Weight Watchers versus NutriSystem – Coke or Pepsi? Cat or dog? Obi Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader? Let’s face it, life is full of choices, so it’s no wonder you’ll have to carefully choose your weight loss program too. Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem are two popular choices. Knowing what’s in store after you sign up can help you decide which one will be best for you.
In a “50 words or less” summary, NutriSystem calculates what you should eat, and sends you the portion-controlled meals. Weight Watchers helps you with self-control strategies, and making good decisions about the food that you eat out there in the real world, or cook for yourself.
OK, so, which is better: Weight Watchers or NutriSystem? If Consumer Reports is an authority on this question, then consider this: their readers lost more weight on Weight Watchers, stayed with the diet longer, and gave it a higher rating than NutriSystem.
Looks like according to them, Weight Watchers is the unanimous winner.
Having said that, freedom of choice is what makes this country great, right? Here’s some useful food for thought about both weight loss programs:
About Weight Watchers:
- Ranked #4 in Best Diets Overall – by U.S. News & World Reports
- Consumer Reports Diet Plan Ratings Score: 74
- Weight Watchers reviews
- Get free signup + coupons
This year Weight Watchers once again claimed the prestigious title of the highest rated commercial diet and best weight loss diet according to readers of the Consumer Reports (74 points) and U.S. World News. But how does it work exactly?
Weight Watchers can be summed up as old-school food-logging meets high-tech. They’ve created a formula called PointsPlus (now they also have SmartPoints) that assigns points to pretty much every food out based on its protein, carbs, fat and fiber content. The PointsPlus program has assigned a point value to each food based on a complex mathematical equation that they’ve trademarked.
With Weight Watchers, you eat what you want, but everything you eat must be tabulated based on the number of points. Using their software on Weight Watchers Online makes this easy, and keeps track of points for you. You know that personal survey you did when you signed up? It calculated a total number of points you’re allowed per day and per week in order for your body to lose weight. The goal is to not go over your point allowance. In theory, this should result in weight loss.
Weight Watchers gives you the freedom to choose your foods, so even burgers, fries or banana splits are off-limits. (But that will cost you some serious points!)
This diet requires more effort, thought and planning in general than NutriSystem, which packages and sends you meals. They encourage weight-loss education and a healthy lifestyle change, and studies confirm that this helps keep the pounds off over the long haul.
Offering a variety of options from a weekly motivational meeting to a more solitary online app, they appeal to a range of personalities. If you’re one of the thousands of time-crunched individuals, or simply don’t like the thought of a weekly meeting, entering your food intake online may be the way to go. Weight Watchers Online also has a lot of useful resources (recipes, etc) and online support.
One interesting fact about Weight Watchers is that people who regularly attend WW meetings usually lose more weight. In fact, Consumer Reports also noted that it’s “best for people who appreciate support.” Looks like the in-person support and accountability really does provide motivation and ultimately results.
How much does Weight Watchers Online cost?
There is an online signup fee, (about $30 before any coupon) then it costs about $19 per month, and you buy your own food.
- Ranked #18 in Best Diets Overall – by U.S. News & World Reports
- Consumer Reports Diet Plan Ratings Score: 56
- Nutrisystem reviews
- Today’s best promotions for Nutrisystem
Consumer Reports notes that NutriSystem is, “best for noncooks who want to spend the least possible amount of money on packaged foods.”
Nutrisystem is all about portion control. This diet requires that you eat their packaged entrees, desserts, and low-glycemic sides and snacks based on a personalized & approved list of foods. Their new Fast5+ plan guarantees that you’ll lose 5 pounds in 5 days, or your money back.
How is the list of foods created? After you’ve answered their online survey, you’ll be forwarded a list of foods you can choose for your meals that will allow for weight loss. After you’ve selected your menu from your customized plan, the servings are mailed to you, either ready-to-eat or in a frozen ready-to-reheat format. It is then suggested to supplement the meals with fresh produce and low-fat dairy.
Sounds pretty sweet if you’re not a fan of the kitchen or cooking in general. Nutrisystem takes the thinking out of the equation. If you consume only what is mailed to you (along with your veggies like your mom says), you should lose weight on this plan.
Before diving into this diet, consider that about 40% of Consumer Reports readers on the diet reported not liking the taste of the NutriSystem packaged foods.
Both diets offer personal help and motivation along the way if needed. Weight Watchers has their weekly meetings that you can drop into and Nutrisystem has a chatline.
Want to know more? Here’s how Nutrisystem works (Does it really work?)
How much does NutriSystem cost?
Nutrisystem costs about $10-12 / day for monthly auto-delivery of their pre-packaged meals. If you are a new customer, you can lock-in a lower rate with the promotion below:
*Tip: Some coupons don’t “lock-in” the low rate and go up by as much as $50 after the 3rd month. With this 40% off promotion, the price does not increase.
Nutrisystem vs Weight Watchers: Which Offers More Weight Loss?
According to Consumer Reports readers, people lose more weight with Weight Watchers. Here is the average weight loss for both diets:
- Weight Watchers (9 months) Men: 12-35 pounds, Women: 10-28 pounds
- Nutrisystem (5 months) Men: 10-30 pounds, Women: 7-24 pounds
And, the Winner Is… Weight Watchers!
Based on a number of factors, Weight Watchers is the better diet, and is ranked higher on most factors. However, WW asks you to do all the cooking, so if the idea of meal-delivery and convenience is appealing, consider Nutrisystem!