One of the most important parts of my life journey has been to health. The best books on nutrition and healthy eating will hopefully convince you of the importance of nutritional health and how to get started with it.
There’s an over abundance of “advice” for starting a diet or lifestyle change out there in the world. What’s good advice and what’s not?
I can tell you now that I truly believe that the way to a slim figure (if that’s what you’re all about, that’s cool), beautiful skin, lack of digestive issues, and athletic ability starts with what we eat. Toss out those fad-diets and get the scoop on fueling your body with nutrition for the long run.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating Books to Read
I once read somewhere that
Nutrition is the process of getting the food you need for health and growth. Everything you do EVERY DAY starts with how you fuel your body!
My Story with Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Back in 2011, I was having serious IBS issues. My digestive system was in constant pain. There was one day that I spent an hour after lunch in the fetal position in a quiet room. I was eating your typical American diet: cereal for breakfast, granola bar for a snack, sandwich for lunch, cookies and a glass of milk for another snack, and then something for dinner like a big bowl of pasta.
A cousin had given me a book for my not-so-healthy Christmas that she had used to manage her stress: The Primal Blueprint (see below). At some point during my digestive struggles, I realized that they were based on what I was eating. I changed practically overnight to making my own nut granola, eating lots of salads, and eating eggs almost every day.
I think my pain was due to a wheat allergy and the fact that I wasn’t getting the complete nutrition that I needed. Once I made the change, my digestive issues completely went away! As a bonus, I had more energy and felt much better overall!
Now, even if you aren’t willing to give up your sandwiches or cereal, you can still use the concepts in these books to check out your own food allergies, and make sure you are getting all the nutrition that you need.
I no longer eat strictly Paleo, but I do put a huge priority on vegetables and fruits, and eat healthy carbs and grains, like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and rice.
I’m even currently getting my certification in Sports Nutrition from ISSA.
There’s a lot more to the nutrition world than avoiding carbohydrates and grains (I now know), but there are common guidelines that help everyone who is striving to get their body to a healthier state. Below, I’m going to share the best nutrition books for 2020 PLUS the 4 books about nutrition that changed my life.
I’m interested in learning, but why do I need to read actual books about nutrition?
Yes, there is a TON of information on the internet. But much of it is poorly researched and NOT evidence-based. (The second book below even discusses how many studies were flawed, and how to know what evidence to trust.)
In reading books instead of quick posts by your favorite nutrition blogger, you know you’re getting information that has been thoroughly researched and vetted.
There is STILL going to be a lot of debate and variation between the nutrition recommendations in the books, but there is a growing trend that we all need to be aware of:
Evidence is mounting that the SAD (Standard American Diet) ISN’T HEALTHY.
So whether you’re interested in going keto, vegan, paleo, pescatarian, or some combination, these books below give you the best and most up to date information about how SAD got it wrong, how to fuel your body the RIGHT way, and what foods to avoid.
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The 5 Best Books on Nutrition in 2021
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
If you read ANY book on nutrition, this is the one.
Here’s a book that is focused on eating plants and avoiding “foods” like sugar, processed junk, and wheat. We should eat more like what our ancestors did, but unfortunately, our current agricultural systems are not set up to support eating in this manner.
Instead, we eat “food-like products” that don’t really nourish our bodies.
This is an absolutely essential book to understanding how we should REALLY be eating.
Published in March 2019, Nutrition in Crisis goes behind the nutritional “establishment” to unearth inconsistencies and flawed “evidence”. Filled with snarky rhetoric and wit, Nutrition in Crisis is your scientific understanding to the low-carb lifestyle, including how to reduce or eliminate disease.
Dr. Richard Feinman is a leading expert in biochemistry and metabolism. His low-carb lifestyle might be a little too extreme for some people, but the way he unravels the flawed advice of the Standard American Diet (Low-Fat diet) makes this book more than worth the read!
A little bit on a different end of the spectrum, this book gives you insurmountable evidence that going vegan will save your life.
Let me say, I’m not vegan. But as the years go on, I eat less and less meat, both for the sake of my health as well as for the sake of the environment and climate change.
How to Not Die is a science-based look into how eating a strictly plant-based diet will benefit your health in countless ways. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is the best way to extend our life and our quality of life.
This book was published in 2015.
From the moment I picked up this book, I was sucked in. Dr. Davis, a cardiologist, offers historical and scientific evidence discussing the developments of nutritional advice, like the infamous study that led the US Government to recommend a low-fat diet.
But more importantly, Dr. Davis explains the history of wheat, and how the modern strains have compounds and can lead to toxicity in the body. The most important concept of any Paleo lifestyle might not be grain elimination, but the elimination of poisonous wheat in our modern diet.
The best part: Aside from the scientific support and very in-depth exploration of the science of nutrition, I would say that the best part of this book are its companions! William Davis has also published cookbooks and detox books to help complement your wheat-free journey!
This is NOT a beginner book! If you’re new to nutrition, check out some of the other books on this list first!
Originally written and published in the 1930s, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration looks at the similarities and differences between indigenous diets. Weston Price is known for his travels around the world, studying cultures that foraged and hunted in their local environments.
He found some very interesting discoveries, including what happened to indigenous people when they integrated into modern society.
If you need evidence that the Standard American Diet is detrimental to health, this is a fantastic (and fascinating) resource.
3 Best Books on Nutrition History and Food Psychology
Now this is what Wild Simple Joy is all about!
Combining body positivity, mindfulness, and eating habits, Jenna Hollenstein presents a holistic solution to nourish your body and life! Healthy, enriching, and uplifting, Eat to Love gives you permission to release your insecurities and listen to your body and intuition.
Jenna Hollenstein is a nutritional therapist, registered dietician, and meditation teacher that combines her expertise to give you this amazing journey to health!
This book is a fascinating look into the psychology of food. Bee Wilson, food writer discusses how “food habits are shaped by a host of factors: family and culture, memory and gender, hunger and love.”
An excellent read for new parents (or experienced parents who are looking for healthier food habits for their children), First Bite can help you make better choices for yourself and your kids.
Want to learn about the history of dieting? This book discusses diet trends that started with the Greeks and Romans and how these trends are still present today.
Modern dieting has very deep roots in our human existence, and Louise Foxcroft presents the history in a comprehensive, entertaining, and enlightening way.
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4 Best Books on Nutrition that Changed My Life
Gillian McKeith is an interesting little British lady! She’s vehemently vegan and right off the bat, she recommends a colonic and vegetarian diet for several weeks, adding back in other things as time goes on. She’s a huge advocate for detoxing and flushing out all the toxins, fats, and bad “stuff” that’s been clogging our pipes.
This book is extremely colorful, helpful, and full of beautiful pictures of food!
The best part: Gillian is brutally honest and does not mind talking about things that are taboo… Having libido problems? Gillian has food recommendations for you! Feeling blue? Gillian has suggestions for you too! Is your poop a strange color?… She talks about it all!
She also has a TV show that aired from 2004-2007 by the same name as her book.
Three words: Liz. Is. Hilarious. If you’re looking for a snarky, witty book to bite you into shape, this is the book for you! Liz has worked for a long time as a nutritionist and advocate for the Paleo lifestyle, and her knowledge is comprehensive.
All of her extensive citations are in the back of the book, but they’re there… so don’t start thinking that you’re getting a bunch of info without scientific backing!
The best part: Her presentation! This is not your average “ho-hum” kind of non-fiction book! Liz keeps you engaged on every page, all the while presenting information that will help lead you to your best health! What could be better?!
Very similar to the book below, The Paleo Solution explains not only the optimal diet for human consumption, but also the history and science behind it. It’s written by biochemist Robb Wolf, who is fairly well-known as one of the leading experts on the paleo diet.
Robb Wolf takes nutrition a couple steps further by talking about leaky gut, stress, and fitness. Take on the 30-Day transformation at the end of the book. I never did it (mostly because I already followed the diet in the book below) but I’m sure it’s a winner!
The best part: embracing your inner rebel! Learn how we were mislead most of our lives about what diet is healthy, and how you can stick it to the man.
This is my all-time favorite book for nutrition and fitness. There are 10 Principles to follow that can help lead you to your most vibrant health.
Not a doctor or a nutritionist, Mark is just a retired marathoner looking for optimal health–don’t let that dissuade you from reading this book. Mark’s research, resources, and citations are absolutely comprehensive and flawless–even more so than Liz Wolfe, Gillian McKeith, or Janey Maccaro. He knows his stuff and stays up to date on current research and nutritional discoveries.
I highly recommend this book. I’ve read it probably 5 times (maybe more!) and keep a copy to reference on a regular basis.
The best part: Simple, easy-to-understand writing that is engaging and makes you shout “Oh my god, totally!” at your epiphanies. This method is simple, guilt-free, and holistic. Check out his companion book as well, the Primal Connection.
These best books for nutrition and healthy eating are great companions to the 30 Days to Healthy Living Program.
Want some more books to read? Check out these books:
16 Books on Spiritual Enlightenment
19 Wild Woman Books to Read After Women Who Run with the Wolves
Also check out: 20 Affirmation Cards for Self-Worth and Holistic Health