Fad diets are nothing new. Rumor has it Beyonce dropped 20 pounds by drinking a mixture of homemade lemonade, maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston are said to have traded up to two meals a day for tiny jars of baby food to help keep their weight down. And while these trendy weight loss rituals may thrive in Hollywood, the most successful mainstream diet program is Jenny Craig.
Consumer Reports Health crowned Valerie Bertinelli’s program of choice that combines personal phone or in-person counseling with a portion-controlled regimen of pre-made foods supplemented with homemade side dishes the winner, forcing Jennifer Hudson’s Weight Watchers to settle on third place.
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Six major weight loss programs were evaluated and given a rating based on their effect on weight loss, adherence, and how well they followed the 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines for Americans.
Jenny Craig topped the list with an 85. The Slim Fast 3-2-1 was awarded a significantly lower number of 63 for their combination of shakes, bars, and low-calorie homemade dinners. In third place came Weight Watchers with a score of 63. The other three diets included in the rankings were: The Zone (balanced ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat), Ornish (low fat vegetarian way of eating with less than 10% of daily calories from fat) and Atkins (low-carbohydrate) were also included in the study.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a whopping 92 percent of participants stuck with the Jenny Craig program for two years and at the end of that period weighed an average of about 8 percent less than when they started.
“If you’re forcing yourself on a diet you hate, it’s going to be really hard to stick with long-term,” Kathleen Melanson, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island and director of its Energy Balance Laboratory explained.
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