There sits Dr. Howard Shapiro's point: dieters imagine that they're saving calories by eating the "virtuous" snack on the left, whereas in reality they're depriving themselves of the mountain of food on the right.
Dr. Shapiro believes that there are no bad foods, no right or wrong reasons to eat, no perfect number of meals in any given day. He doesn't believe in telling clients at his weight-loss clinic in Manhattan when they can or can't eat. Some of them are celebrities and corporate executives with such busy lives that mealtimes are often unpredictable. So Dr. Shapiro reassures them that a calorie is a calorie, whether you eat it before or after 9 p.m. He helps them lose weight by showing them different foods, set side by side, and how the seemingly healthier choice might actually be equal to or greater in calories than a bunch of foods that would seem to be off-limits to someone trying to lose weight.
In Picture Perfect Weight Loss, he uses photos of foods to demonstrate these choices. Thus, a "healthy" carob bar is shown to be equal in calories to 10 scoops of Italian ices. A 10-ounce loaf of crusty bread is shown to be equal to a tiny dish of Chex Mix. Two ounces of reduced-fat cheese are shown to be equal in calories and fat grams to two ounces of salami.
The photos pit all types of snacks and many meal choices against each other, and account for sugar, salt, and starch cravings. The text--easy to read even when discussing scientific principles that scientists don't fully understand yet--covers everything from exercise to nutrition labels to menus from some of the world's top restaurants, with the healthiest food choices highlighted.
Regular dieters, though, might want to skip all that until they've read the appendix explaining why the most popular fad diets--from the Atkins diet to Suzanne Somers's--are unhealthy, overly restrictive, or just based on misunderstood science. That alone might be worth the price of Picture Perfect Weight Loss. --Lou Schuler