Here are some of the most recent food, diet, fitness and health books:
"The Belly Fat Cure: Discover the New Carb Swap System and Lose 4 to 9 lbs. Every Week" by Jorge Cruise (Hay House, 2009)
Claim: You can lose 4 to 9 pounds every week with the Carb Swap System and no dieting.
Concept: It's not about exercise or counting calories; it's about swapping good carbs for bad carbs.
Description (from publisher): For years, experts have told you that you're overweight because you eat too much and don't exercise enough. They were WRONG. The truth is that you are eating foods packed with hidden sweeteners that deliver a belly-fattening Sugar/Carb Value. This book includes more than 1,500 options customized for carboholics, meat lovers, chicken and seafood fans, chocoholics, fast-food junkies and even vegans.
Note: Each page features a "Bad Belly" food and an alternative "Good Belly" food with a recipe.
"The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life" by Chris Downie (Hay House, 2009)
Claim: Condenses the most effective, medically accepted nutrition and fitness practices from SparkPeople into a four-stage, four-week program. Includes advice from the founder of Sparkpeople.com, a successful entrepreneur (who made his fortune from ebay.com) on how to transform your life.
Concept: Focusing on what you can do as opposed to what you can't will help you lose weight.
Description (from publisher): A visionary approach to weight loss combining goal setting, nutrition, exercise, motivation and community that has a proven track record of 10 million pounds lost.
Note: Weight loss is mostly about behavior, and this book can help. Also, you might want to join sparkpeople.com - it's free.
"EatingWell 500 Calorie Dinners Cookbook" by Nicci Micco, Jessie Price and the editors of EatingWell (Countryman Press, 2010)
Claim: Eating 500-calorie dinners that are delicious and healthy will help you shed pounds.
Concept: The editors of EatingWell magazine have created 140 healthy recipes neatly packaged in a beautiful book.
Description (from publisher): The book offers main courses, sides, soups, appetizers and desserts; menus give careful pairings, portion sizes, and shopping tips so you won't go overboard. With recipes like Grilled Salmon & Summer Squash with Romesco Sauce served with new potatoes, Hawaiian Ginger-Chicken Stew with brown rice, and Greek Orzo-Stuffed Peppers with roasted broccoli. ... More than 140 delicious recipes, most that take less than 45 minutes, prep to table.
Note: Recipes include full nutritional analyses as well as advice on which dishes work best with which diets (Weight Watchers, South Beach, etc.).
"The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat Well, Enjoy Life, Lose Weight" by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Good Books, 2010)
Claim: Lose 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks. From Mayo Clinic, a leading authority on health and nutrition, comes The Mayo Clinic Diet, the last diet you'll ever need.
Concept: Healthy advice from experts in a neatly designed and creatively packaged book. While the information is not new, it is still a helpful book.
Description (from publisher): Packed with lots of extra encouragement - meal planners, recipes, tips for overcoming challenges, starting an exercise plan, and much more - "The Mayo Clinic Diet" gives you everything you need in one book.
Note: The Mayo Clinic is a well-respected institution.
"Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook" by Taste of Home (Reader's Digest, 2009)
Claim: Lose weight by eating your favorite comfort foods.
Concept: We all want to eat comfort foods. If you can make them healthier and lower in calories you will lose weight.
Description (from publisher): Imagine eating tacos, lasagna and ice cream pie while on a diet! The diet is perfect for losing those extra holiday pounds while eating "feel-good" foods that many crave in the winter months.
Notes: This is a beautifully prepared book with loads of low-calorie recipes.
Charles Stuart Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.