If you ever wondered whether or not commercial diet programs are ever efficient, there’s a study that analyzed just that. Even though many of the plans out don’t have enough data to be studied on the long-term, two of them, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, got the best scores in the business.
According to the study’s authors, both these popular plans scored with the best evidence that their participants could do two things: one, lose significant weight, and two, not gaining it back for at least a year after completing the program.
Several studies were conducted on the matter, and researchers discovered that the Jenny Craig plan’s dieters scored the highest, with 15 pounds lost on an average, versus Weight Watchers dieters of 8 pounds – both categories of dieters had to be able to keep off the lost weight for at least 12 months in order to count in the study.
Most of the participants in such programs remain overweight after completion – with 3-5 percent of weight loss – but even that is enough to achieve what doctors recommend: lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Study author, Dr. Kimberly Gudzune, researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school, appreciates the importance of the first step – which is exactly what these programs set to achieve. Some participants expect life-changing experiences, when in fact, they should continue the process of weight loss even after ending the plans.
Eleven well-known diet plans were the subject of 39 strict studies – and the research thoroughly analyzed them all. The diet plans were all characterized by counseling and support services and products and services exchanged for specific fees.
Most of the 39 studies cross-referenced these programs with the usual counseling patients receive from nutritionists and health care agents. Out of the 11 diet plans, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig came on the top of the list, with long-term effects considerably better than the comparisons.
Both included some measure of coaching and behavioral counseling and they involved social support – one of the key factors to dieting successfully. The investigators did not try to undermine the importance of obesity screening and counseling. With almost two-thirds of U.S. adult population overweight or obese (and many children from early ages), they only wanted to show doctors which diet plans actually work.
Unlike the package offered by Jenny Craig that can cost up to $600 a month, Weight Watchers is a lot cheaper: $43 a month, with the possibility of receiving coaching sessions and taking part in online or live support groups.
The plans work on a point system, which each item of food assigned a certain amount of points – when added, your meals should not exceed the limit.
Image Source: Huffington Post