# # I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.
August 7, 2010 4:15 PM   Subscribe

What books do you recommend for really learning about diet, nutrition and weight loss?

As I mentioned previously I joined weight watchers earlier this year and have been successful. 45 lbs down since March of this year and am pleased with my progress. I still have about 30 lbs to go before I reach what I think is my goal.

While on WW I've been doing a lot of reading because I really want to understand diet, nutrition and weight loss. I don't see this weight loss as a quick thing, I want to keep it off. Yes, I know stats are stacked against me in that respect but I really think reading and learning will help. I'm not looking for text books as I have no background in the subject necessarily but anything that explains or gives experiences, handles issues, etc.

I don't care if it's a particular school or schools of thought, I really want to learn. I'm following WW because it works for me, but that doesn't mean it's the only way. I've found a lot of those I've read already complement WW or can be adopted. Don't assume something is too basic, I want to start at the beginning to fully understand it.

What I've read so far:
Master Your Metabolism - Jillian Michaels
Believe It, Be It - Ali Vincent
Don't Eat this Book - Morgan Spurlock
Passing For Thin - Frances Kuffel
The Portion Teller - Lisa Young
The Spark - Chris Downie
The Wall Street Diet - Heather Bauer
and a couple of Weight Watchers books

on Mt. TBR:
Good Calories, Bad Calories -Gary Taub (as recommended by someone here)
Chew On This
3 Fat Chicks on a Diet
The Beck Diet Solution
Confessions of a Carb Queen

What are your suggestions? I really prefer books to blogs as I'm not a blog reader but if there's one you think is a must read - feel free to share. Thanks!
posted by TravellingCari to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Michael Pollan's books The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food are excellent.
posted by something something at 4:19 PM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I recommend Marc David's book Nourishing Wisdom and Annemarie Colbin's Food and Healing.
posted by hansbrough at 4:21 PM on August 7, 2010

I thought You: On a Diet by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roisen was awesome. Such straight forward information about how your body uses what you eat and how it reacts to different types of food.
posted by cecic at 4:36 PM on August 7, 2010

Response by poster: thanks all! Just the types of stuff I was looking for. Apolgies for the wonky formatting
posted by TravellingCari at 4:50 PM on August 7, 2010

+1 for anything Pollan. He has a great way of nudging the reader through what is (purposefully) a complicated system.
posted by makethemost at 4:53 PM on August 7, 2010

From Ms. Vegetable: Along the lines of Pollan, I really enjoyed "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" by Barbara Kingsolver. It's about eating local food for a year. Not exactly what you've asked for, but I thought I'd toss it out there.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:06 PM on August 7, 2010

I'd recommend The Okinawa Diet Plan: Get Leaner, Live Longer, and Never Feel Hungry.

Calorie restriction, of which the Okinawa Diet is an example, is the only diet shown in studies to extend lifespan (of various animals, I should say; no studies on humans have been done). Levels of cancer, heart disease and strokes is also lower among Okinawans... which can be due to several things, but if you read the book, it presents some very good evidence in favor of that particular diet.
posted by adahn at 5:06 PM on August 7, 2010

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health - - gets at some of the science (and nonsense) behind dieting.
posted by fairmettle at 5:24 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks all - have added them to my list of books to read. Luckily I have a very good library.

Fairmettle - that one's probably next on my list. Took a day off for fun reading today but that book has been saying "read me".
posted by TravellingCari at 5:34 PM on August 7, 2010

I liked Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole. It's a good read on changing your relationship with food/eating, and was super helpful to me coming off Weight Watchers.
posted by ThatSomething at 5:41 PM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Fats that Heal, Fats That Kill by Udo Erasmus was a huge help for me in understanding EFA's. Keep in mind the book is 17 years old at this point, so it may be a little out of date but it's still fantastic read.
On that note I would suggest you learn more about the large picture of dieting before going through all the specifics of different diets.

By the way, the stats are not against you. The stats are against people who don't stick to the way they should be eating.
You make the change. The change becomes habit. The habit becomes a conviction. The conviction becomes a way of life. Keep it up, it sounds like you're doing fine.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:48 PM on August 7, 2010

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler who, as commissioner of the FDA (1990-1997), enacted required labeling of nutritional content on supermarket food. This is not a diet book per se, rather it pulls back the curtain on the restaurant and prepared foods industries, allowing you to make better decisions about healthy eating.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:06 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I read Food Politics it really helped change the way I eat, knowing more about what's in junkfood made freash healthy food so much more appealing. looking at that website, it looks like there's a bunch of other cool books by the same author that may be worth checking out
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:43 PM on August 7, 2010

Response by poster: thanks again. Learning to make better decisions is exactly the type of stuff I'm after. I'm not in control of all the ingredients in every meal but learning has taught me the kind of things to look for to both eat/avoid on a menu.

Point taken, POB. I was just preparing against the "You're not going to keep it off. Do you know how few do?" that seem to follow these kind of discussions here and elsewhere. What I like about WW is that I've altered my eating, but not in a way that I can't maintain the changes for a very long time.
posted by TravellingCari at 6:46 PM on August 7, 2010

I found this book, Eat to Live, extremely informative and helpful.
posted by JenMarie at 6:50 PM on August 7, 2010

I've heard good things about The China Study.
posted by ajr at 7:10 PM on August 7, 2010

Chinese System of Food Cures: Prevention and Remedies by Henry C. Lu.
posted by xndr at 7:46 PM on August 7, 2010

ajr: I have not heard anything remotely good about The China Study.
posted by telegraph at 8:35 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Primal Blueprint
posted by SoulOnIce at 9:04 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of Dr. Neal Barnard, head of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
He advocates a vegan diet, and I'm cool with that, but more importantly, he shows the cause and effect between a crappy diet and health issues, which is even better.

Breaking The Food Seduction.

Food For Life: The Four New Food Groups.
posted by willmize at 6:07 AM on August 8, 2010

telegraph, thanks for the link re the China Study. The critique you pointed to opens a door into how incredibly difficult it is to distinguish legitimate science and personal initiative from payola and public relations efforts. My initial read-through of Minger's critique and the various responses to it, including those of the China Study author himself, leave me disinclined to give it much credence. Nonetheless, as with all complex things, it would take me hours (perhaps, even days), to really make an accurate assessment.

Regardless, I've got no dog in this hunt. I have never read the book and I'm not following the diet.

It's no wonder that people have trouble eating a healthy diet.
posted by ajr at 7:55 AM on August 8, 2010

Response by poster: thanks again. Looks like I definitely have a good further reading list. I expect to be amused by how some of it works together and others completely contradict one another. It's all good for learning though. Thanks!
posted by TravellingCari at 8:22 AM on August 8, 2010

I really like the analaisis that goes on in The Hacker's Diet.

My favorite bit of Hacker's Diet is:
There's nothing magical about any particular diet or plan. Almost anybody can have the same success with this program or with any other sane program.
posted by gregr at 10:53 AM on August 8, 2010

Once you get down to the last few pounds you might want to look at nutrient partitioning. Lyle McDonald explains it pretty well in Ultimate Diet 2.0, but then again, so do other people. You can probably google it and learn what you need to know.
posted by tejolote at 11:48 AM on August 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks gregr and tejolote, I've bookmarked both. Gregr, wholly agree on the "nothing magical" aspect, it's part of what I've found in my reading so far.
posted by TravellingCari at 6:44 PM on August 8, 2010

I found Volumetrics very useful.
posted by peep at 9:17 AM on August 9, 2010

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