Jenny Craig Diet Review

The Shocking Dirty Secrets Of Jenny Craig's Weight Loss Centers.
Grade: D 2/10 Jenny Craig's meals are not healthy and expensive and are just a temporary crutch.

Jenny Craig Diet Review:


Dr. Pearsall’s Scorecard (Score is 2 out of 10) customer reviews: (55% approval rating out of 45 opinions) 6  
Accuracy and quality of the nutrition information 5  
Reasonable cost 2  
Uses a holistic weight loss approach, addressing the body, mind, and spirit 4  
Sensible meal plans and tasty, healthy, quick recipes 2  
Emphasis is teaching healthy lifestyle changes instead of selling products 1  
Provides a detailed functional approach to weight training and cardio fitness 1  
Easy to follow for life 2  
Offers effective weight loss products e.g. supplements, videos, techniques 3  
Advice on other weight factors (hormones, food allergies, toxicity, lifestyle) 0  
Advocates a diet of foods that are whole, natural, clean, organic and 50% raw 1  
Counselors are credentialed professionals such as registered dieticians 0  
Research and statistics support the efficacy of the program 2  


Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig, Founder

Review written by: Dr. Kendra Pearsall






Jenny Craig’s interest in weight loss began after her pregnancy when she found herself 45 pounds overweight. Her added incentive to lose weight was that her mother and her mother’s seven brothers and sisters, all died before the age of 50. They were all overweight.

Jenny got back in shape by joining a gym and by being careful about what she ate. After managing and eventually owning her own fitness club she met up with Australian native Sidney Craig, and partnered with him on building 200 women’s fitness salons called Body Contour. The Craigs sold Body Contour to NutriSystem in 1982 because they wanted to start a weight-loss company based on Jenny’s nutrition-based formula.

Although neither the Craigs nor other board members of the Jenny Craig Weight Management Program have any formal training in nutrition or exercise, the company has emerged as a weight-management colossus: 780 Jenny Craig centers with revenues exceeding $350 million. (Eighty percent of the centers are company-owned and 20 percent are franchised.)

Program Summary:

Jenny Craig (JC) members are assigned a daily calorie level (typically 1200-1700 calories) and a certain amount of food exchanges for the day (e.g. 7 meats, 6 starches, 3 fats, 1 milk, 2 vegetables). Initially they are given a daily menu of what to eat mostly consisting of Jenny Craig's line of packaged food. According to the JC representatives, Jenny food is necessary to give people structure and controlled portions. Members are provided with one-on-one sessions with consultants who manage their programs.

Once they have reached the halfway point to their goal weight they are switched to a pre-planned menu with 50% less Jenny Craig food. The menu plan is flexible and allows one to make daily choices from an A, B, or C category, without needing to calculate calories or fat grams. According to Jenny Craig's website, JC emphasizes a combination of nutrition, physical activity, and behavioral changes.

In 2000, Monica Lewinsky (President Bill Clinton's multi-talented assistant) was the controversial spokeswoman for Jenny Craig who has since been replaced by actress Kirstie Alley from the TV sitcom Cheers.

Monica Lewinsky

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Kirstie Alley

Kirstie Alley Jenny Craig Diet ReviewJenny Craig Diet ReviewJenny Craig Diet Review



The costs vary depending on the length of the program and the current specials but a lifetime membership costs approximately $340 and the Jenny Food costs $340-465/month ($5,580/year) for one person. (Wow!)

Praise for Jenny Craig:

1) Jenny Craig attempts to be holistic.

JC’s focus is on the diet but it also provides exercise products such as videos, exercise balls, walking CD and pedometer. For problems with emotional eating, there is a DVD and CD featuring Martha Beck, a lifestyle coach featured on Oprah.

2) Provides structure

Starting out, a new member is given a planned menu with the Jenny foods. They also fill in blanks having to do with extra foods eaten, hunger/satisfaction, activity plans, feelings and affirmations. I think this kind of documentation can help with accountability and being more conscious of hunger signals and feelings.

Criticism of Jenny Craig:

1) You may lose your shirt trying to lose weight with Jenny.

Jenny Craig is expensive. This was the most common complaint on Epinions (all Epinions comments are colored) Here is what one JC drop-out said:

"Anyway, the program didn't work for me. It didn't teach me to eat correctly but it did make the Mastercard company very happy…my friend is now planning on quitting due to the high cost of food. So far she has spent over $2,400 over the last 6 months to lose 30 pounds. I have stopped going to Jenny Craig and I am starting to build up our savings account again..."

2) You’d be better off eating your shoe for dinner…

In addition to the high cost, the foods are highly processed and full of artificial colors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and sugar. JC heavily markets the Jenny foods to members. Go to a JC location and you’ll find the walls covered with posters of JC desserts such as chocolate cake and cheesecake in order to tempt sugar addicts to join the program. The planned menus also contain daily dessert.

Most people who are overweight struggle with sugar addiction so promoting these desserts is self-defeating. And please don’t try to tell me that these sugar laden JC desserts are healthy. Just because they are lower fat, does not make them healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

"The food was bearable, but certainly not what I would consider good. The sizes of the portions were very small and it seems they feel pepper is the ultimate spice to any food!"

"…unfortunately, the food made me ill. The first meal that I ate caused me to throw up violently."

3) High-carb, Low-fat Nonsense

Unfortunately, the nutrition is based on the dated and false belief that that fat causes you to be fat; so if you eat a low-fat diet, you'll lose weight. Here is an example of a day in the life on Jenny Craig:

Breakfast: French Toast with lite syrup, nonfat milk

Snack: Anytime bar or nonfat yogurt

Lunch: Pesto Pizza, salad

Snack: Cheese Curls

Dinner: Chicken fettuccine, carrots

Snack: Orange

This menu is a lot of processed carbohydrates, very little fat and nutrient poor. Jenny Craig recommends artificial foods like “lite syrup” which is sweetened with artificial sweeteners, and margarine which is a trans-fat linked to heart disease and cancer. It is obvious from reading the JC menus that Jenny Craig herself lacks knowledge in basic health and nutrition.

4) JC food may cause gallstones and gallbladder removal

In the early 1990s, JC was involved in a class action lawsuit alleging injury from gall bladder disease, causing many people to have their gall bladders removed following use of the JC program. The company settled out of court, and the connection has not been proven.

The problem is believed to be caused by rapid weight loss using low fat products, which the JC program uses.

"I lost alot of weight with JC but it cost me my gallbladder. I developed gallstones while I was on the JC program and I had gallbladder attacks. For years after I did the JC program, I could no longer sleep lying down, and could eat almost nothing. Finally I was correctly diagnosed with gallstones and my gallbladder was removed."

5) JC counselors are simply salespeople in disguise.

"The counselors are not trained in nutrition--the last one didn't realize that oranges are a source of Vitamin C--I think I learned that in grade school. They didn't take the time to get to know me…With a distracted ‘Did you have a good week?’ and ‘Do you have any challenges for the coming week?’ I was officially 'counseled' in Jenny Craig's eyes."

From two former JC employees:

"When I worked there, they pretty much hired anyone. They had me counseling clients when I was 18 years old. I knew nothing. They train you once in a while, but I was meeting with clients each day and was not anywhere near educated enough to be guiding them through a weight loss program. Most of the counselors do not have degrees or formal education in health and nutrition."

"The management is just out to make money off the clients, as most companies do. But the goals that were aimed for each day were about how much money was brought in and how many programs were sold, not about how many pounds were lost or how successful the clients were. Jenny Craig employees are trained to manipulate clients into buying things they don't need. I used to get into trouble for not forcing vitamins or exercise tapes on my clients. I had a quote each day and always came in way under. This is different than selling's about peoples self image and health. I cannot force it."

6) Does it work long-term?

"I actually helped my Dad join up and he lost about 70 pounds. The minute he got off the expensive program, he gained every ounce back. This would happen to many clients that I would check up on months later. Very few kept the weight off."

Conclusion :

Avoid Jenny Craig like the plague.


About the Author:
Dr. Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in natural weight loss and food addiction. She created to help millions of people achieve optimal health, natural weight loss and life success with her free weekly e-newsletter (sign up at the top of this page.)