Nutrisystem — a magic pill or a marketing ploy?

By John Irving

Obesity is a bane of modern society. According to stats, almost every 4th person in the world is overweight. So there is no wonder why there are new diets popping up every year. Detox, fasting, liquid diets, you name it.

One of the most popular among them is Nutrisystem, a diet plan that is aimed at making the fat burning process simple and easy. With it, you can forget about the hard cooking of the prescribed meals, meticulously choosing foods and counting calories, amount of fats, proteins and carbs. It’s all taken care of for you. All there is left to do is to buy a kit of prepackaged meals and stick to the plan.

Sounds easy. But is Nutrisystem really effective, or is it yet another rosy picture that marketology obtrusively shows us? Is it affordable? Does it compare well to other diet plans? What do people say about it? Answers to all these questions you’ll find below.

The basics of Nutrisystem

The system first emerged in the 70s, and started out as liquid-based diet, but soon became what it is today: a delivery service of pre-cooked food. A daily package administered usually includes 3 meals and a dessert. Pretty much everything you may need, except, maybe, the water. Just warm it up, and it’s ready! The trick is that having ready-made Nutrisystem meals helps keeping your appetite at bay, which eventually leads to fat loss.

The system meals usually come in 4-week plans that comprise 150 different food items, including fruits and vegetables, nuts, grain, meat, and dairy products. Those are usually quite healthy options, containing little to no salt or harmful fats. Pre-cooked Nutrisystem diet implies eating low-caloric, rich in fiber, proteins and “smart” carbohydrates foods that provide you with all micronutrients your body needs throughout the day.

Theoretically, when keeping to these pre-cooked meals, it’s possible to burn fat without saying no to your favorite treats or spending the whole day hungry. That said, we should point out, that for a fat loss some daily physical activity is always required. Nutrisystem’s specialists suggest spending at least 30 mins each day exercising. Moreover, the manufacturer strongly recommends refraining from drinking alcohol and smoking while on the diet.
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Available plans and costs

Nutrisystem has a number of different meal plans, designed specifically for males, females, elderly persons of over 60 years, diabetics, and vegetarians. That said, the program doesn’t have gluten-free options or plans for vegans and individuals allergic to either milk, soy, or peanuts.

Usually, most Nutrisystem plans include an optional Turbo13 program. The name implies that you’ll start losing fat during the first week of dieting. As a result, you’ll lose up to thirteen pounds by the end of the first month. Still, the Turbo13 is not compulsory, so you can opt not going for it just in case you don’t want to put too much stress on yourself. On top of that, each plan has three levels of service, namely:

  • Basic plan. Pre-cooked calorie-controlled meals, various tools and app trackers;
  • Core plan. Brings the same range of advantages, but also adds an access to professional diet counselors;
  • Unique plan. It includes the same items as the abovementioned level, but you will also get Nutrisystem’s frozen foods or specialized foods for vegetarians or diabetics.

Before talking about the plans in detail, let’s see what ready-made foods the company offers. For breakfast, it’s oatmeals, muffins, protein shakes, and pancakes. For dinner, Nutrisystem has various options of soups, pasta, chicken, and even pizza. When it comes to desserts, you get brownies, cookies, and cake. Add a wide range of raw fruits, berries together with veggies, thus, you get a pretty well-balanced diet that provides you with about 1 thousand calories on a daily basis.

The Basic plan includes three nutritional and low-cal meals, a shake, and a dessert of choice. In this case, you can not choose the dishes you eat, Nutrisystem does it for you. This option costs 275 dollars per month with delivery costs included (or approximately 10 dollars per day) for women and 315 dollars (or around 11.5 dollars each day) for men. The price differs for males and females simply owing to the fact that men get 2 snacks per day instead of one as they usually need a little more calories to function.

For those willing to have more control on what they consume, it’s possible to choose your foods for an additional price. In such case, the Nutrisystem basic plan will cost 297-337 USD. A little bit more expensive, but it’s worth it if you’re a picky eater.

When it comes to the Core plan, it includes everything mentioned above, but also provides an access to dieticians, online counselors, app trackers, and other useful stuff. The price of this plan is 295 dollars for women and 335 dollars for men (or 10.5 and 12 dollars/day, respectively). With the Core Nutrisystem plan, the advantage of choosing your own food is available free of charge.

Finally, the Unique plan costs around 12 dollars/day and lets you pick from nearly 200 different meals, including frozen ones. This Nutrisystem dieting plan costs $335 for women and $375 for men. Other unique plans are aimed at vegetarians and diabetics. The option for vegetarians is a bit pricier and costs around 12 and 13.5 dollars, while the diabetics plan is 9.8 and 11.25 dollars for women and men, respectively.

As you might’ve noticed, Nutrisystem diet is not the cheapest option out there, even if we’re talking about the basic plan. So get ready to spend from 300 to 600 dollars a month. Add to this some veggies, fruit, water, and other supplementary foods, which can be found in groceries.

Nutrisystem and other diets

It’s no accident that Nutrisystem is one of the top fat loss programs out there. Recent studies show that the diet actually helps to quickly burn fat. Its closest competitors are Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Compared to those two options, Nutrisystem is the only system that actually provides pre-cooked food. Which can be both a benefit and a disadvantage. On the one hand, heat-and-eat meals are extremely time-saving, since all you have to do is wait until the food arrives and heat it. On the other hand, when it comes to taste, pre-cooked food can rarely compete with home-cooked or restaurant dishes.

Hence, another disadvantage: with Nutrisystem, eating at the restaurant or a friend’s place becomes an issue. You can’t realistically expect to bring pre-cooked foods for every occasion. On top of that, foods here are mostly processed, non-organic and not GMO-free, which are not the healthiest options possible. That said, it’s pretty convenient to bring these meals to your workplace or school, where you have an option to warm it up.

Finally, with this diet, customers don’t get as much online help from dietitians, so they get slim slower, and it is harder for them to keep the weight than with the other two options. Additionally, even though Nutrisystem has free enrollment and monthly membership, it’s much more expensive compared to Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.


Nutrisystem is a pretty hot topic on the Internet. This means there are plenty of reviews from users who tried it in their pursuit to get slimmer. Let’s take a brief look at some of them:

“Overall, the food tasted fine, and I will definitely continue to order it. I particularly enjoyed breakfasts, snacks, hamburgers, pizzas, and meatloaf. Other stuff was not that good. Oh, and don’t forget about their delicious desserts!”.



“I lost about 30 pounds in 4 months while using Nutrisystem. It’s basically just portion control, that’s the secret”.




“My fiance and I both tried it out. We both felt that the food was horrible. It was very salty. We didn’t get a full refund, but sent back everything we hadn’t eaten and were refunded for that”.



“It’s easy to just grab your food and go. The snacks offered for eating each day are also simple and not too pricey so you can afford them. With Nutrisystem, I ended up losing 9 pounds in 4 weeks”.



“Somehow, breakfast food was particularly yummy. I actually still miss their muffins. They also had some delicious lunches, but the dinners weren’t that great. It was just something about the Nutrisystem boxed dinners: they were bland, colorless, and not foody at all”.

Just like with any diet, reviews are starkly different. Some people report great results and praise the food, while others complain about the overall blandness of pre-cooked meals. But in general, based on the reviews, Nutrisystem gets the job done and helps to consistently lose weight with a moderate effort.

Where to buy Nutrisystem: sites and stores

The dietary plan can be purchased in several places, namely:

  •, the official website of the company;
  • Amazon
  • Walmart

So, obviously, you can get different plans at the Nutrisystem online store. The site gives you a full access to all their options and a complete weight loss program. Last but not least, the store often has great discounts to help the beginners to start.

The other option is Walmart. Unfortunately, you can’t buy full plans here since the retailer sells only five-day starter kits. With that, it’s a neat alternative for people who want to try Nutrisystem out before fully committing to the diet. These kits promise to help you get rid of 7 pounds in 14 days.

The last option is Amazon, where you also can find relatively cheap 5-day starter kits. It’s a nice option for Amazon Prime customers, who get bigger discounts and free shipping. However, otherwise we recommend sticking to the first two options.


To sum up, Nutrisystem is a viable option for those who want to start losing weight within a short time period. It has several drawbacks, such as price and quality of food, but overall it’s effective, compares well with other diets, extremely time-saving and easy to follow thanks to useful online tools and learning materials, provided by the company.
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