Diet clinic shadow shop

We investigate diet programs and uncover confusing advice as well as aggressive sales tactics.
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03.Jenny Craig


Jenny Craig is a well-known international weight loss organisation, famous for its use of celebrity dieters. The program’s philosophy is based on a calorie-controlled, balanced diet via pre-packaged food. Once the participants are halfway to their goal weight they can then go on a program to shop and cook their own food.

The CHOICE shadow shoppers visited a variety of Jenny Craig outlets in Sydney. All three found that the initial consultation was thorough, and provided free of charge. 

All three shadow shoppers were:

  • Measured
  • Weighed
  • Asked in detail about medication and health issues
They also provided an extensive vegetarian menu for Katherine when she asked about it.

The program and the fee structure were explained clearly, and the importance of exercise discussed. All three shoppers felt there was no pressure to sign up on the spot, with the consultants happy to provide information so our shoppers could think about it.

On the downside, our shoppers believe the program can be a little restrictive if you like to cook your own food or, for someone like Andrew who works as a chef, unsuitable if you’re tasting dishes in the kitchen.

For Emma, already at the low end of the healthy weight range, the consultant told her it’s quite normal for young women to want to shed a couple of kilos but advised she shouldn’t lose more than three to five kilos.

The experts’ opinions

Our experts were happy with the approach of Jenny Craig, particularly in terms of addressing health concerns, advice, options and a clear discussion of commitment and cost. 

However, Hay says “it’s questionable advice that Emma was told her weight loss could be up to five kilos as this will give her a BMI of 20.5 – the cut-off to underweight is 20”. Barclay says while the weight loss suggestion for Emma is just within the parameters of what’s healthy, one could argue it’s unnecessary.


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