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Short-term findings also suggest that low-calorie meal replacements such as Optifast are an effective weight-loss strategy, but the study points to the lack of year-long studies and the possible risks. Dieters attend meetings or use an online program to keep track of their progress. Both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig seek to assist dieters with healthy weight loss through cutting calories. Lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all around bon vivant. What is the catch? Another five weight-loss programs were described as "self-directed," including three Internet-based plans.
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Those results were promising, the researchers wrote, but not definitive enough to recommend alongside Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, the study authors concluded.
Altogether, the researchers combed through more than 3, studies and considered different weight-loss programs. But only 11 of the programs had been tested in rigorous clinical trials that lasted at least 12 weeks. Three of the programs relied on diets that delivered a mere to 1, calories per day.
Among these, the Health Management Resources plan recorded the most weight loss — The other two programs produced short-term results that weren't sustained. Dieters using Medifast lost 5. Another five weight-loss programs were described as "self-directed," including three Internet-based plans. Among them, only the Biggest Loser Club was found to have any success — after three months, users lost 2. Another trial found that people who tried Lose It! A third trial tracked users of eDiets for a year and found they fared no better than people who got counseling.
The researchers also found eight clinical trials involving Atkins. In those studies, Atkins followers lost 0. Another trial compared a group of Atkins dieters with a control group that got only education.
That's because the experience of real-world dieters may differ from that of clinical trial participants, they said. But the researchers who conducted the analysis hope their findings will also be useful to doctors. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act advises physicians to screen for obesity and make sure patients in need get appropriate counseling and treatment.
In addition, the American Heart Assn. Indeed, some states are already experimenting with sending their Medicaid patients to Weight Watchers, the only program that was endorsed in the review. The authors hope their study of weight-loss programs will make doctors more confident in helping patients who are trying to get slimmer. The Affordable Care Act mandates full coverage of preventative medicine.
It specifically includes obesity screenings and dietary counseling with a doctor. Insurance companies may eventually offer coverage for weight-loss programs. Doctors can feel comfortable referring patients to either Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, the study concludes.
But even those two research-driven programs are not alike. The Jenny Craig program resulted in more weight loss than Weight Watchers. But Jenny Craig, which includes prepackaged meals along with behavioral counseling, cost significantly more. The researchers note that Nutrisystem also showed promising results for short-term weight loss but lacked evidence for longer-term success. Short-term findings also suggest that low-calorie meal replacements such as Optifast are an effective weight-loss strategy, but the study points to the lack of year-long studies and the possible risks.
Rapid weight loss can overtax the gallbladder, which flushes cholesterol from the body, Gudzune explained. As for more nuanced questions of health, the study authors plan next to analyze the effects each of the diets had on blood pressure and blood sugar, Gudzune said.
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