Star ratings reflect scores of 1 to 5 assigned to Nutrisystem in seven categories by nutritionists, specialists in diabetes and heart disease, and other diet experts on a ratings panel assembled by U.S. News. (See our Best Diets methodology.) When we combined the ratings, Nutrisystem weighed in at about 3 stars overall, putting it in the middle of the pack. Experts found Nutrisystem nutritious, safe, fairly easy to follow, and moderately effective for short-term weight loss, but gave it lower marks on long-term weight loss and when considering it as a heart or diabetes diet. Below, ratings in all categories and how the experts’ opinions broke down.
Short-Term Weight Loss
Experts felt dieters would likely drop some pounds in the short-term on Nutrisystem thanks to its portion control and built-in calorie restriction delivered in convenient packaged meals.
Long-Term Weight Loss
The absence of long-term studies specifically evaluating Nutrisystem handicapped the experts. They handed out mostly 2s, classifying the diet as “minimally effective” for long-term weight loss.
Easy to Follow
Logistics are simple on Nutrisystem: the food comes right to dieters’ doors, and supplementary guides make for a structured plan. On average, experts rated it "moderately easy” to follow.
Nutrisystem generally conforms to the federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines, and it scored well on nutrition. Some nutrient information, like amount of potassium and vitamins B-12 and D you get on the diet, weren’t available for analysis.
Nutrisystem earned its highest score for safety, with experts rating it “very safe.” Experts seem confident it poses little risk for the majority of dieters.
Nutrisystem received a modest diabetes score from experts. (Experts did not specifically review the Nutrisystem D program, but it is not significantly different from the mainstream adult plan.) The result of about 2½ stars put Nutrisystem in the middle of the pack for ability to prevent or control the disease.
For Heart Health
Most other diets beat Nutrisystem in preventing or managing cardiovascular disease. Experts gave Nutrisystem about 2½ stars.
Last updated by Kurtis Hiatt | January 02, 2013
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