Food for Thought
From low-carb (Atkins) to High-maintenance (raw foods), the city's most popular diets offer something for every taste.
CELEBRITY FANS: Al Gore is rumored to be on the diet; Alexandra Von Furstenberg, Samantha Boardman.
THE SCIENCE: The body metabolizes carbohydrates first; cut down on carbs, and your body will burn fat. So you can eat all the protein and fat you want and still shed pounds.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Sugar and carbs. After a stringent regimen during the first few weeks (including no more than twenty grams of carbs a day), gradually up your carb intake and ease into a diet low in trans fats, sugars, refined flours, and processed foods.
ATKINS IN NEW YORK: The Atkins Center is located right in midtown. There, an Atkins counselor will develop a personalized regimen for you (212-758-2110).
READING UP: Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, by Robert C. Atkins
CELEBRITY FANS: Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Sting, Donna Karan.
THE SCIENCE: Cooking food destroys its nutritional value: Enzymes begin to degenerate; the body has to use its own enzymes to digest food, hastening aging and sapping energy.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Anything heated past 118 degrees.
RAW FOODS IN NEW YORK: Unless you've got a personal chef able to whip up coconut-meat noodles, familiarize yourself with one of the city's three Quintessence restaurants, which serve raw-vegetable soup, raw "pasta" (thin strips of squash), even raw wine.
READING UP: Raw (due out in May), by raw-food guru Roxanne Klein and four-star chef Charlie Trotter.
CELEBRITY FANS: Jennifer Aniston, Cindy Crawford, Courtney Love.
THE SCIENCE: Balance the basic food groups: 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat, 30 percent protein.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Caffeine, artificial sweeteners, one-dimensional meals.
THE ZONE IN NEW YORK: Zone Gourmet delivers three prepared meals and two snacks dailyall perfectly balanced according to the 40-30-30 ratio (800-diet-308; $34.95 per day).
READING UP: The Zone, by Barry Sears
CELEBRITY FANS: Heidi Klum, Kim Cattrall, Julia Roberts.
THE SCIENCE: Pounds are shed and wrinkles prevented by eliminating foods over 50 on the glycemic index and by increasing your intake of antioxidants (dark leafy greens, blueberries, cantaloupe) and omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, olive oil, salmon).
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Rice, pasta, bread, refined sugars, potatoes, and juice.
PERRICONE IN NEW YORK: Dermatologist Nicholas Perricone practices in Meriden, Connecticut; if you can't make the trip, pick up his antioxidant skin-care line, Cosmeceuticals, at Saks Fifth Avenue and Sephora.
READING UP: The Wrinkle Cure and The Perricone Prescription, both by Nicholas V. Perricone
CELEBRITY FANS: Laura Dern, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones.
THE SCIENCE: The antithesis of Atkins: a low-fat diet that comprises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and soy products in their natural forms.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Cut back on meat, sugar, alcohol, and high-fat foods.
LIFE CHOICE IN NEW YORK: Dean Ornish, the man behind Life Choice, is 3,000 miles away. But if you need hands-on coaching, the Avon Salon & Spa's nutritionist, Gayle Reichler, is an Ornish guru (212-310-6363).
READING UP: Eat More, Weigh Less, by Dean Ornish
CELEBRITY FANS: Rosie O'Donnell, Fran Drescher, Kate Winslet.
THE SCIENCE: Foods are assigned point values based on their number of calories, grams of fat, and grams of fiber. Eat anything you want, but stay inside your daily point limit.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Five-course tasting menus and supersize McDonald's meals.
WEIGHT WATCHERS IN NEW YORK: There's a Weight Watchers group for everyone: Creative types meet at 14th Street; fashionistas migrate to 38th and Broadway; at 51st and Sixth, you'll find folks from NBC; and so on.
READING UP: Weight Watchers Stop Stuffing Yourself
CELEBRITY FANS: Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Joe Pesci.
THE SCIENCE: Eat only when you're hungry, chew slowly, and divide your daily proportions along these lines: 10 percent brothy soup; 30 percent veggies, 10 percent beans and sea vegetables, and 50 percent whole grainsplus a bit of seafood, fruit, and nuts. And lots of twig tea.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO: Meat, dairy, artificially or chemically treated foods, and caffeine.
MACROBIOTIC IN NEW YORK: Keeping a macrobiotic kitchen can be a full-time job. Restaurants like Souen, Ozu, and Angelica Kitchen can ease the burden. Or contact the Natural Gourmet Cookery School to hire a personal chef, available full-time or for the occasional dinner party (212-645-5170, extension 103).
READING UP: The Macrobiotic Way, by Michio Kushi