Top Online Diet Program Ratings

Topics: Aging and Costs of Aging, Obesity and Weight Loss, Wellness and Health

We rated 10 of the top online diet programs.

We used the National Weight Control Registry’s core finding that people who keep weight off use personalized programs that teach and achieve four principles: accountability, self-monitoring, individualization of diet and adequate exercise.

We assigned each program a total possible of 100 points, with each of the four areas representing 25 points.

We included only paid programs, because other research has shown that people are more likely to adhere to a program they paid for, even if a free program is of higher quality.

Here are the rankings, and links to the top six.

Jillian Michaels (94 points)

Joy Bauer (94 points)

Denise Austin (91 points)

Sonoma Diet (90 points)

South Beach Diet (88 points)

The Duke Diet (87 points)

Weight Watchers (82 points)

e-diets (76 points)

Diet.com (66 points)

Nutrisystem (56 points)

  • People often talk about workout programs and how great they are, but diet is probably 80% of achieving that healthy look that people so often desire. Thanks for the info!

  • victoria

    Hi – I would like to know which FREE programs are also excellent by your standards. The research which you refer to doesn’t apply to everyone. A lot of people, me included, are not able to pay at the moment by would really appreciate the information. thanks

  • Hi, Victoria
    I think the most effective programs overall are those you devise with an expert clinician, and individualize. I like the apps that are helping people lose weight, and each has a different philosophy (they individualize, because they’re between you and your phone.

    They don’t provide an expert to coach, but they’re a good first step: good free smartphone fitness and food apps are Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker, Calorie Counter and Fooducate. I also like RunKeeperPro and iMapMyFitness.

    There are also websites that are nearly free, like SparkPeople (which sells equipment and more), which many people have found helpful. Good luck! JL

  • I’m finding a lot of success with Jenny Craig ~ even now “on my own” without buying their food. They give out “the rules” as well as personal attention to the individual. Happy.

  • Am having much success with Jenny Craig even now, on my own, without buying their food. They give one “the guidelines” [as opposed to WW, which just says “all is OK” or other plans which are too specific] as well as personal, individual attention. Happy!