Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss Diet: What You Need to Know

Shapiro frowns upon deprivation because it leads to cravings and overeating. Instead he recommends that you understand the choices you make. See more weight loss tips pictures.
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Dr. Howard M. Shapiro, a weight-loss doctor to the rich and famous in New York City, has developed a weight-loss strategy that helps dieters develop "food awareness." By visually demonstrating the choices you can make in your diet (for instance, 1 fat-free, sugar-free muffin has the same number of calories as 1 whole pineapple, 1/2 cantaloupe, 2 pears, 1/2 papaya, 5 ounces grapes, 1/2 kiwifruit, and 2 whole-wheat rolls together), Shapiro says you'll be able to make better food choices -- choices that will allow you to eat any food you want and yet lose weight. In more than 100 pages of photographs, he shows you how to get more food for fewer calories. In his 20 years of counseling people about losing weight, Shapiro says he has learned that there is no single weight-loss program that can work for everyone. More recently, Dr. Shapiro has added a cookbook and a 30-day plan guidebook.

The Rationale

The rationale behind Shapiro's diet is one found in several other diet plans -- it's the calorie concentration of foods that is the key to controlling weight. You can eat more of foods that have a lower calorie concentration than you can of those with a higher calorie concentration. Through clear explanations and graphic illustrations, Shapiro shows you which kinds of foods are more concentrated. And he dispels a lot of myths about low-calorie choices. Think you're being virtuous by having a dry bagel? Well, it turns out that only one-third of that dry bagel provides the same number of calories as a vegetarian "ham" sandwich on light bread with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and a pickle. The sandwich will fill you up more, and it also is more nutritious.

Shapiro frowns upon deprivation because it leads to cravings, which lead to overeating. Instead he recommends that you understand the choices you make and adjust your diet accordingly. He considers portion cutting an "ill-advised exercise in a false kind of willpower." You don't need to have smaller portions but rather larger portions of lower-calorie food. He doesn't discourage eating carbohydrates -- either sugar or starch, asserting that a calorie is a calorie, no matter what it is made of or when you eat it. Shapiro encourages dieters to keep a food diary to increase their food awareness.