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In this report

Weight Loss Programs: Ratings of Sources

Total of 21 Sources
1. U.S. News & World Report
January 2013
Best Diets
by Editors of U.S. News & World Report
Our AssessmentEvery year, U.S. News & World Report rounds up the top diets in a variety of categories. They consult experts in diet and nutrition, and offer overviews as well as a detailed analysis of each diet. Those that receive a "best" ranking overall are effective for weight loss as well as relatively easy to follow, offer appropriate nutrition, and help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
2. ConsumerReports.org
Not Dated
Diet Plans Ratings
Our AssessmentFour commercial weight-loss programs, Weight Watchers, Medifast, Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, and nine do-it-yourself plans are evaluated and rated. Ratings are based upon feedback from 9,376 subscribers. Each plan receives an overall score for initial weight loss, maintenance, calorie awareness, food variety, inclusion of fruits and vegetables, and exercise integration and encouragement.
3. The Daily Beast
December 2012
14 Best Diets for 2013: See What Topped Weight Watchers
by Lauren Streib
Our AssessmentThis is the third year The Daily Beast has published an annual diets ranking. By analyzing clinical studies and published research, editors choose the best diets for both short- and long-term weight loss. They also assign points (or not) for promoting cardiovascular health and diabetes control. Volumetrics, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are the top three.
A Dietary Quality Comparison of Popular Weight-Loss Plans
by Yunsheng Ma, M.D., Ph.D, et al.
Our AssessmentThis study compares seven weight-loss plans -- "The New Glucose Revolution," Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Dean Ornish's "Eat More, Weigh Less," the Zone Diet, Weight Watchers and the USDA 2005 Food Guide Pyramid -- using the dietary guidelines of the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) to determine which is the most healthful and best able to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women
by Christopher D. Gardner, et al.
Our AssessmentMore than 300 overweight/obese premenopausal women are randomly assigned to follow the Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, LEARN or Dean Ornish's "Eat More, Weigh Less" diet for 12 months. Weight loss is greatest in the Atkins Diet group but not statistically different from subjects following the Zone, LEARN and Ornish diets. Health outcomes -- including lipid profiles, triglycerides and blood pressure (for the Atkins Diet) -- are comparable to or more favorable than the other diet groups.
Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction
by Michael L. Dansinger, M.D., et al.
Our AssessmentThis study randomly assigns 160 overweight individuals to the Atkins, Dean Ornish's "Eat More, Weigh Less," Weight Watchers or Zone diets. At the one-year mark, 25 percent of participants who stuck to their diets lost more than 5 percent of their body weight, regardless of which plan they followed. There is no correlation between the weight a person lost and the diet he or she was on.
Effect of a Free Prepared Meal and Incentivized Weight Loss Program on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese and Overweight Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial
by C.L. Rock, et al.
Our AssessmentIn a randomized controlled trial, more than 440 overweight or obese women either participate in a two-year Jenny Craig protocol or receive "usual care," which includes two individualized weight-loss counseling sessions and monthly contacts. The Jenny Craig protocol includes prepackaged meals, in-person or telephone-based one-on-one counseling for weight loss, and increased physical activity. While the Jenny Craig dieters lost 7.9 percent of their initial weight after two years, the usual-care control group lost 2.1 percent of their initial weight.
8. Obesity
Sept. 6, 2012
Determining the Effectiveness of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), a Nationally Available Nonprofit Weight Loss Program
by Nia S. Mitchell, et al.
Our AssessmentThis study evaluates Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), a nonprofit weight-loss program that's available at a much lower cost than commercial diets. The study examines results for more than 40,000 members, and finds that those who stuck with the program for a year or more lost about 6 percent of their body weight. "TOPS is associated with moderate weight loss among participants who remain in the program for at least one year," the researchers conclude, adding that it provides "similar results" to commercial weight-loss programs. However, experts acknowledge that trials comparing TOPS to commercial plans like Weight Watchers are still needed.
9. Obesity Reviews
November 2009
Systematic Review of Long-Term Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Weight Gain and Morbidity in Adults
by T. Brown, et al.
Our AssessmentResearchers from Teesside University in the U.K. review 39 weight-loss studies that focus on diets and lifestyle modifications. Of those, only 11 produce statistically significant weight loss that lasted at least two years. The successful diets include low-fat, low-calorie and Weight Watchers, the only commercial diet mentioned as being effective for weight loss.
Weight Loss With a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean or Low-Fat Diet
by Iris Shai, RD, Ph.D, et al.
Our AssessmentA two-year trial in Israel assigns 322 moderately obese subjects to a low-carb, Mediterranean or low-fat diet. The Mediterranean and low-fat groups are limited to 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day, but the low-carbohydrate group can consume unlimited calories. Dietitians meet with each group throughout the study both in person and over the phone. After two years, subjects on the low-carb and Mediterranean diets lost more weight than those eating low-fat.
11. British Medical Journal
June 1, 2006
Randomised Controlled Trial of Four Commercial Weight Loss Programmes in the UK: Initial Findings from the BBC "Diet Trials"
by Helen Truby, et al.
Our AssessmentThe BBC's "Diet Trials" is a medical study (also chronicled as reality TV) following the ups and downs of 293 dieters on Weight Watchers, the Atkins Diet, Slim-Fast, Rosemary Conley's "Eat Yourself Slim" (a U.K.-based diet and exercise program) and a self-regulated control group. The BBC sponsors the study and funds the dieters for six months. Study authors find that dieters who stick to a plan lose about the same amount of weight, regardless of which plan they follow.
Obesity: The Current Treatment Protocols
by Gilbert A. Boissonneault, Ph.D, PA-C
Our AssessmentThis article reviews the latest research on weight-loss programs and treatments. According to the author, Mediterranean and low-carb diets "appear to be more effective at maintaining sustainable weight loss than the American Heart Association low-fat diet."
13. CBS Moneywatch
Jan. 7, 2011
Diet Plan Review: Best Ways to Lose Weight
by Jeanne Lee
Our AssessmentJeanne Lee reviews eight of the most popular diet plans in this comprehensive comparative review. She interviews nutrition and health experts, and looks at the latest clinical studies to determine which weight-loss plans are best for most dieters. Membership and food costs are also considered. The diets aren't rated, but Lee includes a bottom-line recommendation on whether they're worth the money. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Bistro MD and Nutrisystem all earn enthusiastic recommendations, as does the online-only eDiets.
14. Health Magazine
As of January 2012
Food & Recipes: Diet Guide
by Editors of Health magazine
Our AssessmentNutrition gurus at Health magazine's website review more than 50 diets and weight-loss programs. Each plan gets a lengthy overview and analysis by a dietitian, doctor or fitness professional. You can click on up to three diets at once to see them compared side by side. While there are no ratings or clinical tests conducted, the write-ups are detailed enough to help you make a decision. Weight Watchers is said to be the best, most-proven plan. Most other programs get a mixed but balanced review.
15. Health Magazine
Sept. 28, 2009
America's Top 10 Healthiest Diets
by Tracey Minkin
Our AssessmentHealth magazine uses a panel of nutrition experts to evaluate more than 60 popular diets. Of those, 10 are recommended for providing a good balance of nutrition, calorie control, motivation and exercise. Reviews of each program are nicely balanced and include comments from diet experts. Unfortunately, Health hasn't updated this review to account for the latest research and diet plans.
16. Mayo Clinic
Not Dated
Weight Loss: Choosing a Diet That's Right for You
by Mayo Clinic Staff
Our AssessmentThe staff of Mayo Clinic give general tips for choosing the best weight-loss plan and making your diet attempts as successful as possible. They also evaluate 21 diets for several criteria, including flexibility and nutritional balance. Just six of the diets earn an unqualified recommendation for being sustainable over the long term.
17. Good Housekeeping
Not Dated
Best Diet Websites
by Editors of Good Housekeeping
Our AssessmentThe Good Housekeeping Research Institute evaluates 10 popular diet websites, focusing on their questionnaires, the science behind their recommendations, privacy policies and ease of use. SouthBeachDiet.com is ranked as the best overall diet site, and five other websites earn recommendations. Diet.com receives high marks for its user community, and SparkPeople.com earns a recommendation for its free advice.
18. NextAdvisor.com
Dec. 18, 2013
Editor's Choice: Online Diet Programs
by Editors of NextAdvisor.com
Our AssessmentThe editors of NextAdvisor.com break down the pricing, support, fitness and meal options for about a dozen diet plans. As one of four diets to win a five-star overall rating, Bistro MD also wins a blind taste test by nine independent testers. It's unclear who did the general research for each program, which includes signing up for the plan; comparing the offerings (and their suitability for those with dietary limitations); and monitoring emerging news, opinions and research reports about the diets, but the direct comparisons of ratings are very useful.
19. Viewpoints.com
As of December 2013
The Best Diets: Diet Reviews & Ratings
by Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Our AssessmentViewpoints.com has a good selection of user reviews for diet programs and weight-loss communities. Weight Watchers gets a high rating of 87 percent from more than 930 individual reviews; "The South Beach Diet" gets high ratings, too, but fewer overall reviews. Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and the Atkins Diet have lower scores. Among online diet communities, SparkPeople.com gets excellent feedback here. With almost 200 reviews, the site earns a near-perfect rating of 97 percent. Although the Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno only has about 35 reviews, it gets a high score of 90 percent.
20. Everyday Health
Nov. 29, 2011
Top Diets for Diabetes
by Madeline Vann, MPH
Our AssessmentMadeline Vann interviews a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, who recommends weight-loss diets appropriate for those with type 2 diabetes. The dietitian calls DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) the best weight-loss program and offers a brief analysis of six other popular diets, including South Beach, Weight Watchers and the GI Diet. Although Vann and her expert consultant don't directly compare these diets, this article is informative.
21. Epinions.com
As of December 2013
Diets A-Z
by Contributors to Epinions.com
Our AssessmentEpinions.com's material on diet programs consists of minimal summaries of each and anecdotal ratings from users. Although these aren't as credible as head-to-head comparisons, they do provide individual experiences that may be helpful to read. A number of diet plans attract a huge number of reviews, including Weight Watchers and Slim-Fast. However, most are several years old.
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