Does nutrisystem work?

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We began digging into Nutrisystem reviews years ago after a doctors’ recommendation. Both my mom and I had hit an all-time high weight a few years ago. We needed something convenient and with little meal prep.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. For more information about FTC disclosure requirements, please see here.


What attracted us to Nutrisystem was:

  • that it’s super convenient! Just order & eat.
  • it offered a set meal plan – no need to calculate portions, calories, carbs, etc.
  • the meals provided the right nutrition for our bodies based on the plan we chose.
  • their large variety of foods to pick from.
  • that no food was off limits (muffins, cookies, brownies and more fit into the plan).
  • getting to eat 4-5 times a day.
  • the ability to customize your meals and have “flex meals” each week.

On this program, we ate about every 3 hours. So we might have breakfast, lunch, dinner and 1-2 snacks through the day.

While there are some bad Nutrisystem reviews out there, don’t let them scare you off.

Those reviews and the cost of Nutrisystem intimidated us to start with, but it ended up being a great way to get back to our goal weight!! Plus, there are more fans of Nutrisystem than many other top diets.

It has a 98% approval rating and Web MD calls it the “ultimate in convenience” diet.

We are affiliates for Nutrisystem after finding it worked so well for our busy lifestyles.

It also teaches you how to eat and portion control.

So while you can stay on the program as long as you want, you will also learn healthy habits that will allow you to customize your meal plans without their specific products too.

Does Nutrisystem really work?

The diet claims to help you lose 5 lbs in the first week. I think this totally depends on your starting weight.

For us, we had about 15lbs to lose. So we saw about 3lbs come off consistently.

If you have 25lbs+, you’ll likely see a bigger drop in weight faster because you have more to lose.

Of course, Nutrisystem is going to be more convenient than cooking, but it is processed. You can always focus on a eat clean lifestyle or getting in your nutrition with “whole foods,” but this is a great option for those getting started or trying to get back on track with their meals.

Basically – it doesn’t have to be all clean foods or fast food – there is a balance out there.

It helped us get back to our goal weight around 60 days.

We loved:

  • not cooking – just eat or microwave and eat.
  • having set meal plan outlined daily.
  • not having cravings. We felt full and could always have a sweet or salty Nutrisystem snack.
  • skipping grocery shopping. The majority of your meals are mailed to you!
  • that everything was portioned out already.
  • the online support
  • coupons being offered (get 40% off + free shipping here!)
  • knowing there was a money back guarantee.
  • never feeling deprived or like we were “on a diet”.

However, there are a couple downsides to the program. You are:

  • discouraged from eating out (2-4 flex meals per week allowed).
  • encouraged to avoid alcohol in the beginning.
  • still shopping for fruits, veggies, protein and dairy items.

While we hate grocery shopping, the items you have to pick up aren’t a terrible time suck or expensive. Nutrisystem provides a guide to which grocery items to buy.

Is Nutrisystem Food Good?

Some of the options are definitely better than others. We were able to pick 28 foods of our choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack/dessert.

They have all kinds of food – and nothing is off limits. So if you love pizza, hamburgers, or something sweet like a brownie – there is an option for you.

All of the food is conveniently packed and sealed. Each meal was equal to if not better than a Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice option.

Nutrisystem ala carte was our favorite way to order.

We loved being able to choose our meals for the month so that we could stock up on our favorites.

One REALLY cool thing is that they now also list user reviews of each food too. So you can see the clear winners and order from those.

Some of Our Favorite Nutrisystem Foods

  • Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Double Chocolate Caramel Bar
  • Pepperoni Pizza Melt
  • Thick Crust Pizza
  • Vegetarian Chili

What if I Have a Dietary Restrictions?

If you’re not just picky on flavor like we are, there are specific plans for dietary restrictions.

You can do a vegetarian or diabetic plan.

There isn’t a vegan plan though, and it doesn’t allow for certain food allergies like gluten.

Nutrisystem’s Lean 13

They now have a Lean 13 plan which we didn’t use before. It’s a “restart” for the body and helps get your metabolism revving. Women are supposed to be able to lose 13lbs (men 15lbs) in the first month!

Again – my mom and I both agree, this really comes down to how much weight you have to lose to start with.

Nutrisystem’s clinical study they advertise say participants lost UP TO 13lbs in the first month.

So it will help you get started, but I think it’s unfair to put a specific number on it.

It includes 7 days of:

  • breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • TurboShakes™
  • NutriCrush® bars
  • Daily Tracker

You can start with Lean 13 and then move on to a traditional plan, or you can start just with the traditional option like we did.

Get 40% off every order + Free bars & Shakes and FREE SHIPPING!

Cost of Nutrisystem

One of our biggest concerns was the cost of Nutrisystem.

We really had to look at what we were spending on groceries and eating out to see where this program fit in. Since we were eating their foods, we saved quite a bit on other groceries and food expenses like going out on the weekends and overdoing it.

Nutrisystem cost’s about $9-12 a day.

There are 3 plans to choose from.

Basic Plan

The basic plan is the cheapest, but you aren’t able to customize your food order. They chose your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for you. It’s about $9.75 a day.

Core Plan

If you’re thinking about the Lean 13 program, this is the best deal. You’ll get that plan plus 4 weeks of food. You can also choose your favorite foods from the list of foods offered. Plus you can add in more than 100 foods with no extra shipping charge. It’s about $10.50 a day.

Uniquely Yours Plan

This is the premium plan and allows you to chose from the largest selection of food. You can pick and combine foods however you want. I really liked this one especially after month 1 on the program. You’ll start to learn what you like best, and this plan helps you get the best foods for you. It’s around $12 a day.

View More on The Cost of Nutrisystem

4 Ways to Save on Nutrisystem

  • If you order through our affiliate link, you’ll save 40% off your order.
  • Often times your health insurance will offer a discount.
  • Once you’re a Nutrisystem member, you can refer friends. Each friend that orders gets $30 off, and you also get $30.
  • You can also always chat with a rep on their site and ask about current promos after your 1st order.

Does Nutrisystem Work Long Term?

Totally! We used it for a few months, but we know others that have used it much longer than us. You might get tired of some of the meals, but there are so many to chose from.

As you get more confident in your healthy habits, you can also wean yourself off the program. Something surprising to us was that the counselor will help you figure out which recipes to implement and create a plan to help you get back to cooking without gaining all the weight back.

Do You Have to Exercise?

Nope, you will likely see results just by changing your diet! For us, we were teaching and going to school so there was not a chance in you-know-what to add in exercise really. We still saw results.

Nutrisystem does encourage at least 30 minutes of activity a day though. A few ways we got this in without really thinking was parking far away, taking the stairs, going for a walk after dinner, or walking in-between classes.

We now love to workout and also help others find the perfect program for them. You can check out our favorite at home workouts here. You can stream over 700 workouts for under $10 a month with Beachbody on Demand too.

What if you hit a weight loss plateau?

This happens no matter what program you’re on I feel like. We saw it with Weight Watchers as well. You can chat with us or a Nutrisystem counselor for free to see what to do to break up the plateau.

A lot of the time switching up your workout will do the trick or add in a workout just 1-3x a week! Another trick would be swapping your lunch and dinner for a week. Sometimes even adding in 100 calories for a week will break the plateau!

Need Support?

Nutrisystem has amazing counselors you can work with, or we are always happy to help. We are a mother-daughter team focused on helping others build a healthy body and balanced lifestyle. You can read more about us here or check out our 21 Day Challenge.

View our post about staying at your ideal weight.

Did this article help you decide if you should do Nutrisystem?

If so – will you consider using our link to order and leaving us a comment below? Also, we love seeing posts like this one shared on Pinterest!

Money Back Guarantee

Also, don’t forget – there is a money back guarantee on your first order. If you don’t like it within 14 days of ordering, you can send it back for a refund for the remaining food with no additional shipping charges.

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Weight Loss Schemes: Why You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money on Nutrisystem

You’ve certainly seen the Nutrisystem commercials before — they involve a lot of smiling celebrities and successful tales of losing weight. In truth, this program is one of the most convenient weight-loss programs out there. You buy a plan that provides you with about four perfectly portioned, low-cal meals a day. And they’re even mailed straight to your home. Weight loss has never been so simple!

Before you go running to Nutrisystem with your next paycheck, we have a few facts you’ll want to keep in mind. Here’s why you shouldn’t waste your time.

1. The prepackaged food is incredibly expensive

You have to really consider all aspects of the program. | Pixbox77/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Upon first glance on the Nutrisystem website, the food plans seem pretty affordable. A basic women’s plan starts around $10 a day — not bad when you consider going out to eat costs about $15 a person. The problem here is the $10 plan includes three frozen meals and a snack — and you don’t even get to choose what they are. If you want the option where you get to choose your meals, that’ll cost you an extra $2 a day at the least.

Some plans can cost you $400 a month or more, and that’s without your extra grocery store trips.

2. You’re limited to the food they offer

The microwave will be your new best friend. | ThamKC/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Nutrisystem does a really great job of making you believe you have options. Their “menu” boasts over 150 items, and you can snack on whatever fruits and veggies you love on your own volition. Once you take a look at what they offer, however, you can see how limited you really are. Many of the lunch items are cheesy wraps of some kind, and the pasta dinners are quite small in size to ensure you’re eating at a caloric deficit.

You do get a few “flex” meals per week, which allow you to eat a meal of your choice off the system. Aside from that, you’re sticking to strictly frozen meals. Yum.

3. They recommend you take a multivitamin during their program

You’ll have to add a bottle of vitamins to your shopping list. | Blackzheep/iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Nutrisystem is all about reducing your caloric intake to lose weight. There’s nothing wrong with this approach in theory. But when you do this, you should aim to eat nutrient-rich foods so you’re not missing out on any essential vitamins and minerals.

According to The Leaf by Nutrisystem, you’re encouraged to take vitamin supplements while on this program. This means the meals they’re giving you may not have enough nutritional value to fulfill your needs.

4. The food can upset your stomach

Pre-packages foods will wreak havoc on your digestive system. | Champja/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When you start a plan like Nutrisystem, you’ll be taking in a lot more fiber than you’re used to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but it certainly can be alarming. reminds us upping your fiber intake can cause a lot of gas, and Essortment says some people who use the system have reported nausea and cramping. Some of these side effects can also be from the preservatives used in the meals. And any major change in your diet is likely to leave you feeling uncomfortable at first.

5. You’re unlikely to keep the weight off once you leave the system

Long-lasting results are highly unlikely. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Here’s the good news: You’re likely to lose weight on Nutrisystem. Unfortunately, Business Insider reports the rate of long-term weight loss success is unclear. When you have your pre-portioned meals mailed to you, it’s easy to see how much you should be eating. Once you leave this system, however, maintaining healthy habits becomes a lot harder. Leaving Nutrisystem means you essentially lose your diet structure.

6. The ‘Turbo Takeoff’ is only 1,000 calories

Small portioned dinners will have you dreaming about breakfast. | MacniakiStock/Getty Images Plus

When you purchase a plan with Nutrisystem, you don’t just get your meals — you also get one full week of “Turbo Takeoff” to jumpstart your weight loss. This first week includes three meals, a shake, and a protein bar, and it promises results immediately. The only problem with “Turbo Takeoff” is it’s sure to leave you starving. U.S. News & World Report explains you’ll only be eating 1,000 calories, which certainly isn’t enough to keep you satisfied.

Who’s Nutrisystem good for?

If you love buying groceries and cooking, Nutrisystem is not for you! | Yulia Davidovich/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Nutrisystem may be expensive and a bad choice for those who love to cook, but for some, it actually might be the right way to go. If you’re short on time and looking to see progress fast with minimal effort, this program can offer you that. Also, WebMD explains the meals are generally low in sodium and saturated fats, so people with heart disease looking to lose weight may benefit. But if you love to shop for your own food, cook your own meals, and learn healthy habits from the get-go without spending your entire paycheck, you should skip it.

The overall advice on how to get healthier has been consistent for years, eat less, eat better and exercise. Nutrisystem’s programs are molded according to these tenets, Zier explained.

“We provide the structure to make sure that (healthy eating and exercise) happens,” she said. “For us it’s more of a structured program so people stay with it longer.”

Nutrisystem has a 28 day home delivery meal program, which costs about $300 a month. Clients also supplement the boxed food with fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase locally.

“Customers want everything delivered to their home, they don’t want to have to go out and shop, they want to order everything online,” Zier said. “So we kind of transact the way America wants to transact.”

Yet Zier said the convenience helps people stay with the program.

“We have programs customers can choose, because it’s no longer about one-size-fits-all losing weight,” she said. That is especially true amid the rise of trendy meal plans like the high-fat, low carb Keto diet.

“The right plan is the program you can stick with,” Zier cautioned, adding that Nutrisystem has its own version of Keto and “South Beach diet” meals.

“Different people have different needs,” she said. “So if you love your carbs, South Beach probably is not the program for you, but Nutrisystem would be more the way to go.”

Zier said the structure and time savings of their plans helps customers stay on track with their fitness goals. “It’s really easy to prepare so I think we break through those busy lifestyles.”

Image 1 of 8

Nutrisystem image: The three-part program focuses on portion control and nutrition. Image 2 of 8 Nutrisystem image: The calorie guides let you see and learn about proper calorie intake. Image 3 of 8 Nutrisystem image: There is a wide variety of meals on the website with reviews from other dieters who have tried them. Image 4 of 8 Nutrisystem image: The site provides supplementary grocery lists, though paying members receive more personalized ones. Image 5 of 8 Nutrisystem image: The mobile app lets you keep track of your food intake and exercise while away from home. Image 6 of 8 Nutrisystem image: To start your program, the site first asks you a series of questions so your plan is tailored to you. Image 7 of 8 Nutrisystem image: One unique feature of this program is that it breaks up your calorie intake by meal so you can focus on each part of the day individually instead of the day as a whole. Image 8 of 8 Nutrisystem image: The dashboard of the online program includes specific activities for you to record.

Similar to other popular commercial diet plans, Nutrisystem takes a heat-and-eat approach to weight loss. Prepackaged meals are a fundamental part of this online diet service’s approach, and while some experts tout them as nothing more than glorified TV dinners, the meals provide convenient portion and calorie control. This is a helpful program for individuals who don’t have the time to really concentrate on each step of a weight loss program. However, having all the food provided does make this diet plan costly compared to other online diet services.

Nutrisystem is a low-glycemic diet program that combines fueling carbohydrates with plenty of protein. The intent is to boost appetite control and decrease hunger between meals. While most of your diet will consist of the program’s food, you’ll still need to supplement it with fresh produce and dairy products from the supermarket. There are different plans for different individuals, including separate plans for men and women, a diabetic plan, a vegetarian plan, and a plan specially formulated for seniors.

The Nutrisystem website offers some supplementary tools beyond basic recipes and simple dieting tips. It has a dining guide to help you stay within your calorie consumption range when you go out to eat. It also has some portion control tools that let you see and compare food options. These tools can help you develop basic guidelines to follow when you return to eating regular food in order to keep the weight you’ve lost off.

Since the program is primarily focused on diet, the website offers few fitness features. There is an exercise log where you can track your daily physical activity, though. We particularly like that the log displays how many calories you burned when you input an exercise or activity. You can access this journal either through the Nutrisystem website or via the mobile app, which is convenient for logging exercise activity while you’re out. You will have to find the motivation to work out on your own because, other than a few tips, there isn’t any real exercise program with this service, such as suggested exercises for your body type, workout videos or tutorials, which you’d find with higher-ranked weight loss plans like

When it comes to community features, Nutrisystem proves mediocre. There aren’t any message boards on the Nutrisystem website itself, but you can connect with other users through its social media pages. The blogs posts are user testimonials that show before, during and after photos of people who have used the Nutrisystem program and found success.

One important feature Nutrisystem does have is trained weight loss counselors. These individuals are available to provide you with constant support as you strive to lose weight, and they can offer useful tips and guidance as you move back to eating normal food.

Nutrisystem’s convenient packaged meals make it easy to drop pounds in the short term, thanks to their controlled portions and restricted calories, though the food it provides you for each meal of the week does make this diet plan costlier than most. There is so much emphasis on eating correctly that this online diet program doesn’t provide a lot of tools and support for exercising.

You’ve probably seen the numerous commercials advertising Nutrisystem and the various celebrities they have endorsed the product with rave reviews of success. The concept of Nutrisystem is a simple one: you select a plan that fits your personal dietary needs and then order 28 days of food. The food is delivered to you in perfect portion sizes so you no longer have to bother with attempting to cook healthy meals or measure out the correct portion sizes.

All of the guess work is done and you just have to eat the food and lose the weight. Any sort of diet system like this comes with pros and cons, and Nutrisystem definitely has both:

Nutrisystem Pros

  1. Portion control

One of the major problems that people face when they’re trying to change their eating habits is portion control. We have been brainwashed with the misconception that we have to finish everything on our plates, even while our portion sizes continue to increase. Having pre-portioned meals takes the guess work out of what is the correct portion size and if you’re eating too much or too little. The Nutrisystem plan, with its 6 small meals a day, teaches you portion control—the foundation of keeping a healthy body weight.

  1. Delivered to your door

With Nutrisystem the meals are delivered to your doorstep each month so you don’t have to worry about running out of food. You can even set up monthly auto deliveries to ensure that you’re never late on an ordering more meals. There’s no excuse not to eat the healthy meals when they’re already in your possession, which is especially handy for people who are busy and don’t have time to cook homemade meals every day.

  1. Easy

It doesn’t get much easier than having a perfectly portioned, healthy and balanced meal delivered to your doorstep. Since the meals are already portioned out there is no counting calories or tracking points involved.

  1. Online support

When ever you’re struggling you can turn to the online support system that Nutrisystem offers to help you out. They have online counselors that you can talk to and they also have support forums where you can discuss your experiences with other members of the Nutrisystem community and draw inspiration from their successes.

  1. Customizable

There isn’t a “one size fits all” approach at Nutrisystem; instead there are different plans for women, men, vegetarians and people with diabetes, allowing you to pick the plan that’s right for you. You also are able to pick the meals that sound most appealing to you and skip the ones that you don’t like, so you aren’t forcing yourself to eat anything that’s unsatisfying or will cause you to derail.

If you want to eat out on weekends then you can select the plan Weekends My Way, where you stay on track with Nutrisystem meals and snacks for 5 days, and you enjoy your own food the other 2 days of the week.

If you want to enjoy dinners with friends and family every day, then you can select the Dinners My Way plan which provides daily breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and gives you the freedom to arrange your own dinners.

Nutrisystem Cons

  1. Variety of Meals May Not Be Enough for Some

While Nutrisystem offers an impressive 150-meal and snack menu, which is more than enough to ensure you find plenty of foods you like, you may get bored if you stay several months on the program, ordering and eating the same stuff. If you are the type of person that enjoys the creativity and unlimited variety you have when cooking your own food, then Nutisystem’s menu options may make you feel restricted. Some people think that since Nutrisystem meals are pre-packaged, you don’t have the same variety of foods and meal options that you would have if you were picking recipes and cooking them yourself every night. Of course, you can choose Dinners My Way, and get the best of both worlds: The convenience of getting Nutrisystem breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to your door, and the freedom to cook your own dinner every day.

  1. Expensive for Some

While Nutrisystem is perhaps the most inexpensive weight loss meal delivery service, not all people can afford to invest $10 in losing weight and improving their health. It will cost you about $300 a month to have 28 days of the Nutrisystem food delivered to you. Plus, you still have to shop for some additional foods to supplement the meals. This is pricey for some, and it only gets more expensive if more than one person per household is participating. Thankfully, Nutrisystem has a Family Plan, which allows two members of the same household lose weight together at a significant discount. A Nutrisystem coupon code is occasionally available.

  1. Still have to Buy Groceries

While the meals are delivered to you, you do still have to go to the grocery store to supply the fruits and vegetables and lean proteins that are supposed to complement each meal. Being at the grocery store can also provide unnecessary temptations for people, so if you don’t have a lot of willpower to skip buying unhealthy foods while you’re there this could end up being a deterrent to your weight loss. Thankfully, Nutrisystem provides an extensive guide on how to do your grocery shopping, with plenty of tips to keep you on course.

  1. A Great to Jump Start to Your Weight Loss – Not to be Followed For Life

Nutrisystem is very effective to help you jump start your weight loss. You will lose weight fast and relatively easy. It teaches you portion control, and it will motivate you to continue on your own. The plan is great for people that are looking for a way to stop eating unhealthy foods all the time, but you can’t rely on it forever. That’s not the purpose of the plan in the first place. Once you are done with the plan, you can transition eating your own food and complement with some Nutrisystem meals and snacks. Nutrisystem has a number of transition and maintenance plans that help you reach your long term weight loss goals while you learn to prepare your own healthy food. Dinners My Way, Weekends on My Own, Nutrisystem Just Lunch and Snacks, and Nutrisystem A La Carte, are all plans designed to make you independent of Nutrisystem’s core plan, and transition you to following a healthy diet on your own.

  1. Not all Fresh

While Nutrisystem meals are nutrient-packed and tasty, free of preservatives, with less than 2,300 mg of sodium, and zero trans fats, they are the ready-to-go, shelf-stable type of meals which you store at your pantry for 4 weeks. Definitely not like fresh food. Of course, you have the option to order from Nutrisystem Select menu which features fresh, chef-inspired entrees and desserts.

These are the pros and cons of Nutrisystem. To sum up, Nutrisystem can offer a great solution to people who are too busy to cook their own meals and want to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle, however it doesn’t solve all of the problems that come with weight loss. It is a good starting point, though, and if you’re willing to spend the money it can definitely help get you well on your way to changing your lifestyle. It has already changed over a million lives since 1980.

Nutrisystem is a portion-controlled diet plan that provides meal plans that tell you what to eat and when to eat it. The meals are usually pre-packed and delivered to your home, so you do not need to worry about cooking healthy meals or measuring portion size.

This diet plan restricts calorie intake while emphasizing on the intake of lean protein and good carbs witha low glycemic index such as vegetables and whole grains.It is designed in a way that it keeps you full for longer while keeping your metabolism and blood sugar level normal.

Apart from the pre-packed foods that are delivered to your home, you will also need to buy some fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein and low-fat dairy from your local grocery store.

This diet plan offers different programs for different people, from seniors, vegetarians, as well as people with type 2 diabetes. There is also a program for men and women. In short, you get to choose a plan that fits your dietary needs.

You can read reviews on it, on some top reputable websites. You can start by checking out Norman’s results for some upbeat information and review on the diet plan.

Anyhow, as with every diet plan, there are pros and cons to it, nothing is perfect. You just have to make it work. Here is what you need to know about this diet plan, the good and the bad.

Pros of Nutrisystem Diet Plan

Nutritionally balanced

The meal plans in this diet plan are healthy and nutritious. They are well balanced allowing your body to enjoy the nutrients and minerals it needs in order to stay healthy, all the time. This means that you will not only lose weight for a short while, but you will be in a position to maintain it at the level you want, even if you are a vegetarian.

Varied food choices

Nutrisystem diet plan has a wide range of food choices. You will get up to 170 options to choose from, and this includes comfort foods as well as snacks. So be ready to enjoy some pizza, macaroni, cheese, tacos, fajitas as well as dessert bars among other delicious food.

Moreover, you will not have to worry about overeating, no matter what you eat. This is because all your meals are portioned and pre-packed, just waiting for you to dive in.


This diet plan is very convenient, as you will not need to worry about what you are going to eat for each meal. There is no food preparation or cooking, all your meals are pre-packed and delivered to your home. All you need to do is keep assorted cut-up fruits and vegetables to enjoy with your delivered meals.

Consultation services

As much, as you can choose your meal for the day in a menu of entrees, snacks, and desserts with Nutrisystem diet program, you can also consult with them in case you are not sure what to do.

Its 24-hour consultation is meant to help you understand it more, in terms of its meal plans and your health goal. So make use of it, as it can help you make healthy life choices.

Cons of Nutrisystem Diet Plan

Takes longer to adjust to

This program takes a bit longer to get used to, as the meals are obviously different in taste when compared to what you are used to cooking at home. You will find that they are lower in sugar, calories, salt, and even carbohydrates. However, with the time you eventually learn to enjoy it.


For some, this diet program can be a bit over the top, when it comes to price. Some might find it expensive and decide not to pay for it while for some it might be out of their financial comfort zone.

Moreover, you still need to shop for some more food to supplement your pre-packed delivered meals. This can also lead to impulse buying if you are not that disciplined with money.


In conclusion, you can research more on diet programs, before opting for any. The more you know the better for your entire health. Anyhow, feel free to try Nutrisystem. It has healthy meal plans as well as an exercise program to keep you fit and lean for life.

Nutrisystem Review – 22 Things You Need to Know

  • User Comments
  • 21 Answered Questions

Fact Checked | Overview | Ingredients | Does It Work? | Side Effects | Benefits | Cost | Menu | Where to Buy | Directions | Results | Bottom Line | Nutrisystem Alternatives | Q&A

Nutrisystem is one of the most popular weight loss plans available. They claim that, with the use of whole food recipes, frequent meal times, and premade meal replacements, weight-loss is possible for everyone. However, a high price tag and restrictive menu have us wondering if it is worth your money.

To learn more about the program, our research team delved into Nutrisystem’s “food philosophy,” unique weight loss plans, success stories, and more. In the end, we gathered customer testimonials and compared them to research on timed meal planning to see if this one can really help you experience “safe, effective weight loss.”

Nutrisystem can be purchased through their .

Nutrisystem Readers: Noom is offering our readers a 14-day trial, for a limited time. for this special offer!

Nutrisystem Video Review


What is Nutrisystem?

Nutrisystem is a weight loss plan that takes the guesswork out of figuring what you can eat and when. It eliminates calorie counting, keeping track of carbs, and even searching for point values to stay under an allotted amount. It also gets rid of having to figure out what the proper proportions for your plate are at each meal and at snack time. Like many other diet plans, you are still restricted to a certain diet and are not supposed to eat whatever you desire.

When you embark on the Nutrisystem diet, there are some plans to choose from so that you can pick the one that is right for you. You eliminate the guesswork because you purchase your meals directly from the company from a customizable menu. Each meal is nutritionally balanced, a proper proportion size, and pre-calculated for calories and other factors.

Each day, you are provided with Nutrisystem prepared or easy-to-assemble breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts. For variety, you can also add fresh produce from the grocery store.

Nutrisystem Competitors

Product Rating Review
Ketosis Diet read
Jenny Craig read
SlimFast read
Weight Watchers WW read
Noom read
Other similar products: Medical Weight Loss Clinic, Growth Hormone Releaser

×Explanation of Price

This is how much it costs to start on the respective program. We always recommend trying a product before making a large investment.

  • = Initial product cost is less than $5
  • = Initial product cost is between $6 and $50
  • = Initial product cost is between $51 and $150
  • = Initial product cost is $151 or more

Nutrisystem Company Profile

Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Founder: Harold Katz

Founded: 1972

CEO: Dawn M Zier

Subsidiary companies: NutriSystem Fresh Inc, Nutri/System IPHC, Inc, MORE


  • Nutrisystem began with offering advice on weight loss and products in brick and mortar centers.
  • In 1999, the company changed its business model to direct-to-consumer, selling online and through call centers instead.
  • Nutrisystem launched a mobile platform in 2010, but it was among allegations that it stole the technology for it from a Silicon Valley startup called WebDiet, Inc.
  • In 2015, Nutrisystem bought the South Beach Diet brand.

Scroll below for one of the best products we’ve seen over the last year.

Nutrisystem Quick Facts

  • Average weight loss per week: According to the Nutrisystem website, users can “expect to lose an avg of 5lbs per week.”
  • Nutrisystem also runs The Leaf, their weight loss blog. This has “diet, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle tips straight from our weight loss experts”, as well as success stories and recipes to go with your Nutrisystem program.
  • Nutrisystem also puts much emphasis on the importance of exercise. The company encourages “50 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week” through its My Daily 3® plan. This focuses on 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
  • Precautions, the program is not for:
    – Breastfeeding women.
    – Anyone under 18 years.


Nutrisystem Ingredients

Each plan comes with food chosen to supply the right combinations of nutrients and keep you healthy while you lose weight and fuel your body. Each item will have different ingredients to accomplish this. Some highlights of what the meals focus on are:

Healthy, lean protein

According to Genetics Home Reference, protein is a vital element in every cell you have in your body. Your hair and nails are made of proteins and proteins play an essential role in building bones, muscles, and cartilage. Your body uses protein to repair tissues, make digestive enzymes and hormones among other chemicals. Protein is a macro-nutrient, and your body needs a bunch of it to function properly since it is something that you use up and not store.

In weight loss, protein is important for giving your body the ability to put on lean muscle using the amino acids found in it. More lean muscle means more calories burned, even when you are not trying. You also burn more calories digesting them because it takes more for your body to metabolize and use them. Because it takes longer for them to work through your system, you will feel fuller for longer, meaning a less voracious appetite.


According to Nutrition Reviews, including high fiber in a diet to lose weight will keep you fuller longer. Adding more fiber to your eating habits is heart-healthy and helps you maintain a healthy body weight. High fiber is a carbohydrate in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Unlike traditional carbohydrates, high fiber is difficult for your body to digest. It also satiates your appetite making you feel fuller longer without adding lots of calories to your intake.

Low-glycemic carbs

Most of us have heard the terms, “good carbs” and “bad carbs” but still likely have a hard time telling them apart.

Nutrisystem eliminates the need for you to determine which is good or bad. They use low glycemic carbs like whole grains and specific veggies (the good kind) in their meals. All carbs are converted into glucose sugar.

The more complex the carb, the longer it takes to break down in your system, as they are digested slowly. Low glycemic carbs are more complex and thus release into your blood slowly and steadily, which is better for losing weight since it keeps you full longer.

What Does Nutrisystem Do?

Nutrisystem provides multiple diet plans that cater to specific needs and can be customized through the available menu to your particular taste. It offers healthy well-balanced meals that include high fiber, low calorie, and lean proteins to help relieve cravings and keep you fuller longer to control your appetite and eating habits.

With over 150 menu items to choose from, the meal is sure to please anyone. The ultimate goal of individuals on the Nutrisystem plan is to lose and maintain a healthy weight. You’ll eat four to five times a day. Many options are low sodium and they remove unnecessary artificial flavors and colors, as well as potentially harmful preservatives. It’s an easy plan to follow with no guesswork as to what you can or cannot eat.

The Nutrisystem program can also be aligned with DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet recommendations. According to Obesity Reviews, “DASH Diet is a good choice for weight management, particularly for weight reduction in overweight and obese participants.”

How Easy is Nutrisystem to Follow?

Convenience: Six meals per day with pre-counted portions, saving you time and effort.

Recipes: Dozens of high-protein, high-fiber, zero-trans fat recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Eating Out: Extensive PDF guide on how to not derail your diet when out in a restaurant.

Alcohol: The Nutrisystem program recommends abstinence from, or limiting, alcohol consumption because “alcoholic beverages tend to be high in calories and often contain extensive fat, cholesterol and sodium.”

Fullness: Besides the high-fiber, low-glycemic carb ingredients of the Nutrisystem program, the company offers a guide to help people feel full faster.

What You’ll Eat

  • Pantry items: oatmeal, pasta dishes, and cookies
  • Frozen foods: omelettes, chicken, quesadillas, and ice-cream sandwiches
  • Adults, seniors, and vegetarians have unique plans. Vegan and gluten-free options are not available.


Nutrisystem Menu Ideas


  • Buttermilk Waffles
  • Cinnamon Raisin Baked Bar


  • Four Cheese Melt
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar


  • Chicken And Bacon Ranch Pizza
  • Salisbury Steak With Mac & Cheese


  • Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Chocolate Brownie Sundae

Does It Work?

Does Nutrisystem Work?

When you control your calorie intake and your portions, you are on a good path to losing weight. Add the fact that your meals will likely be healthier than what you eat regularly and you implement an exercise regimen to burn even more calories, and the result should be that you attain your weight loss goals. If you can stick to the plan accordingly and only eat what is suggested through your prepared meals and allowed produce, research that has been done to support the success of the plan suggests that you will lose weight.

Another plus to the Nutrisystem plan is that you will be eating smaller meals more often, which is considered a healthier way to eat based on research. It has been found to promote greater weight loss and maintenance and the prevention of other health issues.

One challenge that you may face is maintaining the diet without all the help you got through the program. However, if you can transition back into eating “normal” food while keeping in mind what you have learned through healthy eating during the program, you should have no problem. Once you reach your body weight goal, you will likely be more apt to maintain healthy habits to keep your healthier appearance and feeling.

According to research in Annals of Internal Medicine, a study titled “Efficacy of commercial weight-loss programs: an updated systematic review” looked into Nutrisystem’s capabilities. It reported that “Nutrisystem participants achieved at least 3.8% greater weight loss at 3 months than control/education or counseling.”

Meanwhile, a study from Johns Hopkins has reported that “Other popular programs, such as NutriSystem, show promising weight-loss results, but additional studies evaluating long-term outcomes are needed.”

Side Effects

Are There Nutrisystem Side Effects to Worry About?

When changing your diet, especially if it is drastically, you are liable to experience some side effects. Reports from reviewers and users of Nutrisystem have reported various side effects including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Side effects will vary for each person since everyone’s body handles dietary changes differently. Few people have reported mood swings during the program. However, most people report no side effects at all.

Causes of These Side Effects

As I mentioned before, any drastic diet change to which you do not transition can cause many of these side effects, including mood swings and digestive issues. Removing the regular consumption of alcohol and quitting smoking can also cause headaches, flu symptoms, and other issues. Once your body has gotten used to its new habits and nutrition, any symptoms should taper off.

Precautions When Using Nutrisystem

As with any major change to your diet, application of a new diet plan, or exercise regimen, you should seek the advice of your doctor. This is especially true if you are on medication or have preexisting health conditions. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not implement this plan.

  • Individuals with special diet needs should avoid using this plan and most others to maintain their health.
  • This plan is not formulated for children under the age of 14. However, Nutrisystem does offer a healthy and comprehensive plan for teens between ages 14 and 17.
  • Nutrisystem does offer a plan for those who follow a vegetarian diet, but a vegan option is not available. If you follow a gluten-free diet, there is also no plan that will encompass your needs.
  • Regardless of the safety of a product, if you have any medical issues whatsoever or are taking medications you should consult your doctor to be sure it is a healthy option for your specific situation.
  • It is unclear how much potassium and vitamins B-12 and D the diet supplies, but the packaged meals, combined with snacks of fresh produce, nonfat dairy and protein sources, make a nutritionally sufficient diet.


Nutrisystem Benefits

One significant benefit to Nutrisystem is that it is easy to follow. Many people have a hard time sticking to other diets because there are calories to count, carbs to count, and points to track. Then there is often guesswork with the values of certain foods or portions.

Cheat days can lead to some falling off the wagon and having a major setback. Nutrisystem takes that guesswork out. It is all prepared and counted for you. Portions are controlled, and all you need to do is follow the program.

A second benefit to the Nutrisystem program is that there are avenues of support for its members. There is an online community of others using the plan that can become a significant support group and means of encouragement as you adjust to the diet or experience any stumbling blocks or setbacks.

The Ease or Difficulty of Following Nutrisystem

Once you choose and customize your plan, you order a month’s worth of food. Ordering is easy and convenient since you can pick and choose what you like and order it from the comfort of your own home. The food available is chosen by your plan choice and come prepared for you. No need for counting calories and carbs and there are no points to keep track of.

Nutrisystem offers a wide variety of meals choices and snack options to choose from. Its most extensive plan offers over 150. You can get the allowed add-on options on your own from the supermarket, giving you even more variety. However, even though the variety is plentiful, some of your favorites may not be there or not taste as you make them yourself and that could be potentially frustrating for some.

Nutrisystem Pros & Cons

  • Large meal variety
  • Convenience without the need for calorie-counting
  • Emphasis on physical exercise
  • Support through the counseling program
  • Home delivery
  • High-protein products mean simultaneous weight loss and muscle gain
  • Vegetarian alternative plans
  • 1-week free trial for new customers
  • High price tag
  • Individual meals that are not fit for entire families
  • Weight loss benefits don’t last if users don’t maintain their diet properly after the program
  • Products are not organic, gluten-free, or non-GMO
  • Products have allergens like egg, wheat, soy, wheat, and tree nuts
  • Despite calorie-control, Nutrisystem products have preservatives and processed and refined sugars

Nutrisystem NuMi

A few years ago, in 2014, Nutrisystem started new programs, one of which was NuMi®, an app that is oriented towards techie dieters with wearable health and fitness devices and platforms. NuMi:

  • Tracks Nutrisystem meals and food outside of the program.
  • Sends out meal, water, and exercise reminders.
  • Provides articles, tips and recipes on a daily basis.
  • Offers exclusive special offers, contests, and prizes.

Is There a Nutrisystem Alternative?

With so many dieting options out there it is really impossible to find one that is truly unique. Nutrisystem is no different and has its share of competition. Two of its most similar competitors are:

  • Medifast
  • South Beach Diet

Both offer pre-made meals at a fairly comparable price. Overall the plans emulate one another and would likely leave it up to personal preference as to which of the minor details you would prefer.


What is the Nutrisystem Cost?

There are some cost variables within the Nutrisystem plan depending on which plan you choose. Specialized plans cost more. The regular plans come in four tiers that increase in price as you go up.

Generally, you can expect to spend about ten dollars a day. That is not including anything you still purchase from the supermarket as your add-on options.


The Basic Nutrisystem plan is the cheapest plan offered by the company. The plan comes with a four-week plan, special menu, and an affordable price.

If you plan to choose your own meals at the checkout, the price gets a bit higher.

Per day, women will pay $11.07 and men will pay $12.50. The total four-week price for women comes up to $309.99 and $349.99 for men.

You can also add on 28 probiotic shakes to your plan for $39.99.


The Core Nutrisystem plan includes everything in the Basic plan, but with more menu options. Many of the on-the-go options are also available for delivery.

When you go with the “Chef’s Choice” menu options, the daily price for women is $11.07 for women and $12.50 for men. The four-week price totals $309.99 for women and $349.99 for men.

There is also an option for you to choose your own meals and snacks for the same prices.

Uniquely Yours:

The Uniquely Yours Nutrisystem plan includes everything in the Core and Basic plans, plus the largest variety of 160+ foods and snacks.

You can either choose your own foods or the “Chef’s Choice” meal plan for the same price.

The daily price for women is $12.50 a day or $349.99 for four weeks. The daily price for men is $13.93 a day, or $389.99 for four weeks.

Uniquely Yours Plus:

The Uniquely Yours Plus Nutrisystem plan includes everything in the previous plans, plus options for frozen foods and 4 weeks worth of probiotic shakes.

You can either choose your own foods or the “Chef’s Choice” meal plan for the same price.

The daily price for women is $13.93 a day or $389.99 for four weeks. For men, the daily price is $15.38, or $429.99 for four weeks.

Other Nutrisystem Plans:

Nutrisystem also offers plans for those who are vegetarian or have type 2 diabetes.

The diabetes plans offered by Nutrisystem cost the same as the standard packages and comes with diabetes educators.

Where to Buy

Where to Buy Nutrisystem

  • Nutrisystem website
  • Amazon
  • CostCo
  • Walmart
  • eBay
  • Groupon
  • Nutrisystem locations


Nutrisystem Directions

Directions to follow the Nutrisystem plan are easy and straightforward. You choose a meal plan that is right for you. Consume only the prepared meals, snacks, and add-on allotment. Your meals will be smaller but will increase in frequency, which has been proven to be a healthier way to lose weight.

Add 30 minutes of daily exercise, and that about encompasses the routine except for some restrictions including eating out at restaurants if at all possible and eliminating alcohol consumption.


Nutrisystem Results

People who have tried Nutrisystem have found varying results. Remember, the diet is to get you to a healthy weight and teach you to eat better. Once off the plan, you have to do some work to maintain your results. Of course, everyone is different and results then logically should vary.

The amount and intensity of your workout will also cause different amounts of weight loss. Most saw some positive weight loss and felt better overall. If you can follow the plan by exercising and only consuming their meals, your calorie intake will be low, and you will burn more calories than off the diet.

Nutrisystem Weight Loss

Nutrisystem is a great weight loss option for those who need guidance and do not like all of the guesswork associated with other types of diets. Components in their meals makes your body work to process food, and makes you feel fuller longer to satiate any cravings and control your appetite. Less calorie intake while burning more calories gives this plan the requirements for a decent success rate.

“Awesome product, lost 5LBS in the 5 days. Food was good, I did order Nutrisystem snacks for the program as they did not supply full 5 day of snacks and easier to just stay on the system. I have done Nutrisystem for 2 months and was awesome, wanted a fresh start after a long vacation to help get back on track. No thought needed, just eat and log it with simple app.”

“Not flavorful. Food processed looking. I would not order again.”

“This product promises 2 lb loss per week. The portions were tiny although they tasted good. I was always hungry. My husband and I tried the program for four weeks. We didn’t lose any weight. Don’t waste your money.”

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line on Nutrisystem

If you are looking for a diet that is the ultimate in convenience, Nutrisystem is that. You do not have to worry about portion sizes, planning, shopping, cooking or counting carbs, calories, and points. If you are a foodie who likes to try out the hottest restaurants and pair your dinner with a drink or two, you may need to find other options. In case your budget is pretty tight, a comparison of the cost versus your typical grocery bill will be to make a decision.

If you’d like to jump-start your weight-loss, we suggest including a weight-loss program that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Among the best programs we’ve seen this year is one called Noom. This weight-loss system provides you with personalized meal plans, recipes you can make at home, human coaching, and so much more. Plus, it’s all available on an easy-to-use app, so you can access your goals from anywhere.

Also, the makers of Noom are so confident in their program, they’re offering Dietspotlight readers a 14-day trial.

Learn More About Noom “

Nutrisystem (reviews) describes their menu as, “the food you love, made healthier.” That’s because they reinvent popular foods like burgers and pizzas and make them healthier, and nutritionally balanced with high-quality ingredients.

These prepared, pre-portioned meals are designed to put you in fat-burning mode for healthy, sustainable weight loss.

But, is Nutrisystem really a healthy diet plan?

While the term, “healthy,” can be relative, let’s look at the nutritional content of Nutrisystem food as well as ratings from health experts to decide.

Nutrisystem: Daily Nutrition | Calories | Carbs | Sodium | Health Rating | Nutrition Facts

1. Nutrisystem Daily Nutrition:

On their website, Nutrisystem claims to provide:

  • The right nutrient balance to fuel your body and promote health
  • High in lean protein from a variety of sources like lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish, and low-fat dairy
  • High fiber foods keep you feeling full, longer, and promotes healthy bowels. (That’s a great dinner party conversation topic!)
  • Include nutrient-dense carbs (low-glycemic) like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Low in saturated fat with no artificial flavors or sweeteners

OK, but does it really deliver? In deciding whether Nutrisystem is healthy, let’s compare the nutrition in their food to FDA daily recommendations:

Source: FDA dietary 2019 guidelines for women age 31-50
*Based on FDA recommendations for sodium intake (source)
**Nutrisystem nutrition info source

As you can see, Nutrisystem meets or exceeds most of the FDA’s daily recommendations for macro nutrients including calories, protein, fiber, carbs, and sodium content.

The program is also a lot healthier than the average American’s diet, which is low in vegetables and protein but high in sugar, fat, and sodium. (source)

2. Calories:

How many calories per day? The first week of Nutrisystem is a body reboot designed for fast weight loss. During that initial week, you’ll cut calories to about 1000 per day.

For the rest of the program, the daily caloric intake is approximately 1200 calories for women, and 1500 calories for men.

You can also check the calories for each specific Nutrisystem food online and customize your menu, if needed.

Nutrisystem plans provide about 50% of their calories from low-glycemic carbohydrates (aka, “good carbs”). The remainder of calories are approximately 25% from protein, and 20-25% from fat. (source)

3. Carbs:

Speaking of carbs, how many carbs does Nutrisystem have?

Well, let’s do the math: Both carbohydrates & protein provide 4 calories per gram, while fat provides 9 calories per gram. (source)

Nutrisystem estimates that 50% of your calories come from good carbs each day.

So, because you are consuming 1200-1500 calories per day on Nutrisystem, that is equal to about 150-190 grams of carbohydrates per day.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you consume ≤ 150 grams of carbohydrates per day for weight loss. (source)

You can also see how many carbs are in each Nutrisystem food by looking at the nutrition facts.

3. Sodium Content:

All Nutrisystem plans meet or are below the FDA’s recommended intake of < 2300 mg of sodium per day.

Nutrisystem’s daily sodium content is also much lower than that in the average American’s diet, which currently exceeds 3400 mg per day. You can also customize your menu with selections from their low-sodium menu.

Excessive sodium intake increases a person’s risk for high blood pressure, which may lead to heart disease and stroke.

4. Experts’ Health Rating:

So, what do health experts think of Nutrisystem? U.S. News asked a group of health and diet experts to rate Nutrisystem in several areas, and they rated relatively well for, “healthy”:

If you are interested in drilling down deeper on health and nutrition, you can also view the nutrition facts for each product. Here’s how:

5. Food Nutrition Facts:

Are Nutrisystem meals healthy? You can see nutrition facts for all Nutrisystem foods foods on their website. Here’s how:

Just click, “View Menu” at the top, and choose between: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Then, sort foods and click on any one to see details, ingredients, and nutrition facts:

As you can see, nutrition labels display the specific amount of: Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, sugars, and protein, plus some vitamins and minerals. (Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.)

If you wish to reduce the amount of sodium or carbs in your diet, consider making food substitutions to make your menu healthier for your needs.

Tip: If you are have Type 2 Diabetes or have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, consider Nutrisystem D, which is lower in sodium and sugar

All Nutrisystem plans allow for menu customization except their “Basic Plan,” so you can easily menu items if you’d like.

*Related: Does Nutrisystem cause gas?

Can Nutrisystem Be Bad for You?

The foundation of Nutrisystem is the monthly delivery of their pre-portioned, prepared meals. Packaged foods of any kind are often thought to be unhealthy, as they are commonly refined and notoriously high in sodium.

While Nutrisystem meals are relatively low in sodium and saturated fats, they may not meet the needs of special diets. If you have been instructed to follow a low-sodium diet (1500 mg daily), you can contact a Nutrisystem Weight Loss Counselor to customize your program.

Nutrisystem also requires that you supplement their packaged meals with groceries like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and dairy. (Which you should also account for in the total cost of the diet!)

So, in that respect, Nutrisystem meals alone are not enough to be considered a healthy diet. You’ll need to follow their recommendations for healthy supplemental food to make your diet complete. This includes:

  • Lean, fresh meats and fish (not fatty cuts of meat or fish from Asian farms)
  • Low fat dairy items including low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables
  • Don’t buy foods with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and refined grains
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • More tips for healthy eating here!

So, in order for Nutrisystem to be a complete, healthy diet, you’ll have to still make smart choices at the grocery store!

*Related: 50 Unhealthiest Foods at the Supermarket –


The World Health Organization defines “healthy” as,

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

OK, but there’s no single definition of what makes something “healthy,” except to say that it “promotes health” and “is good for you.”

Under that broad definition of what “healthy” is, plus expert ratings, and a comparison to FDA daily recommendations for nutrition, we can conclude that, yes, Nutrisystem is healthy.

However, your doctor may advise you to eat special foods to improve your health, such as those that are high in fiber, or low in sugar or sodium. In that case you’d have a more specific definition of “eating healthy” which may require menu substitutions, or a different, more flexible diet, like WW or Noom.

If you are considering joining Nutrisystem, read honest reviews, and then check out their best signup promotion:

*Best Nutrisystem deal: You can also stack promo codes for free food at signup!

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Recently a friend showed me the annual ranking by U.S. News and World Report of what they consider the “Best Diets” in America. Taking a quick glance at their rankings, I knew that something wasn’t right. Why are they promoting diets that rely almost solely on unhealthy processed food full of additives linked to cancer and heart disease? Why did they rank diets that advocate for giving up processed food in favor of fresh, whole foods AS THE WORST on their lists? They’ve gotta be kidding, right?!?

Who is benefiting from rankings like this? Will this help Americans become less obese? Will this make us healthier? I’d argue that many of the “diets” in America are outrageously unhealthy and diet rankings like this are seriously misleading people about what it means to eat healthy.

Just take a look at what you’d be eating on some of these popular diets…

Jenny Craig

This diet relies almost 100% on processed food. With a diet like this, you are sure to be eating insane amounts of preservatives and added sugar, which are both linked to major health risks. Jenny Craig uses some of the worst additives in their food, like carrageenan (linked to cancer and intestinal inflammation), cellulose (linked to inflammation and weight gain), and the artificial sweetener sucralose (linked to leukemia and weight gain). How could anyone call this diet healthy?

Weight Watchers

This diet isn’t supposed to rely on processed foods, but Weight Watchers sells a huge line of majorly processed foods and officially endorses processed food brands like Jolly Time Popcorn and Progresso Light Soups. You’ve probably seen the new commercials that chant “Bring on the food!” while they talk about how NOTHING is off limits on Weight Watchers…. bacon, pizza, chips… “You can have whatever you want”. So, it sure sounds like they are advocating for the continued use of processed junk food full of additives, instead of creating healthier habits that will teach your body to crave fruits and vegetables instead. Some of the recipes on their website call for processed foods like reduced fat vanilla wafers and even chocolate cake mix! Say Whaaaah?


It blows my mind that this is considered an acceptable diet by ANYONE. On this diet you essentially drink chemical-filled processed drinks for two of your meals, along with three of their processed snacks every day – and then you get just one homemade meal per day. You’ll basically be gulping down tons of artificially thickened sugary drinks every day. Gross.


On this diet you eat five of their “100 calorie” products every single day and then one home cooked meal. So, the majority of the time you are eating food full of heavily processed proteins, excitotoxins, artificial thickeners and sweeteners, synthetic vitamins and amino acids (instead of naturally-occurring ones). This is nowhere near real food! Medifast products are LOADED with hidden MSG additives like textured proteins, sodium caseinate, yeast extract.


On this diet you’ll be eating boxed up and processed Nutrisystem food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all filled with of dozens of chemical additives (some of which are addicting) blended together with the “correct” ratios of protein, carbs and fats, with some synthetic vitamins and fiber mixed in to make them look healthy on the “Nutrition Facts” label. Unfortunately, the “Nutrition Facts” label doesn’t tell the real story, and you’ll get a whole lot more than you bargained for when you choose to eat fake food like this.

Most diets put ZERO focus on the quality of the food itself and no emphasis on whether the food is unprocessed or free of chemical additives.

For instance – on the Mayo Clinic Diet, you can spread your toast with a “margarine-like spread” full of chemicals. On the DASH Diet you can start your day with a bowl of Shredded Wheat preserved with BHT or “light” yogurt sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. On the TLC Diet you can snack on low-fat microwave popcorn with TBHQ. On the Biggest Loser Diet, you can make a sandwich with processed deli meat and sprinkle your plate with fat-free cheese coated in cellulose. On the Volumetrics Diet, you can eat sugar-free pudding every day for dessert. This is not real food!

More than 80 million of us are dieting, yet without a lot of success. What is it about diets that don’t work?

Any diet book will tell you to eat right and exercise, but what does that really mean? I’ve seen people “eat right” by eating unlimited amounts of red meat and fat, and I’ve seen people “work out” daily for more than four hours, exhausting their body and pushing themselves too far.

I decided to search for some answers. My search was inspired not by any diet book, but rather by an eye-opening article, “Science Compared Every Diet, and the Real Winner is Real Food.” The article summarized an independent study, published in Annual Reviews in 2014, that reviewed every major diet and concluded that, “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with healthy promotion and disease prevention.”

I was pumped by reading this! It supported and validated what I had been doing and preaching for years: a natural, whole food, and predominately plant-based diet is the secret to staying in shape, feeling vital, and being healthy. Other diets just don’t cut it, and one reason is that they induce you to eat a lot of chemical calories and lock you into habits that kill your ability to maintain your weight. The old motto, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”, is so true! There is no doubt about it – you feel horrible when you feed your body fast and processed food.

The way to create lasting change in your body is to eat food as close to nature as possible – the least amount of processed food, the better!!! After I began eating this way, I have never had to diet again, despite the challenging environment we live in with an abundance of tricky marketing and addictive food additives.

We can’t control what they are doing to our food, but we can control what we put in our mouths every day.

I’ve learned that the only way to feel great is to stop outsourcing my food to corporations and spend more time preparing meals at home. When I began cooking and eating whole foods, my health soared as a result – and now I never look back.

After I spent years juggling meal planning, food shopping and cooking, I consulted with a nutritionist and worked with my team to create an Eating Guide Program – not only for myself, but for all of you. This is more than a meal planning service, it will keep you on track, and help you develop HEALTHY HABITS so you can finally shed unwanted pounds or have an easier time maintaining the healthy lifestyle you may have already built. This program makes eating healthy food and losing weight practically mindless (and delicious)!

If you want my team and I to personally help you with your goals, this is the program for you!

When you sign up, you’ll get recipes for new Food Babe meals every month (easy to make green drinks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners), a meal schedule, and a shopping list. These are brand new recipes that the Food Babe Team cooks up every month just for you that are absolutely delicious! You will actually LOVE the food you are eating, which makes creating new habits so easy.

You’ll also get my Starter Guide full of budget tips, diet strategies, and a list of the “Terrible 20” ingredients that keep you from losing weight, where to spot them, and what to eat instead. You can download these guides and recipes to your computer and keep them forever. Dozens of pages of knowledge at your fingertips INSTANTLY.

See everything that comes with the program here.

You’ll gain control your eating habits, while this program shows you how to eat wisely and well. As you continue eating this way, which will quickly become second nature, you’ll naturally start losing weight and keeping it off. You won’t have to count anything or obsess over calories or carbs, either. You just have to read labels, change some food-buying and food-prep practices, and enjoy food the way it was meant to be – natural and whole.

The only reason I’ve been able to maintain my ideal weight for over 10 years now and feel amazing is because of my habits, food choices, and routine, which is outlined in this program. If you haven’t already heard my personal story about what happened when I started eating this way and how much my health improved, read my story and see my before/after photo here. When I took a hard look at what I was really eating and changed my eating habits and food choices, things dramatically shifted in my life. I went from someone overweight and sick to a new being of vibrant health, and I want everyone to feel this way.

I have helped thousands of people develop new eating habits, lose weight, and feel their best. You can read a few of their stories here, here, and here. YOU can do this too and I can’t wait to hear your success story.

For far too long, popular diets have been about one thing, and one thing only: losing weight. Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and Jenny Craig are three of the biggest ‘diet’ companies leading today’s market. While these weight loss companies may help folks lose weight , at least in the short-term, do they actually lead to better health, disease prevention, improved nutrition, and long-term lifestyle changes?
Weight-loss should never be the only goal in making positive diet changes…and a diet plan’s success shouldn’t be weighed, excuse the pun, exclusively by the numbers on your scale. The truth is: major diet companies have major sales goals; the more people they can make their products appeal to, the more products they sell. Great for them, but not necessarily healthy for dieters. Foods with mass appeal, low-calorie or not, don’t usually go hand-in-hand with health. After all…if foods with mass appeal (i.e: ice cream) were actually doing a good job at keeping people healthy, there wouldn’t be so many nutrition-related epidemics today.
Let’s take a look at how three of the leading weight loss companies fare in terms of offering truly healthy diets…
Is Weight Watchers Healthy?
Weight Watchers is a diet plan based on a points system: foods are assigned points based on calories and dieters get a certain amount of points each day. Dieters can use their own foods, or they can buy pre-packaged meals made by the company. The healthiest part of the Weight Watchers diet is that it encourages unlimited eating of fruits and veggies — a good thing. The downside here is that it doesn’t specify the important nutritional differences between say, potatoes and phytochemical-rich sweet potatoes.
The diet is structured around popular foods that are low-calorie while making you feel satiated for longer: foods rich in both fiber and protein are strongly encouraged. While fiber and protein certainly help stave off food cravings, they don’t necessarily serve up optimal health. Excess animal protein, for example, is often linked to various cancers.
Weight Watchers meals and desserts often include cow’s milk — which has been demonstrated to increase cancer risk. Using artificial sweeteners is not specifically discouraged — and, unfortunately, artificial sweeteners actually can ramp up your cravings for sweets (aka high-calorie foods).
Is Jenny Craig Healthy?
The Jenny Craig diet is all about giving dieters convenience — serving up frozen foods that take the guesswork, and prep work, out of dieting. The diet plan is low-fat, high in refined sugar, and, unlike the Weight Watchers diet, low in fiber. The most promising part of the diet is that participants receive coaching alongside the meals.
Pair high sugar content alongside not enough fat or calories…and you’ve got a recipe for a low blood sugar crash. High refined sugar content causes spikes in blood sugar…and crashes. This is not healthy for diabetics — to the point at which Jenny Craig actually had to create a second diet plan just for diabetics.
As Jenny Craig meals are also low in calories, this is a diet plan that leaves its followers feeling hungry. Another downside? The ingredients in the pre-packaged meals are also loaded with additives and artificial ingredients.

Is Nutrisystem Healthy?
The Nutrisystem diet is lower in saturated fats and sugars than Jenny Craig. With this diet, portion control is key. The pre-packaged meals take the guesswork and numbers crunching out of dieting; they also take out many of the nutrients from fresh, whole foods. Unfortunately, processed foods may undermine your health goals.
As with the Jenny Craig meals, this diet ‘works’ by reducing fat and calories. Although Nutrisystem has done some work in recent years to offer less processed food, these meals are still heavily processed.

What is a Healthy Diet?
A healthy diet is far more than just losing weight…true health is long-term changes to both what you eat and how you think about eating . A good diet isn’t about substituting one type of pizza for another kind, it’s not about points, and it’s not about one company’s products. A truly healthy diet is rich in ‘real foods’: minimally processed meals made with whole ingredients. Leading research today shows that a largely plant-based diet, rich in whole foods, leads to fewer cancers and a lower risk of heart disease.
Your goal shouldn’t be to fill your plate with low-calorie facsimiles of your favorite foods like pizza and cheesecake: your goal should be to fill your plate with the disease-preventative foods that will help you live your best, and longest, life.
If you want to lose weight for the long haul, and get healthier, you should choose a diet rich in real foods. A real foods diet is built around achieving lasting health, not just weight loss for the sake of weight loss.
Want to get started? Working with a nutritionist is a great way to get more information. Meal services like ours — that focus on diets and meals rich real foods — make things easier for you by removing all the stress and time of healthy meal planning. If there isn’t a Pure Plates near you, ask your physician, nutritionist, and local gyms for recommendations on similar services in your area. _________________________________________________________________________


Hannah Ash, Journalist and Blog Strategist, Nutrition Fanatic

JoHannah Ash first discovered the transformative power of nutrition after struggling to shed post-baby weight: today, she is 100% committed to continuously learning about disease prevention, weight loss, and healthy living through the foods we eat. She spent a decade living in Burlington, Vermont, surrounded by pioneers in the ‘local foods’ and ‘farm-to-table’ movements — and is proud to have been one of the first people to purchase (and wear) one of the now-famous ‘Eat More Kale’ shirts. When it comes to meal planning for her family, her philosophy can be summed up in three words: “Easy. Pure. Tasty.”

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