The most popular diet of the year is none other than the incomparable Jillian Michaels. It’s not entirely surprising when you consider she’s been one of the most consistent players on our list since 2008, with her online brand, detox product, and earliest workout DVD ranking each year. In fact, the latter two were both on last year’s top ten list. We expect to see Curves, ranking for the first time since 2008, as the Biggest Loser trainer just announced a new partnership with Curves.
What is most surprising is how Jillian Michaels knocked the giant that is Weight Watchers out of the number one position. That’s only been done once before, by 17 Day Diet in 2011. Even that year Weight Watchers held on to number two, but this year they slipped in to the fifth most popular spot.
And 17 Day Diet grabbed ranking number four, hardly losing any ground since its overwhelmingly popular release in late 2010. Its position on our annual Most Popular lists, ahead of Weight Watchers once again, will no doubt help with the release of 17 Day Diet: Breakthrough Edition on the 31st.
The only constant between last year’s list and this – Medifast. They’ve got number 3 on lock, with the meal delivery diet staying strong in the top ten since 2010.
Another staple of our list fell pretty hard this year, with hCG falling down to number 14. No, the supplement boom isn’t over, as its disappearance only made room for brands like Skinny Fiber (a shocking number 2) and Plexus Slim (at number 6) to move on up the list. Dr. Oz-endorsed Raspberry Ketones (17) and Green Coffee Bean Extract (20) were other weight-loss-by-pill categories that did especially well this year.
2. Skinny Fiber
4. 17 Day Diet
UPDATE 7/17/12: Qnexa was approved by the FDA on July 17, 2012. This marks the second weight loss drug approval in 2012; the first weight loss drugs approved since Alli in 1999. The prescription drug will be sold as Qsymia.
The inmates are running the asylum. Reversing an earlier decision, the medical experts on FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Panel cleared the way for approval of the new diet drug Qnexa. Qnexa (PHEN/TPM) is a combination of phentermine and topiramate (PHEN/TPM). Topiramate is used to treat seizures and prevent migraine headaches and phentermine is approved for the short-term treatment (i.e. a few weeks) of obesity. PHEN was half of PHEN/FEN, the discontinued diet drug that led to valvular heart disease and potentially fatal pulmonary hypertension, primarily in women. Qnexa is indicated for “BMI greater-than or equal to 27 kg/m2) with weight-related co-morbidities such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, or central adiposity (abdominal obesity),” the group with the highest heart disease risk.
The panel decided that the complications of obesity outweighed the risk of heart problems. It’s hard to believe they were swayed by the research. The 2010 study published in the Lancet reported that people who took the highest dose of Qnexa (not the lower approved dose) lost at least 10% of their body weight and showed improvements in their risk cardiac factors. Clinical trials by the manufacturer showed 45% of subjects treated at the low dose lost > 5% of baseline body weight following one year of treatment. No one seems to care that we’re talking about a 10 to 15 pound weight loss on a 200 pound person. Do we need a drug for that, especially one that comes with heart disease risk? No matter because the results showed statistical significance in a placebo control study. (more…)