Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Reports

Jenny Craig No. 1 diet: Consumer Reports

- May 21st, 2011

diet

In case you missed it, Consumer Reports rated seven popular diets.

The findings were released earlier this month.

And the winner was …

Jenny Craig.

The commercial program “combines personal phone or in-person counseling with a portion-controlled regimen of pre-made foods supplemented with homemade side dishes,” according to Consumer Reports.

But what gave Jenny the edge over the other big-name diets?

… a 332-person, two-year study of the program published in the Oct. 27, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association. Ninety-two percent of participants stuck with the Jenny Craig program for two years — a remarkable level of adherence (which critics have questioned) — and at the end of that time weighed an average of about 8% less than when they started.

When we last rated diets four years ago, the winner was the Volumetrics diet, based on eating high-bulk, low-calorie food. In a sense, it’s still a winner: The Volumetrics brand is now part of Jenny Craig, which is why we’re not rating it separately this time. As for taste, Jenny Craig’s prepared food was decent, though not great, as we noted in “Diet Taste-off” earlier this year.

Here are the rankings:

1. Jenny Craig

2. Slim-Fast

3. Weight Watchers

4. Zone

5. Ornish

6. Atkins

7.  Nutrisystem

Do you agree with the rankings?

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‘Diet’ food doesn’t have to leave bad taste in your mouth

- January 21st, 2010

garfUnlike what Garfield — that Lasagna-loving orange tabby from the funny pages — once said, “diet” doesn’t have to be “die” with a “T.”

In fact, some of the so-called diet entrees out there are downright tasty. Just ask the picky taste testers at Consumer Reports magazine.

CR’s testers rate 24 microwaveable meals from leading brands such as Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers. And their findings will be easy to stomach.

In its February issue, Consumer Reports dishes out a “very good” rating to 14 of the 24 dinners. But there’s a caveat: “Many entrées have so few calories that diners may need to round out their meals with a few side dishes.”

The taste test is part of “Get Fit In 2010,” a do-it-yourself Web guide at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.

“The leading brands have really come a long way in terms of taste,” said Jamie Hirsh, associate editor with Consumer Reports Health. “And all but two of the meals we tested earned high marks for nutrition as well. The key thing to watch out for is sodium. We recommend that consumers try to avoid meals with more than six hundred milligrams.”

Meals fell in one of four categories: chicken, beef, pasta/bean, and shrimp.

Here are some of the magazine’s favourites based on taste and nutrition:

• Lean Cuisine One Dish Favorites Santa Fe-Style Rice & Beans ($2.57)

Pr

Lean Cuisine One Dish Favorites Santa Fe-Style Rice & Beans

• Kashi Black Bean Mango ($4.10)

kashiblackbean

Kashi Black Bean Mango

• Kashi Garden Vegetable Pasta $3.95)

vegpasta

Kashi Garden Vegetable Pasta

• Healthy Choice All Natural Entrées Portabella Spinach Parmesan ($2.51) (the manufacturer says the product and packaging have changed since Consumer Reports’ tests)

portabella

Healthy Choice All Natural Entrées Portabella Spinach Parmesan

• Kashi Chicken Florentine ($3.96)

florentine

Kashi Chicken Florentine

• Healthy Choice Café Steamers Roasted Beef Merlot ($3.45) (the manufacturer says the product and packaging have changed)

steamers

Healthy Choice Café Steamers Roasted Beef Merlot

• Lean Cuisine Cafe Classics Steak Tips Portobello ($3.26)

steaktips

Lean Cuisine Cafe Classics Steak Tips Portobello

• Lean Cuisine Cafe Classics Shrimp Alfredo ($3.24).

shrimp

Lean Cuisine Cafe Classics Shrimp Alfredo

Tips for Getting The Most From Your Diet Entrée:

· Read sodium labels. Consumer Reports Health identifies eight meals with more than 600 milligrams of sodium, the benchmark that testers set as a maximum. Most healthy people should get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. People who have high blood pressure, African Americans (whose blood pressure tends to be especially sensitive to sodium), and older adults should get no more than 1,500 mg.

· Make it a meal. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, products with less than 400 calories may be inadequate by themselves as a full meal. On a typical 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, you should consume 400 to 500 calories for each meal to safely lose weight. “Luckily, these meals readily lend themselves to augmentation with healthful, easy-to-prepare side dishes,” said Hirsh. Consumer Reports Health recommends some easy add-ons to turn portion-controlled entrées into full, satisfying meals without raising the calorie count too high.

· For dieters looking to boost calcium intake, there are lots of meal options with 20% of the Daily Value for that mineral, including these entrées: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Classic Favorites Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli & Chicken ($2.32), Lean Cuisine Spa Cuisine Classics Butternut Squash Ravioli ($3.22), and Lean Cuisine One Dish Favorites Santa Fe-Style Rice & Beans ($2.57).

Consumer Reports® is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, it tests, informs, and protects. To maintain this independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. Consumers Union supports itself through the sale of information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.