10 Best Diet Books Reviewed

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“Diet” has become a dirty word for people struggling to lose weight and to live a healthier lifestyle. It brings visions of restrictive eating, bland foods, and a hopeless cycle that never seems to end. If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you’ve been looking at dieting all wrong.

Going on a diet isn’t about cutting calories and preventing yourself from eating foods that you enjoy. It’s about changing your relationship with food and improving your lifestyle through healthier choices. Eating is necessary to live, and strict restrictive diets won’t work for long. Losing too much weight too quickly is unhealthy, and really has little impact on your long-term prognosis. Food is fuel, and the healthier the fuel the more efficiently your body will run. Athletes understand this, and they eat for their activity level.

If you’re laboring under the misconception that all dieting is impossible, then you haven’t bought a good diet book lately. As usual, we’ve done our research and put together a review list of the best diet books on the market. Don’t let the word “diet” fool you, these books bring more to the table than just low-calorie recipes!

Last Updated: September 8, 2018
By Patricia Howard:

This update expanded on the information people need to make informed decisions about their diet. New diets are being developed all the time, and the books that made our list have proven long-term results backed by scientific research. Visit our site again soon for the latest info on the best diet books available!

Eat to Live
  • Eat to Live
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Improves blood chemistry profiles
  • Price: See Here
The Whole30
  • The Whole30
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Builds confidence in the kitchen
  • Price: See Here
The Complete Ketogenic Diet
  • The Complete Ketogenic Diet
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Perfect guide for beginners
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Diet Books

 

 

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for FAst and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight loss, Revised Edition is a six-week weight loss program designed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It is ideal for people who have a problem with self-control and can’t stop giving into their unhealthy cravings.
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A Detailed Program
This 6-week program discusses what to eat with all new recipes and menus so all you have to do is follow the pre-set plan each day. It also discusses Dr. Fuhrman’s discovery of toxic hunger as well as how food addiction affects your weight. You learn about how and why the foods your eating leads you to toxic hunger and ultimately the need to consume more calories thus causing weight gain. You will learn how to rid yourself of toxic hunger, cravings and food addictions.

Weight Loss and Longevity
This book is not only focused on a quick weight loss solution. It will help you lose weight, understand how your body works with relation to what you take in and then teach you how and what to eat not as a diet, but for life. Embracing a new way of looking at food and eliminating your cravings will allow you to overall stick with it, and as such you will not only lose weight but you will change your health dramatically. You should expect to see a reduction in your medications, lose weight and most importantly live longer.

Cost and Value
Point blank, eating unhealthy foods and engaging in poor eating habits will not only make you gain weight, but will significantly impact your life expectancy and quality in a negative way. The book is written by a renowned doctor and gives you a life plan not, just a diet.
Pros

Focuses on long-term health

Addresses food addiction

Written by a medical professional

Cons

Mostly geared toward dysfunctional eaters, won't be as helpful for ordinary folks

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, will help you completely overhaul your entire diet and you will learn exactly which foods are causing your health issues. This diet is best suited for anyone who can strict, to a very strict, 4-week long program.
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Eliminating Sugar Addiction
Yes, this is a restrictive book that makes you cut out all sugar, meaning alcohol, grains, legumes, soy and dairy for 30 days. But sugar is one of the most addictive and most abundant part of our food today and it is terrible for our health and most certainly our weight.don’t realize what it is like to live without the side effects of high sugar consumption. Don’t worry though, this book will hold your hand to get through it with a step-by-step plan that if you can give yourself up to, after 30 days you will be a different person.

Motivating and Inspiring
This step-by-step plan will help you break unhealthy habits, reduce cravings, improve digestion and most importantly, strengthen your immune system. Helps teach you the cooking skills you need to succeed and keeps you going with real-life success stories. You have easy access to quick-reference and detailed elimination and reintroduction guidelines.

Cost and Value
This book is regularly seen on the New York Times best-sellers lists for a reason. It is one of the most healthy eating/diet books on the market today. With just 30 days of will-power you will not only see weight loss but overall improved mental and physical well-being.
Pros

Short time frame for results

Step-by-step instructions

Motivational and inspirational

Cons

Requires strict self-discipline

The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle

If you change your body’s energy source, you will lose more weight- that is the diet philosophy of the Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle. Reminiscent of the Atkins diet, the Keto lifestyle does sacrifice some protein intake. It is a one-stop guide on how to go “keto” with a ton of informative and helpful information to support your keto journey.
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Complete and easy-to-follow plan
A complete book and guide with 75 easy to follow recipes (using 5 main ingredients or even less for every one of your meals), 14-Day Meal Plan, a complete overview that explains the fundamentals of this diet and advice and tips for living the keto-lifestyle, as well as charts that illustrate for you calories and nutritional information.

Medical community approved
This book is endorsed by the renowned Mayo Clinic as well as many others in the medical community. It has proven research of its health benefits and it is a clear and effective way to lose weight. This program embraces low-carb, high fat foods that will start your body’s ability to burn fat for energy instead of glucose.

Cost and Value
This book is a foundation and a must have for beginning and embracing the Ketogenic Diet.
Weather you want to lose weight or simply eat healthier, you will get a tried-and true guide book with everything you need to do just what you want. It is a proven diet and has had a cult following because of its impressive results.
Pros
  • Shopping lists
  • For each product on the list
  • Consistent results for the masses
  • A plethora of helpful information
  • Perfect guide for beginners
Cons
  • Similar to Atkins, but you sacrifice more protein
  • This book is mostly recipe-heavy

Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health

Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health
This book by Dr. Ben Lynch, Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough PRogram to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health uses natural and holistic approaches to address a population that have suffered for years with chronic, unexplainable health problems.
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Personalized Plans
Everybody’s body chemistry is different and if you can get the right plan in place for YOU, eliminating negative symptoms and optimizing both your physical and mental health is possible. You can actually rewrite your genetic circumstance, that is pretty amazing. Dr. Lynch will show you how to identify and improve upon the two types of dirty genes and how to clean them up with a combination of quality sleep, stress relief, healthy eating, holistic and natural approaches as well as environmental detox.
New Science
According to Dr. Lynch’s research, our genes can be “born dirty” or “act dirty” as a response to factors including our environment, our diet, and our lifestyle. All combined will cause life-long and life-threatening chronic health problems. He has functional medical experience successfully helping thousands of patients cure cleanse and cure their toxic health.

Cost and Value
We are learning more and more about chronic diseases that plague our health such as autoimmune, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, obesity, cancer, diabetes, to name a few. Where in the past the root cause of these diseases was not taken into account, rather treating the symptoms was the go-to plan of attack. Today we are waking up to the root cause of our disease and how to actively treat and heal that instead of just addressing our symptoms.
Pros
  • Targeted personal plans
  • Natural and Holistic approach
  • Life changing
  • Learn how to practice preventative action
  • You can look at your genetics without a genetics test
Cons
  • Science heavy, maybe hard to follow for those unfamiliar with physiology
  • A starting point for natural health, not a complete in-depth look

Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy

Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy
Gasp!? Not Cheese!? Well here is the hard truth, cheese can be dangerous. It is loaded with calories and fat and cholesterol, and sugar. This toxic cocktail can cause a barrage of health implications such as weight gain, high blood pressure, even arthritis! Dr. Neal Barnard presents a comprehensive program to break the cheese addiction in the Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy.
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Creative Program
Dr. Neal Barnard has designed a program that will help you break your cheese addiction all the while you are enjoying a tasty, easy-to-follow diet. There are a ton of creative and healthy recipes that will keep you satisfied and help you bust those cheese cravings.

Ideal for Those who overdue dairy on a daily basis
The philosophy of this diet is that cheese can be as addictive as heroin-that is pretty serious! This is the bible for those of us who love our cheese but know it is our kryptonite. Learn how the makeup of cheese works in our bodies physiology and get tips and tricks to wean yourself off cheese as a main ingredient in your daily menu.

Cost and Value
This book offers a realistic program that will help curb those cheese cravings. It is full of information about the nutritional break down of cheese and how it causes disease within the body. The book provides you with tips and recipes that will keep you satiated without missing the cheese as the main event in your meals.
Pros
  • Easy to follow program
  • Don’t have to cut cheese out from diet entirely
  • Timely and well written book
  • Vegan cheese secrets revealed
  • Plant-based research great for vegans
Cons
  • Lengthy book
  • Disturbing news for the dairy industry

The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight

The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight
The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight offers a philosophy of being strategic about what and when you eat. If you can do it the right way, you can actually make your body more a much more efficient and effective fat-burning machine that will ultimately help you lose more weight.
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No calorie counting or food eliminations
If the last thing that you are interested in is meticulously counting calories or restricting your food group intake, then this is the book for you. By learning how to rev your calorie-burning abilities you can jumpstart your metabolism and see not just weight loss but improvements in sleep, energy and stress levels. This four-week diet book three meals and at the very least two snacks a day. It offers a good amount of recipes and allows you to eat from all the food groups.

Metabolism Whisperer
You will eat a lot on this plan and it is broken down into three phases: lots of carbs and fruits; lots of proteins and veggies; all food groups. Plus healthy fats and oils. It works by keeping your metabolism “guessing” in a very specific and deliberate way so as to change your metabolism to work faster. A results-based design and successful program.

Cost and Value
This book is a complete 4 week meal planning guide with over 50 recipes to help you along. It caters to every person, vegetarians, organic, gluten-free and especially those who don’t want to restrict any food groups from their diet. It is a natural and safe way to lose weight and get healthy.
Pros

Offers solutions on how to improve your body's ability to burn fat.

Does not require calorie counting

If followed, there are no real food eliminations

Cons

A lot of food prep required

Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook for Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle

Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook for Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle
Atkins at is classic best, Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook for Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle is a refreshed version of what you already know about Atkins and that is you eat high-fat and low-carb. Atkins has been a leading brand for over 40 years with staying power because the Atkins approach has time-tested proven results, it just works.
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Atkins on your own terms
Back to sugar again, this book will discuss how sugar can sideline you and how to find it and avoid it. You will learn how to eat the right proportions of proteins to healthy fats and nutrient-dense carbohydrates. It is a more flexible guide that focuses on eating right, not less to enjoy weight management and improved overall health..

It’s a lifestyle not a diet
When you are ready to embrace a healthy lifestyle and not just look at the approach to weight loss as a quick-fix. When you are ready to stop talking diet and start talking lifestyle you will realize you can actually lose weight and keep it off. You can learn to follow the Atkins lifestyle and it is sustainable so you can be happier and healthier and look great doing it..

Cost and Value
People who are easily able to or don’t struggle with giving up carbs will find success here. If Kim Kardashian can get her pre-baby body back touting this diet, it could be worth a try. This new guide helps make Atkins more well-rounded with providing information on how to make healthy decisions. It has a ton of resources like recipes, meal planning strategies and goal-setting tips to help you succeed.
Pros

Flexible eating guide

Time-tested results

Explains sustainable health changes

Cons

Somewhat dangerous diet advice

The Plant-Based Solution: America’s Healthy Heart Doc’s Plan to Power Your Health

The Plant-Based Solution: America’s Healthy Heart Doc’s Plan to Power Your Health
Leading cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn designed a plant-based plan to help you feel and look better inside and out in The Plant-Based Solution: America’s Healthy Heart Doc’s Plan to Power Your Health. Learn how to cultivate optimal well-being with the use of whole-foods through this nutritious program.
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Ultra heart healthy
Dr. Kahn is known as “America’s Healthy Heart Doc” so obviously he would design a program that would target heart health, but that is not all this program tackles. It also addresses other chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, gut health, osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, even low-sex drive! All of these conditions can be improved with a plant-based diet. Don’t believe the hype? Dr. Kahn has the research and evidence to prove it.

Special issues addressed
Sex drive is not generally what people say they are looking for when they want to find a good diet book. However, sex drive is an important part of being a human and it actually can be affected by poor nutrition and a nutrient deficient lifestyle. Not only that, but proper nutrition can also help with brain chemistry.

Cost and Value
There is a ton of research out there that proves people do better overall when their nutrition is plant-dense. With so many chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s on the rise, adopting alternative options to our food intake may be worthwhile. This book will help you transition from the meat with simple tips to help you stock your pantry, eat out and visit with others.
Pros

Targets a heart healthy diet

Adresses benefits to certain issues such as brain chemistry and sex drive

Helpful if the plan is to transition from meat

Cons

Some found the book a bit repetitive

Daily Dash for Weight Loss: A Day-By-Day Dash Diet Weight Loss Plan

Daily Dash for Weight Loss:  A Day-By-Day Dash Diet Weight Loss Plan
Rated #1 overall by the US News and World Report, Daily Dash for Weight Loss: A Day-By-Day Weight Loss Plan will help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. This book offers a proven history of success as it has helped millions of people gain control over their health by making simple adjustments to your routine you can achieve the success you want.
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Science-based
The Dash Diet is based on an extensive scientific study. It offers 10 scientifically-proven reasons why the design of the Dash Diet actually works. It isn’t just about weight-loss it will also help you understand and identify your 3 health indicators. It will lower your blood-pressure and you can also lose weight.

Well-Rounded
This book is perfect for those people who want nothing to do with restrictive diets. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Originally designed to target lowering blood pressure, it had an added wonderful side-effect of also losing weight! It is very clear-cut, eat more fruits and veggies, lean meats and whole grains and make sure you have heart-healthy fats.

Cost and Value
This book will provide you everything you need for success including serving-sizes and Dash approved foods. It offers delicious and most importantly, clear guidelines to help you lose weight in a healthful way. It is also nationally recognized as a leader in weight loss solutions.
Pros
  • Work towards getting a health gut
  • Not a restrictive diet
  • Top rankings in U.S. News and World Report for 7 years in a row
  • 28-day meal plan
  • Learn how to integrate healthy eating into your lifestyle
Cons
  • Contains some foods that tend to be expensive
  • Cookie-cutter book with no new revolutionary information

The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet:  Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off
Named the most effective diet of 2011 by the Daily Beast and a #1 New York Times bestseller, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off by Dr. Barbara Rolls and Mindy Hermann offers a solution to people who are over starving or restricting themselves to be thin. With a simple, science-based and shrewd approach to learning how to lose weight and keep it off.
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You don’t have to starve yourself
You are actually allowed to eat food on this plan and yes, lose weight! The type of foods you eat will help you figure out what to eat. You are to eat less energy-dense foods like fruits and veggies and this book provides you with a bunch of tools and resources to help you lose the weight and not feel unsatisfied.

Easy recipes with everyday foods
This is a terrific book to learn more about everyday healthy eating. No fads here. It can work for anybody at any age. You can eat and feel satisfied if you are eating nutrient dense foods, and with this plan you will learn what they are. You will learn how to look at what you eat differently, for instance if you want that cold beer, you might envisualize how much other foods you could eat instead of it and make your best decision from there.

Cost and Value
This book is straight to the point, and doesn’t require you to restrict yourself or eat any exotic foods, or make you count calories and prepare based on phases. Listen, the truth is there is no quick fixes out there, eat right and move and you will lose weight. It helps with understanding the best foods and understanding portion control.
Pros

Science-based

Prevents cravings or dissatisfaction

Simple recipes

Cons

Doesn't offer quick results

 

There’s no one-size-fits-all diet plan that works for everyone. Different bodies process food in different ways, and it’s important to consult with your physician before making any drastic changes to the way that you eat. Some people have issues with hormones that cause insulin resistance, and others may have disorders that affect their metabolism. All of these can impact the type of diet that you need to consider, and the types of foods that you can eat. Once you know how your body works, you need to put together a customized plan that focuses on your needs.

Diet books are great resource for nutritional information, realistic plans, and healthy recipes that can help you stay on track. It’s important to find one that you can relate to and that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed. If a diet is too complicated and restrictive, there’s a very good chance you won’t stick with it. It’s all about complementing your lifestyle and improving your health one step at a time.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Diet Books

Diet Goals

Before settling on a plan, you’ll need to establish your diet goals. Again, this really needs to be done with the help of a trained professional. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. It seems like everyone has some miracle diet plan that melts fat immediately. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true—it probably is.

If weight loss is one of your goals, remember that it’s a long process. Trying to get results too quickly can cause more health problems than you started with. A natural rate of weight loss usually happens at 1 to 2 pounds per week. This is on the high end of the spectrum, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if that’s all you lose in a month. Weight loss is progress regardless of the amount and the timeframe. When you lose weight correctly by changing your approach to healthy eating, you have a better chance of keeping the weight off permanently. Crash diets almost always result in gaining the weight back. A diet needs to be sustainable and appropriate for your needs.

Ultimately, it’s about living a healthier lifestyle, feeling better about yourself, and caring for your body. The diet books that we looked at provided valuable information on a broad range of goals. They have a focus on long-term results and encourage and educate.

Diet Success and Popularity

A diet plan can have a serious impact on your health and self-esteem. We understand this, and only looked at the books that have credible resources and results-based research to back up their claims. These diet plans are based in scientific fact, and don’t make impossible claims. They focus on healthy weight loss and nutritional education. These are not fad diets or plans that encourage starvation. They’ve been publicly tested and proven to be effective over a long period of time. Popularity and diet success aren’t mutually exclusive, which is why we looked at both factors individually before choosing the books on our list.

Nutrition Education

People are more likely to stick with the diet plan when they understand why they’re doing it. We looked at the education provided in each diet book and how it was presented to readers. It’s important that you learn about your body’s nutritional needs, and how to meet them without over eating. Everyone is different and understanding how your body works can help you to make better choices. All of these books have scientifically backed information that relates to nutrition and its impact on our health. They don’t just tell you what to do, they explain why you’re doing it.

Organization

You can have all the information at your fingertips, the studies, the lists, and the recipes but if you don’t know how to incorporate them into your life and into a routine that works for the plan but also for you, it is a lot for not.  We made sure the books we reviewed gave you a useable and as easy to follow as possible framework for how to be successful in the program. Weather it be through phases, or a specific amount of days, or detailed information on what to eat, when to eat and how to supplement; organization was supremely important to us when we reviewed these books.

 

Other Important Things To Think About

First of all, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, focus on developing a nutrition strategy that is specific and unique to you and one that will work for you.  There is not a one-size-fits all way of eating, clearly as you can see from our book reviews above.  Nutrition programs are very diverse.  Consider a couple of things in addition to the information we offered above when you are looking to select your perfect book.  First, forget  thinking about the program you are about to embark on as a “diet.”  Diets mentally give us a start and end date, when we think diet, we always think of when it will end.

Think instead of the program  you are choosing as a lifestyle to live by, not a quick fix starvation program.  Also, try learning a bit about all of the different programs out there.  You don’t necessarily have to follow all of them, but getting an overall understanding of why and how each program works may help you figure out  which healthy pieces of each will work best for you.  Knowledge is power.  Last, reassess your nutrition program every so often.  Keep yourself engaged in it and you will be more likely to stick with a healthy lifestyle for the long-term.

 

FAQ

Q:  What is Paleo and why is it so popular?

It is a dietary plan that is based on foods that are similar in modern times to those that would have been eaten during the Paleolithic era.  This diet usually includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Foods that are limited are those that became common when farming emerged roughly about 10,000 years ago.  The foods in this category would be dairy, legumes and grains.

The purpose of the diet is to try to return to a regiment of eating that is similar to what early humans ate because of the belief that the human body is genetically mismatched to what we eat now in modern times that was a result of technology and related to our farming practices.  This diet has risen in popularity as its fitness component CrossFit has become popular way to exercise. People who may do this diet want to lose weight or maintain a health weight or they desire help with meal planning.

Q:  How much weight is healthy to lose in a month?

It is enticing to think about losing a ton of weight in a month or even a week, but health wise this is not only unhealthy, but unsustainable.  Evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily are far more successful at maintaining their weight loss. That would look like about 1-2 lbs. per week, or at most 8 lbs. per month.

Q:  How much should I be exercising?

You should be exercising most days of the week, at a moderate intensity for about 60-90 minutes in a session.  Being sedentary most of the day if you have a desk job and drive to and from work, added in with sitting to watch tv and eat, you are not moving much in the day.  Get more steps in -along with your set exercise- sessions wherever you can, it all adds up!

Q:  What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a natural and normal metabolic process where the body burns fat because it does not have enough glucose for energy, so the stored fat is used instead.  The result of this process is a build-up of acids in the body which are called ketones. The purpose of this diet is to burn unwanted fat by making the body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Sources

  1. WebMD, Dietician Picks 8 Favorite Diet Books, Clinical Information,
  2. Women’s Health, 5 Diet Books You Need to Read in 2018, Women's Health & Fitness Publication,
  3. Bodybuilding.com, Is it Time to Stop Dieting?, Fitness Publication,
  4. Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Clinical Publication,
  5. Centers for Disease Control, Losing Weight, Health Information,
  6. Bodybuilding.com, How to Chose Your Best Diet, Fitness Publication,
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