Diet Books for 2007

by Charles Platkin, PhD

You: On A Diet: The Owner’s Manual for Waist Management

Authors: Mehmet C. Oz, Michael F. Roizen

Cost: $25.00

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Endorsements: Oprah and the general public

Claim: Anyone can lose weight if they know how.

Concept: If entertained, engaged and given the “right” information about how the body works, you will learn how to achieve better eating and activity behavior.

Comments: Great book. It’s nothing completely new, but it’s packaged wonderfully. However, needs more information on behavior change

Description (from publisher): “Roizen and Oz will invigorate you with equal parts information, motivation and change-your-life action to show you how your brain, stomach, hormones, muscles, heart, genetics and stress levels all interact biologically to determine if your body is the size of a baseball bat or of a baseball stadium.”

Web site:

The Biggest Loser Cookbook: More Than 125 Healthy, Delicious Recipes Adapted from NBC’s Hit Show

Authors: Los Angles chef Devin Alexander, Karen Kaplan, The Biggest Loser Experts and Cast

Cost: $21.95

Publisher: Rodale

Endorsements: Highly rated TV show

Claim: Armed with this arsenal of nutritional information and training tips, readers will be inspired to achieve the dramatic weight-loss transformations that have amazed TV fans around the country, and, by eating these foods, anyone can look just like the winning contestants.

Concept: All these health experts, combined with Rodale and NBC, offer recipes that will help you lose weight.

Comments: The recipes look good and include nutritional information, but it’s unclear how you can achieve all this weight loss without a full-time staff of health and fitness experts.

Description (from publisher): 125 recipes from The Biggest Loser cast, trainers and fans; motivational before-and-after photographs of the cast; 50 beautiful four-color food shots; dozens of trainer tips from The Biggest Loser trainers; inspiring stories of how the cast members did it; at-a-glance guides to The Biggest Loser Diet and The Biggest Loser Exercise plan.

Web site:

The Diet Detective’s Count Down: 7500 of Your Favorite Food Counts with Their Exercise Equivalents for Walking, Running, Biking, Swimming, Yoga, and Dance

Author: Charles Stuart Platkin, J.D. M.P.H., nutrition advocate

Cost: $13

Publisher: Fireside

Endorsements: The Diet Detective

Claim: Knowing the cost of foods — in terms of exercise — will help you lose weight.

Concept: What if all of your favorite foods came with labels spelling out exactly what you’d have to do to burn those calories? You would think before you eat.

Comments: Great, helpful charts that also have calories, carbs and fat.

Description (from publisher): The book lists more that 7,500 foods with exercise equivalents in minutes calculated using six forms of activity. … All this information is listed in an easy-to-view table format. The table also includes calories, fat and carbohydrates. This is no ordinary diet book, it is a food fact bible giving readers tasty nuggets of information that make them think before they eat.

Web site:

The Serotonin Power Diet: Use Your Brain’s Natural Chemistry to Cut Cravings, Curb Emotional Overeating, and Lose Weight

Authors: Nina Frusztajer Marquis, M.D., Judith J. Wurtman, Ph.D.

Cost: $24.95

Publisher: Rodale

Endorsements: None needed. These two are weight-loss experts.

Claim: Readers will lose up to 2 pounds a week while reducing stress and improving their moods.

Concept: Because the plan is designed to turn on serotonin and turn off the need to eat, you will never feel deprived.

Comments: Particularly helpful if you’re on anti-depressants and have gained weight as a result.

Description (from publisher): Using this science-based plan, dieters will learn how to eat in order to boost serotonin, the brain chemical that shuts off appetite and turns on feelings of calm. This clinically tested program is also the first to offer anti-depressant users an effective way to lose extra weight associated with their medication. Based on more than 30 years of pioneering research at MIT by internationally renowned scientist Dr. Judith Wurtman on the brain, emotions, appetite and overeating. This simple 12-week plan, with more than 75 delicious recipes, was successfully tested on hundreds of clients at the Adara weight-loss centers founded by the authors.

Web site:

The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss

Author: Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D.

Cost: $24.95

Publisher: Putnam

Endorsements: Actor Brain Dennehy and numerous high-powered New York City executives and physicians

Claim: Increasing fiber in your diet will help you lose weight without sacrifice.

Concept: Fiber-rich foods hold water in the stomach and are digested slowly. Some of their calories are eliminated unabsorbed. High-fiber foods have a low caloric density.

Comments: It offers sound, healthy advice, with lots of tasty, “doable” recipes.

Description (from publisher): The book has three stages that are simple to follow and easy to stick to; a wide array of food choices, including surprising sources of fiber (raspberries, almonds, sweet potatoes and many others) and packaged foods available at any supermarket; more than 75 delicious recipes; a complete set of guidelines for those who don’t cook; and journal pages to help readers stay on track.

Web site:

The Best Life Diet

Author: Bob Greene, exercise physiologist

Cost: $26.00

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Endorsements: Oprah (who else do you need?)

Claim: You’ll be getting the same advice Greene gives Oprah, and you’ll be able to lose weight forever.

Concept: Divided into three phases, The Best Life Diet gives you the tools you need to change your life. In each phase, you’ll be asked to re-examine the decisions you make on a daily basis and gradually alter your habits to achieve lasting results. The book also includes easy-to-follow meal plans that make it simple to meet your daily energy and nutrient requirements: whether you are on the run, and breakfast means a quick smoothie, or you have time to shop for fresh produce and make something special.

Comments: Bob Greene gives advice that is practical, and his book does focus on the important aspects of behavior and food.

Description (from publisher): You’ll eat the same delicious food that Oprah enjoys, and, just like Oprah, you’ll have Bob to encourage you at every step. Unlike a celebrity, however, you don’t need to hire a staff of experts to aid and advise you, because Bob’s plan, easily tailored to an array of tastes, lifestyles and activity levels, acts as your personal trainer and private nutritionist.

Web site:

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Author: Brian Wansink

Cost: $25.00

Publisher: Bantam

Endorsements: Obesity experts, 20/20, Cornell University

Claim: Understanding how and why you eat helps you shed pounds.

Concept: Your mind makes more than 200 food-related decisions every day, often without your being aware of them. By learning which situations and clues push you to overeat, you will lose weight.

Comments: This is a wonderful, informative book that will show you how food can affect your personal eating environment.

Description (from publisher): Mindless Eating will change the way you look at food, and it will give you the facts you need to easily make smarter, healthier, more mindful and enjoyable choices at the dinner table, in the supermarket, in restaurants, at the office — even at a vending machine — wherever you decide to satisfy your appetite.

Web site:

Essentials for a Winning Life: The Nutrition, Fitness, and Life Plan for Discovering the Champion Within

Authors: Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg

Cost: $24.95

Publisher: Rodale

Endorsements: Lance Armstrong

Claim: You can achieve greatness in life just like Lance Armstrong.

Concept: By balancing “five essential aspects of life &mdsash; fitness, nutrition, relationships, career, and health — you, too, can achieve greatness, just like Lance Armstrong.

Comments: If you’re athletic, this is great stuff, but if you’re just starting out, it might be overwhelming.

Description (from publisher): Lance Armstrong’s personal coach shares the philosophy and program that have not only made him a world-class coach but inspired him to gain control of the rest of his life as well.

Web site:

Other Notable Books:

The A-List Workout (McGraw Hill, $24.95)

Author: Alyssa Shaffer

Comments: A really great idea. The author brings in top celebrity trainers to offer their advice.

The Reverse Diet: Lose 20, 50, 100 Pounds or More by Eating Dinner for Breakfast and Breakfast for Dinner (Wiley, $24.95)

Authors: Tricia Cunningham, Heidi Skolnik

Comments: A great idea and a good book.

Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep It Off — and What They Wish Parents Knew (Houghton Mifflin, $26)

Author: Anne M. Fletcher

Comments: A great writer and former New York Times journalist who is also a nutritionist. Wonderful advice for parents with overweight teens.

Age Defying Fitness: Making the Most of Your Body for the Rest of Your Life (Peachtree, $19.95)

Authors: Marilyn Moffat, Carole B. Lewis

Comments: Everyone over 40 should own this book. The authors are physical activity experts, and the book comes with an exercise band.

Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 (Oxmoor House, $34.95)

Author: Cooking Light

Comment: Some great recipes, as always, from Cooking Light.

The Juan-Carlos Cruz Calorie Countdown Cookbook: A 5-Week Eating Strategy for Sustainable Weight Loss (Gotham, $26.00)

Author: Juan-Carlos Cruz

Comment: Great book based on a great TV show. Lots of amazingly helpful recipes.

Nutrition for Life: A No Fad, Non-Nonsense Approach to Eating Well and Reaching Your Healthy Weight (DK, $16.95)

Authors: Darwin Deen, Lisa Hark

Comment: The only book on the list that’s not a new release but is new in paperback. What a wonderful resource.

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