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Best Diet? The One You Can Stick With

May 13, 2011

This week’s health news has been buzzing with the Consumer Reports diet rankings. The results were quite surprising to many of us in the nutrition field – the top five diets are:

  1. Jenny Craig
  2. Slim Fast
  3. Weight Watchers
  4. The Zone
  5. Ornish Diet
  6. Atkins

Interestingly, Jenny Craig came out on top based on a Journal of the American Medical Association study from last October that showed 92 percent of Jenny Craig clients stayed on the program for 2 years. What Consumer Reports didn’t seem to take into account, is that the participants in the study didn’t pay a penny for the program – the researchers paid for all the expenses, which are quite hefty. The program, which includes an annual fee and the cost of all the food, can cost a couple thousand dollars per year. I highly doubt that 92 percent of the participants would have stayed on the diet for as long as they did if they were paying for it themselves.

The fact that Slim Fast, which involves drinking a shake for breakfast and lunch and having a 500 calorie dinner, came in second is also mind-boggling to me. In fact, of all the programs listed I would have thought Weight Watchers would have come out on top.

The truth is, I don’t advocate for any of these diets. I encourage people to eat balanced meals filled with vegetables, fruit, lean protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates. And the food they eat should be nutritious and delicious. An occasional treat is also ok as long as it’s in moderation. This is the foundation of a healthy diet; restriction, packaged foods (especially for all meals everyday), shakes, and meal replacement bars are not.

One component of some of these diets that I do recommend is support. Whether it’s visiting a registered dietitian once a week, calling a friend for encouragement, or going to a support group, if you’re looking to lose or maintain your weight, having the support of others will help you reach your goal.

What do you think about the Consumer Reports diet rankings? Do you believe in diets? 

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  1. I believe people lose weight on these diets but they are not healthy ( exception weight watchers). People must learn to embrace a lifestyle of healthy eating.

    1. I agree – people lose weight, but usually once they go off the diets they gain the weight back. Especially if all the food is prepared for you, you don’t learn core techniques and strategies to maintain weight loss.