Entries in Weight Watchers (9)


DASH, Weight Watchers Top List of Best Diets

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Now that you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to eat better, a new report suggests Weight Watchers and the government-developed DASH diet are best for boosting health and losing weight.

In its third annual “Best Diets” report, U.S. News and World Report ranks 29 popular diets on their impact and user-friendliness, according to the magazine’s health and wellness editor, Angela Haupt.

“Our goal is to point people to the best diet no matter what their goal is,” said Haupt, pointing out how some dieters want to shrink their cholesterol levels, not their waistlines. “Dieting sounds so dreadful, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all.”

Weight Watchers topped the list for weight loss and being easy to follow, while the DASH diet -- designed to lower blood pressure -- earned top marks for healthfulness and preventing and managing diabetes.  It also earned the “best diet overall” title for a third year.

“It was designed to treat hypertension but it’s also effective for weight loss,” said Haupt.  “It’s a smart, sensible plan that’s safe and nutritious and helps control diabetes in addition to supporting heart health.”

This year’s report includes a new category: best plant-based diets.

“There’s a growing interest in vegetarianism and raw food, and we really saw consumer demand complemented by a lot of research suggesting that replacing red meat with plant-based protein has a lot of health benefits,” said Haupt.

The fruit and fish-heavy Mediterranean diet took top spot for plant-based diets, followed by the “Flexitarian” diet.

“You don’t have to abandon red meat,” said Haupt.  “Rather, it’s about making positive changes where you can.  It’s a sensible eating plan, and it’s realistic.”

After years of diet fads like feeding tubes and raspberry ketones, Haupt said that healthy and sustainable weight loss comes from small, smart changes -- not extremes.

“Fad diets aren’t realistic, they aren’t nutritious and some are flat-out unhealthy.  Take the feeding tube diet,” she said, referring to the K-E diet in which a dieter ingests 800 calories of protein and fat daily through a tube in their nose.  “Nobody should be doing this, and you don’t have to.”

Instead, choose a diet that works with your lifestyle, Haupt said.

“If you go into a diet thinking ‘This is never going to stick,’ it probably won’t.  The more tedious a diet is and the more work it demands, the less likely you are to stick to it,” she said.

Best Plant-Based Diets

  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • Dawn Jackson Blatner’s Flexitarian Diet
  • The Ornish Diet

Best Weight-Loss Diets

  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig (tied for second)
  • Biggest Loser Diet (tied for second)
  • The Raw Food Diet (tied for second)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets

  • The Ornish Diet
  • The TLC Diet
  • The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)

Best Diabetes Diets

  • The DASH Diet (tied for first)
  • The Biggest Loser Diet (tied for first)
  • Mayo Clinic Diet (tied for third)
  • The Ornish Diet (tied for third)
  • The Vegan Diet (tied for third)
  • Engine 2 Diet (tied for third)
  • The Flexitarian Diet (tied for third)

Best Diets Overall

  • The DASH Diet
  • The TLC Diet
  • The Mediterranean Diet (tied for third)
  • The Mayo Clinic Diet (tied for third)
  • Weight Watchers (tied for third)

Best Commercial Diet Plans

  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig
  • The Biggest Loser Diet

Best Diets for Healthy Eating

  • The DASH Diet
  • The TLC Diet
  • The Mediterranean Diet

Easiest Diets to Follow

  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig
  • The Mediterranean Diet (tied for third)
  • The Flexitarian Diet (tied for third)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Weight Watchers Most Popular Weight Loss Method of 2012

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Michael Phelps' 12,000 calorie a day training diet and Beyonce's maple syrup cleanse may top Google's 2012 top 10 list of most searched diets released earlier this week, but the popular website,, found when people really want to get down to the real business of weight loss, they rely on more conventional plans to get the job done.

For the fifth year in a row, Diets in Review tracked its overall traffic to determine which weight loss plans received the most page views and provoked the most user discussion. The site followed hundreds of diet trends over the course of the year and Thursday listed the 25 most trafficked.

This year Weight Watchers dominated as the most popular diet on the Diets in Review site, generating more than five percent of the sites' two million per month page views and over 35 pages of comments from users. The 17-Day Diet and Medifast claimed the next two spots.

Brandi Koskie, director of publishing for Diets in Review, said she believes the list is indicative of which weight loss plans people are actually using since the site tracks unique visitors and number of page views rather than simple searches.

"Search behavior doesn't always mirror actual behavior. Sometimes people are just curious -- no one is really going to eat or train like Michael Phelps to lose weight but they are likely to try something sensible after they've run through all the quick fixes and fads," she said.

The only weight loss brand that makes a top 10 appearance on both lists is The P.I.N.K. Method. No. 4 on Google and No. 5 on Diets in Review, the plan is designed exclusively for women; it includes DVD workouts and a 3-phase approach to nutrition.

Koskie said a strong marketing campaign helped launch The P.I.N.K. Method into public awareness early in the year. The site saw a huge bump in traffic for the diet when the TV talk shows, Dr. Phil and The Doctors, devoted several episodes to it. Reviewers call the plan "kinda silly but sensible" and gave it a solid 80 percent approval rating. However, unlike Weight Watchers, which has been in Diet in Reviews' top two all five years, Koskie doesn't think P.I.N.K. has staying power.

"After its initial spike it fell off the radar. I don't expect it to make an appearance next year," Koskie said.

There were a couple of big surprises on the Diet in Review list. For the first time, no acai berry products cracked the top 25 in popularity. Koskie said she thought this might be because consumers are weary of hearing about the fruit's mystical fat burning powers that somehow never seem to pan out. It's also possible that another berry -- raspberry ketones making its first appearance at No. 18 -- bumped acai off the charts.

"Raspberries dominated traffic in February right after the Dr. Oz segment promoting the supplement. It was one of our biggest weeks of the year," Koskie said.

Another unexpected entry: Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, a workout DVD released more than five years ago. The workout moved up two spots from last year to No. 8 and is the only program on the list dedicated exclusively to exercise. Michaels' Detox and Cleanse kit holds the 9th spot and her online support group holds the 20th spot.

"It's amazing to see how much loyalty users have for Michaels," said Koskie. "Our people continue to rave about her."

Both the Google and Diets in Review list do have their share of drastic, out-there fads. Besides raspberry ketones, Googlers were interested in the K-E Diet (short for ketogenic enteral nutrition) which involves inserting a plastic hose through the nose, down through the esophagus and into the stomach in order to obstruct the ability to eat.

Featured at No.4 on the Diets in Review list, the hCG diet asks dieters to consume less than 500 calories per day, supplemented by daily shots of a hormone produced by pregnant women called human chorionic gonadotrophin, (hCG.)

But despite eight supplements, a baby food diet and several supermodel-sanctioned cleanses making it into this year's top 25, Koskie is heartened to see that most of the weight loss methods, especially near the top of the site's list, are relatively sane and sensible.

"I think things like Weight Watchers and Jillian Michaels are there year after year because people can stick with them and they actually get results without starving themselves or making themselves crazy," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Weight Watchers as Successful as Clinical Weight-Loss Programs

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Commercial weight-loss programs like Weight Watchers may be just as effective in losing weight as clinical programs, and the key ingredient to success in both programs is buddying up, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Obesity.

In the study, 141 overweight and obese adults were randomly assigned into one of three groups -- a weight-loss behavioral program led by a health professional, or Weight Watchers, led by peers who had achieved their own weight-loss success, or a combination of both programs.

Overweight and obese adults who participated in any of the three weight-loss treatments that involved group counseling, whether it was with a health professional or with peers, as well as physical activity and diet change, lost a significant amount of weight nearly a year later, the study found.

"When people who are working on a similar problem get together, they can support each other so they don't feel alone in this weight-loss journey," said Angela Pinto, assistant professor of psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York and lead researcher.

"With the group idea, there's a sense of belonging," said Pinto, adding that participants may be more likely to complete their weight-loss goal when others are working with them.  

Participants in both programs lost about the same amount of weight in total.  However, more than double the number of participants enrolled in the Weight Watchers program lost 10 percent or more of their starting weight compared with the other two groups.

The outcome of the study showed that Weight Watchers can produce clinically relevant weight loss, according to Pinto.

The study is the first to provide a head-to-head comparison between a commercial weight loss program and a clinical weight loss program.  Its findings suggest that people who are looking to lose weight more affordably can still do so successfully, the researchers said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jessica Simpson: My ‘Body Is Not Bouncing Back Like a Supermodel’

ABC/RANDY HOLMES(NEW YORK) -- During pregnancy, Jessica Simpson told USA Today, she was “constantly hungry” and had a “big appetite.” Her go-to indulgence was macaroni and cheese.

“I let myself indulge in everything I wanted because it was the first time I was ever pregnant, and I wanted to enjoy it,” the singer turned fashion designer said. “I wanted to be happy and eat what I wanted.”

But since giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell Drew, May 1, the weight hasn’t come off as quickly as she would have liked.

“I didn’t realize [the weight] didn’t all come off with the baby,” Simpson said.

The singer shocked fans when she posed nude, and pregnant, on the cover of Elle magazine in April. The 5-foot-4 star weighed 170 pounds at the time, she told USA Today.

Simpson will unveil her weight loss on the Sept. 10 premiere of Katie Couric’s new talk show, Katie. She’ll also appear in Weight Watchers ads beginning next week. The pounds are coming off quickly, she said, adding, "I’ve lost weight every single week.”

“I’m 10 pounds away from my pre-baby size,” Simpson told Us Weekly.

To lose the weight, Simpson is following Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus program which assigns points to foods. At first, she was eating foods that totaled 34 points a day but has since dropped to 28 points. She also has Weight Watchers meetings at home with her mom and close friends.

Along with the PointsPlus program, Simpson said she is eating less but not depriving herself. She hasn’t eaten macaroni and cheese since starting Weight Watchers but she struggles to stay away from M&Ms.

“I’m a woman who wants her chocolate,” Simpson said. “I allot myself a fun-size [bag] M&Ms. I eat one of those, and my craving is satisfied. I don’t need the whole bag of M&Ms.”

Simpson is doing 60 minutes of cardio a day. Her fiance, former NFL tight end Eric Johnson, goes on long walks with her and their daughter, Maxwell.

“My boobs are way too big to run at this point. I’m just walking,” she said. She also does simple toning exercises with a trainer four to five times a week.

“Her waist is going in, and her thighs are getting smaller,” Simpson’s celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak told Us Weekly.

Simpson has been keeping her fans up to date on her weight loss via her Twitter account.

“Just bought all the girls in my @weightwatchers group pedometers to track their steps. 10,000 steps a day = 5 miles! Let’s step it up!” she tweeted July 19.

Simpson insists that any woman can drop the pregnancy pounds and get in shape, just like her.

“I’m not a supermodel. My body is not bouncing back like a supermodel,” she told USA Today. “I’m just your everyday woman who is trying to feel good and be healthy for her daughter, her fiancé and herself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Yo-Yo Dieting Means Big PayDays for Celebs

Donna Ward/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When legendary beauty Elizabeth Taylor packed on the pounds, she found herself the butt of late-night jokes...but today, she might find herself making millions off endorsements. As the success of celebrities like Valerie Bertinelli and Kirstie Alley shows, waging a public battle with the bulge is no longer a detour from stardom.

Celebrities "are able to monetize just getting fat and losing weight," explained Jo Piazza, author of the 2011 book Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money.

The key, Piazza said, is teaming up with a weight-loss company. Bertinelli became the face of Jenny Craig and lost 50 pounds in the process.

"I believe in Jenny Craig. They've gotten me to where I am today," the former One Day at a Time star said in a 2009 interview with ABC News.

After shedding the weight, Bertinelli went on to become a best-selling author with the book Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time and scored a starring role in the cable sitcom Hot in Cleveland.

Piazza said celebrities take home anywhere between $500,000 and $2 million for endorsing diet programs. New mom Jessica Simpson reportedly signed a Weight Watchers deal worth $3 million.

"Jessica has not been shy about gaining weight with this pregnancy," Piazza said. "But I think that she hasn't been shy about it because she knows that she's going to do a diet endorsement deal when all of this is over."

Piazza estimated that Valerie Bertinelli's earning equaled roughly $60,000 for each pound she lost. On average, she said, celebrity diet endorsers earn about $33,000 for every dropped pound.

But they don't do it alone. Piazza said that, unlike your average dieter, celebs often have the benefit of personal chefs and personal trainers. Stars like Bertinelli have kept the weight off ... but putting it back on doesn't mean disaster for celebs either. Case in point: Famous yo-yo dieter Kirstie Alley. Alley signed on to work with Jenny Craig in 2005. She went on to lose 75 pounds, according to a Jenny Craig spokesman, but then gained it all back and then some. Today, Alley is svelte once more after competing on ABC's physically grueling dance competition, "Dancing With the Stars" last year and starting her own grassroots fitness campaign, "100 Days of Dance."

What's more, Alley started her own weight-loss program, called Organic Liason, consisting of weight-oss products, dietary supplements and online tools such as a menu planner.

While female celebs fronting weight-loss products have included singers like Jennifer Hudson (for Weight Watchers) and actresses like Bertinelli and Alley, former athletes seem to be preferred weight loss role models for men. Piazza calls retired quarterback Dan Marino, a spokesman for Nutrisystem, a "breakout star."

"Athletes are aspirational to men. Every man secretly thinks that he's Dan Marino in his prime -- he just has to lose about ten pounds to get there," Piazza said.

In contrast, ads by Seinfeld star Jason Alexander for Jenny Craig just didn't have the same impact, Piazza said.

"Jason Alexander's ads were hilarious, but frankly, men don't want to lose weight to look like George Costanza," Piazza said, referring to Alexander's Seinfeld character.

Charles Barkley is one of the latest former athletes to jump on the weight-loss bandwagon. The retired basketball player-turned-sports commentator said he's lost 42 pounds while being a spokesman for Weight Watchers.

"I can't believe I'm getting' paid to lose weight!" he told 20/20 correspondent Deborah Roberts. "This is the greatest country in the world!"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nebraska Teen Loses Half Her Body Weight

Natalie Strawn, center, and her mother, visit the set of "Good Morning America" to talk about her weight loss. (Ida Mae Astute/ABC)(NEW YORK) -- Natalie Strawn of Omaha, Neb., had struggled with her weight since childhood.

"I was a depressed child growing up, so I used food as comfort," Strawn, 20, told ABC’s Good Morning America. "I didn't have any friends but I had food, so I ate....I would make nachos and I would take half a can to a whole can of refried beans, a whole bag of chips, whole pound bag of cheese and smother it in ranch dressing and that would be my breakfast," she said of her typical eating routine.

By sixth-grade, Strawn weighed 333 pounds, and as her weight increased, so did the bullying at the hands of her classmates.

By age 17, Strawn weighed more than 550 pounds. She had difficulty walking, and couldn't learn to drive because she couldn't fit behind the wheel of a car.

Finally, she decided that she had missed out on enough. Determined to change her life, she joined Weight Watchers. She attended weekly meetings, set small, 5-pound goals and chronicled her progress online in a video blog.

Strawn also began to exercise, something she says was almost impossible at first.

"It wasn't until I lost about 100 pounds that I could start exercising," she told GMA. "I started doing chair aerobics and it was 18 minutes long and it was the longest 18 minutes of my life. The first time I did it I was so out of breath and I was drenched in sweat."

In the course of three years, she lost 282 pounds and, today, is far removed from both the exercise restrictions she faced, and the size 44 jeans she used to wear.

"Now I walk, I do a 2-mile DVD exercise every day," Strawn said. Despite already losing more than her body weight, Strawn says, she'd like lose another 100 pounds.

"My dream weight is 168," she said, adding that 382 pounds is the total amount of weight she'd like to lose.

Helping Strawn achieve her goal in the past three years has been her mom, Rita, who has been on a weight-loss journey of her own, losing nearly 100 pounds herself.

She hopes her story is an example to others struggling with their weight as she once did.

"I don't like things that are hard, so if I can do it, anyone can do it," she said. "I'm determined."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Weight Watchers Produces More Weight Loss than Other Diets

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Weight Watchers' approach to dieting seems to tighten the belt more than a standard approach to weight loss, according to a new study published in the Lancet.

The new research, which was funded by Weight Watchers International but conducted by the UK Medical Research Council, compared 772 overweight and obese adults in Australia, Germany and the UK. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 12 months of standard health care or a 12-month free membership to Weight Watchers.

"Our studies didn't compare different commercial weight loss programs, but did test the general concept of whether the various schemes available might work better than the current standard care," Dr. Susan Jebb, lead author of the study, said while presenting the study at the International Congress on Obesity. "Regardless of which commercial program people opt for, it's having a weekly weigh-in and support that seems to work. People are more likely to stick at it."

The study is not the first time the Weight Watchers regimen -- which is perhaps most famous for its points system -- has outperformed other strategies. In June, Weight Watchers topped the list of commercial diet plans ranked by U.S. News and World Reports.

In a May ranking by Consumer Reports, however, the diet plan came in a surprising third. And those pounds have a price tag; charges can range up to $40 per month, depending on the approach consumers choose.

Still, the system, which typically includes weekly group meetings, weigh-ins, group discussion and behavioral counseling among its features, garners at least some degree of praise from many diet and nutrition experts.

"Everyone is going to lose some weight here because there is a calorie deficit," said Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "But it's how you create it so people can comply to it that really makes a difference. People on Weight Watchers are probably more motivated to focus on long-term positive changes, and there's lots of peer encouragement."

"Blending sensible advice about diet and lifestyle with strong behavioral support, Weight Watchers, quite simply, works," said Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale Prevention Center. "More attention to weight management in primary care is warranted. This study suggests that more attention can mean better outcomes."

In the most recent study, participants adhering to the Weight Watchers plan received the full range of services provided by the program, including access to Internet-based discussion boards and systems to monitor food intake and weight change, as well recipes and meal ideas. Those in the standard care group received weight loss advice and guidelines for treatment from their local family physician.

After 12 months, Weight Watchers participants lost an average of 11 pounds. Those who received standard care lost an average of five pounds.

Weight Watchers is a nutrition points-driven plan that is meant to create healthy eating habits while encouraging exercise with a group support system.

Katz noted that the better success rate in a group-based program highlights an issue that is often overlooked.

"Weight control is not really a 'clinical' issue," said Katz. "It plays out in parks and playgrounds, offices and schools, kitchens and cafeterias. While clinicians can, and should be, part of the solution, we can never be more than part of the solution."

And while no food is off-limits, a points system for foods allows a person to maintain portion control.

"Weight Watchers sort of decriminalizes eating," said Ayoob. "It teaches how to play the hand you're dealt with in terms of weight and body image. And that seems to work for people."

About one billion people worldwide are overweight and 300 million are obese, according to the World Health Organization. To solve the problem, nutrition experts note, even small incremental weight loss can dramatically change the landscape of the obesity epidemic and the public health outcomes that come along with excessive weight.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Jenny Craig Tops List of Best Diets

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Jenny Craig reigns queen of popular diets, according to a new report from Consumer Reports Health.

Researchers based the overall scores on adherence to the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines and results of published randomized clinical studies that analyzed the short- and long-term weight loss and drop-out rates of seven popular diets.

Jenny Craig topped the list with 85 points.  Slim-Fast came in second with 63 points and Weight Watchers, a popular diet for many Americans, came in third with 57 points.

"We were pleased to be rated as Consumer Reports' best-rated diet," Jenny Craig CEO Patti Larchet said in a statement.  "This news confirms what we have always known: that Jenny Craig's clinically proven, comprehensive approach to weight management works."

The Jenny Craig diet offers its own brand of food, including single-serving entrees, snacks and desserts, which are sent to the dieters' homes.  Prices vary, but the cost of the food can range between $400 and $600 per month.  The company also offers weekly counseling sessions in-person or by phone.

Here are the seven popular diets ranked by Consumer Reports Health:

1. Jenny Craig
2. Slim-Fast
3. Weight Watchers
4. Zone
5. Ornish
6. Atkins
7. NutriSystem 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Weight Watchers Overhauls Points System

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Weight Watchers, the weight-management and packaged food empire, surprised its legion of users last week when it updated and overhauled its immensely popular points-based dieting system.

Introduced 13 years ago and not changed since, the system has been a huge success for both the company and for the thousands of users who have successfully shed unwanted pounds.

The company's new dieting system -- called PointsPlus -- seeks to guide users toward healthier and more satisfying foods, the company said. Weight Watchers has said the new system will help dieters realize that a 100-calorie apple is a better choice than a 100-calorie bag of chips.

The new system focuses on fruits and vegetables, which are now zero points, while dried fruits and starchy vegetables -- like potatoes and corn -- still have points assigned to them.

What this new weight management science takes into account is the energy contained in each component of a calorie and how much effort the body must exert to process each calorie, according to the company.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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