Our Reviewer Says ...
"It's a low-calorie, nutritionally sound plan, but subsisting entirely on prepackaged foods may be unrealistic for many people."
At a Glance
With Nutrisystem, your diet comes in the form of a non-refrigerated foil pouch. The NutriSystem Advanced Program (a relaunch of NutriSystem's previous plan) requires participants to eat the company's line of foods in combination with grocery store-bought accompaniments like fruits and vegetables. As part of its new program, many foods are now made with heart-healthy ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acids (three grams in each Advanced lunch entree) and soluble fibers (three grams in each Advanced dessert entree), which NutriSystem claims can control your appetite, reduce hunger and quell cravings between meals. The new program also includes fitness DVDs for men and women, a behavior guide, a customized meal planner and a Quick Start Guide.
Based on the Glycemic Index (GI), which ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood sugar levels, the Nutrisystem plan promises to stabilize blood sugar levels by emphasizing "good," low GI carbs (those that break down slowly and release glucose into the bloodstream gradually) over "bad," high GI foods (those that break down rapidly). The theory: loading up on low GI carbs in combination with optimal amounts of protein and fiber helps stave off hunger and keeps dieters satisfied. Dieters select between six, 28-day programs: Women's, Men's, Women's Silver, Men's Silver, Women's Diabetic, Men's Diabetic or Vegetarian. The plan includes menus and checklists so dieters always know what to eat and when.
- Cost: Expensive. Round-the-clock online and telephone counseling may be free, but food costs even things out. A 28-day meal plan costs close to $300 -- more if you go a la carte.
- Meals Provided: Yes.
- Diet Duration: Twenty-eight days at a time. The diet continues as long as you're willing to purchase meals -- or until you reach your goal weight.
- Fitness Requirements: There are tailored plans for beginning, intermediate and advanced exercisers, including aerobics, resistance training and yoga.
- Time Commitment: Minimal. You can always call or go online to chat with un-credentialed weight loss counselors, but it's not required. You just order by phone or online and foods are delivered to your door.
- Eating Out: Possible, but not often. Dishes should be low-fat, low-calorie and low GI.
- Alcohol: No. Calories from alcohol add up and the beverage isn't a low-GI food.
- Vegetarian-Friendly: Yes. There are a wide variety of veggie-friendly dishes on the plan ranging from tofu inspired creations to black beans and rice. There's also a wide variety of veggie-friendly dishes on the plan ranging from pastas and pizzas to soups and granola bars
- Strict/Flexible Eating Plan: Strict.
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