The Top Society Diet Doctors

Feeling porcine on Park Avenue? Flabby at the Four Seasons? W investigates what the weight-loss gurus to Manhattan’s jetset have to offer—Whether you’re in the market for appetite suppressants, A 758-calorie meal plan, a doc on speed dial or good old-fashioneD intimidation.


Stephen Gullo

Clientele: Hollywood starlets, Arab royalty. Philosophy in a Nutshell: Avoid foods you have a history of abusing.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University. Author of 1995’s Thin Tastes Better and 2005’s The Thin Commandments Diet.

Style: Evangelical mentor. Encourages patients (or as he calls them, “my people”) to dial his cell whenever a craving hits; between appointments they listen to personalized cassette or cell phone recordings of his hypnotic voice, meant to help them shun trigger foods. Fond of saying, “Do you want to be a Hamp-thin or a Hamp-ton?”

Diet Tip: Ease up on carbs; go for fish and seafood.

Recommends: Dandelion root tea, a natural diuretic, three times a day before an event.

Cost: $1500 for the first hour-and-a-half session; follow-up appointments: $335 for a half hour.

Insider says: “For the first two months, he called me every weekend just to see how I was doing.”

Charles Passler

Clientele: Vogue staffers get his meal bars and supplements delivered; Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are clients.

Philosophy in a Nutshell: Balance your physical and emotional health. Shift your value system so skinny jeans matter more than chocolate.

Qualifications: Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic, where he also studied nutrition.

Style: Devises a diet based on results of neurofeedback and biofeedback tests. Urges client to ask herself questions like “Is it really easier for me to eat the slice of pizza? Or would it be easier for me not to eat it and feel good about putting on a bathing suit?” (Hint: The correct answer is not pizza.)

Diet Tip: Do his jump-start detox plan of vitamins and green vegetables—he says patients can drop 10 pounds in a week.

Recommends: Very personalized supplementation based on a patient’s needs.

Cost: $270 for the first consultation, then between $95 and $145 for follow-up.

Insider says: Dress to impress: “The whole fashion community goes there.”

Jana Klauer

Clientele: Park Avenue matrons (her opus is How the Rich Get Thin, 2006).

Philosophy in a Nutshell: Whole foods, all the time.

Qualifications: M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine; master’s in nutrition from Columbia University.

Style: No gimmicks here: three squares a day, afternoon snack, plus daily exercise.

Diet Tip: Cut out all processed carbs; eat protein at every meal.

Recommends: Getting vitamins through food, and paying special attention to omega-3 and calcium: “If you have a liter of San Pellegrino, that has about 120 mg of calcium.”

Cost: $900 for the first 90-minute consultation; $270 for follow-ups, but Klauer will not confirm, saying that giving out prices is “tacky.”

Insider says: Part doc, part cheerleader. “When I’m doing well, it’s like getting a gold star, she’s so positive.”

Stuart Fischer

Clientele: Tinsley Mortimer is a celebrity consultant in his latest tome.

Philosophy in a Nutshell: Self-reinvention. Live like a thin person—get regular blowouts, socialize more and cut out emotional eating—and weight loss will follow.

Qualifications: M.D. from Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. Author of 2008’s The Park Avenue Diet.

Style: Full makeover. After designing a diet plan, he sets patients up with experts in fashion, hairstyling, exercise and skincare.

Diet Tip: Says losing more than two pounds a week will make you fatter in the long run.

Recommends: His own supplement program.

Cost: $950 for four visits.

Insider says: “Sometimes reality isn’t what you want to hear—he doesn’t sugarcoat things.”

Jairo Rodriguez

Clientele: Ambassadors, prep-school moms, financiers.

Philosophy in a Nutshell: No free calories: “You can eat 5,000 calories in vegetables and 5,000 calories in chocolate, and you get equally fat.”

Qualifications: Certified nutritionist. Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College.

Style: Tests patients for every possible biochemical imbalance, then often starts them on a VLCD (known to laymen as “very low-calorie diet”—i.e., 758 daily calories), which includes protein shakes, for rapid weight loss, followed by a less rigid meal plan.

Diet Tip: Beware of “healthy” but sugar-rich foods. “Fruit stimulates hunger. Don’t think of fruit as a good sugar.”

Recommends: The amino acid glutamine, 500 mg, three times a day after meals. “It gives the body the sensation that you already ate sugar.”

Cost: $350 for the first consultation; $300 for each follow-up.

Insiders say: You’ll be chock-full of vitamins, but hungry.

Robert S. Levine

Clientele: Upper crust, Upper East Side.

Philosophy in a Nutshell: Don’t be a wimp. Stick to his strict, three-meal-a-day diet plan for success.

Qualifications: M.D. from University of Bologna.

Style: Three meals a day (one may be only cottage cheese), plus supplements and tough love (he’s been known to scold). “Obviously this is confrontational stuff,” he says. “It isn’t just patting on the head, ‘Oh, don’t worry—you’ll do better next week.’”

Diet Tip: Lose the salt. “The human body is 70 percent water, so if you retain even 2 percent more, it’s substantial.”

Recommends: Vitamin B12 shots and coenzyme Q10, which, he says, helps the body utilize oxygen more efficiently and function at a higher level. Prescription appetite suppressants (though, he adds, “I never allow [the drugs] to get out of hand”).

Cost: $180 for first visit, $70 for weekly follow-ups.

Insider says: “It feels old-school, with vitamin shots and horse pills.”