5 On Your Side

Consumer Reports Looks at Factors for Successful Diet

Posted May 7, 2007

Temptations involving food are everywhere, and they seem especially true when you are trying to lose weight. Many diet plans jockey for your attention, but Consumer Reports recently analyzed a whole host of diet programs and looked at the latest scientific data on which type is the best.

"Finally, scientists have started studying the experts, which are people who have actually managed to lose weight and keep it off. And through those studies, they've really come up with a lot of strategies that seem to work," said Nancy Metcalf, of Consumer Reports.

The strategies include starting the day with a good breakfast, which is what 78 percent of the study's successful dieters did. Seventy-five percent weighed themselves at least weekly to keep on track.

Consumer Reports rated eight diet plans that have been studied in clinical trials, including Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim-Fast, and Atkins.

"We looked at actual scientific studies of the diets and we rated them on how much weight people lost, how easy they were to stick to, and how well they conformed with U.S. Dietary Guidelines," Metcalf said.

Consumer Reports choice for the most successful diet? Perhaps one you haven't heard of. It is outlined in the book, “The Volumetrics Eating Plan."

“It's based on research that's been done at Penn State University," Metcalf said. "The principle is to fill up on low-density foods -- foods that have a lot of volume for the amount of calories."

For example, instead of having a piece of coffee cake for breakfast, for the same 400 calories, you could have a bowl of oat cereal, a cup of yogurt, a half of a cantaloupe and orange juice. Testers found since the foods are "low-density," they are likely to fill you up sooner so you do not overeat.

After Volumetrics, Consumer Reports found Weight Watchers is the second-best diet, with Jenny Craig a close third. However, Consumer Reports said keep in mind that even the highest-rated diets generally produce less than a 10-percent weight loss after a year.


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  • BIG YAWN May 8, 2007

    No one diet works for everyone. Self-dicipline is the one factor that helps you lose weight. That and a full size large mirror in every room!

  • cherriedragon May 8, 2007

    I know the secret to weight loss......change your eating habits......count your calories.......have one hotdog instead of two........use equal in coffee instead of sugar.....have a fun size snickers instead of the regular size.....you get the picture

  • LaLa-Land May 8, 2007

    It's all a state of mind. I've tried them all and nothing will work until a person actually eats healthy and exercises. Common sense, yes, but it's hard to achieve the state of mind to overcome cravings for ice cream and chips.

  • tmlcary May 8, 2007

    "Eat less. Exercise more. Simple."
    In theory, yes it is simple. It's not easy though.

  • ttlchaos May 8, 2007

    To: dr_nc, it's obvious you have never had a weight problem.

  • entryrejected May 8, 2007

    i havent had any fast food in 3 months and I gained 5 pounds. figure that one out. I used to eat out 3-5 times a week.

  • browneyedgirl May 8, 2007

    *so much, opps

  • browneyedgirl May 8, 2007

    don't eat some much junk and you don't have to worry about it

  • chickadee May 8, 2007

    Weight Watchers really does work. I joined a year ago and I've been at my goal weight for 8 months now. I highly recommend WW!

  • lapj May 8, 2007

    Here's my secret for losing 42 lbs (so far) in the last year. I call it the "acid reflux disease" diet. Avoid spicy, acidic (citrus fruits & tomoatoes), fried, and greasy food. (you can cheat with french fries occasionally) Eliminate caffeine and sodas. Cut way back on anything sweet because it doesn't taste sweet after the acid affects your taste buds. Drink lots of water. I can tell you it's not a fun diet, but it has been very effective...lol!