The 8 of the Best Nutrition Books of 2019

Learn more about of your body and the nutrients it needs

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The Omnivore’s Dilemma; A Natural History of Four Meals at Amazon

"This special book has changed people’s lives."

Best Holistic: How Not to Die at Amazon

"Outlines lifestyle factors that can prevent leading causes of death."

Best for Portion Control: Finally Full, Finally Slim at Amazon

"Teaches how to 'right-size' your portions and maintain weight."

Best for Healthy Eating: Read It Before You Eat It at Amazon

"Helps you learn how to decode what the nutrition labels."

Best for Babies and Kids: What to Feed Your Baby & Toddler at Amazon

"Teaches which nutritious foods can help grow your brain and body."

Best Plant-Based: The Plant-Powered Diet at Amazon

"Paves the way for rebuilding your plate."

Best for Strength Training for Women: ROAR at Amazon

"A strategy for women to match their diet to their unique physiology."

Best for Strength Training for Men: Bigger Leaner Stronger at Amazon

"Learn how to maximize muscle protein synthesis."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The Omnivore’s Dilemma; A Natural History of Four Meals

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pollan has famously said: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” There’s something special about this book that changes people’s lives, and has earned this book a place on best book lists over and over. As he takes you from corn farm and cattle ranch to table, you start to understand the flaws in our current politicized food system. Throughout your journey, you’ll take away key tenants for eating: avoid products that contain more than five ingredients, eat less (in general), and cook more often at home.

Best Holistic: How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically

With a title that’s quite catchy, Dr. Greger 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 the 15 leading causes of death, including heart, lung, brain diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. He offers his “daily dozen,” a list of foods—plus exercise—that buoy health best (flaxseeds, beans, and berries are just a few). The idea: address the root cause of disease rather than treat the symptoms. “Treating the cause is not only safer and cheaper, but it can work better,” Dr. Gregor writes. Cheers to your health.

Best for Portion Control: Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss

Now that buying a measly muffin at the store can set you back 800 calories and salads can top 1,000, it seems like you’re destined to gain weight no matter what. Lisa Young, a registered dietitian nutritionist and adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University, gets it. She sees how crazy-sized portions are one big factor behind weight gain, and she’s here to help. Young teaches you how to “right-size” your portions so that you don’t have to be stuck in a cycle of restriction, something that will help you maintain weight loss (rather than gain it back, as is so common). She also makes a big push for the other factors beyond diet and exercise that may be holding you back, like attitude (“did you know happy people make better food choices?” she writes) and sleep, and how to better each.

Best for Healthy Eating: Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table

Food labels have a way of tricking us, you might say. They splash big promises on the front, but the nutrition label and ingredients list tell another story. Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN takes you under her wing, decoding it all. She outlines how to shop, read labels, avoid deceptive advertising, and decide if going organic really is a must. You’ll then take a personal tour with her around the grocery store, into each aisle for her buying tips and tricks. You’ll put down the book feeling empowered, far more knowledgeable, and ready to take control—no matter what big promise the next superfood has in store for you.

Best for Babies and Kids: What to Feed Your Baby & Toddler

Written by a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (and mom!), you know that her advice is both science- and reality-based. Not only does she approach her guidelines from a practical point of view (she knows how tough it can be to feed your little ones), but she also aims to arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to give them nutritious foods that will grow their brain and body and help them stay healthy. You’ll also learn how to start feeding your baby solids in the first place, a time that can be especially nerve wracking for parents that they’re “doing it wrong.” You’ll leave with a sense of confidence, some great ideas, and—let’s hope—a more adventurous eater.

Take a peek at our article on the best organic baby food brands.

Best Plant-Based: The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan

This registered dietitian nutritionist knows her stuff when it comes to plant-based diets. Whether you forgo all animal products or eat some, Palmer paves the way for rebuilding your plate to put the focus on foods like whole grains, vegetables, and plant-based fats. What’s more, it’ll reassure you that, yes, you can get the protein you need from plants, learn how to cook vegetables in ways you love, and fall in love again with whole grains. Shifting your eating style from one focused on animal products is a learning curve at first, but one that will make a major difference in your health and wellbeing—and with Palmer’s help, it seems so doable.

Best for Strength Training for Women: ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness

Newsflash: women are not small men. (Says Sims) Your hormones (and their ebb and flow throughout the month) affect your performance, whether you’re in the gym or out on the trail. And knowing about your unique female physiology can help you find the perfect fueling and recovery strategy to more effectively reach your goals. Sims calls herself a “biohacker for the female race,” and she’s not kidding. Along with breaking down the science of what makes you tick and under what nutrition your body performs best, she also provides handy fuel plans for a range of female athletes (vegan, post-menopausal, etc), including macro and calorie goals and detailed sample meal plans for various workout intensities. Simply put: she’s got you covered.

Check out our reviews of the best vitamins for women.

Best for Strength Training for Men: Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science

Want to know exactly how much protein to eat to maximize muscle protein synthesis? Want to know what types of proteins reign supreme to hit your goals? Want to know the specific protein to have (and how much) 30 minutes before a training session? Matthews has the answer, and it comes from research. Guys who like matter-of-fact guidelines about what to do and eat and when will find this book straight forward to follow—and that’s probably why they get such great results. If you’re into more advanced techniques (bulking and cutting), he outlines the best way to do that, too. And finally, because you’re not expected to buy all the fancy stuff, Matthews will take you through how to get all these results by budget shopping, searching for the cheapest, but most high-quality proteins, fats, and carbs in the store.

Read our roundup of the best protein powders for men.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the best nutrition books on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered more than 40 nutrition books overall, read over 150 reader reviews (both positive and negative), and read of the nutrition books themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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