The 9 Best Nutrition Books of 2023, According to a Dietitian

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Best Nutrition Books

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 ones that are full of great content while are also engaging. The best nutrition books can be guidance- or recipe-based and will focus on a subject that sparks your particular interests.

When shopping for a nutrition book, you want to look for ones that are written by a qualified expert and have evidence-backed information. The book should also match your level of understanding of the subject. If you are unfamiliar with the basic terms of nutrition, an easier-read with less of an emphasis on scientific material is ideal. We researched a variety of books for different audiences with these features in mind.

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

Best Overall

Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating

Gentle Nutrition


  • Written by a Registered Dietitian

  • Includes 50+ recipes

  • Teaches Intuitive Eating philosophies

  • A bit pricier than other books

If you're looking for the ultimate simplified approach to nutrition and healthy eating, look to Rachael Hartley, RD. Her book, "Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating" offers clear and actionable advice to improve health through learning flexibility rather than focusing on diet fads and numbers.

Rachael dives into building healthy habits with satisfying meals and snacks while leaving diet-culture behind. The evidence-based advice is taught through easy-to-read stories and tips, as you learn to change your mindset on health and food. You'll also learn how to be more in-tune with your hunger and satiety cues. Hartley focuses on truly enjoying what you eat without all of the confusion and pressure that comes with following fad diets.

If you're looking for a read that will teach you self-care and nourishment, this is the one for you. Plus, it features 50 plus recipes to help get you started on balanced meal ideas!

Price at time of publication: $30

Number of Pages: 256 | Author Credentials: RD, LD | Publication Year: 2021

Best for Science-Lovers

How Not to Die

How Not to Die


  • Written by a Medical Doctor

  • Translates complex science into actionable advice

  • Teaches about longevity through food

  • Emphasis on a plant-based diet may not be suitable for all

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. He suggests these lifestyle changes 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 and exercises that benefit health, which includes flaxseeds, beans, and berries to name 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: $17 for hardcover

Number of Pages: 576 | Author Credentials: MD | Publication Year: 2015

Best About Food Politics

In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food


  • Provides tips to become a conscious consumer

  • Written by an expert, investigative journalist of food, humans and nature

  • May be too dense for some

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 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: $22 for hardcover

Number of Pages: 256 | Author Credentials: Expert writer and journalist | Publication Year: 2008

Best for Babies and Toddlers

Little Foodie

Little Foodie


  • Includes over 100 recipes

  • Guidelines on when to start feeding different foods

  • Does not contain pictures for all recipes

For many parents, figuring out how to best feed babies and toddlers is an incredibly stressful feat. With her book, blogger Michele Olivier arms readers with the knowledge and tools needed to give children nutritious foods that will support development of the brain and body, while helping kids build a wide palate 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: $15 for paperback

Number of Pages: 346 | Author Credentials: A baby food blogger and a Nutrition Therapist (MNT) | Publication Year: 2015

Best for Supplements

Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More

  • Written by a Medical Doctor

  • Provides guidance on reading product labels

  • Doesn't include information on less popular supplements

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 supplements without guidance on which ones to pick. 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: $16 for hardcover

Number of Pages: 336 | Author Credentials: MD | Publication Year: 2016

Best Cookbook

The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You'll Want to Eat

  • All ingredients can be found in most supermarkets

  • Includes in-season swap ideas

  • Recipes are fast and budget-friendly

  • Written by creator of a popular recipe website

  • Not written by a dietitian or doctor

If you're looking for a cookbook that provides healthy recipes and ways to lighten up comfort foods, Erin Clarke's "The Well Plated Cookbook" is an excellent choice. The cookbook focuses on flexible and straightforward recipes with delicious flavor and clean ingredients. The collection of over 130 recipes includes everything from soups and salads to pastas, sheet-pan dinners and even desserts.

The informative book is also chock-full of tips to repurposing leftovers, how to store and reheat food as well as ingredient swaps. "The Well Plated Cookbook" offers recipes that are simple and healthy that all members of the family can enjoy. Recipes range from enchiladas to sheet pan tandoori chicken and a very popular blueberry banana bread.

Price at time of publication: $30 for hardcover

Number of Pages: 320 | Author Credentials: Creator of a popular recipe website | Publication Year: 2020

Best Easy-to-Read

Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked): 11 Science-Based Ways to Eat More, Stress Less, and Feel Great about Your Body

Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked): 11 Science-Based Ways to Eat More, Stress Less, and Feel Great about Your Body


  • Reads like you're talking to your best friend

  • Teaches you to identify "fake" nutrition news

  • Provides practical application of research

  • Some may not enjoy her witty writing style

Nutrition books can contain complex research that is 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 for hardcover

Number of Pages: 320 | Author Credentials: MS, RD | Publication Year: 2019

Best Food Industry-Focused

Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat

  • Open's readers eyes to become a conscious consumer

  • Teaches reader to dig deeper into research studies

  • May be a bit too technical for some

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 for hardcover

Number of Pages: 320 | Author Credentials: PHD | Publication Year: 2018

Best for a Healthier Relationship with Food

Intuitive Eating

  • Written by two dietitians

  • Helps end yo-yo dieting

  • 10 principles to guide mindset shift

  • Some have found previous editions to be easier reads

Written by two Registered Dietitians, Intuitive Eating is our top pick for developing a healthier relationship with food. Not only will you learn to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting, but you will be able to reject common myths of diet culture.

This book will give you a way to trust your body to tell you what it needs. It can help guide to block out all the confusion of external influences and instead learning to reconnect with internal cues. It can take time to undo that disconnect from our bodies, but authors ask and help guide readers towards building a new framework of healing and honoring yourself.

The 10 principles also get into coping with emotions, respecting your body, movement and more. So if you've been feeling defeated and want an anti-diet approach to nutrition, this book is for you. There's also an Intuitive Eating Workbook that is complementary to this one, offering exercises to improve on you're newly learned skills.

Price at time of publication: $18 for paperback

Number of Pages: 400 | Author Credentials: MS, RDN, CERDR-S and MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND | Publication Year: 2020

How We Selected

To find the best nutrition books on the market, we sorted through a ton to find reputable authors, relaying nutrition information with accuracy. We also considered readability and enjoyability, as well as important topics when choosing these books.

What to Look for in a Nutrition Book

Credible and Research-Backed

When you pick a nutrition book, look for the credentials of the author; what is the author's educational background? Is this person a doctor or dietitian? Anyone can publish a book so make sure this advice is coming from a qualified expert.

Also, the advice and recommendations can affect your health, so it's important to be able to trust this person and the information they are presenting. Recommendations should be based on high-quality scientific studies, clinical trials and other credible sources. The books that don't have references for such claims are generally unreliable sources.

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 for education on a particular took, a book with tons of evidence-based nutrition recommendations, tips, and explanations may be best.


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!

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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