Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

The Promise

Nutrisystem aims to simplify weight loss. You don’t have to decide whether foods will fit your diet. You don’t have to count calories or carbs. For the most part, you don’t have to make sure you’re eating proper portion sizes. But you also can't eat whatever you want to.

That's because you buy most of your food from Nutrisystem. The company ships it to your door. Each day, you eat a Nutrisystem breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. You also add side items like fresh fruits and veggies and snacks that you buy from the grocery store.

The downside: You're discouraged from eating out, and advised to mostly avoid alcohol.

The plan is not for pregnant women, people with chronic kidney disease, or anyone with certain allergies or diet needs. It’s not for children under 14, though Nutrisystem offers programs for teens ages 14 to 17.

Does It Work?

Yes. If you can stick to the prepackaged meals and add only healthy foods, you should lose weight. The meals you'll eat are good for you, nutrition-wise. It can be harder to make the transition to eating "real food" when you get closer to your weight-loss goal and don't rely on meals already made for you.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

Nutrisystem offers prepackaged foods.

Breakfast options include oatmeal, muffins, granola, and pancakes.

Lunches and dinners include selections like tacos; chicken and pasta; soup, stew, and chili; and pizza.

For desserts and snacks, you might have brownies, cake, or cookies.

The program provides a long list of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fresh meat and dairy, and other foods that you can eat along with your Nutrisystem foods.

Overall, the foods and meal plans focus on:

A variety of nutrients. About half your calories come from carbs, 25% from protein, and 20% from fat.

"Smart" carbohydrates. These don't raise your blood sugar as much as other foods. On the plan, you’ll need to limit or avoid high-GI foods (like white bread, white rice, and certain fruits).

Limited calories. Expect to lose a pound or 2 each week on this diet program.

Limited sodium. According to the company, the programs provide about 2,000 milligrams of sodium daily. The foods you buy on your own may add to the total.

Level of Effort: Medium

Ordering a month’s worth of food is easy, and the items are already made for you. But you won’t have your usual degree of control over what foods you choose to eat. And you may get fewer calories than you're used to.

Limitations: You pick your foods from the choices Nutrisystem offers. There are at least 30 options for each meal. You can also choose from dozens of items to buy on your own at the grocery store.

Cooking and shopping: You can buy a 28-day shipment of food that the company selects, or you can choose each individual item yourself. You can sign up for a meal plan intended for women, men, or anyone older than 60.

You hardly have to cook, since most Nutrisystem foods either are ready to eat or only need heating. But some items that you buy from the grocery store, like vegetables and fish, may involve more preparation.

Packaged foods or meals: Required.

In-person meetings: None.

Exercise: Nutrisystem suggests you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. You can break this up into three 10-minute periods throughout the day.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Yes. There are meal plans for vegetarians and people with diabetes.

But the program does not have plans for people following a vegan diet.

And it doesn't allow for certain food allergies (including soy or peanut allergies), and it's not gluten-free.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: The cost varies based on things like the plan you choose -- such as for women or men, vegetarians, older adults, or people with diabetes.

In general, expect to pay from about $230 to the mid $300s a month for the Nutrisystem foods, plus whatever you buy from the grocery store.

Support: The program has an online community and web-based tools, as well as help by phone.

Other: You may face a challenge when you go off the program and have to make more food choices on your own. The program provides information on how to do this.

What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:

Does It Work?

Controlling calories and portions and eating regular meals is a healthy formula that should result in weight loss while on the plan.

The 12-week jump start and weekly newsletters can be very helpful in changing behavior, but they won’t help you when you’re preparing your own meals after the program ends.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Overall the diet is healthy for people with conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Meals are low in sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats, and include high-fiber whole grains, smart carbs, healthy fats, lean protein, and a wide variety of foods.

If you have a medical condition, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting the program.

The Final Word

The Nutrisystem diet is the ultimate in convenience. If you don’t want to think about portion sizes, planning, shopping, or cooking and are happy to have meals delivered to your doorstep in microwave-ready pouches, then you’re going to love this plan.

If you like to cook or eat out, or you have a tight food budget, this plan is not for you.

This diet offers a great 3-month jump start to get you on the road to weight loss. But the real question is whether you can continue to lose weight when you are no longer relying on the prepackaged foods.

WebMD Diet A-Z

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...