The NutriSystem diet is one that many individuals have heard of and a fair number have tried. Backed by a good marketing campaign it's hard not to have seen at least one or two ads when flipping through fitness or women's magazines.
Just what is the concept behind the NutriSystem diet? And is it the best choice for you?
One of the nice things about the NutriSystem diet is that it comes with 120 different pre-packaged entrée choices, snacks and desserts. These are all sealed and do not require refrigeration at all. If you are looking for convenience - NutriSystem has it!
Along with this convenience however will come a price, which is something you always have to keep in mind. Furthermore, since you largely will be eating pre-chosen ready- made food, it isn't really teaching you how to eat without sustaining solely on their main dishes. Unless you plan to use NutriSystem for life, this may be problematic.
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Author, Shannon Clark.
If coming off it you return to your previous eating style, there is a good chance you will become a customer of NutriSystem again in a short period of time.
Examples of some of these meals include:
- Smoke flavour scrambled eggs
- Black beans and rice
- Macaroni and cheese with beef
- Chicken Ala King
- Chocolate caramel popcorn
- Peanut butter granola bar
- Cream of broccoli soup
- Tuna salad
- Turkey hot dogs
- And so on...
There definitely is no shortage of choices so you can be sure there will be something that will suit your taste buds.
Overall the plan will put you on one low-fat protein per meal, three daily servings of vegetables, two to three fruits, two to three dairy products, two to four whole grains and one to two servings of heart healthy fats.
Foods that will be omitted on this diet include sugary sodas, processed white bread, candy and similar type of foods that will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels.
The NutriSystem plan also heavily uses the Glycemic Index as a way of determining whether or not a food should be included in a particular diet. The creators of the diet stress that it is a great way to support already healthy blood sugar levels and only take in carbs that will be broken down slowly by the body.
They feel too that by increasing intake of these particular carbohydrates you will also at the same time increase your intake of protein and fibre since these nutrients often come along with low GI carbohydrates.
There are six different programs that you choose between including Women's, Men's, Silver for Women, Silver for Men, a vegetarian option, and more. With each plan you will get a menu and a checklist so you always know what you should be eating and when you should be eating it.
This plan breaks down into about 55% of calories coming from carbohydrates, 25% of calories coming from protein and 20% of calories coming from fat, with less than 5% of those fat calories being saturated. They also recommend an intake of at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day.
So How Does NutriSystem Stack Up?
While this plan does provide a decent balance of the three major macronutrients, proteins, carbs and fats, there really isn't anything special about it. You likely can lose weight on this plan, especially since all your foods will be monitored. The downside however is if you enjoy home cooked meals - since you likely won't be getting many on this diet.
Granted some individuals may really love the foods that NutriSystem provides but if you enjoy the actual cooking process, this part might be lost on you. Furthermore, as stated earlier, since you are not cooking any of your own foods, this program isn't really teaching you how to eat healthfully on your own without the direction of their menus.
Since the menus are quite varied though you will likely be getting all your major nutrients, plus they don't take fat intake too low, which is a good thing. The recommendation for plenty of fruits and vegetables also ensures that you will get plenty of vitamins as well.
While you can definitely follow this diet in an effort to lose weight and make your life easier, if you are heavily involved in training you may want to make some specific changes to ensure you are meeting the needs of your active lifestyle (for instance adding in a protein shake pre/post workout along with some faster burning carbs - which the program shuns).
Overall Diet Rating: 2.5/5