Company Statements to 'GMA' on Consumer Reports Diet Rankings

VIDEO: Consumer Reports rates Jenny Craig program over Weight Watchers and Slim Fast.PlayABCNEWS.com
WATCH Jenny Craig Ranked Number 1 Diet

This morning on "Good Morning America," you saw a story about Consumer Reports' analysis of popular diets.

The diet companies provided the following statements:

Statement from Weight Watchers

We are disappointed some key points in the JAMA study used prominently by Consumer Reports in their evaluation of the Jenny Craig program were left unsaid. The JAMA study, Effect of a Free Prepared Meal and Incentivized Weight Loss Program on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese and Overweight Women, was done to see what happens if you provide people with free food (valued at $6000 over the two years) and other perks on their ability to lose weight. This is hardly the real life scenario that a consumer faces when choosing a weight-loss method. Weight Watchers advocates and teaches how to live in the real world. With Weight Watchers, people learn to make smart choices - including an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains - all foods encouraged in the Weight Watchers program and advice recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Although there are more than 60 studies on Weight Watchers lifestyle approach, Consumer Reports did not include those in its analysis because we recently launched a major upgrade. Clinical data on the new PointsPlus Program are in the process of being published.

Statement from Jenny Craig

We were pleased to be rated as Consumer Report's best rated diet. This news confirms what we have always known: that Jenny Craig's clinically proven, comprehensive approach to weight management works. Jenny Craig's personalized, food-body-mind approach paired with weekly one-on-one consultations helps clients create a healthy relationship with food and a balanced approach to living.

A recent two-year study published in JAMA (the Journal of American Medical Association) showed that 92 percent of participants who stuck with the Jenny Craig program lost 10% of their body weight in one year, and had minimal regain at the two-year mark. This, coupled with Jenny Craig's personal counseling and food supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, gave Jenny Craig an edge over the other weight loss programs.

- Patti Larchet, CEO, Jenny Craig

Statement From the Zone Diet

Dr. Barry Sears, creator of the Zone Diet, said, "The Zone Diet is proud to be selected by Consumer Reports as one of the Best Diets." Whether preparing meals at home to Zone specifications or purchasing Zone Foods at ZoneDiet.com, the Zone Diet is designed to reduce inflammation that is at the core of America's obesity crisis. As the leading anti-inflammatory diet, the Zone Diet is as simple as 1-2-3: for every one gram of fat, you should consume two grams of protein, and three grams of carbohydrates. The Zone foods are online at www.ZoneDiet.com. , which offers healthy Zone foods that people like to eat, including pasta, pastries, bagels, bread and cookies, each with a 1-2-3 composition coupled with great taste.

Statment From the Ornish Diet

In evaluating weight loss diets, it's important to consider health, not just weight loss. It's hard to understand why Consumer Reports would rate a Slim Fast diet (based on powdered shakes and processed food bars) so highly.

It's unfortunate that they state that "clinical studies have found that an Atkins or Atkins-like diet not only doesn't increase heart-disease risk factors but also actually reduces them as much as or more than low-fat, higher-carb diets that produce equivalent weight loss," when the latest studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine show that an Atkins diet increases heart disease and arterial clogging via non-traditional risk factors (source: The New England Journal of Medicine, Dec 3, 2009, page 2286, attached).

Finally, although I sent the editors a copy of my latest book, The Spectrum, they drew menus and conclusions from a book I had written over 20 years ago which does not reflect my current recommendations.

Unlike the other diets analyzed, the diet and lifestyle program I recommend has been proven in randomized controlled trials to reverse coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. It has also been proven in a randomized controlled trial to slow, stop, or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer.

In addition, studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that my program of diet and lifestyle changes affects gene expression, "turning on" disease-preventing genes and "turning off" genes that promote cancer and heart disease, as well as increasing telomerase, an enzyme that lengthens telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009).

I'm sorry that none of these factors were taken into consideration in evaluating these diets. Weight loss is important, but equally important is to lose weight in ways that enhance health rather than compromising it.

Statement from The Atkins Diet

Over 60 peer-reviewed scientific studies have supported the efficacy and safety of the Atkins Diet. You eat a wide variety of food on Atkins - including low glycemic fruits, vegetables and whole grains while avoiding those foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates. This approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping people feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic. The diet is nutritionally sound and can be followed as a long term lifestyle. Visit www.Atkins.com for more information.

Statement From Slim-Fast

We're thrilled to once again be ranked among the top U.S. weight loss plans evaluated by Consumer Reports. It is a testament to our 30+ years of success in helping people lose weight safely and effectively, backed by a rich history of 47 published clinical studies.

The structured flexibility of the Slim-Fast 3-2-1 Plan enables even the busiest lifestyle to succeed on the plan, thanks to our convenient meal and snack bars and great tasting shakes. The Slim-Fast 3-2-1 plan also offers consumers tremendous value with meal options costing about $1 per meal-replacement bar or shake as well as free online tools such as a meal planner, progress tracker, access to dietitians and online community for which other plans may charge.

We invite people to check us out on Facebook or to take advantage of our world class resources at www.slimfast.com.