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.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Benner, Katie. "Bad News For NutriSystem." CNN. 08/28/08. (Accessed 03/21/09). http://m.cnn.com/cnn/archive/archive/detail/160112/full;jsessionid=D526A605508FD2238DBD7F54712F9511
- Centers for Disease Control. "BMI for Adults." (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html
- Centers for Disease Control. "Body Mass Index." (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/
- CNN. "What is the glycemic index?" 02/25/09. (Accessed 03/23/09). http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/25/glycemic.index/
- Dalton, Louisa. "What's that stuff? Food Preservatives." Chemical and Engineering News. 11/11/02. (Accessed 03/22/09).http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/8045/8045sci2.html
- Food and Drug Administration. "EAFUS." (Accessed 03/22/09).http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/eafus.html
- Food and Drug Administration. "Food, Nutrition, and Cosmetics Questions & Answers." (Accessed 3/30/09).http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm094211.htm
- Food Safety Network, the. "Preservatives." (Accessed 03/23/09). http://www.foodsafetynetwork.ca/aspx/public/publication_detail_global.aspx?languageid=1&contenttypeid=5&id=49
- Forbes. "100 Fastest Growing Companies." (Accessed 03/21/09). http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortunefastestgrowing/2008/snapshots/20.html
- FoxNews. "Seattle Sutton Examines Three Popular Weight Loss Plans for their Healthfulness." 02/23/09. (Accessed 03/22/09).http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/seattle-sutton-examines-popular-weight-loss-plans-healthfulness/
- Gupta, Dr. Sanjay. "Dear (Food) Diary." Time. (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1703763_1703764_1826306,00.html
- New York Times, The. "Venture by NutriSystem." 03/05/94. (Accessed 03/21/09). http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/05/business/venture-by-nutri-system.html
- NutriSystem. "FAQ." (Accessed 03/22/09).http://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/faq/index.jsp#a16
- NutriSystem. "Live your lifestyle." (Accessed 03/22/09). https://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/catalog/women/vegetarian.jsp?categoryId=384
- NutriSystem. "NutriSystem Guarantee." (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/guarantee/index.jsp
- NutriSystem. "Our food." (Accessed 03/22/09).http://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/catalog/menu/food.jsp
- NutriSystem. "The Science Behind It." (Accessed 03/23/09). http://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/how_it_works/the_science_behind_it.jsp
- Obesity Action Coalition. "Weight Loss Options." (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.obesityaction.org/obesity-treatments/commercial-programs
- Reuters. "Portion control dishes aid weight loss: study." 06/25/07. (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSELK57413620070625
- University of California- Agriculture and Natural Resources. "Nutrition Online Media Kit." (Accessed 03/22/09).http://ucanr.edu/News/Nutrition,_weight_and_health/Fact_Sheet/
- World Health Organization, the. "About WHO." (Accessed 03/22/09). http://www.who.int/about/en/