Weighed Down with Preservatives

Nature has engineered many naturally occurring preservatives, such as honey and citric acid, which prevent its bounty from spoiling before it's picked or plucked for consumption. But there are hundreds of artificially manufactured preservatives that can be added to foods to help slow the process of decay, mold and spoilage.

NutriSystem Side Effects

There are a few factors to consider before starting the NutriSystem program, such as the preservatives and additives in the program's prepared foods, satisfaction with weight loss while on the program, and a lack of instruction on how to maintain a healthy weight.

Approximately one-third of all the foods in the NutriSystem program are made with preservatives, which help to keep prepackaged food fresh [source: NutriSystem]. Many of the foods you'll find on grocery store shelves also contain preservatives like sulfur dioxide and nitrates, among others. These substances must be added to all packaged foods in order to prevent spoilage and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration [source: FDA/CFSAN, FDA]. So although you'll receive meals that are quick and easy to prepare, you'll also have chemicals you may not get when making your own meals.

It is possible for participants following this diet plan, along with an exercise regimen, to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week [source: OAC]. But after early success on the plan, dieters can become discouraged if the weight loss doesn't occur as quickly, which may cause them to follow the plan less rigorously. It may be beneficial for you to talk with one of the program's online counselors or chat rooms if you find yourself hitting a weight-loss plateau.

NutriSystem does offer these online resources and support, but it doesn't present specific instructions on basic nutrition or healthy eating. Initially positive results from following the meal plans may be a short-term fix if you don't know how to eat healthily on your own. It's important to learn about healthy foods and how to eat them in proper portions.

Now that you have some more information about the NutriSystem program, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting it or any kind of diet or weight-loss program. He or she can advise you about diet and exercise options that can help you successfully lose the weight -- and keep it off.