Nutrisystem: Reviews and Cost

By Jim F

Nutrisystem is arguably the most affordable diet delivery program, but does the lower cost mean a less effective weight loss program?

We examine the Nutrisystem program and outline some of the issues you need to be aware of.

What You Get For Your Money

Nutrisystem is a diet delivery program that includes both fresh-frozen foods and well as their traditional re-heat meals. Costs are between $9.82 and $11.96 per day (around $290-$360 per month).

  • Basic Plan – Pre-selected ready-to-go food.
  • Core Plan – An additional 100 foods available (choose your own).
  • Uniquely Yours Plan – An additional 150 foods available (choose your own – including frozen foods).

With each plan:

  • Orders are placed on their website and food items are shipped your door free of charge.
  • 24-7 phone access to nutrition support and counseling (not available with basic plan).
  • Access to online tools and community.
  • Transition plans also available after reaching goal weight.

Cancellation Process

Nutrisystem offers a 14-day free trial whereby the customer can cancel and receive a refund (less shipping costs). However, if cancelling after the 14 days AND before the second month is shipped, a $99.00 fee is charged to the customer.

Does Nutrisystem Compare?
With the 28-day autoship option, it is cheaper than Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and significantly cheaper than other diet delivery options.

Nutrisystem Programs

  • Women’s Programs – 28 day plan
  • Men’s Programs – 28 day plan
  • Nutrisystem D – Diabetic Plan – 28 day plan for managing Type 2 Diabetes (Men’s and Women’s version available). See more about Nutrisystem D here.
  • Vegetarian

NOTE: Nutrisystem Flex is still available but is no longer promoted. Flex supplies 20 days of meals per month – leaving weekends for you to choose your own food.

Turbo 13

The Turbo 13 program is based on a goal of a 13 pound weight loss (and 7 inches off body circumference) over the first month. The program comes with a selection of free bars and shakes.

Jenny Craig vs Nutrisystem

Both of these diets are about pre-packaged foods and portion-controlled weight loss. Jenny Craig prices do vary and are often difficult to obtain.

Nutrisystem Jenny Craig at Home
Description 28 Day Auto Delivery One month Premium Success
Content Varies 12 days ready-to-go food and 16 days of frozen.
Shipping Costs Free (*with 28 day order) $130.00
Membership Fees Free $50.00
Food Costs $290-$360 $700-$800
Counseling Support Yes – Telephone Yes – Telephone and in-person

What You Need to Know

The average customer stays for 9.5 weeks.

Nutrisystem conducted a trial of 161 people. Dieters lost 8.3 pounds in a month (compared with only 2.8 pounds on a self-directed weight loss diet). A second trial of 84 overweight adults lead to a weight loss of 11.6 pounds in the first month (compared with a 5.9 lb loss on the DASH diet).

Nutrisystem will help you get back on track, but is not a permanent answer. After finishing your stint with Nutrisystem you still must learn to eat healthy.

Food Options

As long as you are on a self-selection plan, the food options are huge. However there is a great rating system where you can see how others have rated each meal. It’s important to understand the part of the program is the addition of your own vegetables and fruit.

nutrisystem-entree

The taste of the food seems to be… well… a matter of taste. Some people are happy with it, while other (typically more vocal customers) do not think much of the taste.To be honest, given the price of the food, be aware of how high you set your expectations. Other popular food delivery programs start at $675 per month!

Nutritional Aspects and Criticisms

The Nutrisystem is based around metabolic type.

Daily calorie amounts vary from 1200 to 1500, and each days food consists of 3 meals and 2 snacks. The macro-nutrient ratios are approximately 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 20% fats.

In recent years there has been considerable improvement in food quality. None of the meals have any trans-fat or high fructose corn syrup. Nutrisystem have been criticized for the amount of sodium in their food. They have addressed this in recent years and customers can expect around 2000mg/day sodium if on a Nutrisystem plan. This is consistent with current dietary guidelines that suggest a maximum of 2300mg/day.

Alcohol should be avoided, but tea, coffee, and diet sodas are okay.

Exercise is fully recommended with beginner, intermediate, and advanced workout plans available.

So… Will You Lose Weight?

Yes.

The diet is reduced calories, and clinical trials undertaken by Nutrisystem have shown significant weight loss. On of the more recent studies of Lean 13 show an average 11.63 lb weight loss over the first four weeks (src).

Most diets eventually reach a plateau, but there some simple tricks you can use to break the plateau.

Nutrisystem is an economical way of losing weight, with very little time investment. However if the taste of food is not to your liking, be prepared to pay around 2-4 times more for other delivered diets.

Comments have been closed. Unfortunately we cannot verify the accuracy of comments (both pro and con).

175 Comments

  1. Ann

    I said the same thing…. almost verbatim… to my son on the phone last night! I told him I don’t care if the food is like “flavored cardboard” if I lose the weight that I haven’t managed to lose since I was a teenager. At 53, and single, I want a change… and I want it now! I am encouraged to read that some of the meals are actually pretty enjoyable. I have decided to give NS to myself as a Valentine’s Day gift this year. ?

  2. MJ

    I previously did not realize that there were 6 pages of comments. After reading all of them I began seeing the negative ones that I saw on the previously mentioned website. I guess I will not be buying NS. I believe that if I buy a product and it sucks then I should get my money back no questions asked. Thank you all for the information!

  3. MJ

    I have taken the time to research this NS diet. I am 29 yo male who used to be very active as youngster. Sports in high school and some out side of that. 5 yrs ago I became a step closer to adult hood and began a career and got married. Since then I have become very unhappy with my weight, energy level, and poor eating habbits. I live and work the opposite schedule compared to most people. Meaning I sleep during the day and work all night. I have done the adkins diet with hydroxycut and 5-7 days a week at the gym dropping 20 lbs in one month. That only lasted for a short time. I read so many poor comments on consumeraffairs.com about the NS diet and company. Can anyone tell me how many calories one dinner has on the NS diet. Can I have more details about the the supplementing of foods. I do not want to pay out the wazoo for these meals. Does anyone have anymore websites I can check out? Imput…imput….imput….I really enjoy the imput from persons in the medical profession.

    Thanks!

  4. lynn

    Tried this and could not handle the food. When I had the hamburger (that comes dried in a packet that you add water to and watch it come to life like a sponge) I said “that’s enough”. One bite and all the water squeezed out made me totally sick! I’m sorry…there has to be a better way!

  5. Linda

    My husband and I started NS for the New Year, like so many others. He was able to stick with it better than I. I suffered from so much bloating and gas (the breakfast muffins have 36% fiber) that it was better to be home. The greatest drawback, however, was the taste or lack thereof. I couldn’t watch TV because I was salivating during food commercials. We both could not eat another raw carrot! The daily charts were great, along with daily reminders of exercise, drinking water, and charting weight. If NS were to improve their food (absolutely hated the egg frittatas and my order had almost nothing but dried egg frittatas for breakfast), then I might be back for another jump start.

  6. Shannon

    Thinking about joining up on the Family Plan – can you advise if the $100 is given at EACH 28 day auto ship? Or is it a one time discount?

    • Lisa Munoz

      I was told they didn’t have a family plan. Very disappointed with the food..pasta dishes are overcooked and end up being bowl of mush..the hamburger was gross and could not eat. I am trying to get a refund with no luck. My husband and I are on fixed income and this has caused quite a hardship for us. My husband said when he opened up the hamburger it looked and smelled like “SKIPPY DOGFOOD”

  7. Just Me

    Hey PB, I noticed your GI difficulties, be careful here, if you are eating mostly pastas you may have a gluten intolerance (and this diet is exacerbating it). My oldest child (8) was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It presents itself differently in different people. My child never had the “failure to thrive” that some Celiac children have, but she had terrible issues (as you describe), once she was diagnosed (via blood tests) we removed all gluten from her diet (it is EVERYWHERE – even licorice) and she is doing beautifully. You can really damaged your body internally and it will catch up with you when you are older, if you are an undiagnosed celiac. Best wishes!

  8. JustMe

    Hi Susan, I haven’t weighed, but I just started the diet three days ago and I could taste the salt immediately (which is why I am on this website to see if anyone else thinks the food is too salty). The Mushroom Risotto was so salty I could barely finish it (but I did because I want to “eat all the foods” so I won’t graze elsewhere (LOL). I found all my rings become tight after consuming the dinners (this is day three and yep, fingers are swelling). I only swell that way when I eat too salty of a food (like Chinese take out). I think I’ll only do this one month and try another diet. Good luck!

  9. Dkhotl

    In 1983 I was 5’8″ and weighed 170–not obese, but “big.” I so hated that adjective. I tried this diet and that but could only stick to one for maybe two weeks at most. I finally bit the bullet paid the relatively big bucks it cost back then,and went to Nutri-System, I lost 25 lbs. and it took maybe a year to gain 10 of it back. Scared, I joined again and took off the 10. Now it’s a pattern–I weigh myself once a week and as soon as I’m 10 lbs over my goal weight I order a month of food. It turns out that I order it every one to two years. I’ve developed some better eating habits, though obviously I still overeat or I wouldn’t be ordering the food once a year. But……..I simply have a huge appetite. It’s not as big as it was 25 years ago, and when I’m on the diet for a month it decreases, but never goes back to the appetite of the few skinny people I know. There are just too many good things out there.
    Re doing it myself–of course I could, but don’t. Cheating is just too easy.
    Back to NutriSystem–I feel like I’m in a mental “box” and can resist all the fabulous foods around me when I’m doing the diet. I’m not a finicky eater and there are very, very few things I don’t like. By now I know what not to order. So…I am 68 and so far have avoided the type II diabetes that plagues two of my four siblings and both parents (now deceased.) I’m also told I look much younger than my age. I am a Nutri fan, obviously. Just started my 2011 box.

  10. laura

    I would like to thank everyone who posted coments.

  11. me

    ailmends? or almonds yummmm and by the way i do not think people are whining at all they are telling their personal experiences plain and simple

  12. me

    I bet you its the sodium that is in the food and it seems as I am reading this food has a lot of it. The 6 week body makeover has absolutely no salt. When i cheat and have some salt I do not lose either, the miunte i drop all morsels no matter how small i lose

  13. me

    Boy was that harsh. I just got some of the meals at Big Lots for a buck. Yes you are right some are horrid, some ok and the beef and pasta tasted like chili pasta and beef and that was good. I was thinking of trying that and filling with breakfast and 2 fruits and 2 milks. That way the cost would be 14.00 a week. I really think the six week body makeover is the best diet. It seemed to cleanse my system, lost a good amount of weight and felt good , the downsize is i have a very bad back and preparing the food because there is no already prepared food allowed was tough for me. It is a very strict diet and you feel great but you have to be a trooper to stay on it long. Unfortunately my back went out and I was in excruiating pain and dropped the diet and gained all but 2 pounds back in 4 months. I am determined to go back on it because i felt so good on it, vibrant full of energy but I SOOOOO missed my milk. that is also not allowed

  14. Tiffany

    Quito is correct. Just pointing out the facts. 10 lbs in one week is most likely due to water loss and eating way less salt which causes water retention. By pointing out the facts then maybe this person won’t get their hopes up with the first weeks results and end up being let down and giving up when reality sets in.

  15. Tiffany

    Eat a pear every day! My daughters suffers from constipation. Pears are one of the highest fiber fruits. Try to drink more water, eat other high fiber foods, and try Miralax (use it for my girls) if it still continues.

  16. Tiffany

    A good idea when cooking for one:
    Make a whole weat lasagna, use low fat cottage cheese instead of ricota, use light mozerella sparingly, throw in some veggies. Cut into portions and freeze and you have your own nutrisystem for way cheaper! I do it for my husband and I since it’s just the two of us.

  17. Carissa

    I’m afraid that you’re a medical professional that cannot spell to save your life–which leaves plenty of doubt with regard to your credibility.

  18. joy gray

    I need to know how much a month costs. I am 82, and in good health, but a little overweight. I weigh 130 and should weigh 120.

  19. Cole

    I have a bottle of wine a day habit. If I start the NS diet and continue with my much loved wine in the evenings, will the diet still work?

  20. Quito

    Hi Heather,

    Disturbing and annoying? Scientific calculations?? I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade… And, calling them “scientific calculations” is like calling balancing your checkbook a “scientific calculation”,

    If someone loses 10 lbs in one week then they should suspect it’s not fat… It’s a good time to be ready for the slow down. If someone continues to drop 10 lbs a week, that’s a great signal to go see your doctor.

    Be well, Heather.

  21. Brittany

    For Quito…

    Please stop detering people’s happiness with your scientific calculations. They are quite disturbing and annoying.

    Just stick to the diet, say what you have to say about your weight loss and keep it movin’!

    Thanks!

  22. Brittany

    WOW for NutriSystem! This is my 9th day and I have lost 10 lbs. I follow the plan and have cheated everyday…but only between breakfast and lunch ( longtime to me….however, I cheated with something they recommend on the diet, and even with cheating (sometimes you just need something) I used portion control (ironic. Overall, I am pleased, but this following week I have been told is the week that I will perhaps start to see the results in my waistline. My mother told already after the 10th day that my waist looked smaller.

    Also, I excerise everyday for 30 mins. which probably helps, and builds muscle. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat. I love this diet and have so much energy. The food is great for a prepackaged dioet. The people who are saying that it is horrible are sadly mistaken if they think they are going to get gourmet food shipped to them at only $270 a month. Also, The diet really is not that expensive. Think about how much you spend on groceries a month, plus going to fast food places, plus your morning latte, plus some Haggen-Daas(however you spell it)etc. You spend on average about 400 amonth on food alone and dont even notice it. It is the paying up front that throws people off. But, then again, I am single, working, living with my parents rent-free for the summer. Anyway, my plan is to lose 30lbs before I return to college, and at 10 lbs in 9 days, I think I may hit they goal pretty soon. My total goal is to lose 80 lbs.

    Good Luck Everyone, and give NutriSystem a shot if you are on the fence trying to make a decision!!!

  23. PB

    Thank you, Quito for explaining that so scientifically!

    Update on the GI issues: it seems that my body is now a teeny bit on the constipated side, versus what I had a week ago..diarrhea. Any suggestions anyone? I am following the NS diet very closely. Should I have more or less fiber or water?

  24. Quito

    Doug said:

    I’ve been on NS for a week now, and I’ve lost 10 pounds.

    Hi Doug,

    10 lbs of fat is 35,000 calories. To lose this in a week requires a calorie deficit of 5,000 calories a day. I doubt you were eating 7,000 calories a day before, and taking your metabolism down that fast would be tough. On the other hand, losing 4 quarts of water and 2 lbs of fat is possible if you cut your calorie intake by 1,000 calories a day.

    I’m saying this just to tell you that you are probably not going to sustain this rate of loss – which is really good. Losing 2-3 lbs a week, max, is more reasonable.

    Good luck!

  25. PB

    Barb: get back on NS if it worked for you. This time around, try to pay attention to the amounts of foods you’re eating, so you can mimic it when you come off of NS. NS actually recommends that you do wean off of their products, so your body gets used to the change and also you will acclimate to yourself controlling what you’re eating. Make any sense? I am paying attention!

  26. Barb

    I tried Nutrisystems with a friend from work a year ago. My friend did not care for the taste and quit very quickly. I really didn’t mind alot of the food, and in about 6 weeks, lost over 20 lbs. I was so excited, but then in a short time gained the weight back. I loved the cereals, pasta dishes, and other things as well. I didn’t care for the tuna and chicken salads, but most of the food was tolerable, and my energy level was amazing. I felt very healthy on it, and even though I gained it back, I may try it again, and be more careful when I go off.

  27. PB

    Doug: How did you manage to lose 10 lbs in only a week? Ive been on the NS diet for a week too and lost 2 lbs. I am sticking to it too. Not that Im not happy with the 2 lbs, but…If I lost 10 lbs in a week, I’d only have one more week to go! I find the lunches not so good. I especially hate the ones I have to mix with water. They arent anything like food. I like the dinners though. Im not a big breakfast person, so a granola bar is fine for me.

  28. PB

    I think besides counting calories or watching what you eat and excercising, the key component to all this to make it work is believing and knowing. If it’s not in the mind to do it, it won’t work for long. Esp when its time to come off of a diet and go it alone. Habits are called habits for a reason. Habits have to be understood and learn a new habit. Kind of like people who have addictions to alcohol or drugs or anything else. These are habits. Albeit, some are needed by the body, once used, but it’s still a way of life that needs to be changed. So if a diet such as NS helps for someone to learn a new habit and understand the triggers and the old ways, then that’s great! I know my trigger when it comes to eating….boredom!

  29. steph

    hey everyone. today is my first day on NS. had the choco chip granola bar for breakfast and the fetuccine alfredo for lunch. the food is not spectacular but it is not horrendous either. im quite excited but nervous about this whole program but i think its definitly the way to go. there really is nothing to complain about. no one ordered this food for fun..its for a purpose

  30. PB

    First day on NS. Cool! Had the scrambled eggs in a cup for breakfast. I didn’t follow the directions exactly. One of the first steps is very important. STIR the mixture and then microwave. I didnt stir first and got a rubbery mixture at the bottom of the cup. This was one of the items they choose for me. Its ok.

  31. Kathy

    I spoke with a councelor from NS and she said any diet drink without caffeine could count as water…that made me very happy…I hate water.

  32. Bobbi

    I like the program. It works for me. Of cours you’re not supposed to stay on 3 NS meals a day once you lose all your weight! By then, you’ll be very familiar with what REAL, appropriate serving sizes look like, and you will be able to make healthier, un-distorted choices. One of the main purposes of the prepackaged meals, besides the conveniece, is to teach you what a healthy amount of food is.

    Also, I really like he muffins. They’re great if you have them with milk as your dairy for breakfast.

    As far as cost goes, I think its fine. It’s way cheaper than Jenny Craig or even Weight Watchers, with all of the membership and meeting fees….Nutrisystem is Great, in my opinion. There’s no contract, and you can send it back if you don’t like it. I think you still have to pay shipping, but that’s much more of a refund than any other weight loss program gives you.

  33. Suzanne

    I have been on this diet for 3 weeks and have lost about 10 lbs. AS one person said, there are things you will like and things you won’t like. I don’t think it’s that bad. The chicken and sausage cajun style dinner was really good. My son tasted it and liked it.
    The worst thing I’ve had is the Pasta Parmesan w/ Brocolli lunch. It’s horrible. I try to avoid any of the meals with pasta – it’s too slimy for me. My very favorite dinner is the Chicken Breast with Basil tomato sauce. I steam zuchinni or mushrooms and pour the tomato sauce over them.
    I have a very sensitive stomach and have had absolutely no side effects such as some have described.
    In fact, I have mild irritable bowel syndrome but on this diet all of those symptoms have gone away. Go figure.

  34. Kat

    I was nervous starting this after reading all the negative comments. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the program. The food does not taste bad at all (it certainly is not gourmet, but compared to the “dog food” comment it is quite good). Some of the items (raviolis and flame broiled hamburger) are quite delicious! The texture of some of the food is strange at first, but you can get used to it. Adding fruit and vegetables is easy to do also. I’ve only been on it for a week, but I have not been hungry or had bad gas as others have described. I also have not weighed myself since it has only been a week. Will keep you posted.

  35. Joyce

    NutriSystem works and it’s convenient. After adhering to the program for about 2 months (2 orders would equal 9 weeks of food) most people then know what a healthy portion size is, and how to add in salads, veggies and fruits to their diet. It’s harder doing NS on your own, but all the great Weight Watchers, South Beach and Healthy Choice foods in the stores make it much easier.

  36. SM

    I started the diet 2 weeks ago, and I have lost 12 pounds. Although I have been very happy with the loss, it has been a struggle as the food is not very good. I make myself eat it because I paid a lot for it. Everything has been tolerable so far except for the Tuna Casserole. It was pureed tuna. (yuck) I am disappointed as to how much I have to purchase on my own at the store to supplement the diet. I am buying everything except for the entrée itself. I am considering sending the rest of my food back for a credit, just buy out of the frozen food section, get better food for less money, and still get portion control. After 2 weeks of this, I have proved to myself that I can have the control. It is good to read the other comments to know that I am not alone here. I wish everyone the best of luck on this diet. It definitely works if you can handle the food & cost.

  37. Michael M

    How can you people say that your a picky eater when your 50lbs over weight? Your obviously not that picky. I ordered my NS today. Need to lose 50lbs and am confident I’ll get it done. When you go from gorging yourself and eating 5,000 cal a day to around 1500 you will get head aches for awhile – Hello. I would opt to suffer a while with some not so good tasting food than suffer being a fat _ _ _ !!

  38. mandy

    I just ordered NS today but after reading all these comments im a little scared. this site was very helpful to read while i was picking foods to order, I enjoy reading what people liked and didnt like. I guess I’ll see when the food comes.

  39. Ken

    Ken said:
    I’ve been on NutriSystem for 3 weeks and am loving it. Granted, the food is prepackaged so it will never taste as good as fresh. I knew that going in so I had no surprises. I am full all day long and I’ve lost 12 pounds so far. I add my own fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to the prepackaged food and all of my daily nutrient needs are met.[…]

    After 8 weeks, I am now down 25 pounds and loving it. I am not bored with the food and feel comfortable that I can do this program for another 60 pounds. Good stuff.

  40. Michelle

    I owe it to Nutrisystem, it has helped me get back on track. After two children I had gotten off track with eating and portion control. Following Nutrisystem has made me realize that I need portion control and it is as much a mental aspect as an addiction I can control. I am very happy with Nurtisystem.

Comments are closed.

References

  • Gudzune, K. A., Doshi, R. S., Mehta, A. K., Chaudhry, Z. W., Jacobs, D. K., Vakil, R. M., ... & Clark, J. M. (2015). Efficacy of commercial weight-loss programs: an updated systematic review. Annals of internal medicine, 162(7), 501-512.