Do Packaged Diet Foods Really Result in Better Weight Loss?

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By: , – Megan Patrick, SparkPeople Editor
5/11/2013 12:00 PM   :  39 comments   :  14,984 Views

A recent study published in the April 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity examined whether people would lose more weight on their own (sticking to a prescribed calorie goal) or by eating pre-packaged diet foods that totaled the same number of daily calories. The story was picked up by news outlets with eye-catching headlines like "Packaged diet foods may spur more weight loss," (Reuters).

Sounds pretty good, right? We thought so, too. So we dug a little deeper to bring out the real truth. 

According to the study, subjects who followed the 1,000-calorie Medifast 5 & 1 plan for 26 weeks (which involves eating 5 packaged diet products per day and 1 self-prepared meal of lean protein and veggies) lost an average of 16.5 pounds, while the control group, advised to simply adhere to a 1,000-calorie "food-based diet," lost about half that with an average loss of 8.4 pounds.

To the untrained eye, it may look like a no-brainer: This pre-packaged diet food plan really works! It must have some kind of special magical nutrition formula or food combination that provides such great results! It's also easy!
 
Not so fast.
 
Reuter's lead paragraph is accurate in stating that "In a head-to-head comparison with a traditional diet, people who stuck to a diet of portion-controlled packaged foods lost almost twice as much weight as those who only got advice on how to trim calories." But neither the article, nor the study, explore the reasons why this outcome happened, what may have been flawed about the study, or the fact that the final weight loss of both groups was quite small:  2/3 pound per week for the Medifast group and 1/3 a pound for the control group.

Here are some questions that immediately spring to my mind—and why you should consider these results with a large chunk of salt:
  1. Were the members of the "reduced-energy, food-based" diet group given any information or tools for tracking calories? You don't need to be a weight loss scientist to know that it will be easier to meet a strict 1,000-calorie-a-day limit if you're eating prepackaged meal replacements that take the guesswork out of what to eat. In real life, even using a great calorie calculator, estimating and tracking calories is hard—and making decisions about food meal after meal, snack after snack is challenging.

    But on the flipside, if you are just given food to eat, and you never truly learn how to make those hard decisions and stick to a healthy diet—any weight loss you earned will be short lived. The second the diet is over, you still don't know how to eat in a way that will sustain your weight loss. You revert back to old habits and the weight creeps back on. It sure didn't make the headline, but after an additional 26 weeks had passed, and subjects were no longer following either diet, the Medifast group members had regained an average of 6.5 pounds, while the control group had regained just 4.4. This shows that those who had to learn it on their own actually fared better in the end. Perhaps a better headline for the story may have been, "Regular dieters who keep weight off longer than people who eat pre-packaged diet foods."
     
  2. Nutrition and weight loss studies are hard because the rarely create real-word scenarios like the ones people face day to day when trying to lose weight. For one, study participants are generally paid for their participation in a weight loss study, which is a major incentive to stick with any plan that people don't have in real life. In this study, all the participants on the Medifast plan were provided food FOR FREE as well. This never happens in real life, and the cost of such a plan (about $300 a month) is a major barrier to people being able to start or stick with a program like that. 
     
  3. Who funded the study? Turns out Medifast, a company that sells pre-packed diet foods and provided them for participants, funded the whole thing. In science as in life we call this a conflict of interest. When a corporation funds a study and signs the paychecks of the researchers conducting it, it's very difficult for anyone involved to be objective. Not only do the researchers have an incentive to give their "employer" the results they want (to ensure the study continues, along with their pay), but that lack of objectivity often trickles all the way down to how the researchers create the study. This study was designed to make Medifast come out on top, by pitting it against another "diet" that really didn't have a chance at winning: telling people to eat less, but not providing them with much help or resources to do so.

    I would be more interested in seeing a study that compared these packaged diet foods (which, let's face it, are highly processed and lack fresh food ingredients) to other programs that provide all the food in perfectly controlled portions. And, as even this study showed, what tends to happen when any very controlled diet ends is that the dieter regains at least some of the lost weight. It seems like a more sustainable plan would be to learn healthy eating habits and incorporate them into your life over time until they become routine. A big part of the problem with "diets" of any kind is that there is an implied end date.
I've followed similar diet plans in the past, and paid all kinds of money for these pre-packaged diet foods. Was it easier to stick with a plan that took all decision making out of the equation? Yes! Having to plan and think about what to eat, having to make a good decision when faced with a vending machine or restaurant menu is a lot harder. But later I learned that I don't need special, expensive diet foods to reach the same goal. I began creating my own meal plans, with the help of a dietitian, and followed these plans of real, whole foods to a "T." I was able to not only learn more about changing my habits, but still avoid the temptation of other foods by knowing I had "a plan" of what to eat. 

I actually spent one year eating almost exactly the same thing every day. It sounds a little crazy, but it removed all sources of temptation by limiting what I shopped for at the grocery store and what came into my house. I didn't have to make any decisions about what to eat, which freed me to focus on improving my workouts (and living my life). If you struggle with making food decisions, this might be a good experiment to try for a few weeks to see if it helps you. I guarantee whatever you eat will taste 1000x better than any pre-packaged or powdered diet plan "food!"
 
Certainly, different things work for different people and many people—including our readers—have probably used plans like the pre-packaged foods discussed here with success. But no matter what plan you choose to follow to lose weight, one thing is certain: If you can't follow that plan forever, your weight loss will be short lived. That's why it's called a lifestyle change. That's why it can be hard and why so many people struggle with losing weight. But when you truly learn it and live it, you'll be amazed at the results!

What do you think? Have you ever had success with a diet that provided pre-packaged foods? Is it something you would ever try?


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Comments

  • 39
    I am using Nutrisystem right now. As a teacher, mother of a two year, and proud army wife to a deployed soldier, I'd fallen into severe laziness. I was eating out at fast food restaurants or ordering pizza and take out regularly. The rest of the time I was feeling guilty for eating so horribly. Nutrisystem has been a savior for me. It's quick and easy yet allows me to eat my comfort food. In the last three weeks I have dropped 8 pounds, have much more energy, and am feeling much less guilty about my food choices. I used the Slim Fast program right out of college and dropped 40 pounds over the course of a year. Honestly, everyone is different. For me, right now in this moment, Nutrisystem works. I know how to eat well and use portion control but had fallen into seriously bad habits and this has allowed me to regain control and utitlize food as energy for my body....not just my emotions. - 9/9/2014   10:25:49 PM
  • 38
    I did Medifast in 2008 at the recommendation of my doctor and I lost about 25-30 lbs, but I couldn't continue because I am an endurance athlete and I wasn't taking in enough calories to sustain my athletic activities. I decided I'd rather sacrifice a "normal" BMI for a strong athlete's muscles. I've learned much more about food and how to eat using real whole foods rather than diet foods and I'm better able to set an example for my child as well. I'm now (4.5 years later) at a normal BMI and it's almost all from changing the way I eat. I also changed doctors to someone who focuses less on my BMI number and more on my overall health. - 5/30/2013   10:04:47 AM
  • 37
    Two thoughts: ALWAYS check to see who funds research when considering what it means! And, since I've found keeping weight off is harder than losing it to begin with, I think shopping for and preparing our own food is and integral part of a successful weight loss program, right up there with learning to incorporate exercise on a regular basis. - 5/23/2013   5:44:04 PM
  • 36
    I was on Nutrisystem for a while I did lose about 50 lbs or so but failed to change my lifestyle. I did not add exercise to the equation. Well, then I did go with a local company that gave you a choice of meals that you wanted including low sodium etc. I loved that one. however I failed to exercise to the equation! I failed to change my lifestyle. Then I found Sparkpeople.com. I changed what I was doing and what I was eating! I added exercise to the equation! Success at last! - 5/15/2013   10:04:02 PM
  • 35
    After years of struggle, I came to realize I could not do this weight loss journey alone. I have other health issues that affect my energy levels, and there are days I just cannot cook. I would grab whatever was easiest and put it in my mouth. It's not a lack of willpower. It's a lack of energy.

    With my doctor's blessing, I have started Nutrisystem, and I actually like it. However, I have stayed on SP because I have enjoyed the community, and I have felt supported. I'm not going to let this article get in my way because my SP friends are behind me and supporting me all the way, and they will help me make the transition when I'm ready. - 5/14/2013   10:41:32 AM
  • 34
    I rarely ever post or respond to blogs and usually rely upon them for information. Reading this blog makes it clear that maybe I should not always do so. First of all, the Medifast program is usually associated with a broader program called Take Shape For Life. It is not simply a diet or weight loss program. Rather, it is a balanced program that is designed to be a whole life approach not to weight loss but health. Health is NOT defined as being a particular weight. Instead, it is a state of being. How do you feel, what are our blood work up numbers, what is the role of medication in your life, how well do you sleep, what is your energy level like, and most importantly, are you able to get to a "good place" in these categories and stay there? The TSFL program addresses all of these. Once the person is done with the meal supplements and has achieved their target weight goal, they spend several weeks in a transition period adapting to the changes their body has experienced and reintroducing more conventional types of foods. Then, the program moves to a maintenance stage. These latter stages address many issues including healthy nutrition, balanced exercise, and overall health. Finally, the goal is to achieve AND maintain optimal health.

    What this blog never addresses is the fact that as a person begins this program, included at no extra cost is a health coach that interacts with the person routinely through ALL stages to help them over the hurdles, tough spots, and certain plateaus that one usually experiences. The success of the person and the program typically hangs on two factors. First, the desire and dedication of the person in the first place. Regardless of the "program" we all look to, there are no "silver bullets" even though many of us look for them. It seems most of us who are overweight have experienced weight loss success at some point, often many times, only to regain all or even more of the weight. We have to look to ourselves. Is this the result of a inadequate program or our own devotion? The second variable in the TSFL program is the health coach. Just as in the world of trainers, teachers, police officers, or any other area, there are good, mediocre, and bad examples. However, not until recently have many of the programs I know of for weight loss offered health coach assistance. This is a major factor in the many success stories in this program that this blog also fails to search out or report on.

    I have to say that today, I lost a tremendous amount of respect for Sparkpeople as a site and tool. For there to be a featured blog such as this with such poor true research or background study or fair representation of all the facts included is poor stewardship of their professed mission. - 5/13/2013   12:40:33 PM
  • 33
    I think all diet foods are worthless. I have learned that eating clean and healthy is the best way to lose and KEEP off the weight. I've never been a big fan of pre-packaged, processed foods and avoid them most of the time. Instead I eat foods the way they come naturally, including full fat milk, yogurt, cheese, chicken with the skin on, etc. I find that I feel full much faster and with smaller portions when I avoid altering my food to make "healthier". I stick to lots of fruits and veggies with small portions of flavorful, whole higher fat/calorie foods (ie chicken with the skin on). Not only is the food much more delicious than the diet versions, but I have lost a lot more weight. And I don't even count calories. I think our food was created naturally to work together to keep our bodies healthy. Once we start altering our foods, that's when things go out of whack anhd health problems arise. I get all my numbers checked by my doctor and I'm doing great and I'm healthier than I was 5 years ago. I say stick to eating whole foods and listen to your body. And of course get some type of exercise in, whether it's 10 minutes a day or a full hour. Something is always better than nothing. - 5/13/2013   12:28:44 PM
  • 32
    Yes I have, Jenny Craig being at least one. The only programs I, personally, believe are tried and true, because you are working with everyday real food, that you are responsible for learning to measure and eat with mindful control, Weight Watchers and SparkPeople. Both programs allow me to have a sweet because I am making a conscience choice, and I have learned those sweets aren't worth much in my life any longer. Both offer support but with SparkPeople I have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access too, although I understand WW also has an online program. SparkPeiople is the first program I feel I am finally in control. I am in no big rush to lose my last 20/25 pounds. I am doing it my way; with SparkPeople books, cookbook, blogs, and the other wealth of information literally at my finger tips! And I have found new and fun ways to exercise and at almost 67 years of age, I like getting up in the morning and doing exercises and feeling good about myself! - 5/13/2013   10:59:43 AM
  • SPELEVINK
    31
    I used Medifast in 07-08 and lost 65 lbs. I have kept it off for the most part (have gained about 20 lbs. back this past year, lots of stress) but the way I've kept it off was to keep going back on Medifast. I was shocked to see how many orders of Medifast I've bought, and to see that I'd been on Medifast about half the time for the past three years! Bottom line, I feel that Medifast could be a good tool IF you're going to do it ONCE and make d@m# sure that you keep it off with REAL FOOD & proper portion control. I slid into using it as a fall back way too often and realized that if I was eating it *half the time* just to keep the weight off, something was REALLY WRONG with that. In fact I have half an order left in my cupboard right now; I will finish it up and never buy it again. - 5/13/2013   7:35:29 AM
  • 30
    Yes, I once was on Optifast which did NOT work for me! I am a "dieter" of 65 years, never once lost weight and kept it off until 5 years ago when I joined Spark People. For the first time in all these years I found success.
    To me, "dieting" was living on 600 to 800 calories a day and then not losing. Once SP convinced me I should have 1200 calories daily, the weight started to come off. 14 months later I was down 50 lbs. Yay for exercise and healthy eating!!! - 5/12/2013   11:03:15 PM
  • DANIEN05
    29
    I've signed up for Spark People over 8 months ago and this is the first comment that I felt compelled to write. I'm currently on Medifast and have lost 90 pounds to date. There is no program out there that is a magic pill. It is more about the journey you take and the lessons that you learn along the way. I've been morbidly obese for all my life and have tried many diet programs. Each time I was desperate to make a change so I had some success but I didn't face my demons (emotional eating and other issues holding me back), I didn't learn how to eat healthily and I didn't embrace exercise as a way of life so the weight came back on. I am doing all those things this time and I've never felt better. I use a lot of Spark People recipes to expand my horizons. I grew up in a family where fried food was king and veggies were drowned in butter. I now love to exercise and challenge my body to do things that I didn't think was possible. Lastly I battle every day the fat mentality that I nurtured all these years. I lost a significant amount of weight but still sometimes see myself in the same way. Medifast wasn't my means to an end but my means to a beginning. I think Spark People should continue to focus on uplifting and empowering its members rather than discouraging the path they may have chosen. And I'm sorry Megan Patrick because I disagree with your conclusion that I will certainly gain all of my weight back. However I also don't feel the need to prove you wrong because I'm not doing this for you. I only have one person to answer to and you are not the one. - 5/12/2013   9:29:00 PM
  • 28
    I have never tried a pre-packaged diet plan and don't plan to. I have thought of those shakes for one meal, but stay hungry on things like that (like the protein shakes), so they don't do me a bit of good. I also don't think the pre-packaged plans are worth it because people gain the weight back if they quit buying the pre-packaged diet food because they don't know how to make food that is healthy and will maintain their weight loss.

    Re: the corporation funding the studies, I am listed with a group that does things where groups get together and talk. Those groups are funded by the corporations and they will only take people who use their product (their brand) so that everyone says that it is great and they have the 100% satisfaction result. Not very representative of the public (or in this case the groups that have lost the weight). - 5/12/2013   8:54:42 PM
  • 27
    Anyone here tried the 5:2 diet? That's two days of 500 calories a week (600 for men) and 5 days of simply healthy eating with no limits of what foods you eat. Apparently in the UK they are having great success with it. Those who reach their goal are cutting back to one fast day just to stay healthy. There's lots of info on the internet about it. I haven't tried it yet but would love to hear if anyone else has. - 5/12/2013   4:42:50 PM
  • 26
    I've never been a big believer in prepackaged diet plan foods . . . . . unless you are planning to order and eat that food for the rest of your life! Everyone needs to learn how to eat healthy on their own and eating pre packaged pre measured and pre cooked diet food won't teach you that. I would think that anyone who lost weight that way would gain it back very quickly once they were left to eating on their own. - 5/12/2013   3:44:23 PM
  • ELECTRALYTE
    25
    JERF (just eat real food) I think all that highly processed junk is so full of chemicals and preservatives and just not good for you.
    I tried many of those things in the past, thank goodness I have learned so much from my years here on Spark. Now I eat clean and maintain a healthy weight. - 5/12/2013   1:29:52 PM
  • 24
    I would try a prepackaged diet plan to start to loose the weight and then follow the healthy lifestyle but I cannot afford the prepackaged diet plans. I am struggling to loose weight, but I will get better about what to eat when as I work on managing my meals and trying to follow the weekly diet plans that spark people puts out with some small changes when I cannot find the food listed (especially hummus) in the stores as we live in a smaller town and are not close to a large city and the stores in these areas do not always have the options that stores in larger cities have. - 5/12/2013   12:07:46 PM
  • 23
    I'm actually in week 16 of the KP MWM program using Optifast and have lost 45 lbs so far. Yes the program uses pre-measured product but we also attend weekly classes teaching about lifestyle changes, tracking your food and exercise and arranging your world. You're told up front that you need to be mindful for the rest of your life and there is no guarantee about keeping the weight off. I'm using the program as a kick start to reach my goal weight which in turn allows me to exercise with less aches and pains.
    Next week we will begin the transition phase by dropping 1 product and adding 1 meal/day each week using strict caloric/nutritional guidelines.
    Plus I plan to continue using SparkPeople. The effort you put into it determines what you get out of life.
    - 5/12/2013   11:43:10 AM
  • 22
    I wish there were an affordable gluten-free/dairy-free/grain-free option (I'm Celiac with extra issues digesting foods). Having to cook EVERYTHING you eat is a hassle, especially since I'm not at home a minimum of 55 hours a week (working, commuting). I would LOVE something to do for those times when I'm overwhelmed (time-wise). Salads are quick but try eating 2 a day for months. It gets old when you don't have any OPTION! I mean, I guess I could eat processed deli meats (hard to find w/o gluten but they exist)... I found a food service but it was about $10 per MEAL. Yikes. - 5/12/2013   10:07:38 AM
  • 21
    I used nutrisystem for about 1 year & lost my first 100 lbs with them..i followed the (food) program religiously..my BP went down, my diuretic dosage was cut in half & most importantly, I learned portion-control & what a proper serving size looked like!..if you are truly honest with yourself, the cost isn't as high as it first appears to be..the food is shelf stable, taste's OK, and is nutritional. - 5/12/2013   9:27:39 AM
  • 20
    I am no math expert but packaged food group on average regained 39 % back (remember they loss more weight), and the regular dieters (loss less) regained an average 52 % back.

    Anyway, I agree with IAMTOLOSE, prepackaged food is good to start to learn portion control (I did this) and then go to a healthier lifestyle journey as SparkPeople promotes.

    - 5/12/2013   9:27:37 AM
  • GOOFYGIRL3803
    19
    Okay, I am one who tried the prepackaged meals and lost 4lbs in a week. It was a last resort though as I have gone to a fitness/health specialist and accomplished the wellness plan. I planned out my meals and logged my calories daily, however I was not able to lose a pound. So, I tried the nurtisystem, more to see if it really worked and then to see HOW it worked as I am not one for prepackaged meals. I followed it but not as tight as I should have and lost 4lbs. During the period I looked at the meal plan to see how I could incorporate it into my daily living (without the prepackaged.) It is more one the structure of when to eat what, portion control and motivation. I learned a lot so lets see how this week goes with me creating my own meals. Wish me luck. - 5/12/2013   9:19:53 AM
  • IAMTOLOSE
    18
    Packaged foods may work for the short term but unless you're going to eat them forever you need to learn what/when/how to eat real food. Thank you for this blog. - 5/12/2013   9:01:06 AM
  • PEBBLE114
    17
    I had great success with eating prepackaged foods with a service. I went in an bought my food for the week. Most of it was quite good and just having to pick out a box each meal was mindless. I lost more than 20 pounds. Of course as soon as I stopped eating out of the boxes I gained all of the weight back plus! It felt like a diet which is what it was. It was easy but not sustainable. Now eating my own prepared food. Still easy because I prepare my meals for the week. Just grab a couple of containers and go. 15 pounds gone doing something that doesn't feel like a diet. - 5/12/2013   8:22:45 AM
  • 16
    One of my friends did Medifast and lost way more in 26 weeks than these folks did in the study. I think she lost about 60 pounds in 6 months. She even became a counselor, but discovered pretty quick that it was sort of like Amway (or whatever they call themselves now) where she recruited people to sell the stuff to and got a percentage. She said the food for the most part was pretty bad, but she thought it was worth it to jump-start her weight loss and she hates to cook. However, it was expensive and she stopped doing it a while ago. I think she has gained a lot of the weight back, so I don't think Medifast or anything is a magic pill. Whatever we do, it is not going to be easy and we shouldn't try to fool ourselves into thinking that it is otherwise.
    I am disgusted by studies like this with a clear conflict of interest that get published in peer-reviewed journals. It discredits not just the study, but the integrity of the entire journal. Shame on them! - 5/12/2013   8:17:36 AM
  • 15
    Reading the UN-natural ingredients is enough to turn me off. - 5/12/2013   7:59:51 AM
  • 14
    I will NEVER use a pre-packaged meal service!!! I could however BE a pre-packaged meal service!!! I LOVE TO COOK. Many, many years ago when my mom was over 200 lbs we joined weight watchers together. I cooked and packaged her meals for a month following their plan, until she got the hang of it herself. I LOVE to cook!!! - 5/12/2013   7:59:04 AM
  • 13
    Oh well. sure. I've sometimes wished I had a cook in the kitchen doling out delicious (important adjective, here) calorie and portion controlled dishes. But if I tried to serve my husband a pre=packaged meal he'd refuse it. So even if I were paying $300 a month (really not that much if you figure you aren't buying any groceries) for me - I'd still be buying and cooking his food. stoopid.

    I did have a girlfriend who tried one of the programs where food was shipped to her weekly - she said it was pretty tasteless. Not bad. Just ...eh. uninteresting. She only did it for a month.

    Me? I would rather eat my own choices most of the time, and just eat less of them. - 5/12/2013   7:30:34 AM
  • 12
    I've never tried any of the commerical meal-plan prepackaged foods, but I will say I've been tempted at times. One of the most difficult temptations for me is being in the kitchen. I prepare food from scratch virtually every day - and struggling not to nosh as I go is always hard, even with things like sugarfree mint chewing gum. People will say "Well, there aren't many calories in fresh carrots," and that's true, up to a point. But all foods have calories, and once you've nibbled a little of everything, plus taste-testing as you cook - well, it adds up, absolutely! At least pre-packaged limits what you have access to, as well as providing the built-in portion control. Might be a useful preliminary tool for weightloss... - 5/12/2013   6:19:00 AM
  • AZURE-SKY
    11
    Years ago, I tried Jenny Craig, but didn't last too long. The portions were extremely small, high in sodium, and tasted awful. They were also full of preservatives, which I try to avoid. A friend of mine tried NutriSystem around the same time, and as soon as she stopped, she gained back all her weight plus more because she never learned portion control, or how to plan her own meals. - 5/12/2013   2:32:15 AM
  • CBANDCB
    10
    I'm a foodie. I cook almost everything I eat and enjoy fresh ingredients. Prepackaged food wouldn't work for me at all.
    I'm mindful of food groups, eat salads, and limit my intake of fats, but I cook and eat what I love.
    I lose weight slowly, but my love affair with food is satisfied in a healthy way and that's a sustainable lifestyle. - 5/12/2013   2:22:49 AM
  • 9
    There was a time during my "yo-yo" dieting that I did try Nutri System. Thought I would learn portion control etc. I did lose some weight, but it did find me again. Losing weight is not easy, but taking a journey like SP gives us is truly a learning experience. The more you learn and apply it to your lifestyle the more power you have over your own destination. Unless prescribed by a Dr. for medical reasons I would never do a pre-packaged plan again, nor would I recommend it to any one else. - 5/11/2013   4:56:40 PM
  • 8
    I do buy some of the Healthy Choice & Lean Cuisine meals for lunches at work because when I'm in a hurry to get out the door I can grab one out of the freezer and not have to buy lunch at work (first, I'm not guaranteed to be able to get away to do that & second, I tend to make worse choices when I do that!). But I can't imagine being restricted to only what comes to me in a box through the mail! I can imagine craving everything that wasn't included in those box meals! And as you said, can you really maintain that for a lifetime? So what happens when you go back to eating real food in the real world? - 5/11/2013   4:49:09 PM
  • DELLMEL
    7
    When I am dieting I like to cook my own food. - 5/11/2013   4:11:20 PM
  • 6
    I did a pre-prepared food diet ( pronokal) , lost 48 kilos that recuperated the next year :( It's not worthy , eventually the only thing you'll lose is your money and more importantly , your health. - 5/11/2013   3:08:19 PM
  • LGILKEY
    5
    The only thing I use is the Atkins or Slim-fast (Not) shakes or bars or when I am not home and don't have a good option to eat out. They work to keep my sugar level and hold me until I get home - 5/11/2013   2:39:48 PM
  • 4
    Well, years ago I used to eat healthy choice meals for about three years. It did help me to stick to the straight and narrow but, after I came to my senses and started with spark I learned what healthy eating was and how normal it is. I have never gotten meals from Jenny Craig or other companies like that but healthy choice was the closest I could come. - 5/11/2013   1:57:13 PM
  • MARGOMCP
    3
    ". . .and why you should consider these results with a large chunk of salt" - can I use a large chunk of onion or garlic instead? :-)

    Anyone who has had personal experience with buying "made" meals soon figures out they may/may not work for them but then, in the real world, when you have to go back to being responsible for what you put in your mouth, with no help, putting someone else in charge of your diet is ultimately a bad idea as it gets one into bad habits that have to be reversed.

    Way back in the day when NutriSystem had walk-in centers with real people/counselors, etc., I joined one and paid $2,000 to lose 20 pounds (what I "planned" to lose versus what I did; you had to pay for what you planned, up front, that's how they made most of the money) and only gained back 80. Now I am leery of magic weight loss or exercise plans that figure it out for me, instead of my figuring it out for me. - 5/11/2013   12:51:28 PM
  • 2
    I totally agree with you Ms. Patrick..........different things work for different people, however, if you are committed to losing weight, you must change your way of eating. Yes, it is a lifestyle change that will benefit you in the long run. You can control whatever you eat. These so-called pre-packaged meals have so many things wrong with them, for example.......the amount of sodium that they use.........that's not good for anyone. I say, research and learn about the different ways of cooking from scratch, using fresh herbs, and easily digestible carbs, grains, and fats........

    A home cooked means can be fixed to fill and satisfy you without all of the "garbage" these pre-packaged meals include. Most would say that if they work they don't have the time, but they are quick to hit the fast food joint. For the same amount of time, energy, driving and money, you can cook a meal for a complete week and go back for seconds if you choose too.

    I say, really, really, research whatever you may choose to do when it comes to dieting and read the fine print and just read and re-read until you understand what you are doing... - 5/11/2013   12:39:57 PM
  • 1
    One-thousand calories a day? Is that a one size fits all calorie amount? Last I checked, it wasn't healthy for ANYONE to eat less than 1200 calories a day. So, let's say you DO lose that 16.5 pounds. Then when you stop eating your insta-food, the weight is going to spring right back on faster than you can say "broke metabolism."

    Also...bad science is bad. If the company that sells this junk funded the study, then the data is worthless. Period. - 5/11/2013   12:38:32 PM

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