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HEALTH & WELLNESS

It's not too late to shape up for summer: A new crop of diet books can help

It's just about 100 days until the official start of summer. That means if you start dieting now and you lose a modest 2 pounds a week, you can hit the sand about 30 pounds lighter. Or maybe your goals have nothing to do with weight loss but instead achieving peak performance so you can crush your competition. To help you get on your way, we've rounded up some of the top new diet books. (Spoiler alert: We skipped anything that seemed gimmicky or unhealthful.)

Browse our list — and you'll find more online at latimes.com/health — for something that piques your interest and aligns with your natural likes and eating patterns, and get going.

Of course, you don't need to buy a new book to know you should cut back on junk food and eat more vegetables. The best diet for you is the one that you'll actually stick to.

If we've overlooked your favorite new diet book or approach to losing weight, let us know by commenting online or tweeting us @latimeshealth, and tell us why we should write about it in a later edition of Mind & Body.

"The Taco Cleanse"
Wes Allison and others

The most fun you'll probably have reading a "diet" book. The authors will turn you into a vegan by proving you can turn anything into a taco. And you'll no doubt clean up your eating habits with all the plant-based recipes.

"Bulletproof: The Cookbook"
Dave Asprey

If you are looking to get ahead at the office and on the scale, take note. The author, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and biohacker (he conducts health and wellness on himself and then shares the results on his popular website, BulletproofExec.com), is also the guy who introduced the masses to butter coffee. This cookbook lays out an eating plan that Asprey says can help you lose up to a pound a day and slash food cravings forever — plus maximize professional and athletic performance. The diet is paleo/primal meets brain food such as MCT oil. (Warning: Asprey does heavily promote his own product line.)

"The Soup Cleanse"
Angela Blatteis and Vivienne Vella

Soup is good for the soul, and your waistline, the authors say. Nourishing soups and broths will help you stay full even as you slash calories, they claim. Combine with more healthful lifestyle habits like exercise and more sleep for lasting weight loss.

"The Stark Naked 21-Day Metabolic Reset"
Brad Davidson

If you are a Type A personality with a stress-filled job, this one is for you. The author says society's take-no-prisoners approach to health and fitness is doing more harm than good, and leads to a thrashed metabolism. His 21-day reboot regimen includes, among other things, more sleep, less exercise … and no sugar, alcohol or caffeine. (But green tea is OK.)

"Bon Appétit: The Food Lover's Cleanse"
Sara Dickerman

Do you drop everything when the new issue of Bon Appétit arrives? This cleanse lures you to the healthful side by putting gorgeous gourmet meals on the table.

"The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet"
Yuri Elkaim

Chronic stress and toxic overload are helping to keep you fat, the author argues. He goes on to prescribe a regimen that includes carb cycling — high carb days interspersed with low carb days — among other tactics to turn you into a fat-burning machine.

"Plant-Strong"
Rip Esselstyn

If you've been thinking about going vegan, or even just adding more plant-based foods to your diet, check this one out. Prepare to put up with "why meat is bad" proselytizing before you get to dozens and dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes.

"Body Fuel"
Mark Lauren

The sad truth is six-packs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Lauren — who sports a pretty tight set of abs on the cover — preaches calorie cycling, systematically increasing and then decreasing calories (and especially carbohydrates to keep the body in fat-burning, muscle-enhancing mode).

"The Hungry Girl Diet Cookbook"
Lisa Lillien

A follow-up to last-year's diet book, Lillien is a master at figuring out how to get the most bang for your calorie buck. Pairs nicely with those who do Weight Watchers and are looking for more recipes.

"The 20/20 Diet"
Dr. Phil McGraw

You know you should eat better and exercise. But you don't. Why is that? The man who fixes Americans' problems on TV guides you to clarity in his new book, arguing that many dieters self-sabotage for emotional reasons. Fix that, he says, and you'll be on your way to permanent weight loss.

"The Thinsulin Program"
Dr. Charles T. Nguyen

In a world where Type 2 diabetes is becoming more commonplace, Nguyen advises us to worry about insulin, not calories, to achieve lasting weight loss. Lowering insulin levels through food choices is the key to weight management, he says.

"The 4x4 Diet"
Erin Oprea

The selling point here is simplicity. Adopt four new dietary habits — cutting back on starches at night, as well as sugar, sodium and alcohol — and do four-minute workouts. The author says her approach is so flexible that you can stick to it for the rest of your life. (Does a four-minute workout sound gimmicky? Then you've never tried "tabatas": Intense, all-out exercise for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. As sports and fitness devotees of this approach say, if you feel OK at the end of the workout it's because you didn't push hard enough.)

"The Piper Protocol"
Tracy Piper

Do you want to do it the Hollywood way? Not scared off by talk of juice cleanses and colonics, and letting go of fear and anger? Piper — who advises the likes of Kate Upton and Victoria's Secret angels — has your number.

"The Stash Plan"
Laura Prepon and Elizabeth Troy

Fans of "Orange Is the New Black," take note. Prepon said she struggled with weight and skin issues until Troy, an integrative nutritionist, helped her turn it around. Here's how they did it.

"The Virgin Diet"
J.J. Virgin

Stop snickering at the name. Virgin believes that food intolerances — which you may not be aware of — are behind a stubborn inability to lose weight. By embracing a diet rich in anti-inflammatory, healing food, you can finally lose the junk in the trunk for good, she says. Prepare to give up gluten, soy, dairy, corn, eggs, peanuts and sugar, and watch the weight fall off and your skin clear up, according to Virgin.

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