The Insane Benefits of Water-Only Fasting: Dr. Alan Goldhamer | Rich Roll Podcast

T H E  C R A Z Y   B E N E F I T S   O F   F A S T I N G

E P I S O D E   5 4 1

When we hear the word ‘addiction’, we think about mind-altering substances.

Typically overlooked in this conversation? Food.

But food addiction isn’t just real, it just might be our biggest problem. In fact, the hyper-industrialized western world is firmly entrenched in an epidemic of dysfunctional eating, fueled by an outsized appetite for an ever-increasing array of highly processed foods that are scientifically designed — with just the right amount of sugar, salt and fat — to hijack our nervous system; to enslave us to compulsive habits that lead to illness; and to ultimately render us wards of the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile we’ve normalized this twisted and deleterious relationship. So much so that right now, more than two-thirds of adults in the industrialized world are overweight or obese. 

Nonetheless, millions of people find it extremely difficult if not downright impossible to change their dietary habits — and simply break the fatal, addictive grip.

So how does one effectively transition to a healthy diet sustained over time?

According to Dr. Alan Goldhamer, a great place to start is by fasting. 

I’m not talking about a couple days of drinking cold-pressed juice. I’m talking about nothing but water for upwards of 40 days.

Even with strict medical supervision it sounds like scary quackery. But over the last few decades, Dr. Goldhamer has successfully supervised over 20,000 patient fasts. Along the way, he has seen lives transformed wholesale. Unhealthy eating habit addictions broken. Medications ditched. And countless illnesses overcome.

An iconoclastic pioneer in his field,  Dr. Goldhamer is the founder of True North Health Center, one of the first (and largest) facilities in the world that specializes in medically supervised water-only fasting, along with medical and chiropractic services, psychotherapy and counseling, and more.

Today he joins the podcast to walk us through all things fasting, food addiction, and the power of a whole plant diet to prevent and reverse the many chronic lifestyle ailments that unnecessarily impair millions of people across the world.

Today’s conversation explores all things water-only fasting, from it’s origins dating back thousands of years across many cultures and religious traditions to the protocol Dr. Goldhamer administers today.

We discuss how fasting can create the foundation to transition to a sustainable, healthy whole food plant diet.

And we explore why he advocates an ‘SOS’ (very low salt oil and sugar) version of that diet.

But more than anything, this is a powerful discourse on our uncomfortable relationship with food. How most of us don’t realize we are killing ourselves with our fork and knife. How our food, and our food culture, is making us fat, sick, and frankly miserable. And how almost all of us, despite weight and health, use food as an emotional crutch.

I’m well aware that Dr. Goldhamer is controversial in certain circles. His approach represents a radical departure from our traditional western medical paradigm. But he also makes a lot of sense. And his results speak for themselves (I have several personal friends who have undergone his protocol).

Final Note: Under no circumstances should anyone undertake a water fast of any length without the medical supervision of a trained professional. In other words, please do not try this at home.

The visually inclined can watch it all go down on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

My hope is that Dr. Goldhamer will inspire you to think more deeply about the body’s profound ability to heal itself when treated properly. That food freedom is possible. And that none of us need fall prey to chronic food-borne illness.

P E A C E   &   P L A N T S ,

L I S T E N,  W A T C H  &  S U B S C R I B E

NOTE: Under no circumstances should anyone undertake a water-only fast of any length without the medical supervision of a trained professional. In other words, please do not try this at home.

✌🏼🌱 – Rich


Blog & Show Notes:


Apple Podcasts:






0:00 – Introduction

1:01 – The Uncomfortable Truth About Our Food Choices

5:51 – Alcoholism v. Food Addiction

10:51 – What is ‘The Pleasure Trap’?

15:56 – Why Salt is so Appealing

21:32 – Water Fasting as a Form of Medical Treatment

29:55 – How Dr. Goldhamer Came Across Fasting

33:23 – A Pathway to a Longer Quality of Life 36:31 – The Process for Taking in New Patients at TrueNorth

39:56 – How TrueNorth Evaluates Potential Patients

44:39 – Health Benefits of Water Fasting

55:38 – Making Radical Diet & Lifestyle Changes

1:01:18 – Relationship Between Fasting & Longevity

1:02:46 – Effects of Free Radicals from Smoking & Drinking

1:05:17 – Why Water Fast for 40 Days?

1:08:36 – What is the Experience of a Water Fast?

1:16:59 – Are There Other Water Fasting Clinics?

1:19:29 – How the Medical Establishment Views Fasting

1:21:57 – TrueNorth in ‘What the Health’ Documentary

1:23:55 – The ‘SOS’ TrueNorth Diet Protocol

1:31:28 – How Many Patients TrueNorth Can Admit

1:35:44 – Getting Around the Discomfort of Diet & Lifestyle Change

1:38:35 – Studying the Long Term Effects

1:42:01 – Are There Other Countries Using Fasting?

1:44:05 – Advice for Making a Change in Lifestyle

1:45:31 – Advice for Trying Out Fasting

1:51:04 – What Would You Do if You Were Surgeon General?

1:52:28 – Closing Remarks #richroll #fasting #richrollpodcast