As an ever-increasing number of people learn about lifestyle diseases, there is an increased-emphasis to exercise regularly, eat a healthy balanced diet, and crucially live within one’s recommended BMI number. This means, more people are exercises and cutting back on fast foods. Consequently, industries have emerged to cater to peoples’ need to live healthy lives.
The Nutrisystem has been designed to cater to the needs of healthy meals during weight loss endeavors. It is a diet program that entails prepackaged portion-controlled food delivered to program followers to help them cut weight or maintain a healthy weight. The company provides different programs to cater to different needs and groups of people. You can opt for either the men, women, type 2 diabetes patients, and vegetarian programs.
Developed in the 1970s, Nutrisystem is premised on the idea that losing weight is much easier when you do not have to plan and prepare the meals yourself. And according to published reports in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Nutrisystem follows lost about 3.8% more weight over a 3-month period compared to a control group who received nutritional education and counseling (1).
Moreover, a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension indicated that the weight loss food program helped partakers lose weight, fat, and reduce arterial stiffness and blood pressure (2). As you can appreciate, there are people who have found success using the system.
However, this is not to say that the program is faultless. There are potential and reported side-effects to contend with. As a consumer, it is only right you educate yourself on this side of the program before buying into it. This read will educate you on the side effects you might face when you use Nutrisystem to lose weight and maintain healthy weight levels.
#1. There Is Risk Of Providing Inadequate Calories
While the meals might vary depending on your subscription, they all emphasize consuming carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (for example, whole grains) and lean proteins. This diet approach is effective at helping Nutrisystem lose weight while staying healthy. However, the pre-packaged meals might provide inadequate calories for program partakers who require a lot of calories.
It is for this reason that Nutrisystem cautions pregnant women from following the Nutrisystem as they need a lot more calories than usual. In the same light, they breastfeeding moms with young babies (6 months or less) who are yet to start eating solid foods should not follow the system. Kids and teenagers under the age of 18 should not follow the system as well since they are still growing. Finally, if you engage in intensive physical activities, the Nutrisystem might also not provide you with ample calories to power your body and stay healthy.
#2. You Do Not Get Information And Instructions On Healthy Eating And Basic Nutrition
While Nutrisystem is touted as a weight loss program and they offer online support and resources to followers, they do not help program followers understand even the basics of healthy eating and proper nutrition. Consequently, the gains in weight loss experienced initially are short-lived if followers do not have an intricate understanding of what to eat, when, and how much, and what to avoid.
Moreover, the program contains plenty of foods that are considered less nutritious but difficult to stop eating after the completion of the program. For instance, cinnamon buns, cheese, and hamburgers are part of typical daily meals and followers might find it difficult to stop eating them after the completion of the program, thereby taking away any gains made soon after the subscription ends.
As a side effect of this Nutrisystem structure, there is a chance that the system will not yield any positive results in the long run.
#3. Allergic Reactions To The Prepackaged Food?
If you are allergic to soy and or peanuts, the Nutrisystem isn’t for you. The prepackaged entrees and desserts have peanuts and soy as ingredients, which, as you might guess will cause anaphylaxis. In fact, Nutrisystem expressly prohibits individuals with peanut allergy, whether mild or severe from partaking in their weight loss program.
Additionally, the meals contain Maltitol and other sugar alcohols, which are the main culprits for ‘Nutritoots’ – a term coined by Nutrisystem followers to describe a condition of extreme gassiness. The condition can affect your quality of sleep and affect your daily activities. Followers who are extremely sensitive to sugar alcohols are the most affected
#4. You Over-Rely On Processed Foods
While the program uses food instead of nutrition bars, the pre-packaged meals are still heavily packaged. Typical program followers will find numerous unfamiliar ingredients on the package, which might indicate extensive food processing. Moreover, the company does concede their meals might contain GMOs, which, for some users, can be concerning.
#5. The Use Of Preservatives Takes Away Some Of The Benefits Of These Foods
To make the entire concept of sending Nutrisystem pre-packaged meals possible, the company uses preservatives to keep the pre-packaged food fresh. The use of preservatives is necessary as it prevents spoilage of food. As such, preservatives allow the company to send you the easy-to-prepare meals straight to your door-step. In fact, by estimates, a third of all the meals in the Nutrisystem contain preservatives.
While the preservatives are safe to consume as they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, you are still ingesting chemicals with little to no nutritional value into your system. This is unlike preparing your own food, where you can avoid many, if not all of these preservatives.
#6. Inadequacies In Quantity And Taste (For Some Users)
While this is not a side effect per se, the inadequacies might render the program ineffective. There are plenty of people who complain that the pre-packaged meals are small and are not filling, leaving consumers feeling hungry. This makes it harder to strictly follow the system after some time, reversing any gains made.
For others, the pre-packaged foods have inadequacies in taste. And just like the inadequacies in quantity, the less-than-tantalizing taste leaves followers unsatisfied with the experience, which, in return makes it hard to follow the program.
In many cases where followers complain of inadequacies in taste and making you feel full, any possible weight loss gained is short-lived as the Nutrisystem partakers are unable to follow the program.
The Bottom Line
There is no avoiding the fact that Nutrisystem has its pros and cons. While the prepackaged meals can help you in your weight loss journey, the system does have its own demerits to contend with. Careful consideration of the possible side-effects will help you determine whether Nutrisystem is the nutritional weight loss program that suits your needs.