Diet Plans & Programs: The "Skinny" on Popular Diet Plans

  • Author:
    Betty Kovacs, MS, RD

    Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)
    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

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NutriSystem Advanced

The Diet Plan Theory

The NutriSystem Advanced diet is a low glycemic index, high-fiber, and high-protein diet. The prepackaged food is provided for you by ordering online or by calling the toll free number. The plans are: Women's, Men's, Women's Silver, Men's Silver, Women's Type II Diabetic, Men's Type II Diabetic, or Vegetarian. An exercise DVD is included along with a Mindset Makeover behavior modification guide.

Advantages

This diet does address the three necessary components for successful weight loss and maintenance; diet, physical activity, and behavior. Prepackaged foods can be an effective tool for weight loss. You will be provided with the appropriate number of calories for weight loss without having to worry about counting anything. You add fresh produce and dairy. This will give you the opportunity to learn what appropriate portion sizes are and which foods are necessary for a well-balanced diet based on your specific needs. The variety of programs based on gender, age, health, and dietary preference is another positive component of this diet.

The Mindset Makeover was developed by one of the leading psychologists in the weight loss field, Gary Foster, Ph.D. It is designed to "help people learn new behaviors when it comes to weight loss and related lifestyle issues." This behavior piece is essential but very rare in most diets. You are given access to this and an online account with community support as part of each of the programs.

Disadvantages

Prepackaged foods are not for everyone and typically not something to use forever. They can be very limiting and create the sense of being "on a diet." They will also get in the way of social events in which food is involved. Most people find that they only want to use this type of a diet for the short-term or for one or two meals per day. The other negative aspect of this diet is that the prepackaged foods contain the artificial sweeteners Sucaralose and Acesulfame K.

The dietary focus on this diet also has some limitations. The idea of "good carbs" and "bad carbs" is controversial. While there is some truth to the role of glycemic index in hunger, it is not a guaranteed tool for weight management. Labeling foods as "good" and "bad" creates problems for people trying to develop healthy eating habits. A well-balanced diet requires whole wheat sources of starch, while allowing for some sugar.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2015

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