nutrisystem freshstart review

What is Nutrisytem?

Nutrisystem has been in the weight loss business for nearly 50 years now, but what is it exactly and how does it work?

In the most basic sense, it’s a diet delivery plan, that sends you portion-controlled meals to your home or office every month.

The remade meals and snacks are designed to help you lose weight, but restricting calories and providing you with a plan that’s easy to follow.

They have a number of different plans and menu options for men and women to pick from, including folks with Type 2 diabetes and even vegetarians.

Their meal plan is focused on a nutritional blend of the “right” carbohydrates. and lean proteins. Most of their meals and snacks are low on the glycemic index, so customers shouldn’t experience intense hunger pains as they adjust to the Nutrisystem Fresh Start diet.

There’s a small amount of grocery shopping that is required to have success on the diet. This mostly includes fresh produce, like fruits and vegetables, as well as some lean protein and low-fat dairy options.

These can be used as side dishes to their pre-made meals, as snacks, or as ingredients for the weekly flex meals that customers make on their own.

What Health Professionals Say About Nutrisystem:

Controlling calories and portions and eating regular meals is a healthy formula that should result in weight loss while on the plan. If you can stick to the prepackaged meals and add only healthy foods, research to support the program suggests you will lose weight. -Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD [1]

Early Beginnings

nutrisystem freshstart shake packets

Nutrisystem [2] first debuted as a publicly traded company in 1981, but the concept actually began almost 10 years earlier [3].

In 1971, Harold Katz, opened his first weight-loss center on the outskirts of Philadelphia, called Shape Up. Less than a year later, he had franchised his concept, and Nutrisystem was born.

While it started as meal-replacement plan, that featured mostly diet shakes, by the early 1990s, Nutrisystem’s full meal delivery program had been fully launched, resembling pretty much the same program they still offer today.

How do they say it works so well? If you eliminate meal planning and prep from your equation, it’s a lot harder to make mistakes. They send you the food you need to be successful, so as long as you stick to their plan, you should lose weight.

Does it really work?

According to research, Nutrisystem does work for those who follow it correctly. In fact, a 2013 study from Florida State University [4], found that Nutrisystem improved the arterial function in obese, post-menopausal women.

How Nutrisystem Fresh Start Works

Nutrisystem freshstart program

Nutrisystem just launched a brand-new program [5], and it’s called FreshStart. Their new program is chef-designed and focuses more on clean and healthy eating.

Fresh Start plays a key role in all of the Nutrisytem programs they currently have available, including their plans for men, women, vegetarians, and type 2 diabetics.

On all of the plans, men and women will eat 6 times per day. Basically, every 2 to 3 hours. This includes 2 to 3 Nutrisystem meals, and 2-3 snacks also provided by them.

When you sign up, you have the option of picking your own menu, or you can go with their “Chef’s Picks” option, where they build a menu for you. This option is recommended for first-time customers.

All plans will the Fresh Start program, which is a box of pre-selected meals and snacks for your first week. During your Fresh Start week, you’ll eat 5 times per day; the program is designed to help jump start your weight loss as you’re starting their diet.

Nutrisystem claims that you can lose up to 13 pounds and 7 inches during your first month of their diet, which is helped by the boost you should get during week 1.

They currently have 4 different plans to pick from:

  1. Basic: This is Nutrisystem’s most affordable plan to pick from. They’ll pick your menu, and it doesn’t include any of their frozen food menu, which is considered to be their premium-level food. Get things started with the FreshStart plan.
  2. Core: The most popular plan they offer. Works just like the Basic plan, but you can pick your own menu or let them do it for you. No frozen food on the core plan either, but it still offers tracking tools, dietician support, and more.
  3. Uniquely Yours: This plan gives you access to everything in Basic and Core, but features a larger menu, and access to their frozen menu.
  4. Uniquely Yours Plus: This is their newest and best plan to date. Features everything Nutrisystem offers, including full access to the frozen foods. This is the biggest menu the over, with more than 160 items to pick from. Also includes additional snacks and shakes.

The Vegetarian and Diabetic plans, both start at the Core level, so basic isn’t an option on those ones. You can upgrade to their frozen meals, however.

Once you’ve picked the right plan for you, they’ll ship out your meals and you should receive them in just a few days.

Customers can get free shipping and save on the overall cost of their plan if they enroll in the auto-delivery program. With this option, they’ll atomically ship your food every month, until you cancel. You have to be on the plan for at least 2 months to avoid paying an early-cancellation fee.

I recently tried Fresh Start…Here’s how it went for me:

 

Think Fresh Start sounds like a program that could be helpful on your weight loss journey?

Learn more and check latest Nutrisystem prices.

What You Get to Eat

nutrisystem healthy eating plate

Food You Can Eat

  • Nutrisystem Meals and Snacks
  • Fresh Produce
  • Low Fat Dairy – Snacks, with cereal, cream cheese, etc.
  • Lean Protein
  • Use the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide & Food List for Guidance

Food You Can’t Eat

  • Most Fast Food
  • Most Restaurant Meals (You Do Get Weekly Flex Meals – check the app for foods you can eat when dining out)
  • Foods with Added Sugar – Basically any “Junk” Food or Desserts that aren’t provided by Nutrisystem
  • Alcohol (Not recommended while dieting)

Signing up with Nutrisystem is supposed to take all of the confusing out of your meal prep and planning, so really the foods on our “can eat” and “can’t eat” list are there for just general information, really. For the most part, you won’t have to worry about this, because Nutrisystem is going to supply you with almost all of the food you need to eat for the month.

The only decision you’ll have to make when it comes to food outside the Nutrisystem pre-packaged foods, is what to have as your side dish or snack, and for the most part that will be fresh fruits or vegetables.

They also added weekly “Flex Meals” to their program recently, and for these, Nutrisytem provides a guide to show you exactly what you can and can’t eat, so be sure to utilize that guide when needed.

Then one drawback with this way of eating is that most of the Nutrisystem foods are processed, which can make your transition off the diet a bit harder. Over the long term, if you focus on clean and healthy eating, you should have a better shot at maintaining the weight loss, however [6].

How Many Calories Do You Eat Every Day?

nutrisytstem vs five guys

Because calorie control is the key component to Nutrisystem’s success, you’ll operating at a caloric deficit when following their program.

This can be hard for people at first, but as your body adjusts their eating plan, it should become easier to follow.

During the first Fresh Start week, expect to eat about 1,000 calories per day. This helps boost your weight loss results as you get started.

After that, men will eat about 1,500 calories every day, and women will take in about 1,200 daily calories.

Because the Nutrisystem men is built around a low-glycemic menu, you can expect about half your daily calories to come from carbohydrates each day. The other half is broken into quarters, with one quarter coming from lean proteins, and the other quarter coming from “healthy” fats.

Sodium is a concern for a lot of people when it comes to processed foods [7].

Guides & Tips for Success

You can get all of the resources and tips you need, including their full menu, grocery and restaurant guides, and more on Nutrisystem’s website.

Pros and Cons

nutrisystem plans and pricing structure

There’s plenty to like about Nutrisystem, but there are some potential downsides for you to consider.

Here’s a quick look at both.

Cons

Some of the downsides for Nutrisystem can include things like the price, the processed foods, and it’s not always on option for people with food allergies.

  • Can be an Adjustment if You’re Used to overeating
  • Not everyone likes the frozen diet food
  • Can be harder to follow if you have a family
  • Requires a commitment not everyone can keep
  • Menu features processed foods

Pros

While some may find the cost of Nutrisytem to be too expensive to commit to, it’s actually pretty affordable when you bring down by price per day. It starts at about $9.00 a day, which actually makes it pretty affordable. Other pros include the convenience of having most of your meals shipped to you each month, a plan that’s easy to follow, and a program that has nearly 50 years of research supporting it.

  • Affordable: Full 28 Day Supple of Meals, Snack and Shakes for Less Than $300 a Month
  • It Works: If you follow the program correctly, you should lose weight [8]
  • It’s Safe & Effective: Nutrisystem has been proven to be a very safe way to lose weight.
  • Easy to Follow: Just Eat the Food, Follow the Program, and Lose Weight
  • Convenient: Most of Your Meals and Snacks are Sent Right to Your Door
  • Flex Meals: Eat out or make meals at home with Nutrisystem Flex Meals
  • Teaches You Strategies to Maintain a Healthy Weight Moving Forward
  • Large Menu with Ample Variety

How Well Does it Work Against the Competition?

Nutrisystem is one of the most popular diets in the world, and they have nearly 50 years of success proving that their program works.

The reason so many people like it? It really does make weight loss easy. Their grab-and-go meals can be eaten anywhere, and you hardly ever have to worry about prep or grocery shopping. Just heat your meals, and they’re ready to eat.

When you compare Nutrisystem to other diets, it’s actually one of the most affordable options out there. Even so, it’s not always the preferred choice for everyone, so here are a couple of competitors for you to consider.

South Beach Diet

  • How it Works: Comes from the same people who make Nutrisystem, and works in a very similar way. 6 meals per day, moderate exercise encouraged, very little grocery shopping (see how they compare). Their menu is low-carb, and also has keto-friendly options.
  • Price: South Beach Diet is a bit more expensive than Nutrisytem, starting at closer to $10 per day.
  • Menu: The biggest difference between Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet? It’s probably the menu. South Beach Diet has more of a focus on international cuisine, while Nutrisystem’s menu is more American.

Jenny Craig

  • How it Works: Jenny Craig also offers diet delivery, and you also eat 6 times a day on their program. The biggest difference between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem comes down to coaching (see a comparison of the two here). With Jenny Craig, you get access to a one-on-one coach, which is a valuable addition for a lot of people. You also have the option of in-person support groups, if you have a Jenny Craig weight loss center in your town.
  • Price: Jenny Craig is more expensive than Nutrisytem, as you’re paying more for the coaching they provide. It costs closer to $24 per day.
  • Menu: The Jenny Craig menu is smaller than Nutrisytem’s, but it has similar food styles.

Medifast

  • How it Works: Medifast is another diet delivery program, that also features several small meals and snacks over the course of the day. Their menu would be considered to be more low-carb than Nutrisystem’s, however (see a side-by-side comparison of both diets).
  • Price: Medifast is more expensive than Nutrisytem’s cheapest plan, but their mid-level options are pretty similarly in price.
  • Menu: Medifast provides most of your meals for the day, but you also get to make your own “Lean & Green” meals each day. This is good for those who want to learn what healthy meal prep looks like. Their menu style is pretty similar to Nutrisytem’s.

Nutrisystem Diet Review Summary

Nutrisystem is a great weight loss choice for a lot of people. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” diet out there, they offer a plan and menu that works for a lot of people.

If you don’t want to count calories, do a lot of meal prep, or go grocery shopping, then Nutrisystem may be a good fit.

It’s easy to follow, promises 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss each week, and has nearly 50 years of research supporting how well it works.

If you want to give Nutrisystem a try, you can visit their official website below:

nutrisystem freshstart best deal

Resources

  1. Nutrisystem.com, retrieved from https://www.nutrisystem.com/
  2. NutriSystem, Inc. History, Funding Universe. Retrieved from: http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/nutrisystem-inc-history/
  3. Arturo Figueroa, Florida State University, Nutrisystem improves arterial function in obese, post-menopausal women, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108091753.htm
  4. Introducing FreshStart from Nutrisystem, retrieved from https://leaf.nutrisystem.com/fresh-start/
  5. The Best Diet: Quality Counts, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/best-diet-quality-counts/
  6. Get the Facts: Sodium’s Role in Processed Food, Center for Disease Control. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/salt/pdfs/sodium_role_processed.pdf
  7. GD Foster, et al., Center for Obesity Research and EducationA randomized comparison of a commercially available portion-controlled weight-loss intervention with a diabetes self-management education program. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23507967