9 of the Best Nutrition Books To Read

There are so many excellent nutrition books available, and the following nine are some of the best I’ve read during 2018.

While I don’t agree with everything the authors write, each book offers different—but valuable—viewpoints.

And this is the point; no author is going to be 100% correct. We all have personal biases, and we all make mistakes, but we can always learn more from wider reading.

I think these books and their arguments all offer a valuable contribution to anyone’s wider nutrition knowledge.

1) Vitamania (Catherine Price)

Vitamania Book By Catherine Price.

Is taking a daily multivitamin critical to our overall health?

The answer to that question is a simple no, but not everybody knows this. In fact, some people spend hundreds of dollars a month on questionable vitamins.

Vitamania focuses on this “mania” with vitamins, and it provides the backstory to how we came to believe a small synthetic vitamin pill could rescue our health.

The author, Catherine Price, is a journalist by trade, and she writes this book in a fun and engaging tone.

That is not to say the book isn’t about science, though. It is clear that extensive research has gone into the book, and it is incredibly well-referenced.

The book looks at;

  • The discovery and origin of vitamins
  • Links between the food industry, nutrition politics, and vitamins
  • The realities behind the marketing hype of vitamin supplements
  • Lots of random facts and trivia about all the different vitamins

Recommended For

This book is suitable for anyone with an interest in nutrition.

It may also be a good gift for people who believe taking daily vitamins is an adequate replacement for healthy food.

Not Recommended For

Does the history and background of vitamin supplementation sound interesting? Would learning more about the effect vitamin supplements have on our body be useful?

If not, this may not be the right book for you.

Quick Facts

Title: Vitamania
Author: Catherine Price
Main Topic: The origin and effects of vitamin supplements
More Information: See here
Key Point: Vitamania looks at the world of vitamins, their history, and some of the dubious commercial products.

2) Food and Western Disease: Health and Nutrition From An Evolutionary Perspective (Staffan Lindeberg)

Food and Western Disease Book by Staffan Lindeberg.

This particular book is actually a few years old now.

After meaning to read it for a while, I finally got round to reading it this year, and it is among the best nutrition books I’ve read.

Staffan Lindeberg, the author, was a hugely respected researcher (and professor) at the University of Lund, Sweden.

Before his untimely death in 2016, he was one of the leading researchers into paleolithic and ancestral-based nutrition.

Dr. Lindeberg was famous for the Kitava study; research which looked at the diets and health of the (exceptionally healthy) Kitavan people living on traditional diets.

This book is an overview of his research and it looks at the links between diet and modern disease epidemics from an evolutionary perspective.

Dr. Lindeberg’s writing is heavy on the science, and it is far from being a gripping storybook type.

However, he sets out the evidence in a non-preachy, descriptive way; presenting rather than persuading.

Everything is extremely well-referenced, and it’s one of the more interesting nutrition books out there.

Recommended For

This book offers a fascinating look at the research between numerous diseases and potential links to the modern diet.

For anyone with an interest in traditional, ancestral style diets, it’s a great read.

Not Recommended For

If you’re looking for a page-turner full of scandal about nutrition politics, this is not the book for you.

It is very much science-first.

Quick Facts

Title: Food and Western Disease: Health and Nutrition From An Evolutionary Perspective
Author: Staffan Lindeberg
Main Topic: Ancestral eating, evolution, modern diets and disease
More Information: See here
Key Point: Food and Western Disease is a science-based look at evolutionary diets compared to the modern Western diet.

3) Intuitive Eating (Evelyn Tribole)

Intuitive Eating By Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

Intuitive Eating is a book co-authored by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, both of whom are registered dietitians.

However, it is a little different to the standard diet book. For one thing, it doesn’t prescribe a certain way of eating (or tell you what to eat).

In contrast, this book is all about our relationship with food, and it is very much science-based.

Some themes from the book include the following;

  • How deprivation and starvation diets result in continuous dietary failure
  • Weight loss is separate to exercise, and diet is the key component
  • The importance of satiety and overeating
  • How diet relates to exercise, stress, and sleep patterns
  • Recognizing hunger and satiety and using them as eating cues
  • How to establish healthier eating patterns

Recommended For

Most people with an interest in nutrition will be able to get something out of this book.

Overall, the book is an especially useful tool for anyone who has an unhealthy relationship with food.

On this topic, the book provides various guidance on how to break the increasingly common starvation/deprivation plans followed by binge-eating episodes.

Not Recommended For

This book has a strong narrative that any food can fit into a healthy lifestyle.

While this may be true for some people, others do find that certain foods can be triggers for overeating.

In other words; the moderation message doesn’t always work.

Anyone currently doing well on a specific dietary system may disagree with some of the author’s points.

However, the book still has lots of useful information on the emotional and hormonal connections with our food/diet.

Quick Facts

Title: Intuitive Eating
Author: Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Main Topic: Establishing healthy relationships with food
More Information: See here
Key Point: Intuitive Eating is an interesting book that focuses on establishing healthier eating patterns.

4) The Engineer’s Non-Diet (Tom Hill)

The Engineer's Non-Diet By Tom Hill.

The Engineer’s Non-Diet is an interesting book that provides a no-nonsense guide to healthy eating.

As part of this, the book offers;

  • Various useful pieces of nutrition data (such as nutrient-density ranking tables for thousands of foods)
  • An examination of various nutrition myths
  • Fun illustrations
  • Detailed instructions on how to successfully manage weight

While I don’t personally agree with all the author’s ideas, he gets it right where it counts.

For instance, the common theme throughout the book is that healthy eating is about opting for the most nutrient-dense foods.

One of the best things about the book is just how easy to read it is.

Although the book contains lots of useful nutrition data, it is also written in a fun and engaging style with humor (and the hand-drawn illustrations are great).

Recommended For

This book combines valuable nutrition data with a fun, engaging style of writing.

I think many people would find the book enjoyable.

Not Recommended For

The book likely won’t appeal to those looking for a conservative, academic-style book.

Quick Facts

Title: The Engineer’s non-Diet
Author: Tom Hill
Main Topic: Losing weight
More Information: See here
Key Point: The Engineer’s non-Diet is a fun and data-driven book that emphasizes nutrient density.

5) Real Food For Pregnancy (Lily Nichols)

Real Food For Pregnancy by Lily Nichols.

Lily Nichols is a registered dietitian who specializes in prenatal nutrition (amongst other things).

I recommended this book for a family member and managed to get a read through once she had finished with it, and it is an excellent book.

Given its topic area, the book’s appeal may be limited to pregnant women (or couples doing some pre-planning), but it caters to this audience exceptionally well.

Real Food For Pregnancy focuses on dietary considerations that encourage optimal health for future mothers and their babies.

As part of this, the book provides information on;

  • The importance of nutrient-dense, whole foods
  • How conventional prenatal nutrition beliefs can lead to nutrient deficiencies
  • The right (and wrong) foods to support a healthy pregnancy
  • Sample meal plans and nutritious recipes

Recommended For

Real Food For Pregnancy is one of the best nutrition books for expectant mothers or anyone who supports them.

Not Recommended For

This book is specifically about building a healthy diet and lifestyle for pregnant women. If this topic area is not of interest, then the book may not appeal.

Quick Facts

Title: Real Food For Pregnancy
Author: Lily Nichols
Main Topic: Prenatal nutrition (and lifestyle)
More Information: See here
Key Point: Real Food For Pregnancy is a science-backed guide to supporting a healthy pregnancy through nutritious food.

6) The Beginner’s Keto Diet Cookbook (Martina Slajerova)

The Beginner's Keto Cookbook by Martina Slajerova.

For anyone interesting in low-carb/ketogenic diets (or just lower carb meal options), this cookbook is one of the best I’ve seen.

The book is by Martina Slajerova, who runs the ‘Keto Diet App’ website and apps.

The Beginner’s Keto Diet Cookbook offers numerous tasty recipes that are simple to make, and are complete with nutritional values.

Each of the recipes in this book is low-carb, based on whole foods, and relatively nutrient-dense.

There are also a wide variety of recipes covering everything from breakfasts and dinners to appetizers, side dishes, and snacks.

The book isn’t only recipes, and it also provides an informative guide to some of the benefits (and potential drawbacks) of low carb dieting.

Recommended For

Anyone who follows a low carb or ketogenic diet and wants to learn some new recipes.

Additionally, the book would be useful for anyone looking to make some healthier alternatives to their favorites.

Not Recommended For

Vegans and vegetarians, and anyone who prefers a higher carb eating style.

Quick Facts

Title: The Beginner’s Keto Diet Cookbook
Author: Martina Slajerova
Main Topic: Tasty and reasonably simple low carb recipes
More Information: See here
Key Point: The Beginner’s Keto Diet Cookbook is full of healthy and delicious recipes.

7) Short Order Dad: One Guy’s Guide To Making Food Fun

Short Order Dad by Robert Rosenthal.

With so many recipe books aimed squarely at mothers/women in general, it is nice to see a book that was made specifically for men.

This book contains all kinds of different recipes, and the food choices don’t cater to any specific dietary system.

In other words; whether you follow a ketogenic, vegan, paleo, or any other diet, there is something for everyone inside.

Generally speaking, the recipes focus on good-quality ingredients, and some of the food in here is quite healthy and nutritious.

Each chapter in the book focuses on recipes for a certain food group, with notable chapters being ‘red meat, pig, and poultry’ and ‘adventures in seafood’.

The author states that the book is focused on offering ‘the most taste with the fewest ingredients and least effort’.

Recommended For

Anyone who justs wants to find a few quick and simple recipes.

Not Recommended For

This book is focused on convenience and uncomplicated recipes rather than the healthiest choices.

You’ll still find some healthy recipes here, but if you’re looking for a book about the most nutritious choices, it’s not really the right fit.

Quick Facts

Title: Short Order Dad: One Guy’s Guide To Making Food Fun
Author: Robert Rosenthal
Main Topic: Quick and easy recipes
More Information: See here
Key Point: ‘Short Order Dad’ is a recipe book aimed at men looking for simple (but tasty) recipes.

8) Nutritional Grail: Ancestral Wisdom, Breakthrough Science, and the Dawning Nutrition Renaissance (Christopher James Clark)

Nutritional Grail By Christopher James Clark.


Nutritional grail is another nutrition book looking at food and diet from an ancestral perspective.

However, it is only partly an information book, as it is also a recipe book that offers more than 100 recipes.

The author, Christopher James Clark, is a professional chef, and he also works as a researcher/writer under Dr. Loren Cordain, one of the leaders in Paleolithic research.

Again, I don’t agree with everything in this book, but it is an interesting look at how the human diet has changed….over the past millions of years.

The book generally advocates a diet full of nutritious whole foods, and it mixes the science with example recipes.

However, the book also advises against “synthetic and nontraditional foods”. 

For the most part, it is true that such foods are not healthy, but this is not always the case, and just because a food is nontraditional doesn’t necessarily make it a poor option.

Overall, though, the book is a well-researched look at traditional human diets, and it shows how far we have gone wrong with the current “standard American diet” (SAD).

On the positive side, it is also packed full of healthy recipes.

Recommended For

Anyone with an interest in perspectives on ancestral-based nutrition and the related science.

Not Recommended For

Given the subject matter, it is an interesting read for anyone.

However, those who prefer modern convenience food may not appreciate some of the book’s stronger viewpoints.

Quick Facts

Title: Nutritional Grail: Ancestral Wisdom, Breakthrough Science, and the Dawning Nutrition Renaissance
Author: Christopher James Clark
Main Topic: Traditional diets and nutrition from an ancestral perspective, and related recipes
More Information: See here
Key Point: Nutritional Grail is an interesting look at the disparity between traditional and modern diets.

9) Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? (Timothy Caulfield)

Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? By Timothy Caulfield.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘GOOP’ website has been publishing some… interesting… information for a while now.

For example, sensational claims about the disease-fighting properties of GOOP’s products, magical detox kits, and misleading guidance that you can’t take too many vitamin supplements.

So, I was interested to read this book based on the title, and it was definitely an interesting read.

The book is not only about Gwyneth Paltrow, and it looks at the wider problem of impressionable fans following questionable messages from their idols.

Recommended For

Anyone who blindly follows what their favorite celebrity says.

Not Recommended For

Although the book is written in an entertaining style, the book is very opinionated, and the style of the author may not suit everyone.

However, it is a good read.

Quick Facts

Title: Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?
Author: Timothy Caulfield
Main Topic: Celebrities and questionable health messaging
More Information: See here
Key Point: A needed takedown of some of the more pseudoscientific celebrity nutrition and health claims.

Final Thoughts

For varying reasons, these are some of the top nutrition books I’ve read this year.

While not all the books will appeal to everyone, they all offer a unique perspective on meaningful nutrition topics.

If any of the books appeal, give them a try!

For more on nutrition, see this guide to finding a good diet.

Or see these articles on popular nutritional topics.

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Michael Joseph, MSc

Michael works as a nutrition educator in a community setting and holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. He believes in providing reliable and objective nutritional information to allow informed decisions.

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