Diet Program Comparison

There are countless diet programs out there, each claiming they are the best, quickest, etc. We are often asked which one is the best.

There is no simple answer as weight loss is extremely complicated, and as much as research has taught us about what doesn’t work; the jury is still out on what does (the best). (What we do know is that fad diets, and quick fixes, may help you lose weight initially, but don’t support lasting weight management or can in fact be dangerous)

Many of our clients have turned to us after trying a multitude of other programs (which we have reviewed here) and while most of those fad diets have come and gone, we looked into a few of the most popular that have sustained interest to see what they offered and how they differed (and compared to our weight loss programs)



The Dr. Bernstein Diet ®

It is a very low calorie diet-often times below 1000kcal.  You are required to see a nurse several times per week to assess your progress and ensure you are following the diet.  According to the program you are also given injections of vitamins to help boost your metabolism which is supposed to help you lose more weight.  I spoke with a salesperson and was told the average weight loss is 16-20 lbs per month if a person is faithful at following the diet and less, obviously, if one cheats.


The cost of the program is approximately $1030 for 8 weeks. Example. a 50lb weight loss goal will cost between $2,575-$3,600 (based on 16-20lbs per month for a total of 2.5-3.5 months of treatment.)

Expert Opinion

Weight loss? There is no question that you will lose weight rapidly on this diet. The biggest concern is that it is often too rapid which increases the risk of losing more lean tissue versus fat tissue.  The program states this is the case for all other rapid weight loss diets, but the Dr. Bernstein diet is apparently different.  I was not privy to the answer as I was not a patient and the website did not explain it either.


The cost of the program may pose a challenge for many people. If one can’t afford it, the success rate decreases, thus weight loss efforts are impacted.  This is also true if a person successfully loses all their weight and once returning to their normal life starts gaining weight and can’t afford to go back onto the program.

It will take approximately 2.5-3.5 months to lose the 50lbs if a person follows their plan.  Success for keeping the weight off depends on whether or not the patient’s behaviors have changed enough to prevent a relapse.  Unfortunately while the numbers on the scale may have changed, the brain is a little more complicated.  Behaviour change takes much longer than a few months, which increases the cost if people need ongoing support or the failure rate if they stop at this point.

Worries. When you consume a diet that is so low in calories it is impossible to meet your daily requirements for nutrients making supplements necessary.  The irony with this is that the food we eat can provide us with an abundance of nutrients making supplementation not necessary if done right.


Herbal Magic ®

Herbal Magic is a calorie restricted diet program supplemented with herbal combinations to help promote weight loss.  You are given a calorie reduced meal pattern to follow and are required to weigh in approximately 3 times per week.  At each weigh in you have the opportunity to speak to counselors for assistance on achieving your goals.  In addition to your calorie reduced meal plan, you will be given herbal and vitamin supplements to take.


The cost of the program varies depending on promotions. Current promotion is approximately $500 (usually approximately $1000). In addition to this cost is a $79.50 weekly cost for the herbal supplements and a $29.50 monthly fee for some additional supplements.  If you pay your weekly fees on a Monday you will receive $5 off making your monthly fee of $29.50 free.

For a 50 lb weight loss it would take approximately 3 months according to the staff I spoke with.  This would cost $1400 if you paid on a Monday.

Expert Opinion

The cost, while lower, is still a challenge as it is in the Bernstein diet. The same worries apply for the low-calorie levels and risk of losing lean tissues.

Further. As wonderful as some herbal supplements are, I have yet to see any robust studies done showing the impact herbal supplements have on weight loss.  I would also not recommend any herbal supplementation for anyone with liver or kidney problems unless you have reviewed the supplements with your dietitian, doctor and pharmacist to ensure they are safe for you to take.


Jenny Craig ®

Jenny Craig is a calorie reduced food based program. Once you are given your plan you will need to buy the frozen meals that will meet your needs. You will have weekly check-ups with a counselor to help assist you in achieving your goals.


The cost of the program depends on how much food you buy.  On average the monthly cost is about $650.  Weight loss varies but when I asked how long it would take to lose 50lbs I was not given a particular time frame I would be able to do that in, but $650 monthly adds up quickly.

Expert Opinion

Good points. This program works well for some people because it take all of the guess work out of what to prepare for meals, many studies have proved great success.

With a catch. The challenge with this program is longevity. Would you be happy eating their frozen meals every day for the rest of your life?  It may work while you are on the program but what skills have you learned and habits have you been practicing that will increase your success rate when you come off the program?

If weight loss is your goal this year, please consider the above facts. With pros and cons to each program, it is a difficult decision. Throw in the cleverly marketed fad diets arising every year, and the choice is more overwhelming!

The word diet is now synonymous with losing weight. Diet is also defined simply as a person’s regularly consumed food and drink. It means a way a person eats, such as following a vegetarian diet. Our philosophy: there is no one right way to eat. There is no ultimate diet.


Revive Wellness is a team of passionate and evidence-based Registered Dietitians specialized in nutrition and wellness coaching for the Edmonton area.

Ready to Ditch the Diet for Good?