Popular Diets Reviewed: NutriSystem

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • The NutriSystem program has changed quite a bit over the years. When I first learned of this program back in high school, they had centers all over the country, now it is an online program. You’re probably familiar with NutriSystem from the many commercials on television, including the one’s targeting men with athletes like Dan Marino and Don Shula promoting the program.

    What will I eat?
    The NutriSystem program is much like the Jenny Craig program, in fact Jenny Craig, started out working for NutriSystem. This program is also designed around pre-packaged portion controlled meals that you purchase from NutriSystem and then supplement with foods from the grocery store. If you do the NutriSystem program you will receive breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees along with daily snacks. While you purchase a month’s worth of food at one time, they do provide guidelines for eating on your own. You can also delay your food shipment to use up leftover food.
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    Do I need to exercise?
    While the NutriSystem program is centered around their food, they do encourage physical activity. In fact, they provide several forums online to encourage exercise. There are no specific recommendations for physical activity that I could find, but they do encourage participants to be physically active in their favorite ways.

    What kind of support will I get?

    NutriSystem provides the support of Registered Dietitians whom you can speak to on the telephone or online who will answer program questions and provide support. They even offer regular online classes that you can participate in to help you with your weight loss journey. But it is their website that I think sets this program apart. It includes a food and exercise diary to help you stay on program. You can also track your weight loss, use a virtual image of yourself to see your weight loss success as well as get an idea of what you will look like at different weights.

    The website also has community message boards as well as different support groups that are extensively used by NutriSystem members. You can join a group based on your age, gender, the amount of weight you want to lose, fitness habits and fitness goals among other things. You may even find that you get more help and information about the program from these groups and boards than you do from the consultants.

    My Thoughts

    The NutriSystem program is based on the Dietary Guidelines and provides the support of Registered Dietitians, which I think is really good. It is well-balanced and includes foods from all of the food groups. The NutriSystem program also includes a maintenance program; however, with it being a self monitored online program I wonder how many people actually do the maintenance program. The two biggest potential drawbacks to the NutriSystem program are the cost and the fact that you have to find storage for an entire month’s worth of food, which can be a problem.

    *Grade: A. This program is well-balanced and includes all the food groups and physical activity guidelines.

  • * Popular Diet Rating System

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    A: This diet meets accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It recommends food from all food groups with an emphasis on healthy choices within each food group.
    B: This diet meets most accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It emphasizes healthy foods but does not include food from all food groups.
    C: This diet only meets some accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It does not differentiate between food choices in each food group and therefore does not emphasize healthy foods.
    D: This diet does only meets one or two accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet.
    F: This diet does not meet any accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It does not differentiate between healthy foods and unhealthy foods and/or does not meet caloric needs.
Published On: February 10, 2008

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