The 8 Best Nutrition Books of 2022, According to a Dietitian

Learn more about your body and the nutrients it needs with "How to Be Well"

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Verywell Fit / Amelia Manley

A nutrition-focused book can help you revitalize your diet and lifestyle to make smarter choices, but with so many on the market, it can be hard to find a book that makes learning the subject fun. The best nutrition books can be guidance- or recipe-based and will focus on a subject that sparks your interests.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick is "How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life" by Frank Lipman, MD because it's easy to understand and has easy, actionable advice to follow. If you're into the science part of nutrition, try "How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease" by Michael Greger, MD.

When shopping for a nutrition book it's important to find options that have evidence-backed claims and educational information. They should also match your level of understanding of the subject. If you are unfamiliar with the basic terms of nutrition, finding a book for beginners is a great option. We researched a variety of books for beginners and experts alike with these features in mind.

Here are the best nutrition books, according to a dietitian.

Best Overall: How To Be Well

If you're looking for the ultimate simplified manual on nutrition and lifelong vitality, look to Frank Lipman, MD. His book, "How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life," offers clear and actionable advice to improve health and strengthen day-to-day well-being. The manual touches on best practices for nutrition but extends beyond nutrition science and offers ways to nourish yourself in regard to sleep, movement, everyday toxins, stress management, and a sense of meaning.

The approachable guide offers over 100 simple steps to improve your overall life and nutrition, so it's easy to implement one or two changes rather than focusing on a huge lifestyle overhaul. It's meant to be used as an educational book that you can use at your own pace, making healthy changes one step at a time. Top nutrition lessons include how to "compose the perfect plate," why healthy fat is your friend, and how to ditch sugar. Dr. Lipman breaks down complex nutrition theories into easy-to-digest mini-chapters that are interesting, educational, and fun to read.

Price at time of publication: $30

Best for Science-Lovers: How Not to Die

How Not To Die
Courtesy of Amazon.com

With a catchy title, Michael Greger, MD, begins with the fact that we may be living to older ages, but we’re living more of those years in sickness. So, he sets out to outline the lifestyle factors—most critically a whole foods, plant-based diet—that can prevent, stop, and reverse leading causes of death, including heart disease, lung diseases, some cancers, and diabetes. He offers his “daily dozen,” a list of foods—plus exercise—that buoy health best (flaxseeds, beans, and berries are just a few). His overall premise is to address the root cause of disease rather than treat the symptoms.

Unlike some books on the market that claim to boost longevity, "How Not to Die" uses scientifically proven nutrition advice that promotes consuming whole foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as evidence-backed spices, such as turmeric, which can help to block carcinogens. The book is rooted in science—it contains a plethora of citations—and translates complex scientific research into comprehensive, easy to read, and actionable advice.

Price at time of publication: $35 for hardcover

Best About Food Politics: In Defense of Food

In his book, "In Defense of Food," the popular journalist Michael Pollan highlights the American obsession with food and points out how the nation tends to get less healthy as we worry more about food. Known for his famous seven-word maxim—"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."—Pollan is not afraid to draw attention to the way the industrialization of eating has driven us to eat products of food science instead of natural foods found in nature.

The focus of his book is "nutritionism," or the common American fascination with single nutrients (such as fiber or vitamin C) as beacons of health, rather than the overall enjoyment of foods that contain these healthy ingredients. He discusses how nutritionism has led to disease and then instructs how to break away from the Western diet. Pollan empowers readers to choose "real food" for the health of the population, American land, and the US food culture. He invites people to step away from the packaged supermarket goods and embrace bountiful produce that's free of health claims, nutrition labels, and even colorful packaging.

Price at time of publication: $25

Best for Babies and Toddlers: Little Foodie

For many parents, figuring out how to best feed their babies and toddlers is an incredibly stressful feat. With her book, blogger Michele Olivier arms readers with the knowledge and tools they need to give their children nutritious foods that will nourish their brain and body and help them stay healthy from the get-go. "Little Foodie" is an excellent first resource to jump into pediatric nutrition, starting with how to start feeding your baby solids.

The resource is more than a cookbook—although it does contain over 100 recipes. It includes helpful answers for typical questions about infant and toddler nutrition and eating habits, as well as an in-depth how-to for creating purées and finger foods. The thoughtful, tasty recipes are perfect for the whole family and contain a variety of nutritious ingredients to create adventurous and healthy eaters.

Price at time of publication: $8

Best for Supplements: Fortify Your Life

If you're curious about how supplements fit into an overall nutrition picture, "Fortify Your Life" is an excellent starting point. Integrative health physician Tieraona Low Dog, MD, walks you through key minerals and vitamins, gives simple instructions on how to read product labels, and talks about common nutrient deficiencies in our modern lives. While it's easy to be attracted to certain supplements because of their purported health claims and attractive labels, Dr. Low Dog distills the supplement industry down to the essential facts and educates readers on how to consider what may benefit them.

Commonly, physicians recommend supplementing with vitamin D or an omega-3; however, not many practitioners are familiar with top brands. Leave it to Dr. Low Dog, a trusted natural health physician, to help you navigate the complex and confusing world of supplements.

Price at time of publication: $26

Best Cookbook: The Clean Plate

If you're looking for a cookbook that does double duty, providing healthy recipes and actionable nutrition tips, Gwyneth Paltrow's "The Clean Plate: Eat, Reset, Heal" is an excellent choice. The cookbook focuses on flexible and straightforward recipes with delicious flavor and clean ingredients. The collection of over 100 recipes includes everything from soups and smoothies to entrées, snacks, and even desserts.

The informative book is also chock-full of health tips from nutrition experts. "The Clean Plate" offers specific meal plans based on health concerns, including adrenal support, heart health, and candida, that are created by doctors and nutritionists. Recipes range from vegan favorites like butternut squash tacos to easy weeknight meals such as sheet pan chicken broccolini and sweet chocolate chia pudding. Especially if you're a fan of Paltrow's other cookbooks or the recipes on GOOP.com, this food-lover's cookbook is for you.

Price at time of publication: $35

Best Easy-to-Read: Dressing on the Side

Nutrition books can contain complex research and be challenging—and not to mention boring—to read. If you're looking for a fun, entertaining, and informative read that debunks diet myths, check out "Dressing on the Side." Written by registered dietitian Jaclyn London, the former Good Housekeeping nutrition director, the witty, well-researched book reads like you're talking to your best friend. It's smart, funny, and conversational.

Each chapter begins with a few bullet points of what you'll achieve and then jumps right into well-thought-out discussion. Topics cover the top eleven excuses that people use when it comes to lifestyle changes, including lack of willpower, no time, and too much travel. Throughout the text, there are helpful tips and strategies (that are evidence-based, of course) to help you create life-long habits that lead to lasting change. This "anti-diet" book uses practical application of nutrition research to empower readers to take ownership of their schedules and eating habits to improve overall health.

Price at time of publication: $26

Best Food Industry-Focused: Unsavory Truth

Look to Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, America's leading public health and nutrition advocate, to decode how the food industry manipulates nutrition research to create highly profitable, easily marketed health claims. In "Unsavory Truth," Nestle digs into the moral and ethical aspects of food marketing, shedding light on how companies translate and conduct research to back products that may not be the healthiest options. Nestle points to sugar-sweetened beverages and Olestra as examples of industry-funded studies that favor the sponsor.

If you're interested in food policy and manipulations of food science, "Unsavory Truth" is for you. The text opens readers' eyes to the unsettling fact that companies generally put profit before public health. For other food industry-focused favorites, check out Nestle's "Food Politics" and "What to Eat."

Price at time of publication: $30

Final Verdict

For an excellent overall nutrition and lifestyle book, check out Dr. Frank Lipman's "How to Be Well" (view at Amazon). If you're interested in food politics, add "Unsavory Truth" (view at Amazon) and "In Defense of Food" (view at Amazon) to your list.

What to Look for in a Nutrition Book

Prior Knowledge

If you’re new to nutrition, you may need a bit more guidance and explanations of basic nutrition terms and theories. If you’re more advanced, you may prefer a book that discusses nutrition policy and science, as well as specific studies.

Guidance vs. Recipes

Take a look at the table of contents to see whether the book is more focused on nutrition recommendations, in-depth policy discussions, or recipes. Then, consider how you will use the book. If you're looking to educate yourself, a book with tons of evidence-based nutrition recommendations, tips, and explanations may be best.

Focus

Nutrition is a broad and constantly evolving science that has many subcategories, such as food policy, nutrigenomics, and food science. Consider your interests when choosing a nutrition book. For example, if you like to cook, you may prefer a cookbook or food science-based book, but if you prefer reading about food policy, a book on the food industry may be more attractive to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of learning about nutrition?

    Anyone can benefit from a greater understanding of nutrition. Armed with the right knowledge, you can make healthier choices for yourself and your family. You might learn how to cook new foods, choose better meals for a health condition, or be inspired to take political action after learning about the systems that produce our food.

  • Why is good nutrition important?

    A nourishing diet is essential for good health. Food sustains life, and healthy nutrition helps prevent chronic disease, lowers the risk of overweight and obesity, and sets children up for a healthier adulthood, among other benefits. Eating better often means feeling better.

  • What can I expect to learn from a nutrition book?

    Your takeaways from each nutrition book will depend on the subject matter, the author's ability to present information, and your own level of interest. That said, you can expect to learn about all manner of nutrition topics from books. Perhaps you're interested in expanding your knowledge about how to make healthy recipes, whether to take supplements, or what to feed your baby. The only thing a book won't provide is the food itself!

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A personal note on my recommendations: As a dietitian and author, I am careful to provide thoughtful and well-researched book recommendations when it comes to nutrition. It's important to find resources that are based on solid clinical research and offer constructive, health-promoting information rather than anecdotal, trendy fads. In compiling these recommendations, I spent time reviewing the best nutrition books on the market and considered what I have recommended to clients and patients in the past.Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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