Does Nutrisystem really work? You’ve seen the commercials, heard the celebrity endorsements, but may be wondering, “How Nutrisystem work, and DOES it actually work? First, here’s an overview of how it works:
Intro: How Nutrisystem Works
Nutrisystem is a monthly meal-delivery diet based on a combination of balanced nutrition, portion control, and calorie restriction.
The main idea is that you burn more calories than you consume, and losing weight is easier when your eating habits are structured. With Nutrisystem you eat 6 smaller meals and snacks a day, which helps to control your blood sugar and improve your metabolism.
These meals are high in protein, “smart” carbs, and fiber which makes you feel fuller, longer. You supplement these prepared meals with fresh fruits and vegetables from the grocery store.
Nutrisystem knows that most diets fail because of bad eating habits. Also, determining food nutrition, portion size, and preparation are time consuming and frustrating. Nutrisystem takes most of the burden off the consumer by providing meals that are pre-made, measured, and “perfectly portioned” so that you know exactly what to eat and when without thinking about it first.
Three 28-Day Plan Levels:
Nutrisystem offers 3 plan levels: Basic, Core (most popular), and Uniquely Yours for both women and men. Each plan also offers a version especially for diabetics and vegetarians. The main difference between plans is that you’ll pay more for a broader selection of prepared and frozen meal options.
All plans start with Turbo 13, which jump-starts your weight loss with healthy meals, shakes, and bars that help regulate your blood sugar and boost your metabolism. Turbo 13 also includes an app for easy tracking and customer support.
Nutrisystem claims that during the first month:
Really, it’s simple math: while on Nutrisystem you will burn more calories than you consume, resulting in a steady weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.
Got 60 seconds? How Nutrisystem Works: (video)
*They have a great coupon for new customers here
Does Nutrisystem Really Work? Let’s Consider 292 Ratings:
Because the Nutrisystem success rate isn’t published, one good way to determine whether it works is to compare the number of positive reviews against tnegative reviews.
Let’s look at the 292 customer ratings for “overall satisfaction” at consumer affairs.com:
- 5-Star Ratings, (Positive): 195
- 4-Star Ratings, (Positive): 38
- 3-Star Ratings: (Neutral): 11
- 2-Star Ratings: (Negative): 11
- 1-Star Ratings: (Negative): 37
So, based on that sampling of nearly 300 people willing to review and rate Nutrisystem, an impressive 79% rated Nutrisystem positively.
Why Nutrisystem Might NOT Work For You:
Nutrisystem doesn’t work well for everyone, but that’s why there’s vanilla and chocolate, right? Customers tend to overall be very pleased with their results on Nutrisystem, but complaints do occur.
Scouring through the plethora of reviews, it’s worth noting reasons why Nutrisystem didn’t work for disgruntled customers. Here are some top reasons why Nutrisystem ultimately did not work for some people. You might not like:
- Relying mostly on prepared meals
- Taste of the food
- Too demanding (eating every 2-3 hours)
- Too expensive
- Limited food selection (prefer to cook)
- Doesn’t work long-term
- Anger about the early cancellation fee
It seems that Nutrisystem’s strength is it’s convenience, as it works well for busy people who don’t look forward to cooking or guessing about portions. However, its weakness is that you must rely heavily on pre-packaged foods delivered each month.
Convenience and limitation seem to be two sides of the same coin with diets. If you don’t like the idea of prepared food, (or paying for a month of food at once) you can consider Weight Watchers, which relies on a point system instead of meal delivery.
Is Nutrisystem Effective? What the Studies Say:
Online ratings and reviews are helpful to predict whether Nutrisystem will work for you, and you can also check out the (sometimes boring) research out there that has been done to answer that question.
The frustrating thing is that medical associations always stop short of saying that a diet actually “works”, but they can provide some helpful statistics and success rates. Here are a few:
- The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that diets, including Nutrisystem, that offer calorie restriction and portion control, tend to encourage weight loss; more so, in fact than diets that are demand individual meal planning and moderation. In other words, having Nutrisystem tell you what to eat and when seems to increase the likelihood that the diet will work. – source
- The Annals of Internal Medicine found in a 2015 study that people on Nutrisystem lost about 4% more weight after 3 months than those who received only weight loss counseling – source
- A 2009 Nutrisystem-funded study of obese people with Type 2 diabetes found that the 70 participants lost an average of 18 pounds over 3 months on the Nutrisystem D plan. This same group lost an average of 24 pounds after the 6th month. The control group, given nothing but weight loss counseling, lost only 1 pound after 3 months, and 5 pounds after 6 months (which infers that Nutrisystem does indeed work)
- Nutrisystem Rated #5: In a rating of all diets by U.S. News, Nutrisystem is ranked #5 overall for “Best Commercial Diets,” and scores highest in the “Easiest to Follow” (#11) and “Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (#14) categories.
Anyway, the medical studies are a slog to read through, but I think the takeaway here is that if you follow the diet, Nutrisystem should work do to the calorie restriction and portion control that the plan offers.
Is Nutrisystem Healthy?
A day of Nutrisystem food amounts to 1200-1500 calories per day to achieve a sustainable 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. Their food is high in protein, “smart” carbs, and fiber. The meals have no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, or trans fats.
Is Nutrisystem high in sodium?
A day of their meals has 1900-2300 mg of sodium, which is just within the FDA’s recommended amount, but well below the average American’s daily intake of 3400 mg.
If you have diabetes, high blood sugar, or are older 51, your doctor may prefer that you stick to a low-sodium diet of 1500 mg of sodium per day such as Nutrisystem D.
Is Nutrisystem low in carbs?
The Nutrisystem diet includes about 170g or carbs per day which is within the recommended amount to achieve weight loss. This is more carbs than true “low carb” diets (Atkins, Paleo, South Beach) which can limit your daily carb allowance to under 100g per day, which may be too low.
Remember that not all carbs are equal, as some carbs, such as those from vegetables or brown rice, are very healthy. Nutrisystem targets these “good” carbs, which are the best source of energy for your mind and body.
More Nutrition Info:
Here’s how Nutrisystem stacks up against the recommended daily allowances: (for women on a diet)
|Nutrisystem: (for Women)||Daily Recommended:|
|Sodium:||1900-2300 mg||2300 mg (source)|
|Sat. Fat:||6-9g||9-12g (source)|
*Based on recommended daily amounts for women on a diet. You can view nutritional information for men here
So, is Nutrisystem healthy? As you can see, Nutrisystem is within the recommended daily amounts of calories, protein, sodium, fiber, and fat. Because of this data, I would say that Nutrisystem is healthy.
How Quitting / Cancellation Works:
Before signing up for Nutrisystem (or any diet) you should know how to quit. In this case, by signing up for auto-delivery through the new customer promotion, you are committing to at least 2 months of Nutrisystem.
If Nutrisystem isn’t working or you don’t like it, you can cancel within the first 14 days without penalty. However, if you cancel after 14 days but prior to receiving your second month’s order, you will be billed $125. (The amount you “saved” through the promotion) Here’s more about the cancellation policy.
Should You Try Nutrisystem?
Diets are a bit like presidential candidates, in the sense that they all have their weaknesses, and it’s not possible to please everyone.
Really, you have to find a diet that fits your lifestyle and needs. Think of a diet as a “tool;” if your life is imbalanced, you don’t exercise regularly, or you lack discipline in following through with what is required, you are going to have trouble finding success with any diet.
If you are a busy person who values convenience over freedom of choice and variety of foods, then Nutrisystem is more likely to work for you.
If you don’t like the idea of certain foods being off-limits, or need the extra support of in-person meetings, then Nutrisystem probably won’t work as a long-term weight loss solution for you.
Considering trying it? You can check out today’s best deal for Nutrisystem here.
Have you tried Nutrisystem? If so, let us know if it worked for you by commenting or leaving your own rating below!