Last updated: Oct 15, 2009
picture-perfect-diet-guide
Vivid photo comparisons illustrate the calorie repercussions of food choices. There's no diet plan per se—just a visual wake-up call to help you make better choices.


Basic principles:
Train yourself to choose lower-calorie, healthful foods. Shapiro calls it FAT, or Food Awareness Training. If you become aware of what different choices provide in calories, you can change your relationship with food.

Use photo comparisons to familiarize yourself with nutritional trade-offs. For the same amount of calories, you can have a pint of premium fudge-chunk ice cream, 4 pints of sorbet, or 42 low-calorie frozen chocolate-mousse bars. You decide.

How it works:
Nothing is taboo. Shapiro offers his own food pyramid to steer dieters to the most healthful selections.

What you eat:
At the base are fruits and vegetables. Whole grains are preferred over refined products. For protein, Shapiro recommends soy, legumes, and seafood. Nuts, seeds, healthful oils, and avocados are the allowed fats. For dessert, hard candies and fat-free frozen desserts. There's also an "Anytime List" of foods to eat in unlimited amounts: all fruits and veggies; soups; fat-free condiments; fat-free dressings and dips (to go with those free veggies); hard candy; and fat-free frozen desserts like yogurt, fudge bars, and sorbet.

How much can you lose?
Since this isn't a complete diet plan, there are no concrete claims about weight loss. But if you follow the principles, you'll likely lose. Remember: Just 100 calories a day can make the difference of 10 pounds over the course of a year.

Is it healthy?
Sure. But since the plan is pretty loose, the overall nutritional quality of the diet will vary from dieter to dieter. Best bet for parents: Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan offers some great advice for dealing with childhood obesity.

Expert opinion:
"The pictures are beautiful," says John Foreyt, PhD, a weight-control expert from Baylor College of Medicine. "And they illustrate healthful food choices. But most dieters need more than pictures." Don't forget about watching portions and calories, he says. "Studies show that counting calories is one of the best behavioral weight-loss strategies there is."

Try this diet if you:
• Don't like structure
• Are a visual person
• Need a crash-course in calorie contents

1-day sample menus:
None provided.