Taste testing diet plan meals

FRESNO, Calif.

The world of weight loss was shaken up last month when weight watchers announced changes to its points system. What about the two other big-names; Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem? Here are the results of a taste off between diet plans.

Jason Alexander's so happy with his weight loss on the Jenny Craig diet plan, he's taking his clothes off. And singer Marie Osmond is promoting diet meals for Nutrisystem.

But how good do the meals from these two diet plans actually taste? Consumer Reports asked its experienced taste testers to sample 65 products - from breakfasts and dinners to snacks.

"Our testers didn't know which products they were testing. They didn't even know they were eating diet-plan foods," said Amy Keating with Consumer Reports.

The results: most of the foods weren't all that tasty. Testers found the Nutrisystem meatloaf and tomato sauce had a quote "old flavor." A Jenny Craig Salisbury steak was better and had flavorful potatoes and vegetables, but the mushrooms were slightly rubbery.

Neither company's snacks and desserts were much of a treat.

"Jenny Craig's Soft Chocolate Cookie was dry and crumbly, without much flavor," said Keating.

Nutrisystem's nacho crisps didn't have much flavor, either, and were hard and dry.

In the end, only five of the products consumer reports tested scored "very good" - all from Jenny Craig.

"Overall Jenny Craig edged out Nutrisystem with respect to taste, but not by much," said Keating.

Still, for some people like Amy Knox, these plans can work. She lost 51 pounds in just over seven months using Jenny Craig meals. "Coming to a place that everything is measured out for you really made the difference for me."

Consumer Reports says on the downside, you spend weeks eating food that doesn't always taste so terrific.

One of the big advantages of diet-plan food is that it's portion-controlled, and portion control is key to losing weight. But frozen diet meals offer that, too. And previous Consumer Reports tests have found many are quite tasty.

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