CARLSBAD, Calif. – Nobel Prize-winning research served as a building block for a new program from Jenny Craig. The Rapid Results meal program focuses not only on what food you eat but when you eat it. Jenny Craig incorporated the circadian rhythm, which includes how people’s metabolism varies during the day, into the program, now in its second year.
“We know for example that our metabolism is higher during morning time and during lunch time,” said Monty Sharma, CEO and president of Carlsbad-based Jenny Craig. “So, we are matching your calories during breakfast and lunch to be higher than they are for dinner. So, we are trying to tie circadian rhythm alongside how you metabolize food.”
Jeffrey C. Hall, Ph.D., Michael Rosbash, Ph.D., and Michael W. Young, Ph.D., in 2017 received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the circadian rhythm, which involves biological rhythm synchronizing with the Earth’s revolutions. The circadian rhythm regulates metabolism as well as other functions like hormone levels, sleep and body temperature. People experience “jet lag” when travelling across time zones because their circadian rhythms are disrupted. The word comes from “circa” (the Latin word for around) and “dies” (the Latin word for day).
“It’s really exciting to see how our bodies were designed to operate with sunlight and night time,” Sharma said. “That’s just how the rhythm of our body was. Then we (humans) started messing with it over time and started eating all the time and not giving ourselves the adequate amount of time to rejuvenate. As a result, then you have all these medical problems creeping up over and over again because your body is just not resting.”
Under the Rapid Results program, people nourish their body generally from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A 12-hour rejuvenation period follows. Jenny Craig has identified 16 health benefits, including improved sleep, certain cancer markers and blood pressure, related to circadian rhythm.
“If you eat for 12 hours or less, and then you give your body time to rejuvenate, that really helps cells to recycle themselves,” Sharma said. “Lots of good things are happening when you give yourself time to rejuvenate and are not eating food all the time.”
Jenny Craig promotes health benefits and avoids using the word wellness, especially after the company commissioned Branded Research Inc. to conduct a study Oct. 19-25, 2018, among 601 US adults. The study, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, found many consumers were skeptical of the word wellness. Among men, 51 percent said they perceived wellness as nothing more than a buzzword.
“(Many people) don’t trust the word wellness,” Sharma said. “I think because everybody is using it. If you go into a grocery store, how many brands are using the word wellness?”
The study also found people on average spend 7 to 14 hours each week planning and preparing meals. While 40 percent cited stress as the top reason for weight loss struggles, 88 percent said they believe having healthy, prepared meals would help them reach their weight-related goals. Jenny Craig creates weekly menu plans. Customers connect with a personal consultant at least once a week.
“We give you everything on the program so that you don’t have to do meal prep,” Sharma said.