfully blocked—in people who are lean compared to those who are obese.22

Another link between DNA and fat was discovered by researchers at the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid, Spain.23 They tracked the changes in the DNA of 131 obese children, boys and girls between four and nine years old. The children were placed on a personalized version of the Mediterranean diet for one year, along with a supervised physical activity program. Their DNA and physical characteristics were examined at four and twelve months. At both points, the diet and lifestyle interventions led to a decrease in total body fat. When the researchers examined their DNA, they found that those with more DNA methylation had less abdominal fat, smaller body mass, a better metabolism, and more weight loss.

One more way that your DNA defends your health is through structures called telomeres. These are protective caps that prevent your DNA from fraying at its ends. As you age, telomeres shorten like the burning wick of a candle. Anything that slows the shortening process also slows cellular aging. Regular exercise and good-quality sleep, for example, can slow telomere shrinkage, which is why both are important for health.

People with a high body mass have a faster erosion of those crucial telomeres. Children and adolescents who are overweight have shorter telomeres compared to their counterparts who are lean.24 In adults and the elderly, the impact is even more profound. The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study led by the University of California San Francisco examined 2,721 people in their seventies and measured their body composition and telomere length.25 Subjects with a lower percentage of body fat and less belly fat had longer telomeres. The good news is that certain foods have been discovered to slow telomere shrinkage. Many of these foods are common in Mediterranean-and-Asian-style eating patterns, and they can also fight body fat, helping your DNA take care of itself—and you.

The Immune System

By far, the most familiar of your body’s five defense systems is your immune system. It protects you from external invaders like bacteria and viruses swirling around in your environment. It also protects you from invaders lurking within your body, like cancer cells. Healthy immunity repels disease regardless of its source.

Seventy percent of your immune system is in your intestines, where it communicates with your gut microbiome. Part of your immune system is also embedded in your fat. Like the rest of your body’s defenses, your immune system is strongly influenced by the foods you eat.

Your immune system has two main parts: the innate system and the adaptive system. Innate immunity is swift acting and reacts in the same way each time, like a blunt instrument. This part of your immune system causes inflammation, a necessary and brief response when defending your body against invaders. The second part, adaptive immunity, is smarter but slower acting. It is trained to recognize enemies and then develops sophisticated responses to handle each threat. This is where T cells and natural killer cells (also known as large granular lymphocytes) work together to tackle invaders, and where immune B cells learn to produce antibodies. Adaptive immunity is activated inside your body in response to viral infections, a vaccine injection, or a bee sting, or when your immune system is trained by cancer treatments, known as immunotherapy, to seek out and destroy cancer cells. Together, the elements of these two parts of the immune system function like an army of super soldiers, each with its own special weapons and tactics for detecting, destroying, and clearing out invaders from the fortress of your body.


  • “When Dr. Li speaks, I don’t just listen, I eat what he says because with his huge brain and ever-curious mind he has helped me understand that food isn’t just something to fuel our days — it might just be fundamental to how many days we get to enjoy.” —Bono
  • “In Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. William Li reveals the groundbreaking discovery that the best weight loss medicines in the world can be found in your refrigerator and pantry. Blending the science of molecular nutrition with the ancient food ways of the Mediterranean and Asian cultures, Dr. Li provides a delicious roadmap to harness the power of everyday foods to activate your fat burning systems and create long term health using the magic of your fork.”—Mark Hyman, MD, Senior Advisor to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, New York Times Bestselling Author of Young Forever
  • “Dr. William Li is a very trusted, valued dear friend. I am very excited about this book. My entire family are all fans of Dr. Will’s. This book takes on so much more for the reader. Dr. Will takes you on a tour of the grocery store, tells you all the foods you should be eating and all the data that backs that up, and 36 original recipes. Everything is incredibly researched and referenced. It’s such a great tool, as are all of Dr. Will’s books. Live long, live healthy.”—Rachael Ray
  • “It is increasingly clear that our body fat does far more than just tip the bathroom scale. Fat plays such an important role in the human body that it should best be considered an organ, not just tissue. No one explains the new science of metabolism better than physician and scientist Dr William Li. With his accessible style, Dr Li reveals surprising data and joyful discoveries that will teach us all how to “Eat to Beat Your Diet.”
     —Sanjay Gupta, MD, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Emory University; Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN
  • “The diet industry is full of misinformation. Dr. Li teaches us that all fats aren't created equally and how you can get healthy without going hungry! His book Eat To Beat Your Diet busts the myths and reeducates and coaches you on what's really good for your body while sharing delicious recipes that keep food pleasure in mind.”—Carla Hall, chef, author, restauranteur, Food Network host
  • “In Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. William Li shows how what we include in our diet is as important as what we exclude.  He integrates both the science and the joy of foods that improve our metabolism and reduce our risk of chronic diseases—eating well and eating good—and delivers new insights from human studies showing how we can eat foods we love that are also foods as medicine. If you want a prescription for eating well while enhancing your health, you can’t beat Eat to Beat Your Diet."Dean Ornish, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF, and multiple New York Times’ bestselling author.”
  • “Dr. Li is rare among physicians in that he’s actually more interested in keeping you healthy than chasing your disease.  In this excellent new book, he marshals in the best, up-to-date science in an engaging way.  If you want to know what to eat and why, it’s all here!”—Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Blue Zones books
  • “Dr. William Li has always been ahead of the curve. Both the reliability of his evidence and his passion for serving the public are self-evident. He traverses the evidence from the lab to the store to his clinic with exceptional skill.”—T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University; Co-editor, The China Study
  • “Make your metabolism go from good to great with this empowering book by Dr. William Li.”—Tony Robbins
  • “An interesting, thought-provoking read.”—Richard Branson
  • “In his incredibly empowering and enlightening book Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. William Li has given us a crucial tool to understanding how eating consciously can help us look and feel healthier and avoid unnecessary illness.”—The Edge
  • “This book is a wonderful minestrone — a science-led mash up of fascinating facts with smart guidance on where food and fat should be going in the future (who thought fat could be so interesting ?) with a light sprinkling of food history, tasty menus and the immortal Bruce Lee. A perfect feast for someone who wants to lose a few pounds and get a lot healthier. Like me in fact.”—Peter Gabriel
  • Eat to Beat Your Diet is a pioneering book that provides an innovative and simple approach toward beating disease and increasing longevity. Dr. William Li shows us how to control your body fat by taking charge of your metabolism. His introduction of the “MediterAsian” way to eating supports the compelling scientific case that food is medicine. What makes EAT TO BEAT YOUR DIET an exciting read is the way the author takes you on a virtual grocery shopping journey to find the best foods. It is clear that Dr. Li walks the talk.”—Louis J Ignarro, PhD, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Author of NO More Heart Disease and Dr. NO
  • “Anyone who wants their health to glow should read this book! Dr. Li shows us smart, easy lifestyle choices that anyone can make to heal their metabolism and elevate their health — without ever having to go on a strict diet.”—Cindy Crawford
  • "Finally a lifestyle book for people who hate diets and love food."—Kelly Ripa
  • “With this book, Dr. Li does all the heavy lifting — weeding through the confusion about food — providing us with the tools to manage how and what we consume metabolically, and in so doing provides us with the promise of a healthy mind and body.”—Bradley Cooper
  • “Dr. William Li is a true pioneer.  He is my go-to guru.  First, he taught us how to beat diseases like cancer with food as medicine, and now he is showing us how to reboot and optimize our metabolism!  With cutting edge science on how to lose dangerous body fat that is truly jaw dropping, Dr. Li once again gives us a step-by-step guide on how to transform our bodies and our health for life-changing results that are lasting!”—Jillian Michaels
  • “I’ve said before that when I’m on TV, 'I’m your chef, not your doctor.'  But Dr. Li is in fact a doctor and he knows food, your body, and how you can eat better without compromising your love of eating.  In Eat to Beat Your Diet, you can learn to enjoy your food and your health…what a concept!"—Guy Fieri
  • “Dr. Li explains clearly, in language the layman can understand, what we have always intuitively known: food is the best medicine. Eat to Beat Your Diet shows us the How and Why…”—James Taylor
  • Eat to Beat Your Diet has scientifically backed information that helps you optimize your metabolism, restore healing and homeostasis, and regulate your weight naturally. It has all you need for a healthy lifespan. Highly recommended."—Deepak Chopra, MD
  • “I have always said, "You are what you eat, and food is medicine!” Dr Li’s tome will be your guide and coach to not only understand foods and  how your body reacts to them, but also how to cook delicious and simply prepared dishes to achieve your goals.  Eat To Beat Your Diet is science-based and taste-forward, a perfect combo to live a healthier and happier life.”—Ming Tsai, Chef, restauranteur, Host of Simply Ming show
  • "Eat Well, Be Well." That's sage Chinese advice I grew up with that has also become a part of my adult life. Instead of following fad diets, I stay with the basics - the right ingredients, prepared the right way. Dr. Li has taken that basic principle to a whole new level with his books. Eat to Beat Your Diet is a must read for every healthy family, starting with mine.”—Martin Yan, Chef, restaurateur, Host of the Yan Can Cook show
  • “Add before you take away” has been my motto for decades. Dr. William Li brings that philosophy to life in Eat to Beat Your Diet by revealing what foods rev up your metabolism to help you get (and stay) lean and healthy. If you’re ready to say “adios” to the diet roller coaster and create a sustainable, practical plan that works, consider this book your blueprint for success.”—JJ Virgin, Author of 4 New York Times bestsellers including The Virgin Diet and Sugar Impact Diet
  • "There is a revolution happening in our understanding of food and metabolic health. Would you like to know which foods and beverages are clinically proven to teach your fat cells to shrink themselves? What about foods that block your fat cells from growing excessively in the first place? Eat to Beat Your Diet will teach you exactly what those foods are, how they work, and what the best ways are to use them. It's a game-changer!"—Shawn Stevenson, Bestselling author of Eat Smarter and Sleep Smarter
  •  "Dr Li has written yet another phenomenal book that will become a critical resource for millions of people. Everybody needs to read this book and learn how food can protect and support our health whilst also improving metabolism, without having to succumb to restrictive dietary practices. Dr Li expertly discusses how food can be flavourful, enticing, delicious and healing through the lens of rigorous modern science and traditional culinary practices.
    It is a masterpiece of writing.”
     —Dr. Rupy Aujla, MBBS, BSc, MRCGP; Founder of "The Doctor's Kitchen"
  • "An apple a day keeps the doctor away!" Thanks to Dr. Li's book we can understand the scientific rationale of how nutrients in the different foods we consume work to preserve our health. This book is a superb exposition of proper nutrition's impact to reduce unhealthy fat, combat disease inducing inflammation and simply make us feel good. Unlike other efforts to "get healthy" this book is not about going on another diet but instead provides the rationale and recipes for healthy eating and enjoying food. Public health prescriptions have focused on the wrong things about food with emphasis on what to avoid but this book offers a rationale for choosing the right things to eat for both pleasure and personal health.—Andrew Von Eschenbach, MD, President, Samaritan Health Initiatives, former director of the National Cancer Institute, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
  • “In the often-crazy world of nutrition and diet books, it’s rare to have a real physician-scientist as your guide.  Dr. Li lays out the compelling new science for the potential harms – and healing powers – of body fat, and how the foods we eat are powerful tools that can transform our fat into friend or foe.  Eat to Beat Your Diet contains a wealth of actionable advice on how to eat better, improve our metabolic health, and enjoy the journey.”—Darius Mozafarrian, MD, DrPH, Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Tufts University; Editor-in-Chief, Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter
  •  “Forget everything you think you know about dieting. In Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. Li shows us the real science behind your body’s fuel tank and teaches you how facts overcome myths.  He reveals the truth behind body fat, weight loss and how to heal your metabolism. It’s a must read for everyone who wants to feel good, be healthy and look your best.”—Robin Smith, MD, President, Cura Foundation and Stem for Life
  • “Dr. Li pulls back the curtain of confusion on metabolism and provides a yellow brick road of truth that includes the scientifically proven lifestyle and dietary habits that will transform your health.”—Scott Stoll, MD, Co-founder The Plantrician Project, Olympian, Author, International leader of Lifestyle Medicine
  • “Deprivation and restriction are the old, failed ways of weight loss. The new model for metabolic health is to Eat To Beat Your Diet by enjoying an abundance of delicious, metabolism-supporting foods. Lose the fads and find the facts. Grab this book and get started today!”—Will Bulsiewicz, MD, New York Times-bestselling author of Fiber Fueled
  • “’Here’s how we can, not why we can’t”. I was first introduced to this way of thinking as a NASA engineer and astronaut. “Here’s how we can…” is the underlying approach to solving our most challenging problems both on and off our planet. In Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. William Li tells us how we all can use this approach (and the science!) to be our healthiest selves — by eating to beat our diets (and defeating all those reasons why we think we can’t)."—Nicole Stott, Astronaut, Artist, and Founder of the Space for Art Foundation

On Sale
Mar 21, 2023
Page Count
496 pages

William W Li, MD

About the Author

William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned Harvard-trained medical doctor, researcher, and president and a founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation. His groundbreaking work has impacted more than seventy diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease, and obesity. His TED Talk, "Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?" has garnered more than eleven million views, and he has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Martha Stewart Live, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Voice of America, and has presented at the Vatican's Unite to Cure conference.

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