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Advising Patients About Diet Books

Sound Nutrition Advice Should Be No. 1 Concern

Advising patients about diet books can be tricky. A diet that has worked for you or some of your other patients may come to mind. Indeed, anything that can help produce results in the weight loss battle is information to be shared. I encourage you to recommend books written by registered dietitians, because their expertise helps ensure that your patients are getting valid information about nutrition.

A good resource is the American Dietetic Association (ADA) website, A section titled "ADA Reviews Diet Books" is under the "For the Public" tab, and it provides analysis by ADA experts.

Explain to patients that according to the ADA, fad diets are those that contain any of the following:

  • Claims that sound too good to be true: "Lose 15 pounds in 7 days!"
  • Recommendations to use a single food on a repeated and consistent basis
  • Promises of quick and easy weight loss with no effort
  • Elimination of an entire food group, such as carbohydrates or dairy
  • Guarantees of an outcome in a specified time period
  • Provides only the quotes of dieters as evidence of effectiveness.

Authors to Recommend

Over the years I've recommended books by the authors listed here. Anne M. Fletcher, MS, RD, has written several books on weight loss that are scientifically sound and easy for patients to follow. Some of the books by Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, have a sports nutrition emphasis. Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD, has written on children and weight problems and provides advice for parents; her social work degree adds to her expertise. Two dietitians with useful weight loss books containing recipes are Ellie Krieger, MS, RD, and Joy Bauer, MS, RD.

Recommending these authors to your patients and having examples of their books in your waiting room can encourage them to find nutrition information from reliable sources.

Hot New Titles

The next time a patient tells you he or she is following or has used a fad diet, suggest one of the following newer titles for nutrition-based weight loss and maintenance:

·         Eat Right When Time Is Tight, by Patricia Bannan, MS, RD

·         Energy To Burn, by Julie Upton, MS, RD, and Jenna Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, CSSD

·         Nutrition and You, by Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN

·         Nutrition Diva's Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About, by Monica Reinagel, MS, LN, CNS

·         The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You, by Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN

·         Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success, by Stephanie Karpinske, MS, RD.

Other Dietary Concerns

The ADA website also contains recommendations and reviews of books on special diet needs for diabetes, heart disease, gluten allergies and allergies in general, age-specific eating, pregnancy, eating disorders, and more.

What are your favorite diet books? Please feel free to share here or email me about what has worked for your patients or yourselves.

Robyn Kievit is a family nurse practitioner, a registered dietitian and a certified specialist in sports dietetics. She operates a private nutrition practice in Boston and is on staff at Emerson College. E-mail your nutrition and weight loss questions to or visit her website at On Facebook and Twitter, search for nutritionmentor.

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