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Consumer Reports' top diets for the New Year

January 2, 2013 2:35:12 PM PST
More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight, even obese. At the top of many New Year's resolutions is the dreaded "D" word - diet. Consumer Reports' just-released survey of 9,000 subscribers rates more than a dozen of the most popular diets.

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

"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," Voltaggio said.

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.

"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," Nancy Metcalf of Consumer Reports said.

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.

"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," Metcalf said.

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

"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," Metcalf said.

You can attend Weight Watchers meetings and track your diet online. However, Terry is happy with MyFitnessPal, which is free.

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

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.

Please share your diet and fitness stories and photos with us on Twitter using the hashtag #HealthyYou.

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