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Is that Right? Jenny Craig beats Weight Watchers in "major clinical trial"?

A recent Jenny Craig ad features spokesperson Valerie Bertinelli, not-so-convincingly clad in a white lab coat, claiming that "a major clinical trial" has shown that people on the Jenny Craig program lost twice as much weight as those in "the largest weight loss program."

To which the folks at Weight Watchers -- otherwise known as the largest weight loss program -- replied, 'see you in court'.

That court acted swiftly, supporting the Weight Watchers claim that no clinical trials, major or otherwise, pitting Weight Watchers against Jenny Craig had been conducted. Jenny Craig apparently compared decade-old Weight Watchers data with current Jenny Craig data and called it a trial. The court issued a temporary restraining order that prevents Jenny Craig from running the ad.

Until the legal proceedings conclude, I suppose I can't really say whether the Jenny Craig ad's claim is correct or not. I'll let you know how the judge rules in the end.

In other diet-program news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers against using counterfeit Alli purchased over the Internet. The capsules in question contain no orlistat, the diet drug's active ingredient. What they do contain is an entirely different diet drug, sibutramine, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke among people with a history of cardiovascular disease.

I asked earlier this week whether people are capable of losing weight on their own, without outside guidance or gimmicks. More than half (56 percent) of the 663 readers who voted in our poll about the matter said we are indeed perfectly capable, thank you very much. How does this latest spate of diet-program news affect your opinion?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  January 22, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Is That Right? , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity , The Business of Health  
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I've lost weight on both Weight Watchers and on my own. Hands down WW has proven the best and helped me keep the weight off for almost two years now. The part that has really stuck is the lifestyle change with out the purchase of special foods or other gimmicks.

Posted by: deltaxi | January 22, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Yes, people are perfectly capable of losing weight on their own without outside guidance or gimmicks. If you want something badly enough, you'll find a way to make it happen - it's called willpower. If you don't want it that much, you'll make excuses for your failure.

And just to be clear, I can speak from experience: I lost 25 pounds without any outside guidance or gimmicks. I exercised more and ate better, and even after suffering a knee injury in the process, still managed to lose weight and keep the weight off for four years and counting.

Posted by: dfl1 | January 22, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I hesitate to believe that any quick fix weight loss plans can help in the long term. I have seen them work for people but once they go off of them - they gain it back? I personally just try to eat whole foods and take my natural probiotic from Vidazorb for healthy weight management. I want to and know that I need to exercise also. Thanks for the info!

Posted by: smilinggreenmom | January 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is mind-set. People seem to think that a diet will fix everything. They're not willing to realize that for the majority, it's just not possible to eat pizza every day without putting on weight. The diet can help you take the weight off, but going back to your old eating habits is going to put the weight back on.

It's a real shame that few schools teach nutrition. We should all learn as early as possible what impacts food choices can have on our lives.

Posted by: PubPeople | January 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

There is a way to lose weight naturally without pills that can be potentially harmful to you. Learn how to shop at your local supermarket and buy the right foods that boost your metabolism naturally and promote weight loss. Find out about short but effective cardio and exercise routines that will dramatically increase your fat loss, with minimal effort.

Visit and find out how you can do it without potential risks associated with drugs, pills or surgery. Or you can download now a free sample book previewing the Fast Fat Loss Plan Diet and Exercise Guide by clicking here:

Posted by: figurecoach | January 22, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Weight Watchers has helped me to lose 55 pounds, and in a very healthy way. There are no "forbidden" foods on the WW plan, and although they make WW brand snacks available, it is certainly not necessary to buy them.

Although I am not currently attending meetings, I continue to maintain my weight loss by eating the way I learned at WW.

Too many people go on a "diet" to lose weight without realizing they may have to change more than just what they eat. If you are going out to dinner several times a week, that makes it much harder to lose weight. If you have a group of friends (or family) whose idea of socializing involves vast amounts of fattening foods, that makes it much harder for you to lose. You have to decide to change some of that, and it can be very hard!

WW does offer a lot of help and suggestions in dealing with those lifestyle changes, not just in choosing what you eat.

I would never use a diet program if a major part of it was buying their brand of "diet food". That is just not necessary, and is too expensive.

Posted by: DESS1 | January 25, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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