If you want to be sure to lose weight and stick to your diet for at least two years, you should seriously consider the Jenny Craig diet, according to Consumer Reports. It easily beats other diets, such as Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, Atkins, Ornish and The Zone. The diet includes a portion-controlled program of pre-made foods that are delivered to you, some homemade dishes, and in-person or personal phone counseling.

Consumer Reports quotes a 2010 study involving 332 participants, published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). 92% of dieters were still on the Jenny Craig program after 24 months and had lost an average of 8% of their body weight. Consumer Reports describes 92% as “remarkable”.

The Jenny Craig diet incorporates some of the Volumetrics diet brands, which won the last assessment four years ago. The reason the Volumetrics diet was not rated this time is because it now forms part of the Jenny Craig diet.

The authors described Jenny Craig’s prepared foods as “decent in taste, though not great.” They add that if you want to lose weight this diet is a good one, unless you are not keen on the idea of pre-packaged meals.

Experts say that adherence is key for a successful diet – being able to stick to it. Most people cannot stay on a diet they hate, no matter how hard they try, most eventually drop out and the pounds come rushing back.

The range of diets available today is mindboggling, from near-vegan ones which focus on low fat, such as the Ornish diet, to high-fat low carb ones, such as Atkins. Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers lie somewhere in between the two extremes.

The following are crucial when you want to lose weight:

  • Calories really do matter – you have to build up a calorie debt; burn up more calories than you consume, this applies to every diet. This is the first law of thermodynamics.

    However, some calories influence your eating behavior in different ways. Protein calories, for example, fill you up and keep you feeling that way for longer. You will probably be hungrier sooner after eating 300 calories of chocolate cake than 300 calories of chicken breast.

    Calories alongside plenty of fiber also do well, so fruit and vegetables are good.

    Many diet programs today have become aware of this. Last year Weight Watchers altered their diet program with the PointsPlus system, which is aimed at pushing dieters in the direction of the most satiating foods. In the PointsPlus system protein calories are worth fewer points than cream puff calories.

  • Low-carb is OK – refined carbohydrates have an effect on insulin and blood sugar and increase the risk of diabetes type 2 and weight gain. An individual with insulin resistance will experience a massive increase in insulin levels after eating sugar or carbs. Insulin has other functions, such as telling the body to store fat. Low carb reduces fat storage, by keeping insulin levels down, among other things.
  • How good or bad is fat? – this is still a controversial subject. We now know that fat is not as bad as people used to think it was. Even saturated fat, according to some recent studies, does not appear raise stroke or cardiovascular disease risk. Replacing saturated fats with carbs may not be the ideal move, compared to replacing saturated with unsaturated fat.

    Dr, Frank Hu, of the Harvard School of Public Health believes that “Refined carbohydrates are likely to cause even greater metabolic damage than saturated fat in a predominantly sedentary and overweight population.”

    Several studies have not been able to link high-fat diets, such as Atkins, with an increase in heart-disease, diabetes or stroke. In fact, if anything, findings have shown the opposite, that they reduce the risk.

    Nevertheless, well organized and thought out low-fat diet programs also reduce heart disease risk, such as the Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease. It consists of a low-fat diet, exercise, stress management and a support group. Medicare covers this diet for cardiac patients.

  • Support – even though many people have successfully dieted on their own, you should seriously consider joining a support group. Experts believe this is one of the key factors in the Jenny Craig diet that makes it so successful. It includes weekly counseling sessions, while Weight Watchers has group support meetings.

    Support groups really do help people stick to their diets. There are cases of people faithfully coming to their support group meetings for over 25 years.

Expert weight-loss researcher, Michael L. Dansinger, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Tufts University recommends that people who want to lose weight and keep it off should consider a middle-ground, low-ish carb diet, high in vegetables and lean protein, including some dairy, a reasonable amount of fruit, plus nonsaturated fats, such as nuts, avocados, fish and olive oil.

A weight loss, weight management, nutrition company founded by Jenny and Sydney Craig. The company started off in Melbourne, Australia in 1983, opened branches in the USA in 1985, and became part of Nestle Nutrition in 2006. Its headquarters are now in Carlbad, California. It also operates in the UK, France, New Zealand, and Canada.

Jenny Craig Inc. has over 600 centers.

The diet program includes individual weight management counseling, a menu, and foods which are delivered directly to participants.

In order to access Consumer Reports’ “Diet Ratings Update” you will have to subscribe.

Written by Christian Nordqvist