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Decadent dinners on a diet; You don't have to ditch the diet and the dreams of wearing a bikini on the beach to eat out. Penny Fray called five popular city centre venues asking them to prepare a decadent dinner based on different diets.Here's how they fared.

Byline: Penny Fray

The Raw Food Diet

COMMITTED veggies can rejoice as this diet encourages you to chomp through acres of fresh organic fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

How does it work? Raw food eating is more of a philosophy than a specific weight loss plan.

But converts of the movement are reported to lose loads of weight because they simply consume fewer calories than they would on a normal diet containing meat,pasta and dairy products. For more information log on to www.rawfoodnetwork.com. Forbidden foods: Anythingthat has a face or cooked above 42C. Oh,and don't think about touching starch-laden fruit and veg such as bananas,carrots and potatoes.

Advantages: You can graze all day on allowed foods.

Disadvantages: Even if you can endure the rabbit food, can you really be bothered to chew every mouthful a dozen times?

Celebrity followers: UberchicUS designer Donna Karan and actress Alicia Silverstone. The eating place: Blue Barand Grill, theAlbert Dock, Liverpool.

Suggested dish: A bowl of mixed leaf salad with a ladle of humus,plus black and green olives,grated carrot and sun-dried tomatoes with vinaigrette. The second dish contained a selection of cheeses with celery,peppers, tomato salsa,a green spinach dip and a sultan a and onion chutney.

Diet food policy: Head chef Mark Farrell says: ``Most of the time we'lladapt the menu if someone is on a diet. But if they want a specific dish, we need advance warning.''

Verdict:A subtle blend of vegetarian ingredients that tasted delicious.

Unfortunately, the cheese was a bit of a no- no for vegans. The presentation, however, was colourfuland imaginative.

The Curry Diet

SPICE-LOVING fatties just have to click on to www.curryslim.com.

There, they will get a personalised,calorie-counted menu,eating plan and exercise programme that will help them lose 2lba week.

How does it work? You'll have to be honest when logging in your weight,height,age and sex.Then, all the hard work is done for you.

All you have to do is follow the recipes and eat.

Apparently, the spices found in the exotic dishes speed up your me tab olic rate,helping you to burn off extra fat.Easy.

Forbidden foods: Umm,everything that's not on your personalised plan.

Advantages: You get to indulge in dishes such as chicken tikka mas ala and lamb vindaloo ,albeit to a low-fat recipe.

Disadvantages: You have an Indian dish for breakf ast,lunch and supper.

This diet is for hard- core curry fans only.

Celebrity fo llowers: NadiaWadia, the star of cult TV comedy Goodness Gracious Me.

The eating place: Sultan'sPalace,Victoria Street,Liverpool Suggested dish: A feast thats tarted off with a tandori fish tikka made with salmon, a soft fillet of chicken marinated in a light cream cheese and a chicken tikka in low fat yogurt,ginger andgarlic. For the main course, there was chicken jalfrezi and peppers in a mild sauce containing fresh tomatoes,ginger, coriander and vegetable oil.

Diet food policy: ``We get a lot of requests for low- calorie dishes and we're always happy to oblig e,'' says owner Peter Ghumbhir.

Verdict:Light, refreshing and full of flavour.

In fact,it tasted better than the full fat version.

The Hay Diet

THE Hay Diet is based on the theory that various food groups require different digestion times, so should be eaten separately.

How does it work? Carbohydrates or starches require a mainly alkaline medium to digest properly, while proteins need acid.

So, weight loss is optimised by not eating starches and proteins at the same time.

Fruit should be consumed alone. Forbidden foods: None. You just have to make sure you don't mix your food types.

Advantages: Great for detoxing thebody. Disadvantages: It's difficult not mix starches with proteins because we're so used to having potatoes with meat or bread with cheese.

Plus, you have to wait four hours for each food type to digest.Frankly, life's too short.

Celebrity followers: Actress LizHurley. The eating place: Beige, theAlbertDock,Liverpool. Suggested dish: Stuffed potatoes with ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, wilted baby spinach, roasted leeks and onion.

Diet food policy: Head chef Stephen Hampton, says ``Wenever say no to customer requests.''

Verdict:Wow! This tasted great. But the cheeses weren't a good idea.

The Atkins Diet

THE updated high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet has found a mass- following on Merseyside, Wirral and Cheshire.

Why? Well converts claim that the pounds just drop off within the first week. But for most individuals,eating out is a no- no because of the strict nature of the regime.

How does it work? Essentially, you reduce your carbohydrate intake from about 300gms to a miserly 20gms a day and indulge in protein- rich foods such as meat and fish for two weeks. According to Dr Atkins, this reduces the fat- storing hormone insulin and depletes the carbohydrate stores in both your muscles and liver.

This forces your body to burn off fat, while pigging out on protein-based meals raises your metabolism. After two weeks you gradually re-introduced carbs to your diet.

Forbidden foods: During the first couple of weeks, you're banned from eating all fruit, starchy vegetables,bread, grains and all dairy foods apart from cheese,cream and butter. Advantages: Two teams ofAmerican scientists have concluded that not only is the Atkins Diet safe,but it actually works.So, you can lose weight without picking on lettuce leaves.Instead, you can pig out on steak,bacon and butter. At last a diet that doesn't make you feel hungry! Disadvantages: Mostregistered dieticians think it is unbalanced diet and the reforeunhealthy in that it reduces your intake of fruit and vegetables. Celebrity followers: Most ofHollywood's body beautiful, including Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellweger.

The eating place: Vue Bar andGrill,Campbell Square, Liverpool. Suggested dish: Steak with aside order of blanched spinach parcels incorporating wild mushrooms and celery cooked in a balsamic vinegar.

Diet food policy: Head chef Tom Parry says: ``We'llalways adapt the menu to suit an individual's needs but we need prior notice if a special meal needs to be prepared.''

Verdict:Gorgeous.Who needs potatoes! Not sure if the balsamic vinegar is ok though.

Weight Watchers

BASED on a points weight loss system, Weight Watchers allows you to eat the foods you really enjoy without feeling guilty. How does it work? Each item of food and drink has been designated a score based on their saturated fat and calorie count. Once you join a Weight Watchers class you are weighed and given a daily points allowance. You start losing weight by sticking to your rations. Forbidden foods: None. Butthe healthier the food, the easier it is to shed the pounds. Advantages: If you scoff three bars of chocolate on Monday, you can make up for it over the next few days by reducing the number of points you eat.Disadvantages: It takes time and effort to check the designated points of everything you put in your mouth. Believe you me, scurrying around the supermarket with a calculator in hand is no fun! Celebrity followers: TheDuchess of York and soap star Emily Simmons.

The eating place: PanAmerican Club,The Albert Dock,Liverpool.

Suggested dish: Seared loin of tuna and prawns in a bed of mixed lettuce with a citrus dressing. While the portobello mushrooms were stuffed with saffron rice and roasted peppers.

Diet food policy: Chef du par tie Simon Doran says: ``So long as we'vegot the ingredients, wedon't mind adapting the menu or preparing something to order.'' Verdict:Despite being a low calorie dish, the fish tasted really rich and meaty. A very filling meal.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 3, 2003
Words:1266
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