The 10 Best Nutrition Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Nutrition Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in February of 2019. Nutrition is a vast science that’s broadly concerned with the characteristics of consumable substances, the way our bodies process them, and the effect they have on our health and reproduction. These informative textbooks will help you orient yourself in this extensive field, with choices for beginners who want an overview, as well as editions that cater to specific niches in the subject. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.

10. Nutrition Through the Life Cycle

9. Pediatric Nutrition

8. Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals

7. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism

6. Nutrition, Sixth Edition

5. Nutrition: An Applied Approach

4. Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies

3. The Science of Nutrition

2. Krause and Mahan's Food & the Nutrition Care Process

1. Understanding Nutrition

Special Honors

Coursera Nutrition Courses If you're an autodidact picking up a nutrition text for personal enrichment, taking an online class with Coursera might be the next step. They offer self-paced courses that cover concepts at the intersection of food and health, including child nutrition, diabetes, pregnancy, nutrition for fitness, and the nature and impact of cultural dietary traditions. coursera.org

Nutrients by Pomegranate Apps Nutrients offers comprehensive nutrition information, allowing you to find facts on thousands of foods complete with all vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, fatty acids, sugars, sterols, and compounds like caffeine. It works offline, can help with conversions, lets you create recipes and track what you eat, plus home in on nutrients you want to get more of. Unfortunately, it's only compatible with iOS 13.0 and watchOS 2.0 or later at this time. pomegranateapps.com

Editor's Notes

December 04, 2020:

As health and fitness influencers gain prominence online and more people discuss holistic nutrition, knowing how our bodies process nutrients and what to eat is no longer the domain of those interested in a career in the field. We wanted this list to include texts that would appeal to all manner of readers, and so you'll find introductory ones alongside advanced and niche selections. We also updated the much-lauded Krause and Mahan's Food & the Nutrition Care Process and The American Academy of Pediatrics' Pediatric Nutrition to their most recent editions.

Leaving the list today is The China Study, despite being a bestseller that many people swear by. We still think it's an enlightening read, but some feel the author cherry-picks data or conflates ideas in certain instances. We wanted something more straightforward and so added Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism in its place to speak to clinicians and advanced undergraduates. This one is also handy for anyone looking to learn about athletics and body performance but bear in mind that you'll need some prior knowledge in subjects like biochemistry to understand it all.

We added Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies in lieu of Nutrition for Sport & Exercise, as it encompasses a lot of the main concepts from the latter title in addition to plenty of other topics. It's a solid choice for anyone interested in the subject, whether student or layperson, and offers engaging and thoughtful questions alongside its comprehensive coverage.

Nutrition in Clinical Practice has been removed due to its being a bit outdated at this point, although there are plenty of students who would still find it useful. Because a handful of other selections on this list offer clinical insights, such as Krause and Mahan's Food & the Nutrition Care Process, we felt we could reasonably let it go. Understanding Nutrition joins the ranks in its place as an accessible, informative, and engaging read that prepares students for future careers and equips readers with the knowledge to make relevant, lasting changes.

March 06, 2019:

We chose to specifically focus on nutrition as it pertains to the human body for this list. There are myriad readers who might want to pick up a textbook on the subject, including students in related fields, athletes, and those who are simply interested in optimizing their diet, so we included varied selections that cater to them. Nutrition in Clinical Practice will be beneficial to those pursuing a medical degree, while Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals will be similarly helpful for chefs. Each text includes essential pedagogy and reliable research, although the field is changing constantly, so always be sure you're purchasing the most recent edition. We favored The Science of Nutrition for a top spot since it's geared toward both students and autodidacts, is eloquently written, thoughtfully laid out, and brimming with useful learning tools.


Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated on December 10, 2020 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.


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