So many diets are popping up today due to the over exceeding rate of obesity in today’s century. Questions like “what diet is the best?”, “should I cut carbs?”, or “do I need to be on 1200 calories to lose weight?”
Many people go to what others are doing, because they think if it worked for them, then it will work for their needs. This is where it goes all wrong. Out of all the diet programs out in the weight loss industry, one of the most popular is called Nutrisystem.
What is Nutrisystem?
Nutrisystem is a weight loss program that offers pre-made meals tailored to help individuals lose weight without having to “diet”. In all honesty, it is a diet still since it has restriction in calories and “rules” of eating certain foods. Through many ads in magazines and what is displayed on television, they say that a person is “guaranteed” to lose a certain amount of inches and weight in a certain amount of days. No wonder people throw money at this, am I right?
What does Nutrisystem Offer?
Nutrisystem has a few different plans for individuals, but they are not customized for each person, meaning for their specific needs. If that person is vegan, then that’s not an option for them. If this person has to stay away from gluten, then that’s not an option for them either. The plans are very simple: it includes plans for both women, men, and those who have diabetes. These plans are to help each individual lose weight “without giving up” foods they love. These foods are pre-packaged and pre-made to help make it easy for the individual to not deal with cooking. They are portioned out with a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins–yet very low calories in each meal. They offer a list of vegetables and fruits for the individual to go and purchase. Also, they have nutritional shakes and protein bars for snacks.
What Meals Does Nutrisystem Provide?
Nutrisystem offers unique meal plans for women or men. You can either choose the basic, core, uniquely yours, uniquely yours core, diabetes, diabetes core, or vegetarian. The difference between the women and men are the number of meals that are provided each day. Women will get three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with one snack. While men will get three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with two snacks. For diabetics, they are specialized for those who have diabetes, and have a diabetic counselor who teaches those how to make better choices with food.
As for the differences with the basic, core, uniquely yours, and uniquely yours core is the variety in meals choices. The basics has pre-selected meals of pastas, burgers, and more for the 4 week plan. With the basic, the meals are already selected, therefore the individual doesn’t have the choice to pick their own meals. The core offers 100 different meals to choose from compared to the pre-selection of the basic group, and the individual can choose whatever meals they want. And for the uniquely yours, this offers a little bit more variety with 160+ choices, and the uniquely yours plus is not much different from the uniquely yours. So the biggest differences with these is just the different variety in meals to choose from and whether you can pick your own meals or not. Men have the same option, likewise those with diabetes do as well.
Nutrisystem Pricing and Value
Is Nutrisystem worth the money?
It depends on the plan you choose. Women range from $234.99 to $339.99 a month, while men are $279.99 to $379.99 a month. The basic breaks down to a little over $8 a day, while the uniquely yours and vegetarian are almost $12 a day. If you sign up for auto-delivery, this can save you 35% percent instead of paying one time.
In my opinion, $8 can go a long way at the grocery store to be able to make not one meal but quite a few. I know this might not seem bad in the beginning, but $8 to $12 adds up really fast. You could save quite a bit of money just making smart choices at the grocery store, and making your own meals. The plus side to this, you are eating real food.
How is the Food on Nutrisystem?
The food is packaged and/or frozen to keep it fresh. Nutrisystem is known to using preservative free and no additives in their meals, but I do believe it is still not as healthy as fresh foods to make on your own. Since these meals have to be delivered, they have to be preserved somehow, and this involves chemicals. But on the other hand, many other “healthy” foods are slightly processed in order to stay fresh. They are known for their pastas, pizzas, wraps, muffins, and frozen entrees. In order to have more vegetables and fruits, you have to buy those separately. The only thing that makes these meals magical is the caloric reduction, not just because they are labeled Nutrisystem.
Is the food good? It’s not bad, but still very little when it comes to the amount you get, and I know less satisfying. Best option is always choose fresh foods to make and learn how to fill your plate with the balance of carbohydrates, fats, and lean proteins.
Does Nutrisystem work?
If you’re looking for a quick fix, then yes it works. Now if you’re looking for a long term success in fat loss and body composition change, then no it doesn’t. Many people have had success with the weight loss with this program, but if you don’t stick to it, many fall back into their normal ways. Known as the “turbo” week, this is a week of very low calories for both men and women to “jumpstart” their weight loss with this program. After that, they go up a little in calories and continue. Yes, you can lose weight with this, but it’s only because of the calorie reduction, and that is all. The reason why this is not long term in my eyes, is due to the “rebound” effect from this. If you come off a low calorie diet without slowly increasing back to normal calories, your body is not used to this intake. The results will be to store the excess of what is not being utilized, aka “calories”. This is why many people fail after this program. It’s not because they aren’t eating the foods from the plan, but overeating the amount that their body is not used to. People who succeed in this are those who actually learned about portion control and choices during this program. It is very possible to succeed with this, but you have to be very careful with diet after diet effect.
What are the Best Alternatives to Nutrisystem?
REAL FOOD. I can’t say it any clearer. Simply learning about portion control; the balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; education on calories in VS calories out; and patience. All this will help anyone lose weight and keep it off.
Nutrisystem Pros and Cons
The concept of Nutrisystem is good in terms of showing individuals about portion control and balance with meals, but that doesn’t mean it fits for that individual alone. It’s easy for someone to be able to grab and go without the hassle of cooking, and it’s also easy for someone who doesn’t want to “worry” about learning the concept of nutrition. Due to the low caloric intake of the plan, the individual will see a drop in pounds, but does this mean Nutrisystem is worth it?
If you are looking for a quick fix, minimum cooking, or you don’t want to learn how to eat properly, this is a plan for you. Don’t get me wrong, I see how this is very easy to follow, but is it sustainable? As a certified nutrition specialist, I see this path go wrong many times. Many people follow a diet program and either fall off track, or they go back to their normal dietary habits. This follows up with a rebound in weight and more. Another issue I see with this, is the lack of quality food as well. Pre-made meals have to stay fresh somehow, and the only way that happens is to preserve it with chemicals. Many people look at the calories only, and not the quality. These meals are not nutrient dense and very low in calories to keep the individual satisfied. Since each person is different, these plans don’t necessarily fit their needs. Some people need more carbohydrates, while others need more fats. Nutrisystem doesn’t provide that, but only plans that are low in calories. As for the weight loss, the reason this happens is due to the drop in calories. Depending on the plan you pick, the first week both male and female start off with a 1000 calories to intake. This is an issue from the start, because they promote a “jumpstart” to weight loss, but it’s only a large deficit in calories that is happening. By week two, the female will go up to 1200 calories, while the male will go up to 1500. In my opinion, still very low in intake. Depending on how much each individual was eating before starting Nutrisystem, will be reflected by the drop in calories.
The Science of Weight Loss
Without going into much detail, the way weight loss works is due to the calories in VS calories out. Eating less than your maintenance calories creates weight loss; eating more creates weight gain. You might be thinking this is great because you are eating lower than your maintenance, and even though this is true, this doesn’t mean it’s sustainable.
How the body works is very easy: it likes to stay in balance, so when you go into a very low calorie diet, your body will start to adapt to this new intake. Therefore, your body starts to slow down its certain mechanisms of how it functions. Your energy starts to drop, your heart rate starts to drop, you start to feel a little bit colder, and this is due to your body trying to conserve energy with what you are giving it. Long story short, you stop to lose weight due to the stall in your metabolic rate. This is the reason why low calorie diets do not work long term, and also why people gain weight back rapidly after low calorie diets. Nutrisystem is not a long-term diet program for individuals, especially if they want to have long-term fat loss results. And the reason is due to the lack of sustainability, the lack of knowledge in nutrition, the lack of nutrients, and the lack of balanced macronutrients for each individual.
Final Thoughts on Nutrisystem
And even though Nutrisystem is considered easy, it is still a big investment to make when it comes to ordering the meals each week. Some of these plans can run from $200 up to $600 depending on what you pick, and how much you get. This investment is not equal to the outcome that you were wanting to get when it comes to weight loss, and the reason is due to everything I said above. You can still get the same food that you would enjoy on Nutrisystem, but in a fresher point of view, and you won’t be spending your whole paycheck when it comes to this diet program. If people were able to understand nutrition better when it came to weight loss, things would not be so blindsided when it comes to the weight loss industry. Nutrisystem is just another quick fix unfortunately, and a lot of people are reeled in by the advertisements that are displayed about fast weight loss and dropping inches.
The best results I firmly believe in, is being able to learn about nutrition itself. Understand carbohydrates, fats, and proteins so you can be able to feed your body properly. Understand the facts when it comes to weight loss, when it comes to portion control, when it comes to your body’s needs of how much you need to intake. Being able to understand all these things, you’ll not only feel better in your body, but you will lose weight, save money, and feel better with your choices.
- Food Quality
- Comparision to Alternatives
Nutrisystem is a weight loss program that offers pre-made meals tailored to help individuals lose weight without having to “diet”. Is it worth the money? Read our review to find out.