Diet plans that give good nutrition

FRESNO, Calif.

Theresa Pavone has lost more than 50 pounds. But it took finding the right diet to make it happen.

"I've been dieting since birth. I've always had an issue with weight."

With so many diets to choose from, Consumer Reports analyzed seven of the biggest names, including The Zone, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers.

"We rated each diet on nutritional quality, and we looked at published studies to find out how much weight people lost on these diets and how well they were able to stick to the diets," Nancy Metcalf said.

Weight Watchers recently revised its system that assigns points to every food you eat.

"Now Weight Watchers puts even more emphasis on filling, good-for-you foods like lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. But research on the program hasn't been published yet."

Atkins Diet got the lowest score for nutrition from Consumer Reports. And Slim-Fast, with its branded shakes and breakfast and lunch bars, had the worst long-term dropout rate.

Far better - Jenny Craig, which consists of prepackaged meals supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and other foods. It beat out all the other diets, with excellent nutrition and a very low dropout rate, based on a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

"More than 90 percent of participants were able to stay on the diet for at least two years, and they lost an average of eight percent of their starting weight."

Jenny Craig's annual membership fee is $400, although there are often special deals. That includes weekly counseling sessions, but the packaged food is an additional cost.

Theresa Pavone says Jenny Craig is what's working for her.

"Jenny Craig fits my lifestyle because it plans out all the food I need to eat for my day, for my week, and so I can worry about other things."

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