Best Nutrition Books of the Year

These aren't the year's bestselling nutrition books, but they should be. Instead of hype and hyperbole, these 5 books serve up a heaping helping of common sense and sanity, which is why they should feel right at home here.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
5-minute read
Episode #310

Are We Done Dieting Now?

The next two books on my list are both by friends of mine, each of whom has made a eloquent argument for why dieting is the worst possible way to go about losing weight.

Book #3: The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work, by Yoni Freedhoff, MD

Dr. Freedhoff is a physician specializing in bariatric medicine. In this book, he focuses not on the diet per se but on the dieting mindset, which he describes as toxic and traumatic. The key to sustainable weight loss, he says, is not to pick the "right" diet but to break the negative thought patterns that sabotage dieters and replace them with positive thoughts and behaviors. 

Editors and publishers love "programs" and they are loathe to ever publish a weight loss book that doesn't include one. Accordingly, Yoni's book includes a 10-day reset program that can be used with any diet. During these 10 days, you are encouraged to cook, indulge, and eat out - but also to think, exercise, and set goals. It's a recovery program for chronic dieters - and it's not a minute too soon. We have become a nation of chronic dieters and it's obviously not working for us.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This book offers a big dose of sanity, as does the next book on my list.

Book #4: Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting, by Darya Pino, PhD.    

Darya is the brains behind the popular Summer Tomato blog and website. Although Darya's got great scientific chops and she's not afraid to use them, her philosophy has been honed in the laboratory of personal experience. By trial and error, she's replaced extreme and obsessive dieting with a food-centric approach that focuses on the quality of your experience with food-which, for Darya, usually starts at the farmers' market but often ends in a brew pub. And it turns out that you can enjoy both and still maintain a healthy weight.

As you've heard me say before, the problem with diets is that when you reach your goal, you stop dieting. The great thing about Darya's approach is that it's not a diet, it's an attitude and a set of strategies that you cultivate for life. It's also a really entertaining book. I think you'll enjoy it.

The Ethicurean Option

The last book on my list addresses one of my personal nutrition dilemmas. From a purely biological perspective, it seems clear that the ideal human diet would include some animal protein. And yet many people, including me, have ethical issues with the way that we raise animals for food these days. I try to restrict my consumption of animal foods to those that have been raised and slaughtered humanely. But because it can be so difficult to determine how an animal was handled before it came to your plate, I end up eating vegetarian most of the time.

That's why I'm grateful for...

Book #5: The Carnivore's Manifesto: Eating Well, Eating Responsibly, Eating Meat, by Patrick Martins

In this highly digestible volume, Martins sorts through the issues surrounding sustainable and humane meat production, clarifies the practices behind various labeling and certifications, and offers tips on how to navigate the ethical shoals of being a meat-eater.

Unfortunately, doing the right thing also costs more...you won't find humanely raised beef on any dollar menus. That's OK with me because I don't really want to eat meat more than 3-4 times a month. This book makes it easier to do that in good conscience.


Your Nominations for Best Books?

If you came across another great book on health and nutrition this year, feel free to post it in the comments section below or on the Nutrition Diva Facebook page.

Check out more tips on healthy eating without deprivation at quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating.



About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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