In the race to lose weight, the Jenny Craig diet system is the clear winner, according to a new Consumer Reports study of diet plans.
The consumer magazine gave the Jenny Craig weight-loss system an overall score of 85—22 points higher than the runner-up, Slim Fast, and 28 points higher than Weight Watchers.
The Obama administration has taken on obesity as one of its signature initiatives. More than two-thirds of Americans are obese or overweight, and they are more likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions.
"The medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. In 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
The Obama administration is also pushing for evidence-based medicine—using therapies that are shown to work better—so independent ratings of effective diets are relevant for policymakers.
The Consumer Reports results were based on a two-year study published in the October Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that 92 percent of Jenny Craig participants stayed on the system for two years and shaved off an average of about 8 percent of their body weight.
The group approves more of diets that provide plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as fiber to help dieters feel full longer. Plans such as the Atkins Diet—which stresses lean protein but minimizes whole grains, fruits, and some vegetables—can help people lose weight, experts say, but often at the expense of nutrition.