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Understanding Nutrition

Understanding Nutrition

Dr. Ellie Whitney teaches nutrition in this accessible textbook.

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For those people who want to start making healthier choices, but don't know where to start, Understanding Nutrition may be the book that can help. Written by Dr. Ellie Whitney, this introductory textbook has sold millions of copies and set the standard for nutritional education. While Understanding Nutrition has become a staple on campus, don't be too worried about the "textbook" label. The book is approachable, easy to follow, and provides a wide base of information on health and nutrition.

Now on its twelfth edition, the book stays up-to-date on current trends, including new information on diets and fitness. However more specific diets (such as veganism) are not explored thoroughly and may require additional resources. The book covers all aspects of nutrition, giving an understanding of how nutrition works rather than just telling the reader what to do. While Understanding Nutrition provides an excellent foundation of knowledge for beginners, those with prior knowledge or experience in the field may find the book to be a little too shallow or basic.

Beyond explaining the workings of health and nutrition, this book provides information which is directly applicable to everyday life. It clearly explains how to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) as well as providing calorie charts for many common foods. The book even explains how all of this information relates to many specific diet plans. While some of the chapters cover more technical topics, the text always provides careful explanation and structures the information towards real world application.

Understanding Nutrition is a great reference book both inside and outside of the classroom.

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  • Provides a basic, comprehensive look at nutrition
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Provides applicable knowledge for anyone looking to learn more about health and nutrition
  • Useful in everyday situations such as planning healthier meals
  • May be a little too basic for readers with previous experience
  • Limited coverage of alternative diets such as vegetarian or vegan
  • Does not cover all areas of health and nutrition

This book has become the standard for introductory nutrition. Gives the reader a solid foundation for understanding how nutrition works, and how to construct a healthy diet.


Includes a couple chapters on fitness habits, and how to lead a healthier lifestyle.


If you are looking to build a foundational knowledge of health and nutrition, Understanding Nutrition provides easy to follow explanations on a wide variety of topics.

The book gives readers a nice mix of technical and practical knowledge while remaining fun and accessible. The wide range of topics covered makes this a great reference text for all things health related. If you want to start making healthier choices but don't know where to begin, Understanding Nutrition may be the book you've been looking for.

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