Jenny Craig - The Bad Good Diet
What is the Jenny Craig Diet and what are its benefits and consequences? The Jenny Craig diet was started by none other than Jenny Craig back in 1983 in Australia. Both Jenny and her husband, Sid, struggled with their weight until they finally happened upon an approach that worked for them and one that they felt could work for others too. So their personal success helped them to establish the Jenny Craig Weight Management Program that can now be found in Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.
The philosophical points of Jenny Craig are plenty straightforward. The 3 philosophical tenets involve establishing a healthy relationship with food, staying active, and having a balanced approach to living. Those seem simple enough, but, more specifically, how does the diet really work?
The diet utilizes a 28 day preset menu program developed by dietitians to meet the U.S. dietary guidelines. The daily intake consists of 3 meals, 2 snacks, and one dessert which add up to 1200-1500 calories a day which will result in roughly a 1-2 pound loss a week. Jenny Craig’s macronutrient breakdown is 60% carbs, 20% fats, 20% protein which may shock the low carb fanatics out there. And like any diet nowadays there are foods that are desirable and foods that are off limits. The list of permissible foods certainly includes Jenny Craig brand packaged meals, snacks, and supplements. The diet’s inclusion of fruits, vegetables, and non-fat dairy are a bit limited unfortunately.
On the other hand, the foods that should be avoided are any “homemade” meals, sweets, and anything not included in the menu planner. So, while the ideas of portion control and achieving balance in one’s life are great concepts, they can only be great when properly employed and as you can see, the shortcomings with Jenny Craig are apparent.
First of all, the Jenny Craig diet relies on prepackaged meals that can cost a small fortune. You know that there lies a problem when prices cannot be found virtually anywhere on the Jenny Craig website. Secondly, the fact that the diet relies on prepackaged meals does not help teach dieters how to prepare food in the right portions with the right balance of nutrients, but instead, creates a crutch that becomes difficult to abandon. This problem is endemic with all diets that require prepackaged meals. There is also the concern that the menu choices are deficient in fiber, zinc, iron, and vitamin E which would certainly require a multivitamin everyday. Once again, in my opinion, this diet needs to be strongly improved before I would ever recommend it to anyone.
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