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Which Diet Is Right for You?

Here's the skinny on six top diets to help you achieve weight loss success.

Volumentrics: Will it fill you up?

Layman isn’t as convinced. "[Rolls has] found that if you eat things that have a high fluid volume ahead of a meal … you will consume fewer calories. I think that’s perfectly good research, but I’m not sure that everybody, at every meal, can have soup ahead of it," he says. He views Volumetrics as a component of a diet, rather than a lifestyle.

Also, because the Volumetrics diet relies heavily on homemade soups, casseroles, and stews, you have to be extra vigilant about meal ingredients if you’re leading a busy lifestyle and depend on convenience and restaurant foods. You might want to consider canned soups, especially the low-calorie and low-sodium varieties on market shelves. 

Bottom line? Volumetrics is a sensible, low-fat diet. It can work for people who get filled up on soups, salads, and vegetables, but those who don’t feel satisfied after a plate of greens may stay hungry enough to veer way from the plan.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig takes the thinking out of dieting. The plan provides you with three meals plus snacks every day, and you supplement them with your own fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. You can either pick up your food at a local center or have it shipped directly to your home every two to four weeks.

For the most part, Jenny Craig is based on the government's Food Guide Pyramid. You can eat a variety of foods (even chocolate), but everything is low-fat and portion-controlled.

Cutting down your portions will help you trim down, but Jenny Craig isn’t a long-term weight-loss solution, says Thomas Halton, DSc, licensed nutritionist and owner of Fitness Plus, a nutrition counseling service in Boston, Mass. "The concern is: Will it really teach you how to eat right? Are you going to eat that for the rest of your life?" Layman agrees. "If you don’t learn new behaviors in the first six months of going on a new nutrition program, then you’re going to fail at it and a year later you’ll be back as heavy as you were, if not heavier."

The price of Jenny Craig

What Jenny Craig does offer is an important lesson in portion sizes, Fernstrom says. "I tell people to keep the containers from their packaged meal plan so they can use them for their own food."

Bottom line? Jenny Craig is healthy and takes the guesswork out of dieting, but the food gets pricey ($120–$145 a week, plus shipping and handling costs if you’re having it sent to your home), and a lot of people eventually want to get back to eating food that doesn’t come from a plastic container.

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