NutriSystem D: Significant Weight Loss For Diabetics

By Ali Luke
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Nutrisystem have announced results of a small study carried out by the Temple University that suggests people with diabetes could lose up to 16 times more weight if they follow the Nutrisystem D.

NutriSystem Success D In A Nutshell

Nutrisystem Success D is described by Nutrisystem as “a new weight loss program formulated for the unique dietary needs of people with diabetes”.

All the Nutrisystem plans involve pre-packaged meals (ones with a long shelf-life or flash frozen Chef’s Table Entrees) that are formulated to be low-GI and to deliver a calorie-counted diet. The consumer is supposed to supplement these with fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

It’s free to join, but the cost of the pre-packaged meals average around $280 to $325 per month. The image above, taken from their website, shows one of these meals.

About the Study

The study followed 68 obese people with Type 2 diabetes for six months, putting half on the Nutrisystem D program and half on a standard hospital-directed diet and education program.

Nutrisystem’s promotional material states that:

According to the researchers, the study participants who followed the Nutrisystem D program lost on average 18 pounds during the initial 12 week assessment period and lowered their A1C test, by 0.9. By comparison, those who received the hospital-directed diet and education program over the initial 12 week period lost on average one pound, while their average A1C score increased by 0.03.

(The A1C test is intended to “give you a picture of your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months” – see American Diabetics Association: A1C test for more details.)

I’m inclined to be a little cautious about the results of this study. The number of participants was small (many medical studies involve hundreds or thousands of people). I couldn’t find the study on the official Temple University website.

The lead figure on the study, Dr Gary Foster, wrote the Nutrisystem Diet’s “Mindset Makeover” behavioral guide. Also, Nutrisystem provided an “educational grant” for the Obesity Management In Patients With Type 2 Diabetes dinner meeting at Temple University’s School of Medicine.

I may just be being suspicious, but all this suggests that the study may not have been carried out as rigorously as other medical trials.

If you do suffer from diabetes, consult your doctor before considering adopting a new dietary plan. If you’re thinking about Nutrisystem in general, see our review of Nutrisystem?

39 Comments

  1. Stacy

    I started the Nutrisystem D Diet because I had gained lots of weight and blood sugars were totally out of control. Doctor had put me on Trulicity which wasn’t really helping. Out of desperation I thought I would give this a go. I keep track of everything on the little booklet so I can see my progress (Blood Sugar reading twice a day, all calories I eat, water intake, etc). It has been 11 days and I can see and feel that I have lost weight, my blood sugar has come down to about 130 and is staying steady (that is a GREAT number for me!!). The food isn’t that bad, but to make more palatable, I heat up the food and then put it on top of my salad or a 1/2 cup of green beans or broccoli. My problem is drinking all that water, but I found the Iced Tea with Lemon drink aid at Aldi’s (Fit & Active Brand) and it is really helping to get all that water down!! Good Luck!!

    Reply
  2. Lorraine

    Where is the closest office for me to join and order meals
    I live in New Brunswick, Canada ( City: Bathurst)

    Reply
  3. victor ladota

    I have been on nutrisystem d for one month and lost
    12 lbs.I am a 64 year old male , my cholesterol
    and blood sugar are much lower.The food choices are o.k.
    It forces you to stay disciplined and the support
    is very good. If you work with the counselor and add
    30 minutes of fast walking you will loose weight.
    The second month – week 1 lost 4 lbs added african mango
    extract twice daily.I have been taken off b.p. medicine and
    blood sugar medicine.Working well so far for me.

    Reply
  4. mandielh85

    Axel, I see your points and I’m glad that a diet like that worked for you. But the bottom line is. I can’t ride a mile a day when I work long hours, have school and a second job. An exercise program for one person may not be the right choice for someone else. I doubt that I will be riding my bike 10 miles a day. I think the Nutrisystem plan works if you learn how to exercise with it. I also have read reviews after reviews on many websites where people claim to stay on the diet and lose the weight. I don’t think I need any more proof. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. mandielh85

    I would just like to say that I’m happy someone is happy with the Nutrisystem. I am a diabetic and will try anything at this point. If paying an extra $200 a month (I checked online and their prices have dropped) to loose weight is going to help me get off the meds than why not. People who gain the weight back need to learn that life isn’t THAT easy so I think the program is there to teach us how to eat better. Once your body gets used to eating small portions and right foods then I’m sure it will help keep the weight off. So far it’s the best thing out there for diabetics that I’ve read about!

    Reply
  6. cynthia

    Thank you so much for your very candid review of this program!!! I am trying to get my in-laws to understand that anything that comes from a warehouse is more than likely subject to human mistakes! I have tried for 2 years now to get them to understand that a HEALTHY LIFE STYLE change is better for them than anything they buy from a TV ad.

    I myself have changed my diet and excercise routine and have lost the weight I needed to and have lowered not only my sugar levels but also my cholesterol levels as well…

    Reply
  7. shalane Green

    need information concerning price and food options

    Reply
  8. paul r. webber

    i like to lose wieght

    Reply
  9. dan

    After trying to eat healthy and watching my blood sugar levels keep rising I turned to nutrisystem D for help. It took about one week to see my levels drop from the low 200’s to 95 to 105. I have been on this program for 11 weeks and have not had a blood sugar over 118 since the first week. I have acomplished what I needed to do. I started this diet to control my sugar levels and to drop some weight. I have made a commitment to follow this diet because I see the results I’m getting. I WILL WIN!

    Reply
  10. T2Diabetic

    I just looked at their menu plan for diabetics and it’s packed with carbohydrates (aka sugar). Yes, some diabetics can tolerate some amount of carbohydrates but, this menu is packed with them!

    Reply
    • gertie

      yes,, way too many carbs for anyone who is carb intolerant. Better off on a low carb high protein diet.

      Reply
  11. Joe M.

    sorry, I meant 7 of each meal per week.

    Reply
  12. Joe M.

    My wife and I are doing Nutrisystem together and we’re both having favorable results with it. One month in and I’ve lost 16 lbs. (I ride a bicycle trainer 30 mins/d.) toward my goal of losing 25 lbs. My wife is on Nutrisystem D and she’s lost 13 lbs. and her blood sugar is way down. She was borderline diabetic before.

    Sure, the food’s a little bland but it has to be for mass appeal, like airline food. I suspect the people who complain about the taste are not imaginative with their permitted spices and add-ons. You can add parmesan cheese to the pastas, Tabasco sauce to other things, low fat dressings, parsley, garlic, seasonings, etc. If you find it bland it’s your own fault too. Just stick to the permitted portions and I guarantee you’ll lose weight. I have NOT felt hungry on this diet for the whole month.

    Still, there are certain items to avoid when you select your food for the month. No hamburger patties or anything with peas. The Swedish meatball dish was not good either. My wife didn’t like the brownie. Breakfasts are cereals, oatmeals and muffins-as good as anything in the supermarket.

    The cost is not bad, I’m paying $280/mo. That’s $70/wk for 5 breakfast, 5 lunches and 5 dinners, with 10 snacks and desserts. The cost is instead of, NOT in addition to, your normal food costs. You have to buy your own milk, fruit and vegetables which most people do anyway.

    This program teaches you about portion size, hopefully in a way that you’ll remember after you’re done losing the weight. I’m 45 and my problem is I was still eating portions like I was in my 20’s. Nutrisystem appears to be getting me on the right track.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      You can have Tabasco?? I cant get anyone to respond,,,, and I love Tabasco??

      Reply
      • Ted

        Tabasco should be fine as a seasoning.

        Reply
  13. M.Margaret

    I stand up for Nutri-System D. I was a bit aprehensive to begin this program as I have started so many and really thought the food would taste like cardboard. Not so. The meals are very tastey. It is obvious the company has given each meal careful consideration. I was seriously struggling with my own choices before making the commitment a month ago to get on board. Of course the foods will taste a bit different as they are not prepared with all of the salt,fats and sugars as before. My blood sugar is testing closer to my target number and I feel better with more energy. I may even be a bit more pleasant to others. It is wonderful to have good meals that can travel along without having refrigeration. Why complain about having to grab an apple to go along with your meal? There is nothing better than fresh fruit.

    Reply
  14. Sharon Thomas

    How much is nutrisystem d cost for one month?

    Reply
  15. Charles

    Axel, you have the right idea.
    There is no such thing as a diet. The only diet is in medical terms administered by a doctor for medical reasons. The word “diet” is used by promotors to enhance their products.
    Diet: is the taking away or adding to proper nutrition. You need proper nutrition…no matter what. You take in calories/You have to burn calories. So the scale must balance – take in/burn. No matter what any diet product says this balance has to take place to lose weight properly. If a person loses weight from a diet plan with no burn of calories they are losing muscle and not fat. (ex:Atkins diet plan).
    Riding a bike is great. Remember your body will adapt so mix it up a little. Your max for a day may be 10 miles but after so long your body adapts. Ride hard for 1 mile and the other 9 normal. After a week ride hard for 2 miles…and so on, I think you see what I mean. Good luck-live well

    Reply
  16. Richard E.

    I want to thank all of the people who commented on nutrisystem D. But I especially want to thank Axel Slingerland and Susan M., for their input, it was most helpful and I am grateful to this website for hosting this format.

    Reply
  17. Bobbie

    Very enlightening! I considered trying this but now I think I will continue to educate myself more about diabetes. I think I also shall continue to perpare my own meals because I also believe I need to learn to rely on my own self to keep me healthy.

    Reply
  18. Susan M.

    I ordered (and cancelled) the Nutrisystem D plan. Please if you are diabetic be cautious with this plan. My sugar prior to starting this plan was pretty much in check; I thought this plan would be more convenient which is why I went with it. However, after starting it I began to feel sick. My sugar levels went out of control resulting in me feeling ill. I called Nutrisystem to ask if they could tell me if the product I have in my hand is indeed for diabetics, but they were unable to do so. There is nothing on the packaging to indicate if it is for diabetics so I was unsure. They told me that they interchange many of the foods with the all the plans therefore nothing is on the labeling. I said that’s awful that you don’t have it marked to let people know they do indeed have the right food. I spoke to 5 different people; all of them had problems understanding what I was trying to say. All they could tell me was the invoice/paperwork says its the diabetic plan. I said I’m not talking about the paperwork; I’m talking about the actual food item. On the packaging there nothing indicating if its for diabetics. Finally the 5th girl, who was the supervisor, understood what I was trying to say. I said, the shipping box & paperwork may say diabetic, but I’m talking about the food inside the box. I asked how it was shipped, she said from a warehouse. I said yes, packaged by machine or person? She said, people, I said exactly, who’s to say that person didn’t place the wrong product in the box. That’s when she said, Oh, now I understand. Still she couldn’t answer my question and apologized to me for how I’ve been feeling. She explained that there are 5% or so of the diabetic people who order this product end up with higher sugar than when they started. She said the food just isn’t for everyone. I asked if that is marked somewhere, she said she didn’t think so. I said you should let someone know they should notify people of that, especially the diabetics that there may be a possibility their sugar may be higher than expected. I said your company is playing with people’s health; they deserve the right to know that this product may make you sick.

    So I warn people who are diabetic to watch out for this product, your sugar levels may be fine now, but after starting this plan they may go crazy making you feel ill. Please be cautious.

    Reply
  19. Sherry

    I do eat healthy. I need help to lose weight. Nutrisystem helps, but they didn’t happen to mention that I would need to supplement the diet on my own. The food is awful and tasteless. MREs come to mind. No one knows more about nutrition than a fat person – they’ve all been on every diet under the sun. Nature did not make us all equal.

    Reply
  20. AL TREVINO

    I WAS VERY SCEPTICAL ABOUT THIS DIET BUT AT THE
    URGING OF MY WIFE I DID IT, AFTER A MONTH I HAVE
    LOST 15LBS AND HAVE NOT HAD A INSULIN SHOT IN 3 WEEKS.
    I CHECK MY SUGAR LEVELD 3 TIMES A DAY AND CANNOT BELIEVE
    THE CHANGE.I OFTEN TESTED IN THE 160-180 RANGE AND NOW REGULARLY READ 81-105. I AM VERY PLEASED, AND QUITE SURPRISED.

    Reply
  21. Axel Slingerland

    Don’t buy into the NutriSystem sales pitch. You don’t need it no matter what they say. I lost 65 pounds and lowered my A1c from 8.4% to 5.3% in 6 months simply by riding my bicycle and being a little more careful about what I eat.

    I started out riding a mile or so at a time and worked up to the average of 10 miles a day that I ride every day now. I didn’t change my diet all that much either. All I did was start using Tuscan EVOO (that’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil for all you non-foodies out there…) for cooking oil, eating more protein, and a lot less red meat. Overall it has worked very well.

    So if I can lose more than 1\6th of my body weight and lower my A1c by 3.1% and then keep it low by doing something fun for an hour or so every day, why would I settle for a 0.9% reduction from what is basically no more that over-priced TV Dinners? So I’ll pass on the NutriSystem D plan. My bicycle works much better…

    Reply
  22. deborah branham

    Please tell me why there is no information regarding the cost of your program on your home page?

    Reply
  23. Dan

    As an unpublished pilot study without peer review and a small population base, I still have little doubt that the results are reliable and could be reproduced. Reason being, there is nothing magical about what these people ate. More protein, less inappropriate carbs eaten frequently in smaller portions. No doubt, an ideal diabetic food plan was proposed for both groups. The sole variable, dictating the disparity was that the patients eating the nutrisystem food did not have to shop for, calculate, measure, weigh and schedule their meals. Ultimately, the nutrisystem clients and the control group will either learn how to implement the program or suffer the consequences.

    Reply
  24. MLASSEN48

    I have tried the diet and to be honest, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight from their program. Now the food isn’t super delicious by any strech of the imagination, but it’s not too bad either. It is specially formulated with good carbs and the low glycemic index in mind. I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve gone off all my diabetes medication and feel better than I did 20 years ago. Basically, it teaches those who don’t know how to, how to eat right, portions, etc.

    Reply
  25. zolup1

    I see many things wrong with this study:

    -the extremely small sample size

    -the fact that Dr. Gary Foster, the lead investigator, is also the Chairman of Nutrisystem’s Advisory Council. If that isn’t a significant conflict of interest….

    -we really can’t determine the ‘success’ of any weight loss study, valid or not, until the research subjects are evaluated at least 3 years out to determine if the weight loss has been sustained.

    The fact is that the ‘obesity crisis’ was based on a seriously flawed CDC study (to which they were forced to admit) but they were never held accountable and the obesity industry was born.

    Reply
  26. tj

    When you are at the breaking point from all of the different advice you get from “specialists”, it is a life-saver to find a place that will shop, prepare, weigh, package, and tell you what to eat. Most people may not need this, but it is my only hope for overcoming the effects of type 2 diabetes.

    Reply
  27. J. Kristen

    Well, I don’t like the price. As a family of 6 that’s about how much i spend on ALL of us for 2 weeks. I cannot imagine spending an additional 300 dollars on just ME! However, I can say as long as you do learn how to portion your meals correctly w/out this program what’s the harm in using it?
    I already know how to eat better, and I’ve lost ALL of the *where the heck did this weight come from*-pre-diabetes-diagnosis-weight. I’ve recently been diagnosed w/Type II (in Dec 08) and see my doc and my nutritionist every 3 months, so far I’ve lost 30lbs. and I credit that to the medication really, since i was already eating properly before. I had gestational diabetes w/my last two pregnancies so i knew how to eat….it’s just a pain in the butt sometimes w/toddlers running everywhere. That’s why this program looked great for me, i could just (as someone said) heat and eat during the day, but still be fully capable to make a nice dinner for everyone in the evenings.

    I wouldn’t consider this a “main” diet but rather a supplement for my already good diet.
    just a thought

    Reply
  28. Nutrimetry.com

    Actually, I thought the price ($280-$360) was surprisingly less than I thought it was. I probably spend about $200 a month right now, and the better I try to eat (more veggies etc) the more expensive it gets. My parents have been trying to pressure me to try Nutrisystem, and I’ve refused with the “It’s expensive and I’ll just gain the weight back”. Admittedly, I have done the thing where I lost a lot of weight eating lots of packaged foods — lean cuisine etc — and did it for a long time, so I have to admit now and them I’m tempted… but I stopped because it just didn’t seem normal eating everything from a box. It was so inelegant somehow.

    Reply
  29. Raj

    You are worried about a small study funded by the company that sells the product…you have never been in the Pharma business…every drug that is studied is funded by the company that sells it or there would be no studies performed…this is prepackaged food of course uncontrolled diabetics are going to do well they are uncontrolled because the can’t control what they eat…this is a great option for theses people it teaches them what proper portion size is and also encourages them to eat fresh fruit and veggies come on how can it be bad because it is not fresh food they are killing themselves by what they are eating this can only help.

    Reply
  30. lynn

    in the past i tasted several of the regular meals and they were really awful. the pastas were gummy and the meats and sauces all tasted the same regardless of if they were chicken or beef. you could loose weight with this because it probably tastes so bad you cant finish it.

    Reply
  31. Kellie - My Health Software

    This type of ‘small study’ shouldn’t be given a lot of weight. If the company that sells the product also pays for and does the study, the results may be bias. Its just a way that many companies, especially pharma companies to promote their product.

    Reply
  32. Katie

    Pretty much. You need to learn how to eat properly on your own, not based on a pre-packaged meal. My mother’s done NutriSystem twice and gained the weight back twice, and she knows exactly why: she never learned how to really eat properly. Needless to say, she’s not done NutriSystem after that second time.

    Reply
  33. Spectra

    I’m really skeptical of any diet program that’s based on prepackaged meals because they don’t teach you how to eat in real life. My mom and aunt are on the Jenny Craig program and yeah, they’ve lost weight on the program. But they don’t have to really think about anything…they just heat and eat the dinners up. I think it’s probably better for diabetics to learn the proper types of foods to eat so they can prepare their own meals to lose weight.

    Reply
  34. Jody - Fit at 51

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm is all I can say. Again, like Charles, you still have to supplement the meal. Why not save the money & just eat healthy. Bothers me that this was not an independent study! Money from NutriSystem drove this.

    Reply
  35. Charles

    I think the diet is not good enough because:
    1. It is packaged
    2. It is expensive
    3. They are asking you to supplement this meal with fruits and vegetables giving the impression that the food is not healthy.

    Reply
  36. Dawn/FFL

    I would just take a look at what they are offering for food, just from the picture, I’m thinking this is similar to the Mediterranean diet.

    Reply