Nutrisystem is a 28-day pre-packaged meal program similar to Jenny Craig. The guesswork of how much to eat and when to eat is removed since Nutrisystem provides the vast majority of your meals and tells you exactly when to eat them. During the program, you will enjoy 6 portion-controlled meals a day – totaling around 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,500 calories a day for men (the only exception to this is during the first week of the program – the Turbo Takeoff week – when both men and women consume only 1000 calories a day). The overall goal of the program is to lose 13 pounds and 7 inches within the first month and then to steadily continue your weight loss journey, losing 1-2 pounds a week, until you have reached your goal weight (the medical community considers this rate of weight loss to be the most healthful and sustainable).
The first week of the 4-week program is called Turbo Takeoff. During this week you consume a predetermined meal plan which reduces includes Nutrisystem entrees, NutriCurb bars, TurboShakes, and TurboBoosters (a supplement that you mix into smoothies and/or other drinks in order to boost your metabolism).
After this first week you are given the freedom to start personalizing your diet by choosing which meals to order off the Nutrisystem website and will begin purchasing supplemental fruits, veggies, protein, and dairy from the grocery store – Nutrisystem provides guidance about what supplemental foods to buy and how to incorporate them into your diet. After completing your Turbo Takeoff you are also allowed to enjoy four “flex meals” each week. This makes it easier to stick with the NutriSystem Diet and helps you learn how to eat on your own while still relying on Nutrisystem for the majority of your meals.
There are three standard packages to choose from: Basic (starting at $9.96/day), Core (starting at $10.68/ day) and Uniquely Yours (starting at $12.29/day). Core builds off the Basic package by providing you with over 100 meal options to choose from and giving you access to unlimited support. Uniquely Yours takes it one step further by providing you with over 150 different food options in addition to the unlimited support. All three of these programs allow you to order additional shakes or snacks, but doing so raises the price of each program.
Once you’ve settled on either the Basic, Core or Uniquely Yours package, you have the the option to customize your diet plan even further by choosing the Standard package, the Diabetes package, the Vegetarian package, or the Men’s package. The Diabetes package helps regulate blood sugar, the Vegetarian package offers well-balanced vegetarian meals, and the Men’s package includes an additional snack each day (prices for the men’s package are slightly higher because of this: $11.39/ day for Basic, $12.11/ day for Core, $12.71/ day for Uniquely Yours).
A Nutrisystem Diet review was conducted in 2015 by the Annals of Internal Medicine. They performed a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of various different commercial weight loss programs. They found that Nutrisystem participants lost 3.8% more weight than the control group. The control group was not placed on any specific program, but rather received counseling and nutrition education.
In a 2013 study, the American Journal of Hypertension observed that among 41 postmenopausal women, those on the Nutrisystem Diet lost an average of 12 pounds in three months
A 2013 study reviewed the Nutrisystem Diet with regard to how effective their diabetic program is for weight loss and the reduction of metabolic markers for diabetes. While the experimental group in this study followed the Nutrisystem Diabetes program, the control group only received diabetes self-management education. The results were that those on Nutrisystem lost on average 7.3 kg (as compared to 2.2 kg), and 72% of the Nutrisystem group had HbA1c levels that fell within the American Diabetes Association goal for tight blood sugar control (7% or lower). Additionally, 44% of Nutrisystem dieters reduced the intensity of their diabetes medication regimen, while only 4% of the control group reduced their medication.
The following is an example of the Basic meal plan after having completed the Turbo TakeOff week:
If convenience is what you’re after, Nutrisystem is tops. In just a few minutes, you can select a month’s worth of meal that will conveniently show up at your door each week. You’ll save time meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prepping. You also don’t have to worry about counting calories or determining proper portion sizes since Nutrisystem takes care of all the details for you. As an added benefit, users get access to an online community for support and tools to monitor progress.
While the cost varies from plan to plan, expect to pay about $300 for meals per month—in addition to whatever snacks you buy at the grocery store. Additionally, although you are allowed four “flex meals” a week, for the most part you will have to forego eating out and joining your family for daily home-cooked meals. Lastly, while Nutrisystem might be great for limiting calorie intake and portion sizes while you’re on the diet, but their meal tend to be highly processed. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid processed foods and to instead base your diet around whole ingredients. Relying on processed food while dieting will also make it challenging to figure out how to eat healthfully once you start transitioning back to buying and preparing your own food.
A thorough review of the Nutrisystem Diet makes it clear that convenience is one of their top selling points. They take the thinking out of dieting. All their meals are nutritionally balanced so you can rest assured that your dietary needs will be met, while reducing your calorie intake to a level needed for weight loss. Additionally, Nutrisystem provides over 150 different meals to choose from so you won’t get bored while dieting
Your ability to join in food-related social occasions is limited while on Nutrisystem. Bringing a few MealEnders with you to parties can help you resist the temptation of munching while being social. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice spending time with family and friends just because you’re on a diet.
Their website is the best place to go in order to get a better understanding of exactly how the diet works and to get a look at the foods you’ll be eating (they have pictures of their menu options posted).