If you find counting calories to be too time consuming or too difficult or you don't like to cook, you may want to check out the Nutrisystem diet. Its easy to eat the right amount and type of food since the company delivers food to you as well as a diet plan that tells you what to add to these foods to get the right nutrients. As long as you like the food, this diet may help you lose weight without thinking about it too much.
Basis of Diet
The Nutrisystem diet is based on the glycemic index, which measures how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels. Low glycemic index foods take longer to digest, helping you feel full for longer so you eat less throughout the day. However, the evidence for low-glycemic index diets helping you lose more weight than other types of diets is mixed, according to MayoClinic.com. The amount of weight you lose may be due more to the fact that the Nutrisystem diet is low in calories and not because it is low on the glycemic index.
What to Expect
Go shopping on the Nutrisystem website and choose a plan and the meals you want from the variety of different shelf-stable and frozen foods available; the meals will then be shipped to you. If you are flexible, you can opt for a package plan, but if you are a bit picky about what you eat you can also choose each meal one at a time. Once your Nutrisystem brand foods arrive, you'll need to go to the grocery store to pick up the fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables, dairy products and some protein foods, listed in your Nutrisystem meal plan to create a balanced meal. Meal plans include both diabetic-friendly and vegetarian options, so even people on special diets can still follow Nutrisystem.
According to a review article by Monica Reinagel, MS, LN, CNS published on Epicurious, the Nutrisystem-branded foods are low in calories, fiber, calcium and antioxidants. They often contain a long list of ingredients, including lots of artificial ingredients and preservatives, making them less than ideal options. However, about half of your calories come from the healthy foods you add from the grocery store, which will help increase your nutrient and fiber intake.
This diet isn't great for those on a tight budget, since the branded foods alone cost between $8 and $11 per day as of March 2013, not including the foods you need to purchase from the grocery store. Don't expect to get gourmet food, either. Taste tests from both Epicurious and "Consumer Reports" found the foods to be just OK, although some foods were tastier than others, so some people may find it hard to stick with the diet long enough to lose weight. If you are worried about the cost or the flavor of the food, you can create a similar portion-controlled diet using low-calorie frozen dinners from the supermarket combined with fresh foods, which may taste better than the Nutrisystem foods, advises "Consumer Reports."
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.