Discovering the “truth” about health and deciding how to live healthy is challenging, and we continue learning.
Below are books which have guided us to our current understanding and practice in health. Certainly, we do not agree with every word written in them with their differing emphases and purposes, and at times contradictory information. Yet they each have helped us. Within each category, the books are roughly in sequence that we would recommend they be read.
On Health Generally
Prime-Time Health: A Scientifically Proven Plan for Feeling Young and Living Longer by William Sears.
A good book on how to stay healthy as you mature. Well written; consistent with other health advice I have read over the years of reading on the topic.
On Getting Active and it benefits
The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer by Gretchen Reynolds.
A great book on what science is telling us about exercise, much of it surprising. She helps us understand the many benefits of an exercise program and points to a program that will provide the greatest health benefits. The greatest benefits are in the first 20 minutes, although there are greater benefits of a well-designed program of moderate exercise of a bit longer duration. See my review for more.
On Upgrading our Diet
Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert H. Lustig.
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter Willett M. D.
When I first starting researched the topic of nutrition around 2005, this was the best I could find. It is still one of the best. Written by Harvard professor of epidemiology and nutrition Walter Willet, he look at what the whole of nutrition science is telling us. Carbs and Fats are not the problem, it is American’s bad choices. The chapter on Fats was particularly eye-opening.
Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less: A Flexible and Delicious Way to Shrink Your Waist Without Going Hungry by Mollie Katzen
This book includes an streamlined version of the more detailed knowledge imparted in the earlier “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy”, lots of practical advise to implement a healthy diet, and a lot of good recipes. If you want to get away from fad diets that ultimately do not work to keep it off, this is a great book. You must change your habits, not “diet” if you want to lose and keep it off.
The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler
Not an easy read but unique in the nutrition literature and worth some time. He shows how and why that in the 1980’s there was a dramatic increase in the weight in broad segments of America’s population, which continues. People lost control of their eating. Why? American’s food industry learned how to make foods we cannot resist. He helps us understand and gives us some help on ending it.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Well written, practical, consistent with research, and simple. His summary diet advice: Eat food (he means “real” food); Not too much; Mostly Plants. He shows the big problem in our diets: we eat too much processed foods that are void of the essential nutrition we need. Not a message the many want to hear but the essential truth we need to hear.
- The EatingWell Diet: The University-Tested VTrim Weight-Loss Program
- The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan
- Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
Recommended web resources