5 On Your Side

Jenny Craig rates for nutrition, results

Posted May 11, 2011

Are you on a diet?

For many people, the answer is yes!

Often people rely on a diet plan to lose weight, often trying different diets, hoping to find one that will magically take off the pounds.

Most experts agree the best way to lose weight is to exercise and eat right. But many people, like Theresa Pavone, need the help of a diet plan.

"I've been dieting since birth. I've always had an issue with weight," says Pavone.

With so many diet plans to choose from, Consumer Reports analyzed seven of the biggest names, including the Zone, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers.

"We rated each diet on nutritional quality, and we looked at published studies to find out how much weight people lost on these diets and how well they were able to stick to the diets" says Consumer Reports Nancy Metcalf.

Weight Watchers recently revised its system that assigns points to every food you eat.

"Now Weight Watchers puts even more emphasis on filling, good-for-you foods like lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. But research on the program hasn't been published yet," says Metcalf.

Because of that, Consumer Reports didn’t include Points Plus as part of its Weight Watchers analysis.

The Atkins plan got the lowest score for nutrition in the Consumer Reports analysis.

 And while Slim-Fast with its shakes and nutrition bars scored near the top overall, it had the worst long-term dropout rate.

Jenny Craig beat them all with its prepackaged meals that you supplement with fruits, vegetables and other foods. Nutrition is excellent and the dropout rate is low.

"More than 90% of participants were able to stay on the diet for at least two years,” says Metcalf. “And they lost an average of eight percent of their starting weight."

If you don't like eating pre-packaged foods, the Jenny Craig diet might not be for you. It is working for Pavone. She has already lost 50 pounds!

"Jenny Craig fits my lifestyle because it plans out all the food I need to eat for my day, for my week, and so I can worry about other things," says Pavone.

Jenny Craig's annual membership fee is $400.

That includes weekly counseling sessions, but the packaged food costs extra.


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  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness May 12, 2011

    I am on PointsPlus, and I think the program is great. I've lost 33 pounds (and now am close to my goal weight), have worked up to running 5K on a regular basis, and have joined the Y and have a workout routine.

    I think come next year, after PointsPlus has been out, it will get better reviews.

  • Baybee Doll May 11, 2011

    Here's my diet plan--substitute whole-grain crckers(can't post this word??) for bread, and enjoy them with some ham & lowfat cheese several times a day. Have a light dinner & no fast food at all. No sugary sodas. When you go out, eat light & low-carb (like grilled chicken or fish). And u can still sample the appetizer, bread & dessert.

    Fifteen pounds gone in a month!!

  • trublondmom715 May 11, 2011

    I recently joined Weight Watchers and love it! I was on it several years ago and lost around 25 but then had a baby. I think the new system is much better because you get more points, and fruits and veggies are free. I also love the support you get from the group meetings and I look forward to going every week. I think what sets WW apart from other programs is that you can do it for life. Everyone I know that has done Atkins lost the weight but gained it back just as quickly. I tried it too and felt great for the first 2 weeks but then got really sick from lack of carbs. I decided that wasn't the plan for me. My sister is doing Nutri-system but says she is sick of the food. It tastes good but she is tired of the same food so she gives it to me. I use it sometimes b/c I can calculate the point value but I would never want to completely eat out of a box. I think variety, choice and balance it the better option. Also more physicians recommend Weight Watchers because it is a balanced diet.

  • 2alegal May 11, 2011

    Yeah. Stop buying Jenny Craig and see what happens? I lost 60-70 lbs and guess what? Its back.........The food to way TOO EXPENSIVE!!! Taste good though.