What is the NutriSystem Diet?
The NutriSystem Diet is a diet of good carbohydrates, low fat, and healthy protein. It is intended to curb food cravings and satisfy dieters’ hunger with lower calorie meals.
The NutriSystem Diet relies heavily on the glycemic index, which separates carbohydrates into “good” and “bad” carbs. Bad carbs cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which is bad for dieters because rapid changes in blood sugar result in food cravings. The good carbs, which are low on the glycemic index, do not cause rapid changes in blood sugar levels. By using the glycemic index, the NutriSystem Diet helps dieters control food cravings and binge eating.
NutriSystem prepackaged foods are essential to the diet. Foods include bars, muffins, pretzel snacks, pancake mix, soups, and dinner entrees. Fifty-five percent of the calories in the NutriSystem meals are from carbohydrates, 25 percent from protein, and 20 percent from good fat. The nutrition provided through the diet aligns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Dieters eat five meals per day. The diet for women is a 1,200 calorie-a-day diet. For men, it’s 1,500 calories a day. At these calorie levels NutriSystem dieters typically lose one to two pounds per week.
NutriSystem dieters are encouraged to exercise, using CDs or online fitness plans tailored to their fitness levels. Exercise programs include aerobics, yoga, and resistance training. NutriSystem suggests that dieters consult with their healthcare providers before starting any new exercise program.
What Does the NutriSystem Diet Cost?
There is no membership fee for the NutriSystem Diet. Participants pay approximately $300 per month (plus delivery) for meals and snacks, plus the cost of the grocery items to supplement the prepackaged food. There are discounts for automatic delivery. Promotions and other discounts are frequently available. Dieters get free counseling as a bonus for buying NutriSystem prepared foods.
How the NutriSystem Diet Works
NutriSystem offers different meal plans for men, women, people over 50, vegetarians, and people with diabetes. NutriSystem D is a 28-day program designed to help people with type 2 diabetes lose weight. The program features a “dietitian-approved diabetic meal plan” to help stabilize blood sugar without feeling hungry.
Once you decide on your plan you can choose your meals for 28 days. Your order arrives at your home within four to ten days. Schwan’s Home Services brings the frozen foods and UPS or FedEx usually bring the packaged products.
You can choose traditional foods like macaroni and cheese, or be adventurous with vegetarian lasagna or tacos. You can even have desserts, like blueberry lemon bars.
You supplement the NutriSystem meals with six daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables that you buy at your local store. Overall, the frozen and prepackaged NutriSystem foods account for 60 percent of your food and the grocery foods account for 40 percent. You cannot eat sugar, white bread, candy, cakes, or processed foods or drink alcohol.
You follow the trademark MealPlanner, track all the food you eat, and take advantage of the various NutriSystem tools. Diet tools include the Mindset Makeover behavioral guide, a 13-week guide for changing your eating habits; diet and fitness information; and telephone counseling. The NutriSystem website offers support, an online community, fitness plans, and exercise demonstrations.
People typically stay on the NutriSystem Diet for about 10 or 11 weeks.
Benefits of the NutriSystem Diet
The NutriSystem Diet is simple, convenient, and easy to follow. You do not have to count calories. Because the portions are pre-controlled, you get used to eating the proper portion size. With over 100 meal choices, you can select a varied menu with foods you like.
NutriSystem has special programs for vegetarians, older men, older women, and people with diabetes. All of the programs diet promote exercise as an integral part of weight loss.
You can use the diet’s educational counseling and online tools to learn how to prepare healthy meals.
About three-quarters of the NutriSystem meals have no preservatives. They are low in sodium, trans fat, and saturated fat and high in whole grains.
Concerns about the NutriSystem Diet
While the NutriSystem Diet gives people a way to kick-start their weight loss, it does not provide a maintenance plan. The transition from NutriSystem prepackaged foods to planning and preparing all your meals can be very difficult.
Dosage requirement for prescription medications may change with weight loss. Dieters need to be aware of the need to consult with their doctors about their medications.
At 1,200-1,500 calories a day, many dieters will not take in enough calories to keep their hunger at bay. This may be especially true for people who are physically active or who exercise intensely.
According to many experts, the glycemic index is not a reliable indicator of whether a carbohydrate is “good” or “bad.” That’s because a food’s effect on blood sugar changes according to how the food is stored, how it is prepared, and what other foods it is combined with.
Before You Start
If you think the NutriSystem Diet is a good choice for you, discuss it with your healthcare provider. He or she knows your weight and health issues and can help you evaluate whether this diet is safe for you.
If you do decide to embark on the NutriSystem Diet keep in mind that you can always consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health or your weight loss while you are on the diet. It is particularly important to keep in touch with your doctor if you take medication for type 2 diabetes or other chronic conditions because the amount of medication you need to take can change as you lose weight on the NutriSystem Diet.