Does Nutrisystem Really Work?


Does Nutrisystem really work?If you’ve noticed a celebrity on TV proclaiming how effective Nutrisystem is, you’ve no doubt wondered if it could work for you. It sounds as if it could be the winner, since it takes out all of the guesswork as to what you should be eating, and also makes it so you don’t have to buy all of the ingredients and prepare all of the foods.

Overview
One complaint that many dieters-to-be have is that they don’t have the time or the knowledge of what to cook for themselves in order to lose weight. What a diet food delivery service does is fill that gap by providing high quality health foods to your door that you just have to heat up and eat.

The Claim
Nutrisystem claims that if you eat their food you’ll lose weight. The way they go about it is by providing foods that are low on the Glycemic Index, have smaller portion sizes, and they encourage you to eat frequently throughout the day.

The Hype
Nutrisystem is well hyped because of all the celebrity endorsements they’ve managed to line up, as well as the extensive amount of advertising they do. It is probably the best recognized, and most used diet delivery program on the market today.

It’s worth mentioning that they display quite clearly that the results these celebrities are talking about are not typical. Makes you wonder why not, and what did they do to get the results.

The Cost
Many of their promos state that you can get a free week of food if you sign up for the program. Obviously the cost of that week’s worth of food is absorbed by the other four weeks that you have to pay for, but it’s a good gimmick to get people to sign up and think that they are getting a deal.

Right now they have 3 main price tiers. You can get their gourmet program for $290 and their basic program for $263.

If you just want to try it for a month you’ll have to pay more. Their month-by-month program is $386, over $120 more than the auto-ship price. Obviously they want to make their money by repeat purchases, but this seems like a rather excessive surcharge just to avoid getting automatic shipments.

The Commitment
Ordering the food and having it delivered to your door is the first part, but if you don’t end up eating it, or if you eat additional food outside of what they send you, you might have mixed results or none at all. You’ll have to stick to the portion sizes and eat according to their meal plan. You should also incorporate an exercise program if you want to get the best results.

Evaluation
Following the Nutrisystem program is just as difficult as following any other diet program. The temptation to eat off of the system will be great. You’ll have to have the same amount of willpower to eat just the food they send you and not supplement it with junk food, or additional portions.

Since they recommend that you combine their food with store-bought food, they are opening the door for user error as well as cheating. It is not a self-contained system where you won’t have to go to the grocery store. Many people think that by signing up for Nutrisystem you’ll be able to feed off of their food exclusively and be off the grid as far as restaurants, fast food places, and grocery shopping.

Nutrisystem is still subscribing to the idea that you should eat many smaller meals throughout the day. This is often used in the weight loss and fitness industries as a way to boost your metabolism. The theory is that if you a”graze” throughout the day that you won’t get cravings for foods and won’t stuff yourself at a big meal.

In reality, your digestive system needs time to break down the food that you eat. If you are constantly bombarding it with new meals then it stops digesting your previous meal and gets started on the new one.

Additionally, you’ll need to reheat the foods that they send you. The food has been prepared previously, and then frozen. If you put these frozen foods into the microwave and nuke them you are further sapping any sort of nutrients or beneficial qualities from them. What’s left by the time it hits your plate is a meal that may have been healthy at the time it was prepared, but after being frozen and zapped it’s now just fodder, devoid of any food-like substances.

Final Nutrisystem Review

The concept behind Nutrisystem sounds valid, but once you look into what it really consists of you’ll see that it’s not a sustainable system or healthy for you.

The main problems are that you can’t continue on indefinitely with the program, so why set yourself up for disaster at some unknown future date? Also, you are required to buy your own snacks from the store according to their recommendations. This adds massive amounts of temptation as you walk through a grocery store full of items that will throw you off course in a hurry.

And lastly you won’t be getting any health benefits when all three of your meals are frozen and then microwaved. You’ll basically be giving your digestive system lumps of what looks like food, but is actually just filler.

Losing weight is not rocket science, as Nutrisystem would have you believe. You don’t need them to cook your meals weeks or months prior. Just start adding healthy, fesh foods to your regular diet and ween yourself off of heavy foods that you’ll find at restaurants. This way your body is getting what it really wants and needs, and you aren’t relying on a corporation to provide 100% of your food.

Our Recommendation

If you have trouble coming up with new menu items, or don’t know what a balanced meal is supposed to look like, then signing up for Nutrisiystem for a month is a good idea. This way you can see the sort of meals you can make, the portion sizes, and the different food combinations that work for you.

What do you think? Does Nutrisystem work ot not?


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Cincotta March 29, 2013 at 8:36 am

I agree that there is hype in the Nutrisystem ads but you go way too far in your criticism. Saying that heating frozen food in a microwave destroys its nutritive qualities is ridiculous. It has been common knowledge for years that frozen food retains the same nutritive values as fresh, and in many cases moreso, because it is fresh frozen and not shipped and sitting in warehouses for days as most fresh produce is.

It is also ridiculous to say that your digestive system stops digesting the previous meal and starts on the new one. Come on. Have you studied the human digestive system at all? For those of us who are diabetic, doctors recommend the 5 to 6 meals because it keeps your blood sugar level.

I grant that Nutrisystem food is not the healthiest because most of it is just like canned food and it does have a pretty high sodium content. However, with the current trend in our society of eating mostly unhealthy food and tons of sodium, ala restaurant and fast foods, and the huge portions they serve; and with the popularity of convenience foods such as hamburger helper and other processed “instant” home meals, it adds up to being as healthy if not more healthy than average.

The plan works because the portions are small and because, if you follow it, you are not hungry. The drawbacks are it is expensive, the food gets tiresome over the long haul and you need a lot of add-ins from the grocery store. However, it has been the easiest way I have found to lose weight without feeling neglected and, over time, your body gets used to the smaller portions.

When I went to a restaurant recently, I was amazed at the amount of food the plates were holding. Americans care more about getting the most for their money than about their health, and that is why obesity is becoming so prevalent. Even with all the publicity, super-sizing brings in the customers. Thank goodness for Nutrisystem.

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Barb July 8, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I was very frustrated with Nutrisystem. Because I need to lose over 100 pounds and don’t like to cook, I thought Nutrisystem would be the ideal program for me. When my first shipment arrived, I had no idea how much cupboard space would be needed to house all of the items. (I didn’t try the plan that has items that need to be kept frozen.) I ended up keeping most of the food on a counter which “screamed” to my family and friends that once again Barb’s trying to lose weight.

I was not thrilled with the taste of most of the food. I found myself resenting eating the food and was even turned off by the packaging of each item. In addition, I still had to purchase fruit and veggies which added to the cost of the program.

I enrolled in auto-shipment and would find another package at my door before I used up what I already had. At some point I had so much food and was so discouraged that I ended the shipments. I ate the food once in awhile and most of it ended up as food for my brother’s pigs and chickens!

If someone has a small amount of weight to lose then the program might work really well. I think I just felt defeated from the start. It has provided me with ideas on what to have for meals and now I do my own cooking.

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Josh B July 14, 2013 at 12:45 am

Hi Barb! I was curious at its overall effectiveness because it seemed way too “easy” to do because of the major celebrity endorsement. I also think being restricted to only their foods would make it difficult if they weren’t delicious to begin with.

It also made me wonder how effective it was if you had to constantly microwave everything. Sure it’s convenient but there are times were the taste ends up being altered afterwards. Something I could not handle. Not to mention how expensive it is. You could probably do it on your own for a lot cheaper if you know what to look for.

A good start is adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet followed by drinking water frequently throughout the day. While at the same time adding fiber and good fats like nuts and olive oil and doing at least 30 minutes of some sort of exercise a day.

But it all comes down to one vital thing which is portion sizes. Learning to control the amount you eat can make a significant difference in the long run.

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Lynda Schab July 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm

If I could afford Nutrisystem (and with the hefty cost, I definitely cannot), I would try it. My mom lost forty pounds so I know it works. She also said the food was really tasty – some were not, but she liked the majority. The best part is that everything is planned out. Can’t get easier than that. The key, as is with any weight loss program, is sticking with it. Most plans tend to work when you follow them. Go figure.

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Vanessa B. July 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I always thought, if I ever became rich and had the money to spare, I’d try out one of these food delivery systems in a heartbeat. Like Lynda, I love that everything is planned out already…there is no calorie counting or anything involved. Plus no cooking is involved, so it’s perfect for people with busy lifestyles. It seems like it would be easier to stick to a plan if all you can eat is already provided for you. To make it easier to follow, I wouldn’t keep any other food in the house except for the fruits and vegetables needed to supplement the food provided.

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Lee January 14, 2014 at 6:47 am

If you think about how much money you spend on food in 1 month, especially if you eat out a lot, the cost isn’t that much higher than what you’d pay anyway. If you really want to try it (like I do); save a little bit of money and go for it. I mean you can buy a whole bag of apples, a head of lettuce, and a bag of carrots for less than $10 and it’d last about a week. That’s just a little more than the average person spends on a fast food meal and that only lasts for that one meal.

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