A systematic review of commercial weight loss programmes' effect on glycemic outcomes among overweight and obese adults with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus

Obes Rev. 2016 Aug;17(8):758-69. doi: 10.1111/obr.12423. Epub 2016 May 26.


Objective: We examined the glycemic benefits of commercial weight loss programmes as compared with control/education or counselling among overweight and obese adults with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and references cited by individual programmes. We included randomized controlled trials of ≥12 weeks duration. Two reviewers extracted information on study design, population characteristics, interventions, and mean changes in haemoglobin A1c and glucose.

Results: We included 18 randomized controlled trials. Few trials occurred among individuals with T2DM. In this population, Jenny Craig reduced A1c at least 0.4% more than counselling at 12 months, Nutrisystem significantly reduced A1c 0.3% more than counselling at 6 months, and OPTIFAST reduced A1c 0.3% more than counselling at 6 months. Among individuals without T2DM, few studies evaluated glycemic outcomes, and when reported, most did not show substantial reductions.

Discussion: Few trials have examined whether commercial weight loss programmes result in glycemic benefits for their participants, particularly among overweight and obese individuals without T2DM. Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and OPTIFAST show promising glycemic lowering benefits for patients with T2DM, although additional studies are needed to confirm these conclusions. © 2016 World Obesity.

Keywords: Commercial weight loss; glucose; haemoglobin A1c; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Reduction Programs*


  • Blood Glucose