Both Atkins and Nutrisystem have their advantages and disadvantages, but it depends what you are trying to accomplish. Do you need shed pounds fast? Are you on doctors’ orders to lessen your bad cholesterol? These are questions to consider when choosing the right diet for the particular circumstances you are facing. Atkins diet is great if you need to lose pounds quickly. With this high protein and high fat diet, your body burns the fat reserves stored rather than burning glucose or sugar as the stored energy. Nutrisystem is a traditional dietary system but comes with a tailored menu that emphasizes smaller portions. Because it requires you to eat 6 meals a day, this dietary system stimulates your metabolism and in turn boosts the calorie burn.
Food Quality and Taste: Nutrisystem
Nutrisystem offers a variety of food choices in which weight loss is achieved through portion control. It does not limit any of the four food groups, and does not include the complicated chore of counting calories. The Nutrisystem diet comes with pre-packaged meals since the point of the diet is to simplify the chore of counting calories so that you don’t have to! According to the Nutrisystem website, most of the meals are rated from 4.5 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Nutrisystem funded a 2010 survey with a sample size of 3,500 customers and found that 9 out of 10 customers were pleased with the food quality and taste of their food. In 2014, Nutrisystem expanded their menu to include 40 new items and they redeveloped 32 of their items by discarding artificial flavors and sweeteners.
If you don’t like the tailored meals you can order a Nutrisystem cookbook.
Easiness of the Program
With the Nutrisystem diet you eat small portions, but you eat 6 times a day. This diet focuses on the consumer by upholding a program that values common sense and good choices: the most important choices are practically made for you with Nutrisystem’s tailored menu. These menu items are arranged in small portions.
Consumers can choose between two plans. The Basic plan comes with pre-packaged meals. The Core plan, however, allows the customer to take the training wheels off and choose from a variety of foods. The Core plan allows you to customize your own menu and you have the option of cooking your own recipes based on the programs dietary requirements.
The basic plan consists of already prepared, packaged meals shipped to you. The idea is portion control, so you eat 6 times a day with the following meal types: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack. Duration of the plan is 4 weeks.
The core plan implements the same concept except there are more choices and the customer can tailor the menu to his needs. Like the basic plan, the duration is 4 weeks and consists of breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack.
Since the menu is already tailored to the needs of the consumer, the participant already has their food choices and portions made for them. There are very little decisions to be made.
Ease of program may be complicated depending upon one’s own schedule and life circumstances. Depending upon the demands of your job, it may be difficult to implement the program if your job demands you refrain from mid-day snacking. Another disadvantage is that the meal plan only accommodates a single person and does not cover whole families.
Because the meals are prepackaged, Nutrisystem’s starting point is at $350.00. However, this is a financial advantage in terms of having not to buy raw materials from the grocery store to cook. Store items are not cheap these days, so Nutrisystem’s set rate is definitely an advantage to your pocketbook.
Physical Activity or Exercise
Nutrisystem recommends at least 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week. You can tally your minutes using the My Daily 3 plan which incorporates three 10 minute activities of moderate exercise per day. Some of these activities could include walking up the stairs, gardening, taking a brisk walk, a morning jog, going bowling or mowing the lawn.
According to a study published in the journal Postgraduate Medicine of 2009, 69 obese participants with type 2 diabetes lost 18 pounds over a three month period from the Nutrisystem diet. Nutrisystem also funded a survey in 2010. After three months 79% lost 5% of their total weight and 33% lost 10% or more. Customers found that using the online tracking tool and the ease and convenience of the program helped their success.
Food Quality and Taste: Atkins’ Diet
Atkins focuses on a no-nonsense program for weight loss by emphasizing a lower to no carbohydrate consumption and a greater intake of proteins and fats which allows the body to burn fat stores. You can eat bacon, but not a baked potato. Meat lovers should be ecstatic about this diet. Who doesn’t like bacon or rib eye steak? Atkins does offer some frozen dinners and some shakes, but they are hard to find. Because this program emphasizes cooking your own meals, the quality of the food depends upon your ability to cook.
Easiness of Program
The diet regiment for Atkins, however, changes as the dieter begins to lose weight. There is no calorie counting for this diet, but you must include the number of carbohydrates consumed. You can have complex carbohydrates like broccoli.
Atkins diet is a lifestyle diet that does not include pre-packaged foods like Nutrisystem. Most of your meals require you to cook your own meals. Besides the protein shakes and meal bars, the Atkins diet offers very little prepackaged foods. Prepackaged Atkins cuisine meals can be found in some grocery stores, but they are costly and hard to find. If the store carries it, it will be in the frozen foods section.
The Atkins diet includes 4 phases: Induction, balancing, pre-maintenance and life maintenance. Depending upon your dietary needs and how many pounds you have to lose, you can start anywhere along these four phases. If you need to lose a lot of weight, start with the induction phase. The induction phase requires you to stick to high protein and high fat foods with minimal carbohydrates. You can eat complex carbohydrates like broccoli, but your green vegetables should be limited to 12 to 15 grams. Avoid fruits, breads, pastas, nuts and alcohol.
With the balancing phase you continue to maintain the caloric intake addressed in the Induction phase, but you can slowly add fruits, berries and nuts to your diet. If a significant amount of weight has been lost, the pre-maintenance phase allows you to include starchy vegetables and grains. Ease of the program depends upon how easily the customer can transition smoothly to the other phases of the diet.
The Atkins diet requires grocery shopping, so you may need to come up with a budget that is right for you. Grocery shopping is not cheap, but instead of buying steak and salmon save money by purchasing chicken or tofu. Atkins diet also recommends purchasing extra virgin olive oil and this is a costly item. Instead purchase the inexpensive option such as canola oil.
Physical Activity or Exercise
Exercise is always recommended by most nutritionists no matter the diet. Atkins diet was designed for severely obese people to lose weight quickly, so it doesn’t depend upon heavy exercise, just a moderate amount of physical activity. With any new diet or exercise regime, consult your doctor.
According to a study published at Duke University Medical Center, 120 obese participants lost 31 pounds after 6 months from the Atkins diet. However, other studies suggest that Atkins is not a good long term program and end up gaining the weight back. Dr. Patrick McBride, a cardiologist from the University of Wisconsin, argues that any diet that cuts out any of the four food groups will not be successful in the long run. Then, there are the health issues. Constantly consuming steak and bacon will increase bad cholesterol.
Conclusion: Advantages and Disadvantages of Both
Depending upon your dietary goals, each program has its advantages and disadvantages. Your decision really depends upon whether or not if your goal is to lose weight, be healthy or both. The appeal of the Atkins diet is the ability to lose weight rapidly, albeit with some overall health concerns. In terms of weight loss, overall health and lifeline longevity, Nutrisystem is the better choice. Nutrisystem is more cost efficient, convenient and healthier in the long term.
“Atkins Diet: What’s behind the claims?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Aug. 2017.
“Basic Plan.” Basic Diet and Weight Loss Plan | Nutrisystem Favorites Kit.
“Weight Loss Programs & Benefits.” Atkins.
“Nutrisystem Diet” US News.
Cohen, Jamie. “Does the Atkins Diet Work?” ABC News, ABC News Network, 21 May 1970.
Lempert, Phil. “The high cost of low-Carb diets. We do the math.” TODAY.com, TODAY, 4 May 2004.
Publisher is a paid affiliate of Nutrisystem.