Nutrisystem has been a popular diet for decades, so it must be working for most people, right? True, most reviews are positive, but no diet works for everyone.
Is Nutrisystem really a healthy and effective diet? If you’re considering joining Nutrisystem, it’s a good idea to know the daily amount of nutrients and calories, and whether it’s really a healthy diet.
Here’s how Nutrisystem really works:
Why Does Nutrisystem Work?
We asked the company why their diet really works, and they were happy to respond with this video, 8 science-backed reasons why Nutrisystem works:
- You get nutritious, portion-controlled meals. With fewer calories and better nutrition, the science infers you’ll effectively lose weight
- They offer weight loss counseling and support by phone
- The convenience of pre-portioned meals that arrive monthly at your door encourages weight loss, and slashes your grocery bill
- Studies have found that diet tracking is key to successful weight loss. It’s easy to keep track of your food and exercise on the Numi app
- Nutrisystem is not restrictive. Studies have found that diets with too much deprivation are likely to fail
- They teach you life-long habits so that you can ween yourself off their diet and make your own healthy choices
- They have plans for numerous budgets and special needs including those with type 2 diabetes
- Decades of user reviews and weight loss results show that Nutrisystem works if you follow the program. Based on reviews, that is approximately an 80%* success rate.
OK, that’s helpful, but is the diet healthy? Let’s look at nutritional content to decide.
*View featured promotion, or see our coupons
Is Nutrisystem Healthy?
Nutrisystem’s prepackaged, pre-portioned meals are the foundation of their weight loss program, but are they healthy?
Nutrisystem food is formulated to be high in protein, “smart” carbs, and fiber. The meals have no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, or trans fats.
Ok, that’s a good start. Now, let’s look at real numbers for the nutritional info.
Nutrisystem Food: Nutritional Info: (Daily)
While nutritional info is available for every Nutrisystem menu item, let’s look at a typical day’s nutrition. Here’s how Nutrisystem FreshStart® compares to the FDA recommended daily allowance for calories, protein, carbs, fiber, and sodium:
|Calories:||1600-2000||Women: 1200 |
|Carbs:||45-56% (135-195g)||Men: 45% |
|Fiber:||25g (source)||Women: 30g|
|Sodium:||2300 mg (source)||2124 mg|
|Sat. Fat:||10% (9-12g)||8-9% (6-9g)|
A you can see, Nutrisystem meets or exceeds the FDA’s daily recommendations for nutrition including calories, protein, fiber, carbs, and sodium content.
Want to learn more? We also put together a sample 7-day menu of Nutrisystem food. You can click below to apply a discount, and learn more about their menu:
Nutrisystem: How Many Calories?
A healthy intake of calories is about 2000 per day, so to lose weight you have to aim for a lower number than that.
All calories aren’t equal, so a good way to do lose weight successfully is to eat fewer empty carbs. This causes your body to switch from burning carbs to burning fat for fuel.
A day of Nutrisystem food amounts to 1200-1500 calories per day to achieve a sustainable 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.
Food: How Much Sodium?
A lot of people ask if Nutrisystem is high in sodium because it is based on prepared food. 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.
So, compared to the amount of sodium you might already be getting, Nutrisystem would be a healthy improvement.
Nutrisystem: How Many Carbs?
Is Nutrisystem a low-carb diet? No, Nutrisystem is not officially a “low-carb” diet, although their food is generally low in carbohydrates, especially during the initial Turbo 13 phase. A true low-carb diet requires that you eat fewer than 100 carbs a day, which is very low and a bit controversial among nutritionists who champion the value of “good” carbs.
The Nutrisystem diet provides about 170g of carbs per day which is within the recommended amount to achieve weight loss. This is more carbs than diets (Atkins, Paleo, South Beach) which brand themselves as being “low-carb.”
Remember that not all carbs are equal, as some carbs are very healthy, such as those from vegetables, brown rice, and whole grains. Nutrisystem targets these “good” carbs, which are the best source of energy for your mind and body.
Food: How Much Protein?
Protein is also the foundation of the Nutrisystem diet. Their plans for women and men (drop 18 now!) provide significantly more protein each day than the FDA’s recommended amount at over 70g per day.
How Much Fiber?
The health benefits of fiber include controlling blood sugar levels, healthy bowels, (that’s a great name for a band!) and achieving healthy weight. Nutrisystem food has more fiber than the recommended daily amount, (especially their vegetarian plan) and focuses on healthy fiber more than most other diets. They also ask you to supplement their prepared meals with high-fiber fruits and non-starchy vegetables from the grocery store.
Nutrisystem Posts Nutrition Facts for Every Food
Ok, so we have an idea of the total daily nutrition, but what about the nutrition facts for each meal and snack?
The good news is that detailed nutritional info for every menu item is available at nutrisystem.com:
Click on “nutrition facts” to get a detailed amount of calories, fat, sodium, carbs, protein, and more:
Just click on “view menu” and view by: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Food is sorted by rating, so make sure you don’t get food included in your monthly delivery.
If you have food allergies or a special diet, food can be sorted by a number of criteria including by ingredient and low-sodium.
*For the best price online, stack these 3 promo codes!
Want to see how 4500+ customers rate Nutrisystem? We maintain a chart of the current ratings distribution here.
Is Nutrisystem Effective?
To determine whether Nutrisystem works, let’s consider the success rate. Well, apparently Nutrisystem does not publish a success rate, so to determine effectiveness, let’s look at more findings from experts:
- U.S. News ranked Nutrisystem as the #5 Best Commercial Diet behind #1 Weight Watchers, and #2 Jenny Craig
- A 2016 study by Obesity Society found that those who ate portion-controlled, prepackaged meals lost 27% more weight on average, noting that, “Increased portion sizes in Americans’ diets is widely recognized as a contributor to the obesity epidemic”
- The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that diets, including Nutrisystem, that offer calorie restriction and portion control, tend to encourage weight loss. In other words, Nutrisystem’s structure of prepared meals 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, andan average of 24 pounds after the 6th month. (which infers that Nutrisystem does indeed work)
Conclusion: I Would Say Nutrisystem Is a Healthy Diet That Works for Most People
Nutrisystem is high in protein and fiber and low in bad carbs. The diet is also within the recommended daily amounts of calories, sodium, and fat. Because of this data, I would say yes, Nutrisystem is healthy.
If you are considering joiing Nutrisystem, check out their featured promotion below, and save even more when you use a promo code:
But, Will Nutrisystem Work for YOU?
Nutrisystem is an effective weight loss plan if you follow the program. So, instead of asking whether Nutrisystem works, you might want to ask, “Is Nutrisystem compatible with my needs?”
Consider whether this diet fits your unique personality, lifestyle, and goals. If it does, then Nutrisystem should work to help you achieve your weight loss goals. If it doesn’t, then it will likely fail.
If the idea of prepared meals and a structured eating schedule is unappealing, then it’s unlikely that Nutrisystem will work long-term for you. If you like to cook your own meals and prefer independence to structure, consider #1-rated WW (coupons) instead.
If you’d like to learn more, you can apply a coupon and visit their site below:
Did the Nutrisystem Program Work for You?
Have you tried Nutrisystem? We would love if you’d let us know by leaving your own review here.
Hello, I’m Missy Woodruff! I have an English degree from Tufts U. in Boston, and have worked as a teacher for 25 years. I also enjoy blogging in my free time. I especially like writing about wellness, as it’s something that I’m very interested in for the health of myself and my family more…