Diet plans have been put through the ringer, scrutinized and measured against one another, but now the well-respected Consumer Reports magazine has done their own research and ranked America's most popular diet plans.
In the first comparison rating of diet plans by the magazine in four years, the Jenny Craig program has now taken the top spot in the ranking, garnering a total score of 85 points.
Jenny Craig got high marks because 92 percent of participants -- "a remarkable level of adherence" -- stuck with the program for two years, and at the end of that time, weighed an average of about 8 percent less than when they started, according to CR.
In second place was Slim-Fast, and in third place was Weight Watchers.
Consumer Reports used scientific literature and reports from clinical trials on the diet plans to crunch numbers and come up with ratings. Food experts also analyzed menus from each diet to assess nutritional quality.
Still, the magazine cautions, "the best diet is the one you'll stick with, and different diets appeal to different people."
"So the real trick is to find the one that matches your preferences," the magazine says. "For example, Jenny Craig might not be a good fit if you don't like the idea of having to buy (or eat) prepackaged meals."
There are also some basic realities about weight-loss diets that a person should keep in mind before embarking on a plan.