Weight Watchers vs. Nutrisystem vs. Jenny Craig

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Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig most reliable for weight loss, study says
While these plans are popular, doctors don't have a lot of information regarding which show real and sustained results, Gudzune said. That's why they also endorsed Weight Watchers as "the most cost-effective" option. Meal planning is one of the best ways to kickstart and stay on top of your weight loss goals, and new technology can make this task easier. Insurance companies may eventually offer coverage for weight-loss programs. These are the 8 best weight loss drinks to help you slim down.

Pros and Cons of the Programs

These Beat Other Commercial Diet Plans: Study

Jenny Craig clients work with a consultant to choose three prepared meals a day, plus a snack or dessert. In the clinical trials, clients lost weight regardless of whether they selected low-carb meals or items from the regular menu. They also succeeded whether they met with their consultant in person or over the phone. In another set of clinical trials, people who used Weight Watchers dropped 2.

Weight Watchers , the most popular commercial program in the U. However, it trains them to cut back on calories by using a "points" system that favors foods like watermelon and celery and leaves little room for indulgences. Dieters attend meetings or use an online program to keep track of their progress. Although Jenny Craig users had the best outcomes, the program's comparatively high cost may be prohibitive to some people, researchers wrote Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

That's why they also endorsed Weight Watchers as "the most cost-effective" option. The researchers could not find any solid clinical trials that tracked Nutrisystem customers for a full year. Over a three-month period, dieters on Nutrisystem lost 3. Those results were promising, the researchers wrote, but not definitive enough to recommend alongside Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, the study authors concluded.

Altogether, the researchers combed through more than 3, studies and considered different weight-loss programs. But only 11 of the programs had been tested in rigorous clinical trials that lasted at least 12 weeks. Three of the programs relied on diets that delivered a mere to 1, calories per day.

Among these, the Health Management Resources plan recorded the most weight loss — The other two programs produced short-term results that weren't sustained. Dieters using Medifast lost 5. Another five weight-loss programs were described as "self-directed," including three Internet-based plans. Patients who are in the market for a weight-loss program should go with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, according to a paper published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The paper looked for valid studies supporting the claims of commercial weight-loss programs and products, including Atkins, Slimfast, Nutrisystem, and The Biggest Loser Club. Researchers said most programs lacked evidence showing they work and are safe. They identified 32 diet programs to study, but were able to locate scientific studies of only 11 of them, and most studies lasted for less than one year. Only Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig can point to studies showing long-term results and safety, the report concluded.

The analysis updates a Annals of Internal Medicine exploration of the same topic. That report determined only Weight Watchers had evidence supporting its program. More than one third of U. Kimberly Gudzune, an author of the paper and an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told Healthline. The authors hope their study of weight-loss programs will make doctors more confident in helping patients who are trying to get slimmer.

The Affordable Care Act mandates full coverage of preventative medicine. It specifically includes obesity screenings and dietary counseling with a doctor. Insurance companies may eventually offer coverage for weight-loss programs.

Doctors can feel comfortable referring patients to either Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, the study concludes. But even those two research-driven programs are not alike. The Jenny Craig program resulted in more weight loss than Weight Watchers. But Jenny Craig, which includes prepackaged meals along with behavioral counseling, cost significantly more. The researchers note that Nutrisystem also showed promising results for short-term weight loss but lacked evidence for longer-term success.

Short-term findings also suggest that low-calorie meal replacements such as Optifast are an effective weight-loss strategy, but the study points to the lack of year-long studies and the possible risks. Rapid weight loss can overtax the gallbladder, which flushes cholesterol from the body, Gudzune explained.

As for more nuanced questions of health, the study authors plan next to analyze the effects each of the diets had on blood pressure and blood sugar, Gudzune said. A study funded by a drug manufacturer concluded that lorcaserin did not increase the risk of serious heart problems. However, some questions linger.

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