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WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig are two popular weight loss programs.
However, while they’re similar in some ways, many factors set them apart.
This article compares WW and Jenny Craig to help you decide which is right for you.
|Basics||• offers several plans with varying numbers of SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods|
• multiple membership options are available, including some with workshops and personal coaching
• available in 15+ countries
|• diet program that offers prepackaged meals and snacks|
• several plans are available, including an option for personal coaching with a Jenny Craig consultant
• available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico
|Menu options||• no foods are off-limits|
• encourages fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins
|• menu contains 100+ meals, snacks, and desserts|
• offers meal plan specifically for type 2 diabetes
|Cost||• Digital: $20.95 per month|
• Digital 360: $29.95 per month
• Unlimited Workshops + Digital: $44.95 per month
• 1-on-1 Coaching + Digital: $54.95 per month
|• Simple Meal Plan: $12.99 per day|
• Essential Meal Plan: $20.78 per day
• Rapid Results Max Meal Plan: $25.99 per day
|Effectiveness||• promotes dietary changes and healthy habits|
• may support long-term, sustainable weight loss
|• may aid weight loss|
• average user can expect to lose 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week
• some plans require less effort
• workshops and personal coaching available
• encourages healthy habits for long-term success
|• requires minimal effort|
• personal coaching available
• may help improve blood sugar levels and heart health
|Downsides||• can be expensive|
• may not be suitable for those who require additional guidance
• some plans require more time and effort
|• promotes the intake of processed foods, which are linked to adverse health effects|
• may be challenging to transition back to your typical diet
• limited choices for certain dietary restrictions
• can be expensive to follow long term
Here’s a closer look at how each program works.
WW is a points-based weight loss program available in more than 15 countries.
Members can choose from three plans, each of which assigns you a different number of SmartPoints to spend each day.
Foods are assigned a specific number of SmartPoints based on their nutritional value. Some foods are considered ZeroPoint foods, meaning that they don’t count toward your daily SmartPoints Budget or need to be tracked.
Here are the three plans available:
- Green: provides the highest number of SmartPoints and includes 100+ ZeroPoint Foods
- Blue: provides a moderate number of SmartPoints and includes 200+ ZeroPoint foods
- Purple: provides the lowest number of SmartPoints and includes 300+ ZeroPoint foods
WW also offers several membership plans, including:
- Digital: provides access to the app, which includes recipes, meal planning tools, on-demand workouts, and community support
- Digital 360: includes access to the app, on-demand events, podcasts, and videos from Digital 360 coaches
- Unlimited Workshops + Digital: offers access to the app and in-person or virtual workshops
- 1-on-1 Coaching + Digital: includes access to the app and private sessions with a WW coach
Using the app, users can track their food intake and daily activity to help stay on track while following the program.
Jenny Craig is a weight loss program that provides an assortment of prepackaged and fully prepared meals and snacks each week. It’s available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.
The company offers several plans, each of which varies in terms of the number of meals and snacks they provide.
The service’s most expensive plan also includes personal coaching with a Jenny Craig consultant, via either virtual or in-person sessions.
Here are the plans offered by Jenny Craig:
- Simple Meal Plan: includes 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches per week
- Essential Meal Plan: includes 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners per week, along with free delivery
- Rapid Results Max Meal Plan: includes 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners, 7 protein bars, and 7 snacks or desserts per week, along with free delivery and personal coaching
In addition to the foods provided by Jenny Craig, you’re encouraged to enjoy one healthy snack per day.
Plus, you should incorporate regular physical activity into your routine to promote weight loss and overall health.
Jenny Craig also has a maintenance plan, which is designed to help you slowly transition from eating Jenny Craig meals to preparing your own meals at home.
Here’s what foods you can expect to enjoy on each program.
While you can shop for some WW foods and snacks on the WW website, the program is not a weight loss meal delivery service like Jenny Craig. Instead, it offers resources to help you make healthy eating choices.
The plan encourages members to enjoy a variety of ZeroPoint foods, which are typically high in protein, low in added sugar, and rich in fiber.
Although the number of ZeroPoint foods can vary depending on your plan, some of the foods that are encouraged on the WW diet include:
- Fruits: berries, apples, kiwis, melons, oranges
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, squash, carrots, tomatoes
- Lean proteins: eggs, poultry, seafood, legumes, tofu
- Whole grains: quinoa, couscous, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, barley
Other foods can also be enjoyed on the diet as long as they fit into your daily budget of SmartPoints.
Jenny Craig’s menu features over 100 items, including both frozen and shelf-stable products.
The program offers a variety of breakfast foods, lunch and dinner entrées, snacks, shakes, and desserts, and you can choose your favorites to create a custom menu tailored to your taste preferences.
All items on the menu contain a list of ingredients and nutrition facts.
Jenny Craig also has a meal plan designed specifically for those with type 2 diabetes. It includes an assortment of meals and snacks that are lower in carbs.
Here’s how the price of each program compares.
The price of WW depends on which plan you select.
Here are the prices for each plan:
- Digital: $20.95 per month
- Digital 360: $29.95 per month
- Unlimited Workshops + Digital: $44.95 per month
- 1-on-1 Coaching + Digital: $54.95 per month
Keep in mind that each plan includes a $20 starter fee during your first month of membership.
For select plans, you can also opt for a 3- or 6-month membership for additional savings.
Jenny Craig ranges in price, depending on which plan you select.
Here are the prices for each plan:
- Simple Meal Plan: $12.99 per day
- Essential Meal Plan: $20.78 per day
- Rapid Results Max Meal Plan: $25.99 per day
Free delivery is available for both the Essential Meal Plan and Rapid Results Max Meal Plan.
The Simple Meal Plan also includes free shipping if you order at least 2 weeks of meals.
You can also add other items to your order, including protein shakes, snacks, bars, and desserts for an additional fee.
Both programs have been shown to help increase weight loss and may be effective long term.
WW claims that members can lose 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week (1).
The program not only encourages making dietary changes for long-lasting weight loss but also promotes other healthy habits like physical activity.
Several studies have found that WW may aid weight loss.
For example, one study showed that those who followed WW for 1 year lost twice as much body weight as those who received self-help materials and brief nutritional advice (
Although participants on WW regained some of the weight after 2 years, they still maintained a greater amount of overall weight loss than the other group (
Another review of 39 studies also found that people who used WW for 1 year achieved an average of 2.6% more weight loss, compared with a control group (
According to the company’s website, Jenny Craig users can expect to lose an average of 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week on the program (4).
The service also claims that you could lose up to 17 pounds (7.7 kg) within the first 4 weeks using the Rapid Results Max program.
One review of 39 studies also found that people who used Jenny Craig for 1 year lost 4.9% more body weight than those who received brief behavioral counseling or nutrition education (
In another study, women who used the Jenny Craig program lost an average of 11.8 pounds (5.3 kg) over a period of 12 weeks (
Although research on the long-term benefits of Jenny Craig is limited, one 2010 study noted that women who followed Jenny Craig had lost almost 8% of their body weight 2 years after beginning the program (
Here are some of the other benefits associated with each program.
WW allows you to enjoy your favorite foods and create your own menu, making it one of the most flexible diet programs available.
Additionally, certain plans have a greater number of ZeroPoint foods, meaning that they don’t require you to track or log your daily intake as carefully.
Some WW plans also offer workshops and personal coaching, which may be a good option for those who prefer having social support to help stay on track.
The program also promotes building a positive relationship with food and encourages healthy habits like regular physical activity, which may be beneficial for long-term weight control and overall health.
Jenny Craig makes it simple and convenient to enjoy preportioned, balanced meals at home.
Unlike other diets that require you to count calories, track your nutrient intake, or prepare your own meals, Jenny Craig requires little to no effort.
The Rapid Results Max plan also includes personal coaching, which may be beneficial for those who prefer having someone to help hold them accountable and offer support.
Jenny Craig may also be associated with several other health benefits.
In fact, one study sponsored by Jenny Craig found that the program reduced levels of inflammation and cholesterol after 24 months. Elevated levels of inflammation and cholesterol can contribute to heart disease (
Here are a few of the drawbacks of each program.
With plans ranging from $20.95–$54.95 per month, WW can be somewhat expensive, especially if followed long term.
Additionally, while some may enjoy the flexibility of the plan, others may benefit from a more structured program that offers additional guidance.
In fact, because the program is based on the concept of SmartPoints and doesn’t exclude any foods, you could theoretically eat plenty of unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sugar, and calories while staying within your budget of daily points.
Finally, for those who choose a plan with a higher number of SmartPoints and fewer ZeroPoint foods, it can be time-consuming and tedious, as users are encouraged to carefully track and log their daily intake.
Instead of teaching you how to prepare healthy meals at home, Jenny Craig uses mostly processed foods to promote weight loss.
Additionally, it may be difficult to transition back to your typical diet once you’ve reached your weight loss goals.
Moreover, for those with dietary restrictions or specific food preferences, Jenny Craig may not be a good option.
Although the company has an extensive menu with over 100 items, choices are limited for those following a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, pescatarian, halal, or kosher diet.
Finally, with plans ranging from $12.99–$25.99 per day, it can also be much more expensive than other similar diet plans.
If you’re trying to decide whether WW or Jenny Craig is right for you, it’s important to carefully consider your goals, needs, and preferences.
Jenny Craig may be a good option for those who are short on time and looking for a simple and convenient way to lose weight.
It’s also much more structured, which may be ideal for people who prefer having more guidance on which foods they should eat.
Meanwhile, WW is much more flexible and may be a better choice for those who want to make long-lasting dietary and lifestyle changes to increase weight loss and improve their health.
It may also be a good fit for people who want to enjoy their favorite foods and dine out while staying on track to reach their goals.
Moreover, WW is available in more than 15 countries worldwide, making it more accessible internationally.
WW and Jenny Craig are two popular weight loss programs with several similarities and differences.
Jenny Craig is a structured program that provides preportioned, fully prepared meals and snacks, helping you save time on meal prep and cooking during the week.
On the other hand, WW uses a points-based system to promote healthy habits and support long-term weight loss.