07 May 2010

PETA takes out the red pen and grades popular diet plans

Do you remember that infamous professor—or professors—that evoked fear in every prospective student? You know that tenured instructor who flat out refused to give out A’s no matter how gifted nor dedicated his classroom of pupils appeared to be? Well PETA played the part of Dr. Insatiable when it took 6 popular diet plans to school and refused to give out one single A—and quite frankly in this case rightfully so.

The always controversial yet very entertaining animal rights organization did, however, hand out “B’s” to the South Beach Diet and Weight Watchers. The South Beach diet earned praise for including eight animal friendly options in its “10 Superfoods.” The elusive “A” was missed due the inclusion of Omega-3 rich salmon as health food—PETA duly noted that Omega-3’s are available in healthy vegan options as well.

The other “B” was given to Weight Watchers for their fruit, vegetable and grain loaded “points plan.” Unfortunately an odd relationship with McDonald’s in New Zealand and a not so meatless section—that includes chicken broth—cost Weight Watchers top honors.

Celebrity athelete driven Nutrisystem was given a mediocre “C” but PETA did give the weight loss plan props for offering at least one vegan option. Take heart Dan Marino and Don Shula.

Rounding out the rest of the field was Jenny Craig with a “C-“, “because its vegetarian foods are too cheesy,” the Zone Diet also garnered a “C-“, because the plan offered no vegan options and finally in last place with a big fat “F” was Slim-Fast. The Nestle product was dinged for being “cow’s milk obsessed.”

"Getting the meat and dairy products out of diet plans means less animal suffering and less of you to squeeze into that swimsuit," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman, who reminds dieters that vegetarians are about 10 to 20 pounds lighter, on average, than meat-eaters. "Americans spend billions of dollars on weight-loss plans every year when just going vegan could do the trick."

It may be disappointing that not a single "A" was earned by a weight loss plan this grading period. But just like we must admit—begrudgingly—that our toughest professors taught us to reach deep inside, improve our work ethic and to toughen our resolve, maybe the masterminds behind these plans can learn from their flaws and earn that “A” next year. Although, admittedly, we won't be holding our collective breath.

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Photo Credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/roboppy