For many, a slim, strong, healthy body—and the ability to maintain it—is the holy grail. And with Thanksgiving stuffing just past and New Year's resolutions on the horizon, publishers are banking on this interest at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and CBS Sunday Morning notes that Americans spent $60 billion last year in the weight-loss quest. (Said the segment's reporter: "Nobody wants to hear [about healthful eating] when it's so much easier to reach for the latest bestseller."), but books are part of what American's spend their money on, looking for experts with results-oriented plans.
"Because so much information—both sound and suspect—is available online, niche topics have become far less enticing than more comprehensive approaches," says S&S associate editor Kate Ankofski. "And with so many voices competing for authority, platform is vital." Coming next month is The Life You Want: Get Motivated, Lose Weight, and Be Happy by Bob Greene, Oprah's fitness guru and author of the bestselling Best Life series (see our "Why I Write" by Greene, p. 21).
In January Sterling presents The New Sonoma Diet, an update of the 2005 title that's sold more than half a million copies. Author Connie Guttersen, a registered dietitian, says that while she didn't plan to write another book, she was inspired when readers reported a whole-health shift: "While [they] were excited about losing weight, they were most excited about their increased energy levels and their family's improved eating habits," she says. With 50% new information, the update includes recipes analyzed with a weighted glycemic index, which ranks foods based on how quickly they cause a rise in blood sugar. Guttersen has also incorporated a time-saving "cook once, eat twice" strategy.
Another 2010 version of a past bestseller is the revised edition of The Paleo Diet and the new Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain, a Colorado State University professor whose plan centers around nonstarchy vegetables, fresh fruit, and lean meats and fish. "Loren's research validates the immense weight-loss and general health benefits of eating the way our paleolithic ancestors ate," says Wiley executive editor Thomas W. Miller. "The word ‘Paleo' has entered the average consumer's vocabulary."
According to Grand Central executive editor Diana Baroni, "Readers want to lose weight and they want to be healthy, but are still searching for simple eating plans and cooking tips that can work for their lifestyles." Coming in April is GCP's The Now Eat This! Diet by James Beard–award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito, the follow-up to his bestselling Now Eat This! which has sold more than 250,000 copies. DiSpirito offers more than 80 new recipes for popular foods like macaroni and cheese and BBQ pork chops, as well as a two-week plan for dropping 10 pounds.
Dr. Timothy Harlan—chef, Emmy-winning TV personality, and medical director at Tulane University's School of Medicine—is the author of Just Tell Me What to Eat (Da Capo Lifelong, Apr.). Harlan, aka Dr. Gourmet, offers an eight-week plan that includes recipes like seared halibut with basil oil and even fettuccine Alfredo. Says senior publicity director Lissa Warren, "As a doctor, he understands that feelings of deprivation are often the greatest obstacle faced by those switching to a healthy lifestyle and gets that people feel overwhelmed by all the info that's out there about what's good for you and what isn't—and as a chef, he knows how to devise meals that are satisfying and flavorful."
Eating Clean, Green, and Lean
As we broaden our understanding of the nutritional benefits of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, experts are responding to consumer interest in diets that use these foods as a foundation—or even, as in some cases, at the exclusion of all others. "While readers have always looked for the magic bullet or the quick fix," says Avery Books v-p and editorial director, Megan Newman, "I will say that the trend toward veganism and cutting out gluten does point to a greater consciousness toward healthier eating."
Kyle Books's first U.S. foray into the diet and fitness category is The Clean & Lean Diet, designed by James Duigan, a personal trainer who counts supermodel Elle Macpherson among his celebrity clients. "I really thought it would cross over well," says publisher Anja Schmidt. "Everyone believes that supermodels and actors have these secrets that keep them beautiful and in shape, but it's all about clean and lean living."