Top Diets

Terry Voltaggio stays fit with the help of an app on her smart phone - MyFitnessPal. It's an easy way to track calories.

Terry says, "All I have to do is find the food I've eaten, select the number of servings, and it goes right into my calorie count for the day."

MyFitnessPal was among the top-rated in Consumer Reports' survey of its subscribers who were asked about their real-life experiences with 13 popular ways to lose weight.

Nancy Metcalf with Consumer Reports explains, "People who used MyFitnessPal said it made them very aware of how many calories they were eating and how much they were exercising. They also liked how it helped them maintain their weight loss."

MyFitnessPal has useful features like a barcode scanner that automatically enters the amount of calories per serving. You can also track how many calories you burn exercising. And on its website you can get encouragement from others using the program.

Nancy says, "Besides the do-it-yourself diets like MyFitnessPal, we also rated commercial diets, which you generally have to pay to join and in some cases buy their prepackaged food."

Nutrisystem was the lowest-rated commercial diet. More than a third of those surveyed who tried it didn't like the plan's food.

Nancy explains, "Among commercial diet plans, Weight Watchers scored much higher - higher than Jenny Craig. It works a bit differently. You don't have to buy their food, and you can eat whatever you want within their points limit."

You can attend Weight Watchers meetings and track your diet online.

But, Terry is happy with MyFitnessPal, which is free.

Terry says, "I'll lose ten pounds easy. It's a great tool for me."

Another do-it-yourself diet that did well in Consumer Reports' survey is called the Paleo Diet. It instructs dieters to eat what cavemen ate - lean meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables and avoid processed foods and dairy products.

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