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WW (previously Weight Watchers) and Jenny Craig are commercial weight loss programs. However, before joining any program, it is best to research all options thoroughly.

WW and Jenny Craig both claim to take a multifaceted approach to weight loss, but comparing the two programs does reveal differences.

WWJenny Craig
OverviewA program for weight loss and general health, including plans with a variety of SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods.A diet program offering prepackaged meals and snacks, including personal coaching with the Rapid Results Max Weight Loss Plan.
CostPlans start from $3.30 per week.Plans start from $12.99 per day.
ShippingNo shipping, the plans do not involve meal deliveries.Free delivery is available with the Essential Meal Plan and Rapid Results Max Weight Loss Plan.
SupportWorkshops and personal coaching are available.1-to-1 personal coaching with the Rapid Results Max Weight Loss Plan offers personalized feedback, custom meal planning, and weight loss guidance.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

weight watchers logo over blue background

WW started in the early 1960s. It claims to offer a scientifically proven program for weight loss and general health, helping people establish healthy practices.

The myWW+ program offers personalized guidance on attitudes and behaviors regarding food, activity, sleep, and mindset.

It begins with an online personal assessment, which matches an individual to a food plan.

Each food plan features a different blend of food points, which the company calls SmartPoints. Food points are a tool that WW uses to help people make healthy choices about what to eat. While no foods are off-limits, some foods have more points than others.

Following the assessment, WW also personalizes the person’s app with suggested recipes.

In addition, the service offers action plans and support to increase physical activity, promote a positive mindset, and improve sleep. Additionally, trackers, content from experts, and other tips offer ongoing support, along with online and in-person coaching.

Jenny Craig brand

Jenny Craig brand logo over blue background

Jenny Craig founded the Jenny Craig commercial weight loss program in 1983. The program combines intermittent fasting with nutritious meals and portion control.

Users start by choosing from the company’s different meal plans, which include:

  • Simple Meal Plan: This plan provides breakfast and lunch for all 7 days of the week.
  • Essential Meal Plan: This option includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day of the week.
  • Rapid Results Max Weight Loss Plan: In addition to three meals a day, this plan includes free coaching, snacks, desserts, and the company’s Recharge bars.

While the Jenny Craig website includes some recipes, the program focuses on the prepackaged food that members receive when they sign up for a plan. The company claims that chefs and nutritionists design its menus.

Similarities and differences

The most significant difference between these companies’ programs is that WW offers advice for people to make their own meal choices, while Jenny Craig provides prepared meals.

However, neither weight loss program is proven to guarantee successful weight loss or maintenance.

Menus

With the WW program, people typically prepare their own food, making decisions according to their available SmartPoints.

The WW website says that the program includes more than 9,000 recipes that people can use to make meals that fit within the program’s guidelines. Possible meal combinations include:

  • Breakfast: Poached eggs with hollandaise sauce and bacon
  • Lunch: Salmon, cucumber, and mint sandwiches
  • Dinner: Filet mignon with fresh herb sauce and a light beer

In contrast, Jenny Craig prepares food for users and delivers it using recyclable boxes and environmentally friendly coolers. Sample meals include:

  • Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls
  • Lunch: Pepperoni pizza
  • Dinner: Chicken street tacos

Support in each program

Both WW and Jenny Craig offer guidance and coaching.

WW coaching choices include:

  • Digital: Members-only community support and a 24-7 option to chat with a coach.
  • Digital 360: The same as the Digital plan, but includes live and on-demand access to events, videos, and podcasts with coaches.
  • Unlimited Workshops + Digital: This level adds virtual or in-person group workshops with coaches.
  • 1-on-1 Coaching + Digital: WW allocates a personal, private coach for people who choose this option.

Jenny Craig offers weekly private coaching with its Rapid Results Max Complete Weight Loss Plan, giving participants personal feedback, help with planning meals, and weight loss guidance.

Cost

Comparing the costs of WW and Jenny Craig is challenging because the two programs are so different.

The WW program costs much less per week than the Jenny Craig plan, but the latter provides meals for the whole week, while Weight Watchers does not.

To make a useful comparison, individuals can estimate their average weekly spending on food and add that to the WW rates to see how the total compares with the costs of the Jenny Craig plan.

WW has four plans to choose from:

PlanCost
Digitalfrom $3.30 per week
Digital 360from $4.23 per week
Unlimited Workshops + Digitalfrom $5.96 per week
1-on-1 Coaching + Digitalfrom $11.08 per week

Starter fees also apply to the WW program and, according to the company website, costs may increase after the initial plan period.

Jenny Craig also has three plans to choose from:

PlanCost
Simple Meal Plan$12.99 per day
Essential Meal Plan$20.78 per day
Rapid Results Max Weight Loss Plan$25.99 per day

The plans feature different levels of benefits, including free shipping for the Essential Meal Plan and Rapid Results Max Weight Loss Plan.

Can these programs improve health?

Weight loss programs frequently make claims about their effectiveness without confirmation from scientific research. With this in mind, people should be wary of brands that make unsupported health claims.

WW did not design its program to address specific health conditions. However, in testimonials, members attribute their success in putting type 2 diabetes into remission to the program.

The Jenny Craig website cites a study indicating that the program’s Type 2 menu might help people with type 2 diabetes. The company reiterates this finding by saying people who followed the Type 2 menu were able to lower their 3-month average blood sugar concentrations, reduce their use of insulin, and lose weight.

An older research paper reports that dietary approaches that consider weight loss as a more holistic lifestyle change yield the most long-lasting weight and overall health improvements.

The author also notes that the training in nutritious cuisine that the WW program provides offers significant benefits. They also warn that participants of the Jenny Craig program may have trouble maintaining their weight when they stop eating preprepared food.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that weight loss can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. It also notes that people who lose 1–2 pounds per week while dieting are more likely to see long-term success.

Summary

Both Jenny Craig and WW emphasize the importance of a holistic approach to weight loss, but they offer different forms of support to participants.

The key difference is that Jenny Craig delivers prepared food, while WW guides people in making their own nutritious food.

Despite this, there is no evidence that one program is better than the other, and successful weight loss and management will depend on the individual.

A person should choose the program that will best suit their needs and preferences. People who prefer having the freedom to choose their food may benefit from WW, while those who think they would benefit from preset meal choices may favor the plans from Jenny Craig.