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Nutrisystem is a weight loss program and food delivery service. It offers several plans, including specialist diabetes and vegetarian menus.

Nutrisystem promotes short-term weight loss, but the long-term effects and sustainability of weight loss are not proven.

This article explains how Nutrisystem works and who may benefit from it.

Please note that the writer has not tried this product. All information is research-based.

Nutrisystem offers several plans, but the general idea is to eat several smaller meals throughout the day.

The plans vary based on a person’s preferences and budget, but some common features include:

  • 7 days worth of meals
  • breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks throughout the day
  • frozen and fresh meals, shakes, and nutritional guides
  • unlimited support

A person may also find it beneficial to access the Nutrisystem NuMi Weight Loss App, which is available to those with certain subscription plans.

According to Nutrisystem, eating smaller, balanced meals six times a day helps prevent hunger and promote weight loss. However, some scientific evidence contradicts this.

In a 2013 study, researchers found that going from having three to six meals a day did not affect the ability to burn fat. In fact, contrary to Nutrisystem’s claims, the researchers found that increased meal frequency might lead to increased hunger.

A more recent study from 2017 found similar results. The researchers determined that eating fewer meals throughout the day and having the largest meal in the morning helped prevent long-term weight gain.

Nutrisystem is a 4-week diet program that guides users based on their choices and how many meals they eat per day.

During the first week, it is recommended to eat three meals per day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as one snack and one of Nutrisystem’s formulated shakes daily to help prepare the body for the upcoming diet. During the remaining 3 weeks, it is recommended to eat six meals per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack after every meal.

Nutrisystem provides the meals or suggests low calorie, low sodium, lean choices for people who prefer not to opt for the provided meals.

It also has an app, NuMi, that can help guide meal planning.

Types of plans

Nutrisystem offers three types of plans:

  • Basic: The most affordable option, this not include a complete set of premade meals, so a person needs to make some meals and snacks.
  • Uniquely Yours: This has slightly more variety and includes frozen and non-frozen meals for 5 days a week.
  • Uniquely Yours Ultimate: This has the most variety and includes frozen and non-frozen meals for 7 days a week.

Regardless of the plan, however, a person does need to buy some fresh ingredients.

Combination plans are also available to suit more than one person in a household. And for an added cost, a person can add meals for the weekend.

There are also some personalized nutrition plans:

  • Vegetarian: This contains no meat products, but it is not suitable for vegans.
  • Men’s: This includes meals that the company says are more suited for male bodies, such as high protein options.
  • Partner plan: This is designed for two people.
  • Nutrition D: This contains foods that do not raise blood sugar levels rapidly and are suitable, the company says, for people with type 2 diabetes.

We describe some menu plans in more detail below.

Nutrisystem offers plans for people with specific health conditions, bodies, and diets.

Diabetes

This is similar in price to their other plans. It includes meals and snacks that a person eats every 2–3 hours to help keep their blood sugar levels steady. The company says that these meals are designed to help a person feel fuller for longer.

According to Nutrisystem, its plans also help with weight loss and blood sugar management.

A 2009 study supports the use of dietary programs for people with diabetes. The researchers found that people with obesity and type 2 diabetes saw improvements in weight management, glucose control, and cardiovascular disease risk reduction.

Learn more about lunch ideas for people with type 2 diabetes here.

Obesity

Nutrisystem aims to help with weight loss, which can benefit people with obesity. Some studies support these weight-loss claims. However, the long-term effects and sustainability of the program are still unclear and require further research.

Learn more about weight loss here.

Vegetarians

Nutrisystem offers a vegetarian plan. It is more expensive than the Basic plan, but not as expensive as the Ultimate one.

Learn more about a vegetarian diet here.

Males

Nutrisystem offers a specialized plan for males. The menu includes more snacks and calories than the other plans.

Learn how many calories to eat each day here.

The company offers the following advice:

Foods to eat

  • lean meats, seeds, and meat substitutes
  • skim and low-fat dairy products
  • whole wheat bread and carbs
  • plant-based oils
  • fresh fruits and vegetables

Foods to avoid

  • battered, buttered, fried, or crispy foods
  • scalloped vegetables
  • full-fat creamy dressings
  • refined carbs
  • butter and liquid oils

A regular day’s meals might involve:

  • Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs, one slice of whole wheat toast
  • Snack 1: A Nutrisystem protein and probiotic shake
  • Lunch: A Nutrisystem tuna salad, 1 cup of sliced tomato, and 2 medium celery stalks
  • Snack 2: 2 tablespoons of unsalted cashews, 1/4 cup raisins
  • Dinner: Nutrisystem chicken alfredo, 1 cup of cooked spinach
  • Snack 3: Nutrisystem white cheddar popcorn

Here are some of the potential benefits of Nutrisystem:

Convenience

Nutrisystem foods come packaged and are easily prepared. There is no need to spend time cooking full meals, grocery shopping as usual, or counting calories, if this had been a consideration. There is caloric and nutritional information available for each Nutrisystem meal.

Exercise and healthy habits are encouraged

The program encourages subscribers to exercise, and it provides some guidance.

A balanced diet is encouraged

Nutrisystem meal plans offer a daily intake of about 1,200–1,500 calories. The company says that its meals are balanced and contain ingredients that rank low on the glycemic index, meaning they have a low effect on blood sugar levels.

Meanwhile, some potential drawbacks of Nutrisystem include:

Cost

Nutrisystem can cost $200–$350 per month. And a person still needs to purchase some food, such as some fruits and vegetables, to accommodate the meal plan.

Nutrisystem meals are processed

Although the company aims to support weight loss and low blood sugar, most of its options are highly processed. Nutrisystem is also transparent about the fact that many of its products contain genetically modified ingredients.

Some options similar to Nutrisystem include:

Each has different menus and programs. It is important to consider the differences carefully before making a commitment.

Overall, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor or dietitian before making any significant changes to eating habits. They can also help a person decide which dietary program will best suit their needs and goals.

A 2015 review evaluated Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, and other dietary programs. The researchers recommended both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig for weight loss.

They stated that Nutrisystem showed promise but that confirming its long-term effects would require further research. This means that Nutrisystem may help a person lose weight in the short term, but its long-term effects are still unknown.

Some people looking for a convenient diet plan and meal service geared toward weight loss may find Nutrisystem helpful.

Nutrisystem may support short-term weight loss goals, but its long-term effects are still unclear.

Overall, it is important to speak with a doctor or dietitian before starting a new dietary program. This is particularly true for anyone with an underlying health issue.