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Health Guide Review: 3,1/5

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Jenny Craig Diet Review

What is it?

The Jenny Craig Diet is a diet plan for people that want a combination of dieting tips, pre-packaged meals, and one on one weight loss support. It promises clients will lose up to 3 times more weight than by simply dieting alone.

This popular brand name has been around since 1983, and there’s’ counseling centers available across the US, Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand.. The Jenny Craig diet also offers:

  • Over 70 pre-packaged meals: This includes desserts, snacks, breakfast, and lunch and dinner items. Uncommon foods listed include cheese puffs, chocolate lava cake, brownies, red velvet cake, chow mein fettuccine, and several other items.

You can select these foods or get pre selected meals depending on how much money you’re looking to spend.           

  • Pricing varies depending on goals: You can choose between their basic plan starting at $19 a month, with meals costing an additional $15 to $23 dollars a day, depending on what food options you like.

You also have to pay a $99 enrollment fee, though if you just want one single consultation a week, it’s $39.99 a month. So you can expect upwards of $690 a month for food alone.           

  • Home cooked meals come after: One you hit your target weight, you can start transitioning to eating some meals that aren’t pre-packaged. For 4 weeks you begin slowly reintroducing foods you make at home. Thought this entire time, you’re advised to eat 6 meals a day. This is to prevent hunger pains.

With over 600 centers available across the US, the Jenny Craig Diet is found in many areas. This diet has been popularized as being one of the longest lasting commercial weight loss centers and diet strategies.

 Foods Allowed by the Diet

 To start you can only eat the pre-packaged meals made by the company. This is to make dieting easier, as it makes choosing how many calories you get a day simple.

The nutritional breakdown for these foods is:

  • 50 to 60% carbohydrates.
  • 20 to 25% protein.
  • 20 to 25% fat.

 Many of the starting Jenny Craig meal plans start at just 1200 calories a day.

There are no foods that are banned after you make your own meals, but there are restrictions on calories.

There aren’t many meatless or dairy free options, so this wouldn’t work for vegans and vegetarians. There’s also an emphasis on limiting sodium to 2,000 milligrams a day. This standard is advised by health organizations, as it reduces the change of developing high blood pressure, and of maintaining water weight.

Many of the pre-packaged meals are uncommon diet foods such as several desserts, pastas, shakes, bars, and other foods.

How Does the Diet Work?

 You can use counseling to gain tips on how to keep the diet, as well as tips in all their centers. There’s also the option to pay less if you can’t make it to their facilities.

Pre-packaged foods can also be delivered to you, but what you get depends on what plan you choose.

Much like other diet plans, the focus is to limit your calories, gain support for dieting, and keep track of your weight.  Since this diet is available in so many areas, you can read multiple reviews online.

Here are some reviews from the Consumer Affairs:

“food is not the healthiest or very satisfying”

 “disappointed in the overall lack of support”

 “I feel sick when I think of the money I wasted”

 Several people felt that keeping this diet was difficult to nearly impossible. Even with the high price that rivals other diet plans, the Jenny Craig Diet was seen as ineffective for weight loss by 62 negative reviews on the Consumer Reports website.

The ingredients to these foods are also no the most wholesome additives. Inside these foods are ingredients such as:

Corn syrup: A cheap sweetener often used in soda and processed foods. Princeton University ran a study showing that this ingredient:

“prompts considerably more weight gain”

This is in comparison to other sweeteners equaling the same amount of calories. Therefore, eating this form of sugar can cause more weight gain by being less filling, and increasing blood sugar levels. 

Mono and Diglycerides: Emulsifier that helps fats and liquids combine together. This ingredient may provide trans fats which according to the American Heart Association:

“raise your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol”

 This ingredient can cause heart problems and it’s advised not to have it in any form. Since this ingredient processes to trans fats and isn’t trans fats in and of it self, the FDA has not banned it.

 Sucralose: Artificial sweetener that is not broken down by the body. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that this ingredient:

“Alters Gut Microflora and intestinal P-Glycoprotein”

 This means that it can damage the immune system and that in the body, it’s processed as a potential carcinogen.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest has also changed it’s warning on this ingredient for safe to caution.

It’s unknown what kind of an effect this ingredient would have with long term use.

 Sodium benzoate: Common preservative used in many processed foods. It’s only allowed in limited amounts due to its potential for side effects. The UK Food Standards Agency also says that taking this ingredient with some types of artificial ingredients can cause hyperactivity.

You’ll often see this additive includes in sodas and it’s advised to limit it as much as possible.

 Artificial flavors: Man made synthetic ingredient that is created in a lab. It can come from many different sources, and it’s unknown where the pre-packaged foods provided by Jenny Craig source this ingredient.

This processed additive is made to simulate real flavors.

 The issue with relying on these foods for your only source of nutrition is that they can cause unwanted side effects, which can damage your health.

Also, any dieticians do not recommend eating a heavy diet of processed foods.  The NHS, which is a government group that offers health recommendations, mentions that eating these foods:

“can lead to people eating more than the recommended amounts”

 So it’s possible to gain weight while adding these types of unnecessary ingredients to your diet. It’s strange that the Jenny Craig Diet would emphasize using all these kinds of ingredients, since it can make weight loss much harder.

Pros 

  • Several different food options are provided, some of which are uncommon to diet foods such as many kinds of desserts.
  • There are several centers available across the US, and an interactive map shows the nearest locations.
  • Foods can be delivered straight to your house. There are also some stores that sell this brand in the frozen section.
  • You can select between several different plans. Each one offers different levels of help depending on how much you’re willing to pay.
  • A counselor can help you stay motivated. They’re also knowledgeable about the foods the offer, so you can learn more about what you’re eating.

Cons 

  • It’s one of the most expensive food plans available. It’s estimated to cost you around $690 a month strictly on food alone, this is without considering the counseling and member dues.
  • Several negative customer reviews have complained about the lack of support, and of the poor quality food. In fact ,many customers mention that losing weight while on this diet is nearly impossible.
  • Many of the prepackaged foods contain artificial ingredients, and additives that can make weight loss harder. These additives can also have a potentially negative impact on your health.
  • You have to eat only prepackaged meals until you hit your target weight, and many customers claim the foods don’t taste good. This is because these foods are not fresh, they have to be microwaved and reheated.
  • Weight loss is not guaranteed, and you have to do a lot of work and spend lots of money. 

Better Alternatives to the Diet 

Though this plan does offer support through its use of counselors, it’s still not a guaranteed weight loss strategy. Many customers have complained that they failed to lose weight.

It’s also incredibly expensive and requires you to say dependent on these meals until you hit your goal weight.

Better options are available that don’t force you to eat preservative and artificial ingredients every day. These kinds of ingredients can actually make hitting your weight loss goals much harder.

It’s also know that the people who offer diet advice:

“are not health professionals” 

“their take on the diet not being a hundred percent reliable” 

This is mentioned by Buzzle, which outlined some of the positives and negatives. Counseling plays a major role, and to take the advice of these people may be potentially wrong.

It’s because of this that many customers have claimed they didn’t feel supported at the Jenny Craig centers.

 Conclusion

 You can find support for this diet in many centers, and there are many different food options. The Jenny Craig Diet has been around for a long time, and you can find different forums online.

The benefit to this diet is that you can select many different options. The main issue is that this brand has you pay expensive prices for counseling and preservative heavy foods.

Eating the same kinds of foods that have a lot of artificial flavors, and processed additives can be damaging to health. There’s also an extremely low calorie demand that can be hard to maintain.

Much better options are available that are less expensive, and not requiring you to eat unwholesome foods every day.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.