Star ratings reflect scores of 1 to 5 assigned to the Spark Solution in seven categories by nutritionists, specialists in diabetes and heart disease, and other diet experts on a ratings panel assembled by U.S. News. (See our Best Diets methodology.) These panelists doled out average scores that hovered around 3 stars for most categories. While they didn’t think the plan was “particularly novel,” the panelists agreed that, overall, the Spark Solution was a safe way for dieters to lose weight. The experts were split on the Spark Solution’s nitty-gritty regimen and two weeks’ worth of at-home meal plans. The heavy guidance landed the Spark Solution with its lowest score in easiness to follow, but many pointed out that the plan would work well for dieters who enjoy structure.
Short-Term Weight Loss
The Spark Solution received an above-average 3.6 score for short-term weight loss. Some panelists appreciated that the plan accounted for exercise and addressed topics like stress eating, which can often sabotage weight loss attempts. While many experts agreed the Spark Solution would help dieters shed pounds, they worried about the long term, as the plan gives little guidance for meal plans after two weeks.
Long-Term Weight Loss
While a few experts were concerned that the Spark Solution only gives detailed guidance for two weeks, the plan still landed an above-average score of 2.9 for long-term weight loss. As one panelist pointed out, hopefully dieters won’t fall off the wagon after week two, since the Spark Solution is a “comprehensive program that can lead to healthier eating behaviors.”
Easy to Follow
The panelists felt the Spark Solution was somewhat difficult to follow, likely thanks to its detailed, day-by-day meal plan and exercise regimen. If you’re not one for structure, the plan’s many guidelines and rules will be likely be tough to follow. Plus, the Spark Solution gives little room for dining out in the first two weeks.
The Spark Solution received high marks for nutrition. There’s nothing extreme about what you’ll be eating (or not eating) – and no food groups are restricted – just lots of fruits and veggies, along with whole grains and lean protein. As one panelist saw it, the Spark Solution is basically a two-week meal plan based on calorie control and healthy eating.
The Spark Solution pulled out its highest score – a solid 4 stars – for safety. The plan is built on well-rounded meals, so you’re not missing key food groups, and the calorie reduction is not severe.
The Spark Solution is so-so in its likelihood to help folks prevent and manage diabetes, with a score that barely inches over 3 stars – a half point behind the Dash Diet and Biggest Loser Diet. However, weight management is key for people with diabetes and at risk for developing the disease, and this plan scored high for overall weight loss. So while experts believe the diet is a bit hard to follow, if you stick with it, you’ll likely shed pounds and keep diabetes at bay.
For Heart Health
Panelists weren’t particularly impressed by the Spark Solution’s ability to prevent and control heart disease and preferred other plans, such as the Ornish Diet and TLC Diet, which scored about 1.5 stars more for heart health. They gave the plan just over 3 stars, which lands the Spark Solution in the middle of the pack. However, the experts were fairly confident the diet would help folks lose weight – a feat that could lead to improved heart health.
Last updated by Laura McMullen | January 08, 2014