Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem

January 19, 2011 8:23:00 PM PST
The world of weight loss was shaken up last month when Weight Watchers announced changes to its point system. But what about the two other big-name diet plans, Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem? Consumer Reports just did a taste-off of their heavily advertised diet foods.

Consumer Reports asked its experienced taste testers to sample 65 products, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. The testers didn't know which products they were testing. They didn't even know they were eating diet-plan foods.

The results: Most of the foods weren't all that tasty. The testers found the Nutrisystem meatloaf and tomato sauce had an "old flavor." The Jenny Craig Salisbury Steak was better and had flavorful potatoes and vegetables, but the mushrooms were slightly rubbery. Neither company's snacks and desserts were much of a treat. Jenny Craig's Soft Chocolate Cookie was dry and crumbly, without much flavor. Nutrisystem's nacho crisps didn't have much flavor, either, and were hard and dry.

In the end, only five of the products Consumer Reports tested scored "very good," all from Jenny Craig. Overall Jenny Craig edged out Nutrisystem with respect to taste, but not by much. Still, for some people, the plans can work. Consumer Reports says the downside is that you spend weeks eating food that doesn't always taste so terrific.

One of the big advantages of diet-plan food is that it's portion controlled, and portion control is key to losing weight. But frozen diet meals offer that, too. And previous Consumer Reports tests have found that many are quite tasty.

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.

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