Nutrisystem is an internet-based provider of weight loss products and services. To simplify, their business model is based on the provision of a complete approach to diet and supplementation (using supplements that they manufacture and sell, coincidentally).
Nutrisystem works to provide consumers with dietary programming and pre-made Nutrisystem meals which are delivered every 4 weeks. The theory being that outsourcing meal management makes it much easier for individuals to follow a strict diet plan as it seems less like a chore and there’s no difficulty in counting macros and preparing meals.
Plus, it’s less of a chore to cook for those who are always on the go!
The Nutrisystem approach has been found to be fairly successful with numerous positive customer reviews. However, with the website claiming that consumers should be able to lose up to 13-15 pounds (and 7 inches off their waist) in the first month, it’s worth further investigation to validate just how good Nutrisystem actually is.
What is Nutrisystem?
The idea of Nutrisystem is to take the guesswork out of making your meal plan. By prescribing what to eat and when, the program eliminates the need to count calories or keep track of macros. This process is still performed, but it is done by the individuals working at Nutrisystem rather than the end-user.
Unlike other weight loss companies that work with a similar business model, Nutrisystem even negates the need to regard your food as having point values that you need to add up and stay under an allotted amount.
As Nutrisystem also endeavors to provide you with pre-made meals for all times of the day, the need to figure out portions for your plate is also taken away from you. This diet plan was designed to be as easy to follow as possible and built around keeping consumers on track and away from temptations.
Of course, it is a diet, so you won’t be able to eat whatever you want, but you do have a variety of plans to choose from and a customizable menu from which to select your diet-food options. In addition to your Nutrisystem prepared meals, you are also permitted to add fresh produce (plant foods only) from the grocery store – these will provide additional nutritional value to your meals and ensure that you’re kept satisfied without adding junk food.
What’s excellent about Nutrisystem is that it adopts a scientific approach to dieting. Nutrisystem doesn’t rely on fad products and concepts (although it does offer some licensed diet shakes and appetite-curbing snack bars).
Nutrisystem's success is based on pre-calculated calorie and nutrient intakes being given to consumers in an easy-to-follow format. This is the same approach that elite athletes take when tailoring their diet to their training, just without the need to do the math.
Does Nutrisystem Work?
It is likely that consumers using Nutrisystem for weight loss are going to experience positive results. Controlling calories, portions and eating regular meals is a health formula that should, more often than not, result in successful weight loss .
Of course, the success of the system does rely on the individual sticking to the prepackaged meals and additional healthy foods as prescribed. As with any dietary change, adherence is going to be key to success. If you order this service and continue to eat junk food, you’re not going to see the type of results you’re looking for.
The prepackaged meals are nutritionally good for you, but a potential flaw in this weight loss model is the transition back to eating “real-food” after weight-loss goals have been achieved. Individuals can find it challenging to maintain the same level of dietary control for themselves once it is no longer so strictly enforced.
In many ways, this seems to be the more insidious side of the prepackaged diet market. The individuals who see results using Nutrisystem are likely to rely on the service for their nutrition without ever learning the “why” so that they can sustain themselves. This leads to reliance on the product, even if it is a sound system and service.
When thinking about applying this diet to individuals with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, hypotension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, overall it was found to be a beneficial change. The meals that
Nutrisystem provides are low in sodium and saturated fats, whilst being high in fiber, smart carbohydrate choices, lean protein and healthy fats.
The Nutrisystem plans are not individualized so there is a potential downside: different things will work for different people and individual differences count for a large amount of the effects of any single dietary prescription.
That being said, a study entitled “Efficacy of commercial weight loss programs: an updated systematic review” reported that Nutrisystem participants achieved at least 3.8% greater weight loss at 3 months than a control group that received educational counseling.
Before you decide whether this is the weight loss programme you have been searching for, let’s talk about the price. Marked at between $290 and $360 per month, Nutrisystem is not an option for those who are tight on cash.
Is it really worth paying this amount of cash for microwave food?
We’ve already said a lot about Nutrisystem and we’re not going to drag things out and repeat ourselves. The important facts that you need to know are very simple:
- Nutrisystem offers scientific dieting and good guidelines
- Plans are incredibly expensive ($290-$360 per month)
- You’re likely to see serious results depending on your adherence to the diet
- You could learn this stuff yourself by investing a little time and effort
If you are cash-rich but time-poor, this might be a good way to manage your food intake and achieve a physique that matches your work ethic
A significant benefit of Nutrisystem is that it is exceptionally easy to follow. For many, adhering to diets is a major barricade to achieving the weight loss that they’re looking for: 95% of diets are estimated to fail due to a combination of dietary knowledge and poor willpower.
Nutrisystem takes away the first requirement, though the latter is all on you!
The appeal of Nutrisystem is all about convenience.
If you don’t have to think about shopping, cooking, portions and if your happy to feel like someone else is in control of the nutrition aspect of your life then this is a great product. Conversely, eating microwaveable food non-stop can grate on the soul so be prepared for that change to your culinary tastes!
If you’re looking to explore cooking for yourself, eat takeaways or restaurant food, or simply don’t have an exorbitant budget, Nutrisystem isn’t for you. Luckily, investing some of your own time to learn the basics of nutrition is relatively easy and low-cost and will provide you with the same results.
This is definitely an effective system, but the real question is whether the convenience outweighs the financial cost and, ultimately, how much support you want/need.
John has been a fitness enthusiast for over 10 years, starting out while struggling with obesity as a teenager. Over the years he has advised numerous clients on how to transform their physiques and their lives. As a writer on Nutrition Inspector he aims to help others achieve real results by staying clear of the common hype and false claims in the supplement industry!