• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

7 popular diet plans reviewed to find best

May 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Summer is coming, and so is the push to get in shape. But with so many programs available, which do you choose?

Theresa Pavone has lost more than 50 pounds, but it took finding the right diet to make it happen.

"I've been dieting since birth, so I've always had an issue with weight," she said.

With so many diets to choose from, Consumer Reports analyzed seven of the biggest, including the Zone, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.

"We rated each diet on nutritional quality, and we looked at published studies to find out how much weight people lost on these diets, and how well they were able to stick to the diets," said Nancy Metcalf of Consumer Reports.

Weight Watchers recently revised its system that assigns points to every food you eat.

"Now Weight Watchers puts even more emphasis on filling, good-for-you foods like lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. But research on the program hasn't been published yet," Metcalf said.

Atkins diet got the lowest score for nutrition from Consumer Reports. SlimFast, with its branded shakes and breakfast and lunch bars, had the worst long-term dropout rate.

Jenny Craig rated far better, with prepackaged meals supplemented with fruits, vegetables and other foods. It beat out all the other diets, with excellent nutrition and a very low dropout rate, based on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"More than 90 percent of participants were able to stay on the diet for at least two years, and they lost an average of eight percent of their starting weight," Metcalf said.

Pavone said Jenny Craig was what worked for her.

"Jenny Craig fits my lifestyle because it plans out all the food I need to eat for my day, for my week, so I can worry about other things," she said.

But with Jenny Craig, you will pay for a $400 annual membership fee, and that doesn't include the food. However, they do offer special deals.


Load Comments