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.
Healthy, 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 provide total nutrition. In addition, Nutrisystem® foods are home-delivered and 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. The resulting meal plans are hypo-caloric, low in glycemic index, and consistent with national guidelines for general nutrition. Customers with specific health needs (e.g., sodium restriction) can work with a trained Nutrisystem counselor to customize their meal plans accordingly. We have a team of trained weight loss counselors 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, have access to Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs). As you know, CDEs have had years of experience working in the area of diabetes, and are experts in diabetes nutrition as well as glucose and weight management.
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 obese patients with 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 learn portion control through practice and with the help of a portion-control tool kit (including a plating template). In addition, 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 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 overweight and obese individuals. 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
• Guidance in controlling portions, planning meals, and increasing physical activity
• Printed, online, and mobile self-monitoring tools and progress trackers
• Mindset Makeover® behavior modification guide
• Transition and maintenance plans to help successfully move from a Nutrisystem weight loss
program and on to weight maintenance
• Online classes with a Registered Dietitian
• Educational newsletters
• Daily tips delivered on member homepage
• Access to telephone counseling and nutrition consultation
• Online community to share tips and motivational support
• Free access to Certified Diabetes Educators for all Nutrisystem D customers
• Over 150 delicious foods for patients to choose from to support compliance
• No counting calories or carbs, and no embarrassing weigh-ins
• Free delivery directly to your patients' homes
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 Nutrisystem® menu items and grocery additions
Nutrisystem considers the following conditions to be contraindications to its program:
• Breastfeeding a child who is under the age of 6 months or who has not begun solid foods. Women who are breastfeeding older children who have begun solid foods require a higher-calorie meal plan which is available through Nutrition and Dietary Services.
• Anorexia or bulimia nervosa
• BMI < 19 kg/m2
• Age < 14 years. Standard Nutrisystem programs are designed for adults aged 18 and older. However, we also offer programs designed to meet the nutritional requirements of overweight or obese adolescents between the ages of 14-17. Click here to learn more about our Nutrisystem for Teens program.
• Allergy to soy or peanuts. Many other allergies can be accommodated through customization of the diet.
• Allergy to latex. Foods may be exposed to latex gloves during food processing.
• Chronic kidney disease. Nutrisystem programs are likely to exceed the maximum recommended daily values for protein (0.8 g/kg), phosphorus (700 mg), and potassium (4700 mg), and may exceed the recommended value for sodium (1500 mg). While programs may be customized to address many specific dietary needs, Nutrisystem is not able to meet the complex dietary restrictions for persons with chronic kidney disease at this time.
• Any condition requiring a ketogenic diet
• Any condition requiring a gluten-free diet
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.
Interested in trying Nutrisystem?
Healthcare providers and their office staff receive a special discount on the Nutrisystem program.
to place your order or to learn
more about this offer.
(Please note: You will be required to verify that you are currently a healthcare provider or employee.)
Health Insurance/Flexible Spending Accounts
Patients may be eligible to receive reimbursement for their purchase of Nutrisystem programs.