Diet Ratings: Good or Bad?

Consumer Reports recently released their latest diet ratings with Jenny Craig topping the list. We dug deep to find out how they rated their diets—but based on finding, the real questions is should diet plans be rated at all?
thumbs up down

115974184

Disagreement

Photo by: david franklin

david franklin

Consumer Reports recently released its latest diet ratings, with Jenny Craig topping the list. We dug deep to find out how they rated their diets — but based on findings, the real questions is should diet plans be rated at all?

Consumer Reports Ratings

The 2011 top winners included Jenny Craig in first place followed by Slim Fast and Weight Watchers, in second and third. Consumer Reports based the ratings on how they compared to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines of Americans.

The magazine also used published studies to help with the ratings. One study in particular, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,  followed about 300 people over a 2-year period. While the study found that 92 percent of participants stuck to the Jenny Craig diet, the results have been widely criticized since the participants received free Jenny Craig food.  Hey, people will do almost anything for free food! Furthermore, the number of participants was very small – a better study would have contained at least several thousand participants.

What’s A Consumer To Do?

With all this diet rating hoopla, what are folks to do? Every individual has different needs, so it’s really tough to say which plan is best for you. This is why it’s very important to do all your research and not rely on one source. Individual diets are frequently reviewed by health professionals (including registered dietitians like me) to reflect on how healthy they are, if they can cause harm and the pros and cons you’ll face when following the plan.

Do your research but make sure the reviews you are reading are from reputable sources (not your Aunt Mary). If you aren’t sure, you can always seek the advice of a registered dietitian.

Bottom Line: Don’t rely on one source to tell you which diet is best for you. Every person has individual needs. Do your research, consult a registered dietitian if needed and make the healthiest decision for yourself.

TELL US: What’s your take on the Consumer Reports diet ratings?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Next Up

Diet Soda: Good or Bad?

Too much soda can mean lots of empty calories and excess sugar. Diet beverages can be a guilt-free choice. But if you need that fizzy fix, is it better to swig sugar or artificial sweeteners? What about the caffeine and phophorus?

Gluten-Free Diets: Good or Bad?

Seems like everyone is buzzing about gluten free. Gluten-free products and diet books are flooding the marketplace and celebrities are swearing by their anti-gluten lifestyles. So what’s this really all about? Does going gluten free hold the key to better health and weight loss success? Get the facts.

Frozen Diet Meals: Good or Bad?

While the allure of healthy prepared meals fresh out of a box may be intriguing – are these frozen diet foods actually good for you?

Is the Fruitarian Diet Good for You?

A short stint on this fruit-heavy regimen might actually do your eating habits some good.

Nutrient Rating Systems

Have you seen nutrient rating systems on products in your grocery store? Find out what they're about, and which are the most useful.

Diet 101: Dubrow Diet

Here's how to follow the diet made popular by two reality TV stars.

Diet 101: Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurvedic eating is pretty much the opposite of a fad diet — it’s existed for some 5,000 years. Here’s what you need to know about doshas, kitchari bowls and eating mindfully.

Diet 101: GAPS Diet

The GAPS Diet promises to improve digestion and psychological health. We investigate.

Diet 101: OMAD Diet

We take a deep dive into intermittent fasting and what it means for your health.