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Diet hooks

Breadless, meatless, sweetless. Today's hottest books offer an eating (or not) plan for everyone. We weigh in on their . . .

March 10, 2008|Regina Nuzzo | Special to The Times

Here's the latest diet advice, hot off the presses: Eat less fat. No, eat more protein. And if your ring finger is longer than your index finger, you might also want to avoid tomatoes. Don't forget to write in your journal every morning. And clean out your refrigerator every week. Oh, and you should drink flavorless oil every day between meals. Add ground-up plant roots to your food. Order the tacos instead of the burrito. Banish Ss from your eating (except on days that begin with S, of course). And never, ever trust the USDA.

Americans desperately want to be told how to lose weight. And books are there to oblige -- published at dizzying rates, then snapped up with matching hunger by readers. Last year, 439 new diet books appeared on the shelves in the U.S., according to Bowker's BooksInPrint.com. That means you could read a different diet book every day of the year and still not get through them all. Yet we try: U.S. sales of health and fitness books (of which diet books are a big chunk) reach well over $500 million per year, according to market analysis firm Simba.

If there was one perfect way of eating, of course, we'd probably know it by now. Instead, we keep slogging through books with clever titles and bewitching promises, hoping for a few nuggets of wisdom. Some books are solid, some are questionable, some have a sassy attitude -- but all have a hook. We've handpicked 10 new and recent buzz-worthy offerings, evaluating their gimmicks -- and whether they might actually work.

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Putting 10 to the test

1. "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?"

2. "Skinny Bitch" and "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch"

3. "The Spectrum"

4. "The All-New Atkins Advantage"

5. "The Writing Diet"

6. "Eat This Not That"

7. "The No S Diet"

8. "Women's Health

Perfect Body Diet"

9. "The Shangri-La Diet"

10. "The GenoType Diet"

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