With the increasing prevalence of adult obesity in the U.S., there is a clear need for effective weight management options based in sound science. However, Nutrisystem knows it can be challenging to help your patients lose weight so that they can achieve overall healthier lifestyles.
The goal of this website is to introduce healthcare providers to Nutrisystem and our weight management programs. We have anticipated and answered some questions that you may have, and invite you to contact us with additional questions.
Nutritionally-balanced, portion-controlled food is the foundation of all Nutrisystem® programs. Use of portion-controlled foods in a structured, low-calorie diet plan has been found to facilitate dietary adherence and enhance weight loss in comparison to simple instruction or advice to reduce calorie intake. Nutrisystem provides frozen and shelf-stable entrées and snacks, which customers supplement with grocery foods (including vegetables, fruit, protein and low-fat dairy items) to complete a meal plan consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans — 2010. In addition, Nutrisystem® foods are accompanied by printed, online, and mobile tools and trackers that guide customers toward full program adherence. Home delivery adds to the convenience and encourages adherence to a structured diet. Customers with specific health needs (e.g., sodium restriction, certain food allergies) can work with a trained Nutrisystem counselor or a member of our Nutrition & Dietary team to customize their meal plans accordingly. Trained weight loss counselors are also available to provide one-on-one education and motivation for in-the-moment support. Additionally, patients on Nutrisystem® D®— our program specifically designed for people with diabetes—can speak with a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) as often as they would like as part of the program.
A food's GI value refers to its effect on blood glucose. High-GI foods (many refined grains, for example) typically induce a steep and rapid increase in blood glucose, followed by a precipitous decline. By contrast, lower-GI foods (including whole grains and non-starchy vegetables, for example) stimulate a more tempered rise in blood glucose, with a lower peak and more gradual decline. Glycemic load (GL) is a related construct that factors in carbohydrate quantity as well as quality.
Perhaps the most meaningful advantage of low-GI eating is its role in managing blood glucose levels in people who have, or are at risk for, diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis found that the reduction in HbA1C was 0.5% greater among patients with diabetes who followed a diet low in GI or GL compared with high-GI/GL alternatives. Two recent studies that employed continuous glucose monitoring found that dietary GI was more strongly related to glycemic response than was carbohydrate intake in persons with type 2 diabetes as well as in normoglycemic participants with abdominal obesity. In addition, a recent study of patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes found a significant reduction in average blood glucose and glycemic variability during consumption of Nutrisystem D compared to their usual diet. Furthermore, individuals experienced less hyperglycemia without a significant increase in hypoglycemia.
A meta-analysis suggested a small but significant advantage for low-calorie low-GI/GL diets vs. higher-GI/GL alternatives. Some research also suggests a smaller reduction in resting metabolic rate during weight loss achieved with a low-GI/GL diet, compared with a high-GI/GL diet.
The emphasis on prepackaged food may lead some to suggest that Nutrisystem is only a short-term weight loss solution. However, Nutrisystem also offers transition and maintenance plans designed to help customers gradually step down from the high level of structure that is characteristic of our traditional weight loss programs. Customers receive detailed instruction on applying the principles of the Nutrisystem way of eating when they are preparing their own meals or eating out. As with the standard Nutrisystem® weight loss program, customers on our transition and maintenance plans have access to Nutrisystem counselors as well as Nutrition and Dietary consultants. Customers on Nutrisystem D, our program designed specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, have access to Certified Diabetes Educators who are trained to address the specific dietary needs of those with diabetes.
The importance of physical activity and exercise in a healthy lifestyle modification program is undeniable. Nutrisystem encourages customers to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into their daily lives. This can be accomplished in one continuous session or in three sessions of 10 minutes or more. The Nutrisystem My Daily 3® fitness program aids customers in accomplishing this goal, helping them achieve the essential 30 minutes of activity each day by breaking it down into manageable, 10-minute periods. My Daily 3 also provides guidance on what types of exercise to incorporate, and at what intensity, based on customers' preferences, goals, and abilities. We expect that customers who follow this program will not only receive cardiorespiratory benefits and preserve more lean muscle mass during weight loss, but also will build an activity habit that will help them maintain their weight.
The calorie content of Nutrisystem programs is intended to induce a weight loss of 1 to 2 lb per week. An analysis of over 100,000 customers who recorded their weight online at the start of treatment and again after 3 months found that the average weight loss was 18.2 lb. (SD = 14.6 lb.) during that time. That loss was equivalent to an 8.3% reduction in initial body weight. The National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine consider even modest reductions of 5%-10% of initial weight to be clinically meaningful among people with obesity. Our analysis found that 79.4% of customers achieved at least a 5% weight loss at 3 months, including 33% who lost at least 10% of their initial body weight.
Similarly, an analysis of over 5,000 Nutrisystem D customers found an average weight loss of 18.0 lb at 3 months representing a 7.6% reduction in initial weight. Nearly 4 of 5 Nutrisystem D customers (78.4%) who recorded their weight for 3 months lost at least 5% of their body weight during that time.
Yes. In contrast to a "diet," Nutrisystem aims to provide customers with the framework and the tools to achieve long-term weight control. Additional program components are shown in the table below.
♦ Behavior Modification
♦ Program Features
Nutrisystem® programs (including the recommended grocery additions) provide approximately 2000 mg/day of sodium. This is a dramatic improvement over the 3400 mg/day that the average American consumes and is consistent with the target of < 2300 mg/day in the general adult population, as recommended in the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans — 2010.
These guidelines recommend that persons in certain subgroups (i.e., those over 51 years old, as well as those of any age who are African-American or have diabetes, hypertension, or chronic kidney disease) should further restrict sodium intake to < 1500 mg/day. This target is also recommended by the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association. Customers who seek this level of sodium restriction can achieve it by working with a Nutrisystem counselor to ensure selection of appropriate menu items and grocery additions.
Nutrisystem considers the following conditions to be contraindications to its program:
Other conditions or medication use may require dietary customization and/or approval from the customer's healthcare provider. Click here to download a more detailed list of considerations.
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Health Insurance/Flexible Spending Accounts
Patients may be eligible to receive reimbursement for their purchase of Nutrisystem programs.