Raise your hand if you’ve downloaded a diet book (or three) only to abandon it after 20 pages.
Maybe you quit because you realized you’d never be able to give up carbs for that long, or because all the meal prep seemed like a total time suck.
Luckily, some diet books have more staying power than others—so you can hit your weight-loss goals and stop wasting so much money on Amazon. These are the best diet books out there right now, according to registered dietitians.
1. The Plant-Based Solution
The author of this book, Joel Kahn, M.D., is a cardiologist who has been speaking out on the benefits of a plant-based diet for years. “This book makes a strong argument for plant-based living that is rooted in the research, and keeps the focus on the benefits of plant-based living rather than attacking meat-based living,” says Paul Salter, R.D., author of A Dietitian’s Dozen Fat-Loss Tips. Plus, plenty of research shows that going vegan (or vegan-ish) can totally help you lose weight.
2. Dirty Genes
This book focuses on epigenetics, the science of how your genes affect your health. What’s that got to do with weight loss, though? “Some of our genes have been negatively impacted by our lifestyles, like the food we eat, exercise we don’t do, stress we’re exposed to, the list goes on,” Salter says. This book will help you learn how to clean up your act so your genes are working for you—not against you. Do that and weight loss will follow.
3. Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.
Love working out but struggle to keep your nutrition on track? Shalene Flanagan (former winner of the New York City marathon!) shows you exactly how she fuels her record-breaking runs in this book.
While Flanagan is not a nutritionist, she does provide plenty of quick-but-nutritious recipes that anyone can benefit from, Salter says. Keep your food habits dialed in, and those weight-loss results will show up soon after.
4. The Rainbow Diet
The book is great for moving past the whole “fruit and vegetables are good for you” thing and really digging into the benefits of variety, Salter says. You’ll learn which foods you should be eating more (or less) of, and how to make up for any potential nutritional deficiencies while you’re cleaning up your diet.
5. Integrative Nutrition
“This book takes a strong stand against fad diets—thankfully!—and instead focuses on a concept that everyone can apply to their nutrition behaviors: intuitive eating,” Salter says. It’s not a diet per se, but rather a guide to choosing what diet is right for you and your body.
6. The Pescatarian Cookbook
Let’s be real: It’s hard to go full-on vegetarian—that’s likely why lots of people choose the pescatarian route (a.k.a. eating veggies and fish). This book “provides insights regarding potential health benefits of a pescatarian diet while also offering tips related to sustainability, food safety, and meal planning,” says Alyssa Lavy, R.D.
In addition to recipes and insight into the diet, the book also gives tips on what types of kitchen equipment to use, pantry staples to buy, and even advice on how to purchase quality fish and keep it fresh once you bring it home (which can be tricky and confusing AF, tbh).
7. The Low FODMAP Diet, Step By Step
The Low FODMAP diet (it stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, just so you know) is great for those with digestive issues, says Lavy—but it can be kind of tricky to follow.
“This diet book details the different phases of the diet while offering delicious low-FODMAP recipes to help you stick to the plan and enjoy the food,” says Lavy—an important part of any diet, really.
8. Smart Meal Prep For Beginners
It’s true: Prepping your meals in advance can definitely help with your weight-loss goals. (You’re less likely to indulge when you already have dinner waiting for you at home.) But it’s often hard to know where to start—and what to make. This book aims to change that.
“This book provides a great introduction to planning and developing healthful meals and acts as a cookbook and guidebook in one,” says Lavy, who adds that the book also includes grocery shopping lists, meal-prep equipment, and basic food safety rules for storing pre-cooked meals.
9. The Bloated Belly Whisperer
“If you suffer from digestive issues, this book is a must-read,” says Lavy, adding that it provides 50 recipes for people following gluten-free, lactose-free, and low-fructose diets. This book aims to help you feel your best, regardless of any symptoms you have—while still eating meals you can enjoy.
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