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Consumer Reports Health: Jenny Craig Beats Other Weight Loss Plans Based on Weight Loss, Adherence

May 10, 2011 -- Jenny Craig bested Slim Fast 3-2-1 and Weight Watchers in the latest battle in the diet wars. The new diet ratings, released by Consumer Reports Health, gave six popular diets a score based on their overall effect on weight loss, adherence, and how well they followed the 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines for Americans.

Jenny Craig, which combines personalized counseling with a portion-controlled regimen of pre-made foods and homemade side dishes, scored an 85. The Slim Fast 3-2-1 plan, which includes a bar or shake at breakfast and lunch and 500-calorie homemade dinner plus three snacks, received a score of 63. Weight Watchers scored a 57. The Zone, Ornish, and Atkins plans were also evaluated in the new report.

So how did Jenny Craig edge out the competition?

A study cited in the report showed that 92% of people on the Jenny Craig program stuck with it for two years, and they weighed about 8% less after two years on the Jenny Craig program.

“We should all consider Jenny Craig because it has shown results in clinical trials, but the best diet for you is the one that you can stay on,” says Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor at Consumer Reports Health in White Plains, N.Y.

When it comes to choosing a weight loss plan, it’s different strokes for different folks, she says.

Jenny Craig’s prepackaged meals “are not haute cuisine, but if you like the fact that you don’t have to cook, it may be for you,” she says.

People lost weight on all of the diets that were evaluated. “None of these diets are bad for you,” she says.

Support Matters

Support is an important part of the equation.

“Support is really helpful in making people stick to their diets, and this is one of the linchpins of the Jenny Craig plan,” Metcalf says. “You have to show up and be accountable to a counselor, and Weight Watchers from day one has said that the best results come from face-to-face meetings.”

Web-based counseling also helps, Metcalf says. “The more you are reminded, the better off you will be."

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