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eDiets

Est. $19 per month, plus food
Reviewed
January 2012
by ConsumerSearch
eDiets.com

Pros
  • Supports dozens of commercial diet programs
  • Access to chat rooms
  • Unlimited one-on-one support with RD
  • May be as effective as in-person diet plans
Cons
  • Lack of transparency about costs and fees
  • Site's design is distracting

Experts give eDiets.com rave reviews, but user feedback is mixed. Some praise it as a convenient option if the weekly weigh-ins and group meetings of Weight Watchers (Est. $20 to $30 per month, plus weekly meeting fees) isn't your cup of tea. eDiets.com supports a number of commercial diet programs and provides diet plans for those with special health restrictions. It also offers access to community features like chat rooms and message boards, and unlimited one-on-one counseling with a registered dietitian. A 2004 study in the research journal Obesity suggests that online support may be as effective as in-person support, although this has yet to be thoroughly studied.

On the downside, users say the eDiets.com website can be busy-looking and ad-heavy, and complain that the service isn't very up-front about additional fees. (For example, several reviewers warn that your credit card may be charged $25 if you cancel your membership before three months have passed.) In addition, many users grumble about poor customer service or unexpected charges to their credit cards.

As of early 2011, eDiets.com had an "F" rating, the worst possible, with the Better Business Bureau. As of December 2011, that rating was upgraded to a "B-" and the number of complaints within the last 36 months has dropped by more than half, indicating that the majority were several years old. If you still don't feel comfortable with eDiets.com, SparkPeople.com isn't associated with any particular diet but offers free access to meal plans and online support; it also enjoys excellent user reviews. Even so, it doesn't offer quite as many tools as eDiets.com.

The eDiets.com program is included in ConsumerReports.org's 2007 roundup of top diet plans. We found useful reviews on Epicurious.com, and at CBS MoneyWatch and Women's Health magazine. User reviews on Epinions.com and TopDiets.com give practical information about customers' general experiences, although there don't seem to be many new reviews. Internet weight-loss programs in general are the subject of a study by The North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and the eDiets.com entry at the Better Business Bureau is worth a read.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

eDiets.com is evaluated along with seven other diet plans. Each is assigned a score based on how well it measures up nutritionally to the guidelines established by the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Review: Top Diets Reviewed, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 2007

2. Obesity

In this study, 255 healthy overweight and obese adults participate in a six-month behavioral weight-control program conducted over interactive TV. Subjects receive in-person or Internet support to help control their weight. Both groups have similar results, suggesting that Internet support may be as effective as face-to-face meetings.

Review: Effect of Internet Support on the Long-Term Maintenance of Weight Loss, Jean Harvey-Berino, et al., Feb. 2004

3. CBS Moneywatch

MoneyWatch consults with nutritionists and weight-loss professionals to evaluate eight diet plans. They say eDiets is "a bargain for round-the-clock support," but that other companies provide a better track record for about the same amount of money in terms of meal delivery.

Review: Diet Plan Review: Best Ways to Lose Weight, Jeanne Lee, Jan. 7, 2011

4. Women's Health magazine

The author consults with nutritionists to evaluate five of the most popular diet websites, including eDiets.com, which gets a grade of "A-." Although some of the diet plans eDiets.com supports are excellent, the author calls others "not-so-good," and an expert describes one in particular as "not scientifically sound."

Review: Your Best Body is Just a Click Away, Sarah Breckenridge, March 2006

5. Epicurious.com

Epicurious.com compares the quality of prepared food of five popular weight-loss programs: eDiets.com, the Zone, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and PureFoods. Rankings reflect taste, nutritional content and portion size, among other factors. eDiets.com's freshly prepared (and expensive) food ranks highest, with the Zone coming in second.

Review: Prepared Diet Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Unhealthy, Megan O. Steintrager, Heather Tyree, March 2007

6. NextAdvisor.com

NextAdvisor.com conducts in-depth reviews of about a dozen diets. Editors name eDiets.com as the top "DIY" diet program, and praise its fitness tools as "the most complete" among all the DIY diet plans they evaluate. They also discuss the eDiets phone, email and online chat support (with nutrition experts and a peer community), but apparently don't test the meal-delivery option.

Review: eDiets Review: Online Diet Program, Editors of NextAdvisor.com

7. Better Business Bureau

eDiets.com once had an "F" ranking with the Better Business Bureau but has since been upgraded to a "B-". As of January 2011, more than 200 customer complaints had been filed against eDiets.com in the past 36 months; as of December 2011, more than half had lapsed off the counter (which displays 95 complaints in the past 36 months), indicating that fewer consumers are filing complaints.

Review: eDiets.com, Inc., Editors of the Better Business Bureau

8. Epinions.com

eDiets.com earns a 3.5-check rating (out of 5) in more than 240 user reviews. Some love the site and user community, but a number of users complain about poor customer service and hidden fees. Some of the positive reviews sound a little fishy.

Review: eDiets -- eDiets.com, Contributors to Epinions.com

9. TopDiets.com

eDiets.com receives about a dozen user reviews. Most say they like the convenience, but some complain about the cost.

Review: eDiets.com Reviews, Contributors to TopDiets.com

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