Junkfood Science: -1 x -1 = +1

July 22, 2008

-1 x -1 = +1

In mathematics, a negative and* a negative make a positive. But it doesn’t work that way in real life: Two wrongs don’t make a right. That’s especially the case in science. Two ineffective treatments don’t make an effective one.

But it seems some weight loss businesses are hoping consumers didn’t pay attention in math class, or science class, either. :-)

Jenny Craig, Inc. is one of the largest commercial diet programs. Last year, a major study of their diet program had published bleak success rates in the International Journal of Obesity. Among more than 60,000 people who’d enrolled in its Platinum program, only 6.6% were able to stick with the plan for a year and the ones who did lost, short-term, half a pound a week. Jenny Craig was also among the commercial diet companies that the FTC had charged with deceptive advertising.

Jenny Craig just signed an exclusive license agreement for the worldwide rights to Volumetrics from professor Barbara Rolls, the diet plan’s creator and trademark holder. Professor Barbara Rolls has served on Jenny Craig’s Medical Advisory Board for the past seven years. Some have nicknamed Volumetrics the “eat your water diet.” It claims that by eating foods high in water content, people will feel fuller and lose weight. Soups, called Soupitizers, are said to be powerful tools for filling up because of their high water content. The trouble is, research hasn’t been able to credibly support Volumetrics’ claims and results reported last year weren’t positive.

Merging Volumetrics and its own program, Jenny Craig has created a new “satiety-centric” menu plan. While there are no published studies on this new program, what are the odds that results will be positive?

* And in math means multiplication. With in math means addition.

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