Monday, September 12, 2011

The Complete Idiot's Guides For Dummies Challenge

I had the opportunity over the last few weeks to compare The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition against Nutrition for Dummies. Both books are really great resources and I think everyone should read them to have a better understanding of the foods they eat and why you eat them.

So why did I choose the nutrition books over the dozens of other books they have? Simple, I want us to eat better and more balanced. High cholesterol and high blood pressure run in my family and diabetes runs in Scott's family, so I want to be able to keep all of this in check with the least amount of medication possible.

First I'm going to talk about Nutrition for Dummies. The book is broken down into 6 parts: The Basic Facts About Nutrition, What You Get From Food, Healthy Eating, Food Processing, Food and Medicine, and The Part of Tens.

Here's what I liked about Nutrition for Dummies:
  • There is a cheat sheet in the front of the book that includes easy ways to cut calories and online websites.
  • There are chart that shows what vitamins and minerals you are getting from which foods and how much food you should be eating to get the recommended daily amount.
  • There is a chart that tells you how long foods can be stored and whether or not they can be frozen.
  • There is a chart that tells you how certain medications affect the absorption of different vitamins.
  • The entire Part of Tens section that covers the top 10 websites, the 10 super foods, and 10 ways to cut calories.
Here's what I didn't like:
  • There is way too much scientific jargon. I feel like 90% of the material went right over my head. I did not do well in chemistry and the only reason I passed biology in college was because the TA was gorgeous.
  • The material is pretty dry and I didn't feel like it was put in a context that made it enjoyable to read.
  • I feel like it was all about teaching you the science and not about how to really implement it into your life.
Now onto The Complete Idiot's Guide to Nutrition. This book is also broken down into 6 parts: Nutrition Tune-Up, Making Saavy Food Choices, The ABC's of Exercise, Nutrition for Special Needs, Pregnancy and Parenting, and Weight Management 101.

Here's what I liked about the book:
  • This book was not overly scientific, it was easy to read and easy to absorb the information.
  • At the end of each chapter there is a review of the info that you should at least know from the chapter. Basically, it's the key points.
  • All of the charts are easy to read and most break it down by male and female and then by age which makes it easy to understand what exactly you need.
  • There are recipes!
  • There are sample menus, especially for managing special needs, like diabetes.
  • There is a section on herbal supplements and how they work with certain diseases.
  • There is an entire section on diet and exercise for pregnancy.
What I didn't like:
  • Yeah I got nothing...this was a pretty awesome book.
Hands down I preferred The Complete Idiot's Guide to Nutrition over Nutrition for Dummies. I feel like I learned more, there were more "special needs" in there, and the recipes were an added bonus. If you are looking to learn more about nutrition I really recommend picking up this book.

As a way of saying thank you, the people at The Complete Idiot's Guide are offering 50% off of one order of regularly priced books from Simply enter the code CIGBlog11 to receive the discount. There are a ton of great books out there and I'd love to know which ones you are looking at getting!

*I received both books from The Complete Idiot's Guide in exchange for the side by side review. In no way did this influence my opinion and yes I really only passed biology because of my TA, and because my friend Kristin took awesome notes during the lectures.*

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