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.
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.
- 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.
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.
The Lean 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|
|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.
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.
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?
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.