Madelyn Fernstrom

Science-y or emotional eater? Find the right diet book for you

Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:55 AM ET

There are a lot of new books out there. But how to pick the right one for you? When it comes to weight loss, “one size does not fit all” -- and that goes for the books, too!

We sorted through a dozens of the newest ones to help you choose one that connects with you. Our criteria:

  • body of scientific evidence to support the plan
  • author health credentials
  • plan is easy to understand and implement
  • not a quick fix (“when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”) but for long term success.

If you identify your "diet personality" and know yourself, you'll be able to find a plan that's personalized for you. That's the key to long-term weight-loss success.

1.STRAIGHT-FORWARD SCIENCE

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution (Marla Heller, MS, RD)

-DASH Diet ranked number 1 best diet overall by US News and World Report (DASH = Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – an National Institute of Health successful project).

- A key combo of the DASH principles for good health, with the right advice for portion control – without calorie counting.

-Wide variety of foods – avoids deprivation.

- Up to date research in successful programs to lose weight. No gimmicks. Can work for vegetarians as well. Mostly based on effective food plan (most important for weight loss, but does encourage daily physical activity but not much on the “how to” there).

 Thinner This Year (Chris Crowley and Jen Sacheck, PhD)

-a great combo of diet and exercise, with an easy to understand format.

-clear, concise, well balanced nutritious diet plan. Realistic exercise.

-the combo of the authors – nutrition scientist and witty writer makes this an easy to read volume with loads of timely, science based information. helps each reader create their own story for weight loss.

 2.STEP-BY-STEP

Shred (Ian Smith, MD)

-taking you by the hand, and guiding you, for meals and snacks.

-he is experienced in taking complicated principles to easy ways to implement

-very structured, yet also gives reader the option to “tweak”. Lists of meals and snacks, and but also options to choose which of these you want from his lists.

 AARP New American Diet (John Whyte, MD)

-this plan is for everyone – not just 50+ with the “AARP” in the name.

-a combination of American and Meditteraean eating, this provides plans for 7 days, 14 days, and 30 days.

-answers lots of the most common questions dieters have.

-step by step instructions of “how to” make changes, not just “what to do”. 

3.LOVE TO COOK

The Parisian Diet (Jean-Michel Cohen, PhD)

-no deprivation here. A leading nutritionist in France tells you how to include all of your favorites.

-concentrates of enjoying your meals.  A diet is not a prison sentence.

-easy, tasty recipes – focus on cooking at home.

-restaurant eating and supermarket shopping

-a practical guide for those who love to cook (and eat)  

Eat to Lose, Eat to Win (Rachel Beller, MS, RD)

-clear that rachel beller loves to cook and eat – very motivating for readers

-sound nutritional principles presented in a good translation of HOW TO EAT

-supermarket guidelines a big plus

Smart Chefs Stay Slim (Allison Adato)

-this is a “how-to” for those who are around food a lot – chefs!

-solid advice, easy to put into practice

-“lessons” are spelled out – and how chefs have learned to follow them.

4. CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD (EMOTIONAL EATING)

Many people are walking encyclopedias of calories and what to eat. The debate  between an apple and apple pie doesn’t relate to lack of knowledge, but of a problematic relationship with food. These books help in different ways…….these really work with ANY diet plan you choose. It is the missing link for many books – not saying “what to do” (the basis of many plans), but “how to do it” (breaking down barriers to why you can’t follow a plan). 

Train Your Brain to Get Thin (Melinda Boyd, MS, RD and Michele Noonan, PhD)

-good combo of brain biology and behavior

-fab strategies of recognizing the problems, and how to re-train your behavior for successful weigh loss

Never Goin’ Back (Al Roker)

-inspiring lessons from someone who has been to severe obesity and back

-used surgery as a tool, and found that lifestyle was even more important

-understanding and accepting himself was the key to finding the right plan

-you must work at breaking down your weight loss barriers

-honest and uplifting

The Diet Dropout’s Guide to Natural Weight Loss (Stan Spencer, PhD)

-this title says it all – not for the  beginner – someone who’s tried many times

-easy to read and providing many useful take-away practical messages

-a slim volume that has the basics of behavior change – and includes all the ones people really sturggle with.

5.CLASSICS UPDATED AND REVISED FOR 2013

The Mayo Clinic Diet (Weight Loss Experts at Mayo Clinic; Donald Hensrud, MD medical editor in chief)

-now in paperback, and revised with new menu plans and recipes

-multiple experts weigh in on their various areas of expertise – nutrition, physical activity, behavior

-used at Mayo Clinic  for years, and it works.

-great pictures, easy to understand and follow.

Ultimate Volumetrics (Barbara Rolls, PhD)

-the original volume on calorie density – how many calories per ounce.

-based on authors decades of research.

-dilute your calories by adding water, air, fiber, cutting down on fat…….

-updated with great recipes and newest research findings.

-the originator of why soup and salad are great to start a meal……

-people eat for WEIGHT of food – not perceiving calories.

-this shows you how to optimize the volume of food, to eat more, weigh less.

-based on eating loads of fruits and vegetables (low density – diluted with water)

-proteins are lean (low fat) – can twice the serving of fish compared with red meat, for the same calories, for example.

-primary focus on eating, which is most people’s problem. But does address activity. 

Related:

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School program helps 11 students lose over 750 pounds

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