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Jenny Craig may have edged competition, but other diets can work

May 11, 2011|By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Weight Watchers and SlimFast both urge portion control, but Consumer Reports named Jenny Craig the top diet for how dieters adhere to the weight loss plan.
Weight Watchers and SlimFast both urge portion control, but Consumer Reports… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

For those looking to shed a few pounds, Jenny Craig may be a good bet — the plan got top honors in a Consumer Reports ranking of popular diets. But not all dieters would agree.

After all, as Booster Shots blogger Eryn Brown pointed out yesterday: Jenny Craig is fairly expensive. And each diet has its fans.

Consumer Reports offers an overview of its seven-diet comparison (you must have a subscription to see the rankings), but it has this to say about Jenny Craig specifically:

“What gave it the edge over the other big names we assessed — stalwarts such as Atkins, Ornish, and Weight Watchers — was a 332-person, two-year study of the program published in the Oct. 27, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association. Ninety-two percent of participants stuck with the Jenny Craig program for two years — a remarkable level of adherence — and at the end of that time weighed an average of about 8 percent less than when they started. “

WebMD helpfully offers a rundown of the basic facts on many popular diets, including the Atkins Diet, the Lemonade Diet, Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution, Body for Life, the Perricone Diet and, naturally, the Dukan Diet.

But let's start with the two runners-up mentioned in the Consumer Reports evaluation. 

--SlimFast: This diet is about portion control and branded snacks, such as the iconic SlimFast shakes and meal-in-one bars. You eat six times a day — three snacks, two SlimFast shakes or bars and one 500-calorie meal, according to the website.

WebMD notes that the weight loss rate goals are safe, about 1-2 pounds per week for 10% of body weight loss in six months.

--Weight Watchers: Dieters have an allotted number of points to “spend” on foods, based on a personalized calorie allotment.

WebMD likes the new Points Plus system that rewards allocating those points to foods deemed healthy by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines: 

“Dieters are encouraged to maximize their Points Plus allowance by choosing more 'Power Foods,' such as whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and unlimited quantities of fresh fruit and nonstarchy vegetables. 'Power Foods' are the healthiest, most filling foods.”

And though Weight Watchers came in third in the Consumer Reports ranking, Brown, for one, won’t give up her treasured time logging point totals, not to mention the freedom to cook her own meals.

That’s what works for her. And that’s what matters — what works.  

Of course, there’s something to be said for a plan that 92% of people can stick to for two years.

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