Nutrisystem is a weight-loss program built around teaching individuals how to eat smaller portions by providing those smaller portions through pre-packaged frozen food. You will select the plan from the Nutrisystem website and create your own individualized 28 day menu which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and a dessert for each day. Or you may start with a preselected favorite foods package. Once this is completed you order a 28 day program or can select an auto delivery for recurring monthly deliveries at a significant discount.
The keystone to Nutrisystem is that it is a supposed “no-brainer” meal plan which does not teach the individual to count calories, carbs or points but instead uses a predetermined, pre-portions meal delivered directly to your door. The plan also comes with a grocery list for produce and fruits to augment the frozen meal. Nutrisystem has an online community and weight-loss tracking system for support and motivation.
In essence the entire program is about convenience and, in this incredibly fast-paced world, convenience may not be all that bad. For the prize of approximately $10 a day with free food every four weeks, the final cost is around eight dollars per day. Up against Jenny Craig, also a prepackaged and portion control weight loss program, Nutrisystem has no membership or contract fee.
However, as with any pre-portioned and prepackaged weight-loss program it is very useful for getting back on track but is not a permanent answer to either weight loss or weight maintenance. After finishing a number of weeks eating the Nutrisystem diet you must go back to preparing your own meals, learning portion control and figuring out how to deal with snacks and food cravings.
The program itself is designed around the glycemic index. This index measures the amount of insulin a particular food will require in order to be digested. Those foods which require a higher amount of insulin also set the body up for insulin resistance and increased amount of fat cell growth. This is because with an increased amount of insulin floating around in the body, the body’s cells are not able to absorb as much energy as efficiently as before. This energy is then stored in the fat cells of the body which encourages weight gain as opposed to weight-loss.
The Nutrisystem diet has options for men, women, diabetics and vegetarians, which is typical of most prepackaged meal programs. Their typical daily calorie allowance will vary between 1200 and 1500 calories and most days consist of three meals and two snacks. Doctors recommend that you should never bring your calorie intake lower than 1200 calories per day because you take your body into a starvation mode which then slows metabolism and decreases the rate of success for any weight loss.
Strictly following a low calorie weight-loss diet, such as Nutrisystem, most individuals will lose weight. Weight loss has always been a negative calorie balance affair. This means that you will lose weight when eating less than you are burning. How long the weight will remain off can only be answered on an individual basis since the challenge of reestablishing normal eating habits after the program is finalized remains difficult for most individuals.
Individuals have the choice of up to 120 different entrées and desserts that are made up of 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 20% fat. Most meals are lower in saturated and trans fats and rich in whole grains. The meals which are supplied are meant to be supplemented with six servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
However, even though the program offers 120 different diet choices, consumer affairs.com continues to occasionally receive complaints about Nutrisystem program. The complaints are not about the lack of results but rather a complaint about the taste of the food and the lack of variety in the diet. Many of the complainants said that the food was salty and unpalatable.
Nutrisystem does have a program that allows individuals to choose the foods that they would like to eat. Although this adds price to the program many individuals choose to go this route so they are able to pick the foods they will find most edible. Unfortunately the consumer affairs.com site has received complaints as far back as November 2005.
Most of those who will to follow at 1200 to 1500 calorie diet will lose weight, whether that food is prepackaged and frozen shipped from Nutrisystem or purchased from the grocery store in the frozen food section. For those individuals who require a bit more structure in their lives in order to achieve their goals, Nutrisystem is definitely a better cost advantage than Jenny Craig. However, there is no substitute for understanding the value in each a regular healthy food and learning portion control. For this reason Nutrisystem may be an excellent option for the first eight to 10 weeks of a long-term lifestyle choice in order to jumpstart a diet program but should be evaluated further if an individual wishes to maintain their weight loss while still learning to eat appropriate portions off the program.