Dieting and weight loss can often seem like complicated subjects, and much of the advice on the internet and in the media is contradictive. Diets can be hard to follow too. That leaves a lot of would-be dieters suffering from paralysis by analysis – they don’t even know where to start.
Nutrisystem is designed to simplify weight loss. With this diet, you don’t need to count calories or carbs, don’t need to weigh your food, and you don’t even have to control portion size.
In this review, we lift the lid on what sounds like a diet that’s too good to be true!
Dieting is rarely easy, and we’re often told that there are no weight loss short cuts. If it’s taken you years to gain weight, it stands to reason it should take you months to lose it – especially at the rate of 2-3 lbs. per week that most experts recommend.
And while losing weight will take time, that doesn’t mean it has to be hard work.
If you are fed up with diets that are impossible to stick with or don’t have time for all the shopping and cooking that usually accompanies a new diet, Nutrisystem could be just what you’ve been looking for.
Nutrisystem is not a new diet. In fact, it’s been around since the early 1970s and is the brainchild of entrepreneur Harold Katz. It started life as a liquid protein diet and gradually changed to a heat and eat weight loss meal delivery service in the mid-1990s. Such product longevity suggests that it’s not just popular, but that it really works – for some people at least.
The premise of Nutrisystem simple – instead of having to weigh and cook your diet meals, you just order them, and they are delivered straight to your home. Then, when it’s time to eat, you reheat them and sit down to a low-calorie meal that is designed to help you lose weight.
How does Nutrisystem work?
To do this diet, you choose a weight loss plan (there are several available), select your menu, and then wait for your meals to be delivered. Each day you’ll eat a pre-planned breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a dessert, and you can add side dishes such as fresh fruits and veggies that you buy yourself from the grocery store.
Everything you buy is pre-portioned, so you don’t have to do any weighing and measuring. All you need to do is reheat and eat. It’s a lot like having your own personal weight loss chef on hand 24/7. With no need to think about shopping, planning, or cooking, you just eat the food delivered to your door and start losing weight.
Does it Work for Weight Loss?
This diet is primarily a weight loss diet. It’s a 28-day program, which means, for one month, you’ll receive a supply of low calorie, portion-controlled, weight loss meals. At the end of each day, you should have accumulated a sizable calorie deficit, which, according to Nutrisystem themselves, should produce a sizable weight loss – between 13-15 pounds and seven inches in the first 28 days.
In addition to being a calorie-controlled diet, it uses several other proven weight loss dietary methods:
- Low glycaemic index carbs – Nutrisystem calls these “smart carbs.” Smart carbs are designed to keep you feeling fuller for longer and won’t raise your blood glucose very much. This helps keep your blood glucose levels stable, reducing the likelihood of hunger and cravings and should help speed up fat loss.
- A mixture of nutrients – The diet contains 50% slow-acting carbs, 25% protein, and 25% healthy fats. This is an excellent fuel mix for energy, satiety, and weight loss.
- Low sodium – the meals provided are naturally low in sodium. This helps reduce water weight and is also good for your blood pressure. Lots of overweight people have high blood pressure, and processed foods often contain too much sodium.
Nutrisystem Meals & Menu
With Nutrisystem, you get to create your own menu from the choices available, and that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Alternatively, you can just order 28-days’ worth of food, and the company selects a range of meals for you.
The options change from time to time as new meals are always being added and less popular options are removed, but meals currently include:
Breakfast: oatmeal, granola, pancakes, and muffins
Lunches and dinners: soup, stew, chili, pasta, tacos, pizza, and chicken
Desserts/snacks: brownies, cakes, and cookies
There are 150 different foods to choose from, although not all meals are always available, and some plans offer more options than others.
Dieters are also allowed to supplement their meals with fruit, vegetables, fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy, and a few other items. These are detailed in the program. Of course, if you want to keep things simple, you can just eat the foods and meals you have ordered.
There are meals plans for women, men, vegetarians, people with diabetes, and anyone over the age of 60. However, there are currently no plans for vegans or dieters with fool allergies – there are very few gluten-free options.
The meals themselves arrive pre-cooked and only need to be reheated, a process that takes just a couple of minutes. However, if you choose to add to your meals from the approved grocery list, you’ll need to cook those extras yourself.
What Foods can’t you eat on Nutrisystem Diet
This diet is all-but set in stone. You eat the meals you have chosen or that have been selected by the company, and supplement them with approved extras, like low sugar fruits and starchy vegetables.
However, drinking alcohol and eating out are not recommended during your 28-day program, as they will disrupt your diet. That said, you could have an occasional treat and then pick up right where you left off with your next meal. While this might slow your rate of weight loss slightly, if you are sticking to the diet 95% of the time, the impact should be minimal.
Nutrisystem plans and prices
There are three different plans to choose from, and each one has a different price point.
The basic plan: at $274.99 for women and $314.99 for men, this is the cheapest plan. It comes with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a shake and a bar per day. With the basic version, the menu is selected for you, but you can upgrade for an extra $20 and pick your own food items if you prefer.
The core plan: this plan includes more meals to choose from plus a few additional perks such as assess to dieticians and counsellors, nutrition tracker apps, and other useful resources. This plan costs $294.99 for women and $334.99 for men. It’s also customizable at no extra cost.
Uniquely yours: at $334.99 for women and $374.99 for men, this plan includes all 150 meal options. This is the ideal plan for those who like plenty of variety in their diet.
In addition, there are also plans explicitly designed for vegetarians and diabetics, which cost about the same as the core plan.
Is it Worth it?
At between $275 to $375 for 28-days, Nutrisystem can seem expensive but, unless you choose to add extras to your meals, that’s an entire months’ worth of food delivered straight to your door – at no additional cost.
The meals are pre-cooked, so all you need to do is heat them up, saving you time and effort.
And while the meals are technically processed, convenience foods, they are pretty healthy and contain a nice mixture of ingredients. As a Nutrisystem customer, you also get access to NuMi – their product-specific app.
So, our honest review is that yes, Nutrisystem IS worth it because it takes the stress out of dieting. With no shopping and cooking to do, Nutrisystem is easy to stick to because it’s so darn convenient.
On the downside, Nutrisystem meals are not organic or non-GMO. If you don’t add some fresh or frozen vegetables to your meals, you might find you are a little low on vitamins and minerals. The meals also contain preservatives, and refined sugars, not to mention potential sources of allergy, including eggs, nuts, dairy, and soy.
This diet is ideal for short-term use – say 1-3 months – but may not be suitable for more extended periods because you’ll be living off mainly processed pre-prepared meals.
If you find choosing a diet and sticking to it hard, don’t have time to shop for groceries or cook, or hate the whole weighing and measuring side of dieting, Nutrisystem could help you lose weight and keep it off.
With the calorie counting and the cooking done for you, each meal takes no more than a few minutes to prepare, making sticking to your calorie-controlled diet much easier. By reducing (and fixing) your calorie intake, and providing you stick to it and mainly eat the meals you have ordered, Nutrisystem should provide reliable, and relatively rapid weight loss results.
However, despite being a calorie and portion-controlled diet, the meals are processed and potentially low in essential nutrients, so this diet is not recommended for long term use as, despite helping you to lose weight, processed meals can be unhealthy.
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Deciding if this is the right diet for you should be easy with our detailed review.