When it comes to health trends, predicting the next big thing can be as difficult as losing those last five stubborn pounds. But that won’t stop anyone from trying.
So far in 2016, for example, the two top-selling new health books, per Nielsen BookScan, each encourage a fat-rich diet. Eat Fat, Get Thin by Mark Hyman (Little, Brown) has sold 76,000 print copies since its February release, and Always Hungry? by David Ludwig has sold 58,000 print copies since Grand Central Life & Style published it in January.
Several forthcoming books embrace diet models that, similarly, can be seen as a rejection of the austerity of seasons past. But they aren’t the whole story. Here’s a look at some of the health books vying for readers’ attention in the coming months.
Natalie Jill’s 7-Day Jump Start
Natalie Jill, Da Capo, May
A fitness expert and nutritionist—and, with almost half a million Instagram followers, a social media star—Natalie Jill draws on her experience with celiac disease in this guide to living without gluten and processed foods.
Who’ll bite: The clean-eating, wheat-eschewing crowd, and those enticed by the cover line “lose up to 5–7 pounds in the first week.”
The New Milks
Dina Cheney, Atria, May
Aimed at vegan, lactose-intolerant, and kosher readers, among others, this compendium includes information on preparing nondairy milks at home—including those derived from soy, nuts, seeds, grains, and coconut—what nutritional benefits they offer, and how to incorporate them into a range of dishes.
Who’ll drink it down: Anyone seeking a dairy alternative, whether for health reasons, ethical considerations, religious beliefs—or because they are curious about what macadamia-nut or black-bean milk tastes like.
The Naughty Diet
Melissa Milne, Da Capo, June
In a survey of 10,000 women conducted as research for the book, over 80% said they feel guilty after a decadent meal. As an antidote, former model Milne lays out a diet and lifestyle guide that celebrates indulgence and rejects the kinds of self-criticism that lead to low self-esteem. Or, as the jacket copy puts it, “Screw guilt and pass the wine.”
Who’ll devour it: Readers who don’t want to choose between dieting and living.
Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey, TarcherPerigee, July
In 2013’s The Vegan Cheat Sheet, the authors provided a road map for vegan living. Here, acknowledging that “some will say we’re sleeping with the enemy,” they add sustainable seafood to the otherwise vegetable-based diet they promote.
Who’ll take the bait: People who are intrigued by veganism, but not yet ready to commit all the way. Jeanette Shaw, an editor at TarcherPerigee, calls this readership the “VB6 market,” referring to Mark Bittman’s book about the benefits of eating vegan before 6 p.m. (VB6 has sold 57,000 print copies, per BookScan, since Clarkson Potter released it in 2013.)
Let Them Eat Dirt
B. Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta, Algonquin, Sept.
Finlay, a professor of microbiology at the University of British Columbia, and Arrieta, a researcher focused on microbiota, say that early exposure to certain organisms can fortify children’s immune systems, and that our culture’s focus on cleanliness may damage kids’ health. “Everybody’s throwing a bunch of gut books at the wall,” says Andra Miller, senior editor. “But nobody had turned the gut conversation to kids yet.”
Who’ll dig it: Parents seeking science-backed pragmatism amid anxieties over children’s hygiene.
Food Freedom Forever
Melissa Hartwig, HMH, Oct.
The coauthor of It Starts with Food (2012) and The Whole 30 (2015), which together have sold more than 680,000 print copies, according to BookScan, returns with a plan aimed at helping readers maintain healthy lifestyles after they’ve achieved success with short-term diets.
Who’ll crave it: Readers looking beyond beach-body readiness.
Amanda Chantal Bacon, Avery/Krauss, Oct.
Bacon opened her first juice shop in Venice, Calif., in 2011, and has since been profiled in Vogue, Elle, and by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. Her book offers 75 recipes and explains which ingredients address what health issues.
Who’ll slurp it up: Many of Bacon’s 59,000 Instagram followers and other congregants of the Church of Juice.
The Healthiest Diet on the Planet
John A. McDougall, HarperOne, Oct.
McDougall, a physician, argues against contemporary diet wisdom: Americans eat too little starch, not too much, he says, and animal fat and protein, darlings of the paleo movement, are at the root of many of our health problems.
Who’ll say mangia! Pasta lovers who could do without the side of guilt.
Daniel Lefferts is a writer living in New York.
Below, more on the subject of health and fitness books.New Aging: Health & Fitness Books for Spring–Fall 2016
As the population ages, readers increasingly seek information on caring for loved ones and themselves.Medical Records: Health & Fitness Books for Spring–Fall 2016
Amid the glut of diet advice and exercise regimens, books that dive into the history of health and medicine also draw readers.