An updated review of 11 popular commercial diets found that only Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers show evidence for effective long-term weight loss.
Doctors might prioritize these options when talking to patients about commercial weight loss programs, at least until other types of diets, like Nutrisystem or SlimFast, have produced substantial evidence of consistent long-term results, the experts conclude.
"We're not necessarily excluding any of these programs," said lead author Dr. Kimberly Gudzune of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
"We're trying to highlight the ones that do have the scientific evidence proving that they do work to lose weight and keep it off," Gudzune told Reuters Health by phone. "For others it is unclear, they may show short term weight loss with no long term results, or in the long term people start to begin to regain the weight."
Gudzune and her co-authors reviewed evidence in support of Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Health Management Resources, Medifast, OPTIFAST, Atkins, SlimFast, The Biggest Loser Club, eDiets and Lose It!
These programs emphasize dietary change or meal replacement and behavioral counseling or social support, but do not necessarily address physical activity.
Gudzune and her team selected 45 dietary trials, including 39 randomized controlled trials comparing the diets to a control group, completed between 2002 and 2014. Many were sponsored by the commercial programs themselves.
In six trials, by the one-year mark, people on Weight Watchers had lost almost three percent more of their initial body weight than did people in control groups. But they did not lose any more weight on average than people in comparison groups who had access to behavioral counseling consultations with providers, which would also encourage weight loss.
Three trials found that people on Jenny Craig had at least 4.9 percent greater weight loss maintained at the one-year point compared with people in a control group or those in a behavioral counseling group.
Three trials found that people using Nutritystem had at least 3.8 percent greater weight loss compared to control or counseling at the three-month point, but no trials continued a full year.
Similarly, programs which require very low calorie intake, like Health Management Resources, Medifast and OPTIFAST, did demonstrate more weight loss after three months than a control or counseling group, but effectiveness seemed to diminish beyond six months, the authors write in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
"While obesity continues to be a significant health risk in the U.S., our program provides the personal support and behavioral strategies that lead to healthy lifestyle change and can provide an effective solution for clinicians," Monty Sharma, CEO and president of Jenny Craig, told Reuters Health in a statement. "We are gratified that this independent study in a reputable journal has prioritized us as a weight loss solution for patient referrals and that the review showed that Jenny Craig is one of the most effective long-term weight loss solutions."
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Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/r-jenny-craig-weight-watchers-better-commercial-diet-choices-2015-4