A report from Consumer Reports Health has ranked diets and Jenny Craig tops the list with 85 points, while Slim Fast won 63 points and Weight Watchers third with 57 points. However, the Atkins Diet staff doesn't agree with the methodology in the study and this week issued a statement with gripes concerning U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Researchers based the overall scores on adherence to the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines and results of published randomized clinical studies that analyzed the short and long term weight loss and dropout rates of seven popular diets.

The three hundred and thirty two person study found that 92% of its participants stuck with the Jenny Craig program during the two-year study period and the dieters weighed an average of 8% less than when they began the program.

Here is what Atkins Nutritionals had to say:

"We believe, however, and contrary to the published ratings, that the Atkins Diet has repeatedly demonstrated its effectiveness for diabetes and heart health management, as evidenced by a host of key peer-reviewed scientific studies. Atkins also questions the validity of using the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 as criteria for evaluating the "nutritional completeness" of diets included in the U.S. News rankings. Over 60 peer-reviewed scientific studies have supported the efficacy and safety of the Atkins Diet for both short and long term weight loss, as well as for the management of diabetes and heart disease factors. In fact, a Consumer Reports June 2011 article comparing popular diets noted, '... clinical studies have found than an Atkins or Atkins-like diet not only doesn't increase heart-disease risk factors but also actually reduces them as much as or more than low-fat, higher-carb diets that produce equivalent weight-loss.'"

Atkins makes clear that government dietary guidelines are based on low-fat, not low-carb, recommendations, and that using these standards will inevitably rate low because it is an alternative approach to weight loss and diminishing health risk factors.

Atkins staffers continued in a statement:

"On Atkins, people eat a wide variety of food - including low glycemic fruits, vegetables and whole grains while avoiding those foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates. This approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping people feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic. The diet is nutritionally sound and can be followed as a long term lifestyle."

Nancy Metcalfe, senior program editor of Consumer Reports Health stated in evidence of report winner Jenny Craig:

"The biggest surprise was that the diet that came out on top came out on top by a lot. Weight Watchers got dinged on sodium. While the diet is probably the most flexible with the most intense support and a lot of support for exercise, they need to pay more attention to sodium. There's something about this diet that works for a lot of people. Of course, the best diet for you is the one you can stay on. Jenny Craig is certainly a lot less work than preparing your own food that is portion controlled."

Weight Watchers, which also did not fare so well in the study said:

"We are disappointed that some key points in the JAMA study used prominently by Consumer Reports in their evaluation of the Jenny Craig program were left unsaid. The JAMA study ... was done to see what happens if you provide people with free food, valued at $6,000 over the two years, and other perks on their ability to lose weight. This is hardly the real-life scenario that a consumer faces when choosing a weight-loss method."

Sources: Consumer Reports, Atkins Nutritionals and Weight Watchers

Written by Sy Kraft