Low-carb is dead! Long live... what? "At present, there is no health craze to capture the customer's imagination," says B&N buyer Edward Ash-Milby. "There isn't any diet craze to take the place of the low-carb diet that I can see in the future, either."

Reliance on platform and brand names—of both authors and institutions—always intense with diet and fitness titles,has been further heightened during what Ash-Milby calls a "lull" in the category.

Yet Crown executive editor Heather Jackson points to an inherent risk: publishers, she says, may find themselves in a "be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario where we're under contract with people who have wonderful abilities to get out to places via a platform, but very little time to focus on their books." Platforms have their limits, too. Ash-Milby cautions that although "brand name counts to a degree, in the end it's the quality of the book's content and the accessibility of the information that remain key."

Below are 14 books publishers believe hit that target squarely, making them contenders to be the next big thing. In defiance of the category, we've selected Heavyweights (big books, big printings) and Lightweights (could also be big, but have an unusual or amusing take on their topic). Books are listed in order of announced first print runs.

Title: The Best Life Diet

Author: Bob Greene

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Dec., $26)

First printing: 1,250,000

Why it's hot: Oprah wrote the intro for this latest offering from her personal trainer. "Oprah promoting a book makes a huge difference," says S&S senior editor Sydny Miner. "She's always been so honest about her issues with food and why she eats, and her honesty resonates."

Title: Extreme Fat Smash

Author: Ian K. Smith, M.D.

Publisher: St. Martin's (May, $12.95 paper)

First printing: 500,000

Why it's hot: Publisher Matthew Shear says this follow-up to the bestselling The Fat Smash Diet "is for when you need to lose the pounds a little faster, like you've got a wedding coming up and you're trying to get into your dress or your old tuxedo." TV ads are scheduled during VH1's Celebrity Fit Club,which features the author as a medical/diet expert.

Title: The Gold Coast Cure's Fitter, Firmer, Faster Program

Author: Andrew Larson, M.D., and Ivy Ingram Larson

Publisher: HCI (Jan., $15.95 paper)

First printing: 75,000

Why it's hot: Executive editor Allison Janse says, "This book focuses on real life. The exercises work in only 30 minutes three times a week; the balanced whole foods recommendations are family friendly."

Title: The Structure House Weight Loss Plan

Author: Gerard J. Musante

Publisher: Fireside (Apr., $24)

First printing: 50,000

Why it's hot: Residents of the Structure House Center for Weight Control and Lifestyle Change in Durham, N.C., lose an average of more than 6% of their weight over a four-week stay, but such services don't come cheap. Fireside publisher Mark Gompertz says, "We hope that with this book, people who can't afford the Structure House $10,000 fee will also benefit from it."

Title: You: On a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

Author: Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

Publisher: Free Press (Oct., $25)

First printing: 750,000

Why it's hot: Written in the same jocular style of the authors' You: The Owner's Manual(Harper Resource, 2005), which has 1.5 million copies in print, the book gives you 20 "aha moments" in any one chapter, says Free Press editorial director Dominick Anfuso.

The book lands in first place on this week's nonfiction bestseller list.

Title: The Duke Diet

Author: Howard J. Eisenson, M.D., and Martin Binks

Publisher: Ballantine (Apr., $25.95)

First printing: 250,000

Why it's hot: Ballantine executive editor Caroline Sutton observes, "People are so tired of the gimmicky diets." Enter this plan from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, founded in 1969, with Waterfront Media launching a companion Web site in January.

Title: Rethinking Thin

Author: Gina Kolata

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (May, $24)

First printing: 50,000

Why it's hot: Senior editor Paul Elie says, "Gina blends cultural history with the 'new science' of weight loss. She casts a cold eye on most diets and diet theories, while keeping in mind that most of us would like to be trimmer, if only slightly."

Title: The Portion Plan: How to Eat the Foods You Love & Still Lose Weight

Author: Linda Gassenheimer

Publisher: DK (Jan., $17.95 paper)

First printing: 35,000

Why it's hot: The life-size color photos illustrate everything from comparing an 800-calorie hamburger vs. a 414-calorie version to a proper bowl of breakfast cereal—images that "will help people when they're in the real world," says Carl Raymond, publishing director for DK adult books.

Title: LL Cool J's Platinum Workout

Author: LL Cool J and Dave Honig with Jeff O'Connell

Publisher: Rodale (Jan., $27.95)

First printing: 200,000

Why it's hot: Photos of the singer's six-pack abs are interspersed with nutritional info in a stylish layout. Rodale executive editor Nancy Hancock says, "It's a high-energy workout, and the book needed a certain energy level as well."

Title: The Reverse Diet: Lose 20, 50, 100 Pounds or More by Eating Dinner for Breakfast

Author: Tricia Cunningham and Heidi Skolnik

Publisher: Wiley (Jan., $24.95)

First printing: 50,000

Why it's hot: As Cunningham explained last year on Good Morning America, she lost more than 150 pounds on the topsy-turvy plan. Wiley executive editor Thomas Miller says, "The hook of the diet is simple to understand and nutritionally sound."

Title: The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever

Author: Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson

Publisher: Meredith (Dec., $22.95)

First printing: 40,000

Why it's hot:According to Meredith executive food editor Jennifer Darling, this title offers "that whole chick lit attitude," which is carried through in the book's slender trim size and front-cover image of a slim torso.

Title: The Orgasmic Diet: A Revolutionary Plan to Lift Your Libido and Bring You to Orgasm

Author: Marrena Lindberg

Publisher: Crown (Apr., $23.95)

First printing: 75,000

Why it's hot: "This is both a sex book and a diet book," says Crown executive editor Heather Jackson. "For too many years women with libido issues have been told to relax or take a bubble bath, when there are real physiological reasons for this issue."

Title: The Art of Pole Dancing: A Spin-by-Spin Guide

Author: Peekaboo Pole Dancing Ltd.

Publisher: Sterling (Nov., $9.95 paper)

First printing: 56,000 (26,000 announced, 30,000 pre-pub reprint)

Why it's hot: According to USA Todayand other publications, pole dancing has become popular at health clubs across the country. Still, the book's line drawings are pretty racy. Quips Sterling publisher Charles Nurnberg, "If I told you it was a fitness book, would you believe me?"

Title: The Wine and Food Lover's Diet: 28 Days of Delicious Weight Loss

Author: Phillip Tirman, M.D.

Publisher: Chronicle (Jan., $24.95 paper)

First printing: 25,000

Why it's hot: Sticking to this book's appealing recipes (Seafood Cakes with Lemon Crème Fraîche, Spicy Grilled Baby Back Ribs) have done the trick for Chronicle's editorial director for cookbooks, Bill LeBlond: he's already lost 10 pounds on the diet.

Cookbooks with a Pedigree
Spinoffs aren't just for television. Whenever a diet/fitness title is successful, publishers try to turn it into a franchise. With diet books, that often means publishing a cookbook.

Meredith is following up Connie Guttersen's The Sonoma Diet—a 2005 title with 400,000 copies in print—with The Sonoma Diet Cookbook.The new book, which has just hit store shelves, will be merchandised with the previous title. The cookbook does not repeat the diet plan, so consumers may want to pick up both. The California cuisine includes such dishes as Grilled Pork with Grilled Pears, Arugula and Toasted Almonds, and Mexican Tofu.

Dieters themselves contributed the recipes and inspirational stories contained in Kitty Gurkin Rosati's The Rice Diet Cookbook(S&S, Jan.), offspring of The Rice Diet Solution(S&S, 2005). "The Rice Diet is a whole foods detox diet, so the food is incredibly simple, which means it could get boring," says senior editor Amanda Murray, who predicts a 75,000-copy first printing. To combat diet fatigue, "Ricers," as participants are known, have come up with dishes such as Skillet Sensation, consisting of sautéed vegetables, and Apricot-Horseradish Baked Tofu.

Hearst publisher Jacqueline Deval says that the 175 recipes in The Good Housekeeping Supermarket Diet Cookbook(Jan.) by Janis Jibrin and Susan Westmoreland,which include Asian Tuna Burgers and a No-Cook Barbecue Chicken Salad that uses rotisserie chicken, are "recipes for food that anyone would desire long after he or she reaches her weight goals." The new book—set for a 40,000-copy first printing—and its forerunner, The Good Housekeeping Supermarket Diet(2005), will be paired in store displays and promoted together in the magazine. —N.D.
A la Mode Français
When a title has more than one million copies in print, as Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat(Knopf, 2004) now does, expect the copycat phenomenon—or in this case, le phénomène de copieur.

Plume editor Ali Bothwell Mancini bought Helena Frith Powell's All You Need to Be Impossibly French(Dec.) at auction (the book was published in the U.K. under the title Two Lipsticks and a Lover) because she "felt it had some of the salable elements of French Women Don't Get Fat,"although she says it differs, too, in that it's written by a British journalist who lives in France and offers more of "an outsider's look at what makes French women tick." Despite content on diet and fitness, the book isn't as prescriptive as its predecessor. In fact, at times it reads like a rebuttal to Guiliano's bestseller. Says Mancini, "French women don't always come out ahead in Helena's book—according to the author, trusting and supporting other women and drinking freely are some things that French women are dismal at."

Crown executive editor Heather Jackson is quick to point out that Pittsburgh physiologist Will Clower's first book, The Fat Fallacy: The French Diet Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss(Three Rivers, 2003),predated Guiliano's. Still, Jackson admits, when the second title from Clower (who spent two years as a research fellow in Lyon, France), The French Don't Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life, was published in hardcover this spring, "We had some challenges, predominantly because it was looked at as 'the second-comer,' after French Women Don't Get Fat." While Clower had a measure of success with the title—especially after an appearance on The View—Three Rivers Press worked to give the April 2007 paperback a touch more Gallic élan,perking up the original text-only cover with images of wine, grapes, a brioche and more. —N.D.