Now that we’ve reached the final week of yet another fantastic year of health blogging and podcasting, it’s always fun to look at my Amazon account to see exactly what items were the most popular amongst my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” fans according to the purchases made through the affiliate links I’ve shared (you can see my previous Amazon end-of-year bestseller lists from 2011 and 2009). The year 2012 was an interesting one dominated and defined by books and items surrounding the self-testing concept. No doubt my n=1 experiment of “nutritional ketosis” that’s been underway since May 2012 has spurred a lot of this activity.
And many of the other books on this year’s list are by specific podcast interview guests I’ve had on either “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” and/or “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” podcasts that particularly resonated with my listening audience. Surprisingly, perennial bestselling low-carb and Paleo diet book authors like Dr. Robert C. Atkins, Dr. Richard Bernstein, Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf didn’t make the cut in 2012. They were pushed out by a whopping 18 brand new items to this list compared with last year. This could be a great sign that we’re on the verge of these concepts cutting through into the mainstream with so many people involved in the process of educating others about how to best implement low-carb and Paleo health strategies. And I for one say it’s about time!
Let’s take a look at the Top 25 “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” Amazon affiliate bestsellers in 2012:
1. The Art & Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek
Clearly, the biggest dynamic duo in the low-carb community is not the NuSi dream team of Gary Taubes and Dr. Peter Attia just yet. Right now that distinction (at least according to book sales) belongs to two highly-respected low-carbohydrate diet researchers named Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek. Their enormous influence on people interested in low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat ketogenic nutrition is unmatched as evidenced by the unprecedented THREE books they have in the top 10 on this list (see also #2 and #9). With all the new voices vying for our attention, it seems the comfortable familiarity of qualified and trusted professionals like Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek resonates strong with the people who follow my work and that’s not at all surprising. After being inspired to begin my n=1 journey experimenting with “nutritional ketosis” as a direct result of reading this book, I’ve gone on to see some pretty spectacular results doing this for myself testing my blood ketones and tracking all of my progress doing this. And I’ve highly recommended this particular book to everyone in the low-carb community who has struggled eating good high-fat, low-carb diet with diminishing result and can’t pinpoint why. That’s where I was in May and I’m well on my way to getting back on track to where I need to be. Dr. Phinney and I discussed what might be going on with long-term weight loss stalls and even weight gain in Episode 23 of the “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” podcast in August 2012 that hits on a lot of the concepts shared in this book. Needless to say, this tee-totally rocked my world in 2012 and I’m excited to see what these two have in store for us in 2013!
2. The Art & Science Of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek
Not to be outdone by their book that was the top seller on my Amazon affiliate link in 2012, that great partnership of Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek ruled the roost again with last year’s #1 book on this list that was their first in what is sure to be the perennially popular Art And Science series for many years to come. This book is really one of the best ones you could possibly own if you are serious about low-carb nutrition and want to learn from the incredible wisdom of two of the best minds in this community. They’ve lived and breathed this stuff for decades and have distilled all the information about this way of eating down into an easy-to-understand format while also paying homage to the medical professionals who want to learn more about the evidence supporting carbohydrate-restriction. People ask me all the time what books they can read to grasp the low-carb lifestyle and I’m constantly gravitating more and more to this one because it is chock full of gem after gem of information that is changing the lives of so many people. Listen to my June 2011 podcast interview with Dr. Phinney if you want to learn more about this book that is sure to become a classic.
3. Free The Animal: Lose Weight & Fat With The Paleo Diet by Richard Nikoley
Next up is one of my fellow health bloggers and first-time author Richard Nikoley from the “Free The Animal” blog. Richard is one of those intriguing characters in the Paleo and low-carb world because he acknowledges quite openly that 60 pounds of his weight loss success was as a direct result of carbohydrate restriction before he started feeling bad eating that way and decided to switch things up to include more starchy carbohydrates (particularly potatoes in 2012) into his diet. That’s one thing I’ve always appreciated about Richard is that he’s the quintessential nutritional tinkerer willing to makes shifts here and there that work for him and he shares his personal findings with the people who follow his work. Because of his mostly crass, always direct and oftentimes over-the-top profane nature of communicating what he has to say, Richard tends to find himself with an equal number of people who love him or hate him. And I’m sure that suits him just fine. But one thing’s for sure–there is NO ignoring this man who has an important voice to share that he decided to unleash on the world in one of the hottest-selling books through my Amazon affiliate links in 2012. You can listen to Richard Nikoley talk about his book in my March 2012 interview with him in Episode 555 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.”
This one is really no surprise–if I can’t sell copies of my own book through a link on my blog and podcast web sites, then there’s something seriously wrong. Even still, I’m proud of my 2009 book that includes many of the lessons I’ve learned about nutrition, health and even living life itself as a result of embracing the low-carb lifestyle beginning in 2004. There’s a little bit of everything in this book–the real deal on cholesterol testing, the craziness of low-fat diets for most people, the enormous evidence in support of low-carb living, the wackiness of some vegetarian and vegans, the good and the bad of being a public figure online, my encounter with stardom being in a major Hollywood film with George Clooney and the tragic death of my brother Kevin at the age of 41 in 2008. I poured my heart and soul into this book to make it a resource for anyone who needs to know how low-carb can change their life. It certainly did mine and I’ll never be the same again. Check out this YouTube video I made about my book and get the e-book version that works on Kindle, iPad and any other reader you may have. And coming in the Fall 2013, I can’t wait to share my brand new debut book with Victory Belt Publishing on a layman’s perspective about how to read your cholesterol test results that my publisher thinks will hit the New York Times bestsellers list. We shall see. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this project in the months to come.
5. Precision Xtra Advanced Diabetes Management System by Abbott
The first non-book item on this list is one that was most certainly inspired by the #1 seller–The Art & Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance. It was in that book where so many of us in the low-carb community were introduced for the first time to the concept of testing our BLOOD ketones rather than the standard urine ketones as has been the traditional method for measuring for as long as I’ve been around low-carb. Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek have been measuring blood ketones for many years with their research patients but that technology has not been as easily accessible to the general public–until now. While it is still somewhat difficult and a bit pricey (the testing strips in #8 are where they get you) to test your blood for the proper level of ketosis, the dependability of measuring beta-hydroxybuterate in the blood as compared to acetoacetate in the urine is worth getting one of these blood ketone meters and knowing where you stand. After personally testing the two top brands, I concluded that this one was far superior for a variety of reasons and it’s the meter I’ve been using for my n=1 testing of “nutritional ketosis” all year long. If you ever wanted to make a low-carber happy, I’m sure one of these Precision Xtra meters from Abbott along with a ton of testing strips would do the trick. And the good thing is this same meter works as a glucometer too which is something the author of the next item on this Amazon affiliate bestsellers list would be happy for you to use it for.
6. The Glucometer: A Self-Empowering Tool to a Healthy and Lean Body by Angela Ross
I’ve been measuring my blood sugar levels for many years as a key tool in my healthy low-carb lifestyle. Whether you are a full-blown diabetic, pre-diabetic or insulin resistant leading to some extra weight, I’ve always contended that owning a glucometer is one of the best investments you could ever make in assessing your current state of health (even more so than a bathroom scale!). That’s why I was thrilled to see this book talking about using it by a fitness coach and Department of Defense analyst named Angela Ross who I was privileged to share with my listeners in Episode 591 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” in July 2012 (you can also hear Angela in Episode 12 of Kyle Taylor’s “Thriving The Middle Class” podcast from December 2012). After working with many clients in her Gym Cellar home gym, Angela quickly realized that knowing where you stand in your blood glucose levels is critical to knowing if what you are eating and how you are living your life is appropriate for you. If you aren’t already testing your blood sugar levels on a regular basis, then you might want to pick up a copy of Angela’s book and let her inspire you to get going with this for the sake of your health. This is the future of healthcare in my opinion doing these kind of simple, at-home tests to evaluate how you are doing with your personal health goals. And if you’re one of those curious people who wants to start your own n=1 experiments on your health, then a glucometer is a MUST-HAVE!
7. Diet 101: The Truth About Low Carb Diets by Jenny Ruhl
One of the best-kept secrets in the low-carb community is a wonderfully wise woman I’ve come to love and respect immensely over the past couple of years named Jenny Ruhl from “Blood Sugar 101.” Jenny has been helping people manage their diabetes and overall health by encouraging regular testing of blood sugar levels (are you sensing a theme in the top-selling Amazon affiliate links here?), but she was inspired by a podcast interview with me in 2011 to take on a topic this year that’s been bugging her for quite a while about the low-carb publishing world. She contends that most of the popular low-carb books that are out there (several of which are on this list) offer too many simplistic answers that make flamboyant claims regarding weight loss that are just not true in the real world. That was the basis for writing this particular book that she hoped would share the “truth” about low-carb living with people who have become frustrated by the lack of understanding about their experience on low-carb diets. Jenny shared with me about her book in June 2012 in Episode 582 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” as well as in Episode 27 of the “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” podcast in September 2012. She created a fabulous free online diet calculator for people to see exactly what their ideal nutritional intake should look like. We need a lot more people like Jenny Ruhl who are willing to tell it like it is so that others can be truly helped.
8. Precision Xtra Blood Ketone Test Strips by Abbott
Keeping with the theme of testing your blood for optimizing your personal health, this item that landed at #8 was most likely a love-hate purchase for the people who bought it. At a cost of nearly $6 per blood ketone testing strip for a box of 10 (costing around $60 after shipping) to go with the Precision Xtra meter that landed at #5, it was a tough pill to swallow to test your blood ketones like I’ve been doing in the morning and night for the past seven months. But the information obtained from using this blood ketone meter is incredibly informative as people attempt to get into that coveted level of “nutritional ketosis” with blood ketone levels ranging from .5-3.0 millimolar for optimal fat-burning mode. There are certainly cheaper places online to find these same testing strips from Abbott for the Precision Xtra meter, mostly from Canadian pharmacies here, here and here (I have no personal experience with any of these companies, so use at your own risk), for example. Hopefully as testing blood ketones becomes more and more commonplace as a means for measuring your progress on your low-carb diet, the price will continue to drop and perhaps we’ll see these strips actually show up in local pharmacies. That’d be great to see although Abbott has shown little interest in meeting the growing demands of the nutritional ketosis market! Incidentally the lack of interest in blood ketone testing companies to play ball with making their testing strips more accessible and affordable to those who want them has opened the door to some brand new technology that measures ketones in another way besides blood and urine that could be just as reliable, less invasive and less expensive. I hope to be sharing more about this with you very soon. Stay tuned!
9. New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great by Dr. Stephen Phinney, Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Eric Westman
The 2010 New York Times bestselling update to the Atkins nutritional approach features three co-authors whose credentials are unmatched in the realm of research into low carbohydrate diets. I’ve already shared with you about Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek from the top two books on this year’s list of Amazon affilate bestsellers. They were joined by Duke researcher and clinician Dr. Eric Westman for a fantastic collaboration updating the concepts of low-carb living that the late, great Dr. Robert C. Atkins envisioned 40 years ago when he first started talking about high-fat, low-carb living. Listen to my March 2010 podcast interview with Dr. Westman in Episode 338 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” where we discussed at great length about everything that’s included in this newly-updated version of the famous Atkins diet with citations of all the scientific research that has happened in recent years. This is an excellent book to add to your collection and there’s even a companion cookbook that came out late last year for people wanting recipes that fit the low-carb bill. This book did the Atkins name proud championing the high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb message loud and clear. A new generation of Atkins dieters will benefit from the knowledge shared within the pages of this book.
It’s hard to believe that with all the science we’ve seen supporting the importance of consuming fat as part of a healthy lifestyle that there would be a need for a book like this one. But apparently fat-phobia still lives strong and author K.D. Joseph is seeking to break through the myths, lies and distortions to share the cold hard facts about how consuming dietary fat can help you LOSE weight. It was an enlightening discussion we had in Episode 551 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast back in February 2012. Becoming keto-adapted so that your body runs efficiently on fat for fuel instead of carbohydrate is a key element in why my “nutritional ketosis” experiment has been such a resounding success. I guess you could say this was one of the books that inspired me to push the envelope with my fat intake in 2012 to a level that would allow my body to reach that place where fat-burning could be maximized (hovering around 85% of my total daily caloric intake for most of the year). Although this is only an e-book, it’s certainly information well worth getting your hands upon if you want to become serious about losing weight the ketogenic way.
Here’s the rest of my Top 25 Amazon affiliate bestsellers in 2012:
11. The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will by Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Jonny Bowden
12. The Smarter Science Of Slim: What the Actual Experts Have Proven About Weight Loss, Dieting, & Exercise, Plus, The Harvard Medical School Endorsed Program To Burn Fat Permanently by Jonathan Bailor
13. Nova Max Plus Ketone Test Strips by Nova
15. Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by Dr. William Davis
16. Nourished: A Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance by Judy Barnes Baker
17. It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
18. Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo
19. Why We Got Fat And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes
20. The Brain Trust Program: A Scientifically Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Memory, Elevate Mood, Enhance Attention, Alleviate Migraine and Menopausal Symptoms, and Boost Mental by Dr. Larry McCleary
21. Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan
24. Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids by Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth
25. Living Low Carb: Controlled-Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss by Dr. Jonny Bowden
What were YOUR favorite low-carb/Paleo/health books of 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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