To help consumers navigate their way around the latest diets, Consumer Reports recently unveiled its list of the most effective diets currently on the market. The editors used a nutrition analysis database to calculate the calories and nutritional composition of a week’s worth of meals from a number of food plans. Also considered were the long-term sustainability of each plan and its conformance to the newly released 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Here are some of the findings, which were released online (www.consumerreports.org) in May.

  • Weight Watchers®: This plan was one of the highest rated and had the best overall adherence rate of all nine diets studied.
  • Slim-Fast®: This liquid diet rated favorably on its ability to provide short-term weight loss, but the long-term dropout rate was high.
  • Atkins: This plan was also effective in terms of short-term weight loss, but meals were found to contain too much fat, too little fiber and too few fruits.
  • South Beach & Jenny Craig®: Both plans came up short in supporting clinical data that could prove overall efficacy.
  • Online Diets: Plans such as eDiets® also had a paucity of clinical data to support their claims.