Best books on the science of eating and weight loss/muscle building
August 4, 2018 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for books that will teach me about the science behind eating so that I understand what healthy eating habits look like, especially when it comes to weight loss and muscle building.

I started making exercise a hobby about a year ago when I started CrossFit. I've been pretty consistent about working out about 4-6 times per week (running, weight training, rowing, and CrossFit a few days a week), but I realize that I don't understand the science behind eating. I have a general understanding of balancing macros, which I do with some fidelity, but I don't really understand why that's a healthy way to eat or what's happening in my body. I also really don't understand the timing of food and how that impacts my body's performance.

I've read articles online, but there are so many competing opinions and narratives that I don't feel like I'm really getting a clear understanding of how food is affecting my body. Any recommendations about "clean eating" food books?
posted by orangesky4 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not a book recommendation as such, but I'd try finding podcasts which look at strength training and related studies (I listen to two Swedish pods, so don't have English recommendations for you).

I tend to avoid bro-science articles and pods, and look for stuff that delves into long term studies or meta analysis of research. You could also trawl pubmed yourself: for example

Re: Timing. As far as I've heard there doesn't seem to be much to gain by specific timing of proteins, except that you might want to get some ±2 hours from when you exercise, although there's not much proof of the benefits of that either. As long as you're meeting 1.6g per kg body weight, per day, you're set. (Can't speak to timing of other nutrients though)
posted by monocultured at 12:46 PM on August 4, 2018

I haven’t read this, but Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook comes highly recommended.
posted by chrchr at 1:30 PM on August 4, 2018

go to the library, ask a reference librarian for help.
posted by theora55 at 2:44 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thrive by Brendan Brazer is specifically about diet for athletes. Warning: Brazer is vegan, but that’s because he concluded that was the best diet for athletic performance, since it improves recovery time. He is a former Ironman triathlete and ultramarathon champion. If this is interesting to you, but you’re worried about protein, I recommend Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis.
posted by FencingGal at 3:14 PM on August 4, 2018

Marion Nestle's What to Eat is a good overview, as is her book (co-authored with Malden Nesheim) Why Calories Count. I'd also suggest Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Yoni Freedhoff's The Diet Fix.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:18 PM on August 4, 2018

Per my partner, The Fat Loss Bible by Anthony Colpo is very science-based and seems like it could meet your needs. Fair warning: the tone of the book leaves much to be desired and could be offensive to low carb advocates.
posted by dearadeline at 10:17 PM on August 4, 2018

I think this is a really hard ask — the area of nutrition is absolutely flooded with authoritative sounding pseudoscience, and pretty much anything aimed at a lay audience is going to be bullshit.

Plenty of it is harmless bullshit — that is, for most pop-nutrition books, if you followed the advice you’d be fine — but there just aren’t solidly supported principles of how everyone should eat that are specific at all.
posted by LizardBreath at 4:24 PM on August 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Body might get you started (low/slow carb). If keto is your thing check out Dom D'Agostino's resources.
posted by tayknight at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2018

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon
posted by tangosnail at 10:08 AM on August 7, 2018

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