Nutrition Book Reviews

Written by Sarah Chmielewsk BASc Nutrition

Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD

Looking for a reliable evidence-based nutrition book can be a huge challenge. Walk into any major bookstore and head to the nutrition and cookbook section and you are faced with literally hundreds of choices. Books written by celebrities, yoga masters, medical doctors, counsellors and ‘health coaches’ line the shelves. Trying to navigate through the countless choices, to find something that is both relevant, and reliable, is a bit like looking for Waldo.

Here is a small selection of books that we often recommend, that are reliable, evidence-based and widely available.

Mindless Eating – Brian Wansink

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Summary: Discusses reasons individuals may overeat without knowing it, due to environmental factors. Looks at the psychology of eating.

  • Easy to read, light humour, very understandable and relatable
  • Explains processes such as our body’s metabolism and why under eating can actually make it harder to lose weight.
  • Provides realistic recommendations on how to make losing weight easier by altering our environment, rather than our thoughts and our mindset (ex: use tall, thin glasses rather than short, wide ones)
  • Provides motivation/encouragement
  • Uses a wide range of research studies.

Recommendations: Good for someone trying manage weight, or someone discouraged because eating better/exercising more isn’t working for them, and they want to try something else.

Unmasking Super Foods – Jennifer Sygo

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Summary: Discusses particular “super foods” and why they’re popular (or unpopular), the science and research behind them, their nutritional value, and provide an evidence-based take away message

  • Can look up one specific food of particular interest
  • Gives overall message that you don’t need to spend lots of money/fall into fads to be healthy
  • Lists benefits of simple, whole foods and explains myths/truths
  • Credible, based on reliable research

Recommendations: Good for individuals wanting to learn more about specific foods and the nutrients they provide. Also helpful for individuals who want to avoid getting caught up in food fads.

Dietitians of Canada Cook! – Mary Sue Waisman

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Summary: Provides recipes with a particular focus on Canadian families cooking together, eating together, and teaching the next generation how to cook from scratch, especially with local Canadian foods.

  • Intro provides cooking tips, and strategies to get family members involved in cooking, general nutritional tips
  • Good focus on local foods grown in Canada
  • Provides nutritional information alongside the recipes
  • Good mix of easy and more complex recipes- for every level of cooking skills

Recommendations: A great cookbook, for families. Encourages us to eat more locally.

What to Eat – Marion Nestle

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Summary: Goes through a grocery store section by section to talk about healthy choices and explain related nutrition concepts (ex. talks about produce section and topics such as organic, freshness, etc.)

  • Easy to read yet informative
  • Intro discusses food, marketing, how to eat healthier – very interesting
  • Good overall message of “eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables”
  • Author includes many anecdotes
  • In depth but divided nicely into sections (based on grocery store aisles)

Recommendations: Good for someone who struggles with grocery shopping or label reading. Can focus on certain sections that are relevant to the individual.

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