Jenny Craig Weight Loss and the Gluten-Free Diet

Can You Lose Weight with Jenny Craig If You're Also Gluten-Free?

Spaghetti and meatballs is typical fare on the Jenny Craig weight-loss diet, which is not gluten-free-friendly. Getty Images/George Doyle

The Jenny Craig weight loss program — like some others, including Nutrisystem — requires you to purchase most of your food direct from the company. Unfortunately for those of us with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, Jenny Craig does not include menu options that would suit people on a gluten-free diet.

In fact, a quick glance at Jenny Craig's prepared meal offerings shows they're mainly gluten-based — lots of whole grain products, pastas, breads, crackers and pizza.

The company advertises "nearly 100 premium foods, designed to help you lose weight" — foods such as blueberry pancakes with veggie sausage, beef and cheese slider, chicken fettuccini and apple crisp.

Those types of meals obviously won't work if you're gluten-free, but even if you managed to identify enough Jenny Craig menu items with no gluten ingredients (there are a few), those products wouldn't be safe due to gluten cross-contamination in preparation and processing.

The bottom line: Jenny Craig isn't designed for those following the gluten-free diet, and the company in fact discourages those who are gluten-free from trying it.

A company representative told me back in 2013 that Jenny Craig doesn't have a gluten-free menu plan because "we rarely get requests for it." If the weight loss company did identify a potential market for such a menu plan, it would consider developing one, the Jenny Craig representative said.

Since then, the popularity of the gluten-free diet has risen. The company says it's aware of "the growing demand for gluten-free," but adds in a statement that it can't provide a gluten-free menu "with the range and high standard we require for our clients." It recommends that those who are gluten-free seek a professional nutritionist's advice for weight loss.

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