Given up your health resolution already? Get inspired again with 2014’s top fitness reads
A fat lot of diet lit for 2014.
This month has seen the release of a hefty load of literature to help you tighten your belt – literally if not metaphorically – this year, from diets that claim to have helped celebrities like actress Megan Fox stay svelte, to advice on cutting out sugar, low-carb regimes, 5:2 frenzies and programmes that replace sugar with honey.
Indeed, if the supposed experts are to be believed, you can eat yourself beautiful, lose five pounds in five days, and feed your family on a gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free menu without them even noticing.
While that might sound too good to be true, there’s certainly a book out there to suit almost every taste. Carb-curbers will love the new Atkins
Made Easy, which claims to simplify the world-famous carb-free diet to guarantee quicker, easier weight loss to help you “turn your body into a fat-burning machine”.
If you prefer not to cut out carbs entirely, food writer Annie Bell’s
Low Carb Revolution has a host of mouth-watering comfort food that has all the taste without maxing out on carbohydrates.
For those who are a bit too fond of comfort eating there’s a tome to
help you face your inner demons and give you Freedom From Emotional Eating, courtesy of Paul McKenna, while those who prefer to embrace their inner glutton (within reason) can feast on actress Nadia Sawalha’s the
Greedy Girl’s Diet: Second Helpings.
These are just the cherries on top of a dieting market that’s as voluminous as ever, with 2013’s sales of fitness and diet books up by 57 per cent compared with 2012, according to publishing trade magazine The Bookseller.
Part of the reason for the weighty increase in sales is the fact that more men are buying diet books, says publishing sales expert Susanne Ard.
“Diet and fitness still tends to be a female-led area but books like
The Hairy Dieters, released in summer 2012, appealed to men as much as it did to women and kicked off a trend for more men to buy these sorts of books,” she says.
Last year consumers all over the world bought into the intermittent fasting (IF) phenomenon, led by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer’s massive international hit, The Fast
Diet, which spawned a plethora of other books on the subject – and there’s plenty more of that to come this year.
“It was the best-selling book in this category for the whole of 2013,” says Ard. “Nothing else came close. The 5:2 has always been a plan that has appealed to both men and women. It’s quite an easy diet to apply to your life.” Mosley now has another book out,
Fast Exercise, co-written with Peta Bee, which focuses on the new concept of high-intensity training, based on the theory that it’s more beneficial to do
very short intensive bursts of exercise rather than spend hours in the gym.
Juicing is back thanks to Joe Cross, whose documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly
Dead prompted a craze across the US and the world. Cross weighed 140kg, was in constant pain and suffered a debilitating skin disease. In desperation, he tried to regain his health through juicing and filmed the attempt, trading in his typical junk food diet for nothing but fresh fruit and vegetables.
In 60 days he lost 40kg and became – for the first time in years – free of medication. “Juicing is something that’s been around for years but has enjoyed a massive resurgence because of the documentary,” says Ard.
As the UAE’s and the globe’s widespread obesity problem shows no signs of slowing down, so the diet market will surely continue to flourish. Here are some of the top diets and accompanying books to limber up for this year.
The Paleo diet
Also known as the ‘Caveman Diet’ and favoured by the likes of Ray Mears and Miley Cyrus, the main rule of thumb with this one is to eat the foods the human body has evolved to eat, as our Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer ancestors did. It’s full of specific foods – meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits and roots. It won’t allow highly processed foods such as sugar, refined fats and dairy (unless raw). No calorie counting either. Titles covering this include Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, which is full of wry humour and delicious recipes with accompanying step-by-step photos and cartoons; The Paleo Diet: Food your body is designed to eat by Daniel Green, which is an authoritative book of recipe ideas written by the TV chef and healthy eating expert; The Paleo Diet Made Easy, by Joy Skipper, a practical illustrated cookbook of 360 quick and simple dish ideas; and Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser, a flexible plan to help you tailor the Paleo approach to your particular lifestyle and requirements.
The 5:2 plan was the talk of the weight-loss world throughout 2013 and so the trend continues this year, with a plethora of books out this month exploring the theme. IF, as it’s known, is based on the theory that you can eat pretty much what you like for five days and then fast for two to achieve the weight loss you want. New, tasty recipes designed to make fasting easier are featured in Jacqueline Whitehart’s The Complete
5:2 Cookbook. Variations on the theme include The Every Other Day Diet by Dr Krista Varady and Bill Gottlieb, who claim that 500 calories is the perfect and safe intake for Diet Day, which is always followed by Feast Day, when you can eat what you want and still lose weight. There’s also 5:2 Vegetarian by gastronome Celia Brooks, in which the IF convert, who lost around 9kg in four months, offers a feast of veggie fasting recipes for non-meat-eaters.
Two big juicy books have hit the shops this year and they’re set to fly off the shelves. One is The Reboot With
Joe Juice Diet in which Joe Cross shows you how to power up your system through juicing.
The other is that of Jason Vale, juice master to the stars, whose best-selling book 7lbs In 7 Days is being boosted with another guide,
5lbs In 5 Days, in which he introduces a new programme to reshape and reinvigorate your body in five days. The idea is that you can lose the weight you’ve always dreamed of without restricting what you can eat or drink at the weekend.
Shelve your sugar
We’ve read so much over the years about cutting out saturated fat and lowering our carb intake – well, now it’s the turn of sugar to take some flak. A new book, The Sugar Detox, co-authored by Brooke Alpert and Dr Patricia Farris, claims that the white stuff not only causes obesity but is also linked to other serious health conditions including poor brain development in children, cataracts and even Alzheimer’s.
The diet, developed by a nutritionist and dermatologist, involves a three-day detox to rid your system of sugar and a three-day skin fix to help you look and feel great. A four-week eating plan with recipes aims to help you lose – and keep off – unwanted pounds.
In another quest to cut out sugar, The Honey Diet by nutritionist Mike McInnes suggests replacing sugar with honey to help you lose weight, sleep better, think more clearly and restore the immune system. His research has found honey is absorbed by the body in a different way from sugar, helping to reduce your craving for ‘bad’ sugars during the day and to burn off excess weight at night.