What should we eat? A cacophany of advice

Many people want to know what and how they should eat to lose weight, improve their health, avoid illness, live forever, or for any number of other reasons. One popular source of information are books relating to food, diets, and nutrition. However, there are many different such books published. While many people do not read the books themselves, these books tend to generate newspaper and magazine articles, blog posts, online discussion, and television coverage exposing more people indirectly to their ideas. But what kind of such books are published?

Some time ago I began saving the images of the covers of these books that I came across from a popular book selling website together with the year they were first published in the UK. Here are a number of non-systematically collected covers published over the last four years.*

Some of these books are actually rather good, some are really quite bad, and I suspect many others are perhaps somewhat mediocre. What stands out though is the sheer amount of information published each year on what we should eat and why. What drives this appetite for such books fascinates me. What people are looking for and how do they navigate this vast amount of often conflicting information?


Book Covers 2017


Book Covers 2016


Book Covers 2015


Book Covers 2014

*These books were selected if they related to a combination of food, diet, nutrition, and health in some manner. For example, a book of “vegan recipes” would not be included, while a book of “vegan recipes to improve your health” would be.  Hopefully, there are not too many major errors or books missing although there are likely to be a few as they were not collected systematically. Self-published books were generally excluded due to the large number of them (I had to draw a line somewhere).
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