My Comparison Of Medifast And Nutrisystem

My Comparison Of Medifast And Nutrisystem

Before I began researching both of these diets last year, I often confused the two.  Both are prepackaged / meal replacement diets endorsed by celebrities like Genie Francis, Kristi Swanson, Jillian Barberie and Marie Osmond who have shed tons of weight.  They seemed to me to be very similar.  But, after researching a bit, I later learned that there are some pretty notable differences between them, which I will discuss in this article.

First off, I have to fully disclose that I ultimately decided to go with medifast and have lost quite a bit of weight on it.  My experience has been a really good one, so it’s quite probable that I am a bit biased.  However, I do have quite a bit of experience with this diet and I have close friends and coworkers who are on Nutrisystem and who eat beside me at lunch almost daily. So, I feel that I am pretty qualified to compare these two diet plans in terms of food, compliance, experience, results, and price.  I will also discuss the similarities and differences of both plans.

The Basics Of Both Diets: By definition, both of these are prepackaged, meal replacement diets.  You order your food online and the companies will mail you your food.  You will replace most (but not all) of your daily meals with the food that you are provided.  Both diets are low in calories and are very high in protein.  This, and the fact that you are eating very frequently, boosts your metabolism and encourages your body to burn it’s own fat.

The Medifast And Nutrisystem Foods: Both companies try very hard to allow you to forget that you’re really on a high carb diet that provides a low enough amount of calories to encourage dramatic weight loss.  Both offer comfort and snack foods that are a far cry from the eggs, meat, or chalky shakes you may be picturing in your mind. 

Medifast is known more for their shakes (which I can tell you from experience are quite good) and Nutrisystem is more known for having pizza. Neither is five star dining, they are both diets after all. But both are better than I expected. Some of the foods are quite decent and nearly all are edible.  The medifast pudding can be used as a base from which to make all sorts of recipes (cookies, muffins, etc.) and the Nutrisystem shortcake is pretty good too.

Results: Both companies claim an average of about 2-3 pound per week weight loss, with some dieters loosing as much as 5 pounds per week (I have done this several times. Once, I lost eight pounds in a week.) I spend a lot of time on weight loss forums and I believe both of these diets work if you follow them. Of course, with any diet, you are not going to get results if you cheat (at least more than a little – no one is perfect) or don’t stick with it.

How Often You’ll Eat: One of the differences between these two diets is how often you’re asked to eat.  With medifast, you eat six times per day.  You will eat five small meals and then provide one “lean and green” meal that you make yourself. This main meal can be eaten / prepared at any time, but most people eat it at dinner time to spend time with their families. The lean and green is basically lean protein with healthful sides.

With Nutrisystem, you eat five times per day.  You are asked to eat the company’s meal each time, but you will also be providing your own healthful sides at each meal.  So, you’ll be doing more food preparation if you go with this one, which leads me to the next point.

How Often You Have To Prepare / Provide Your Own Foods: In my opinion, this is the biggest difference between these two diets. With medifast, you are only preparing a meal yourself once per day.  With Nutrisystem, you are asked to provide healthy sides and additions with every meal.

Which you like better is going to depend greatly on how much control you want over what you eat and how much you enjoy food preparation.

For me, I find it dangerous to be faced with a food choice at every meal.  If I could be trusted to eat right, I would not need to be on a diet.  Also, I do not enjoy shopping for and preparing my own foods very much.  I would honestly not have a problem with being provided every meal (although I do understand why I am required to eat fresh foods daily.)  I value convenience most, but everyone is different. 

Cost: The price of both of these diets are pretty similar.  Medifast’s women’s four week package is around $ 299.  Nutrisystem’s basic package is the same price (but only if you chose auto delivery.) I would suspect that since you have to supplement a bit more with this one, it may turn out to be a little more expensive in the end. Luckily, both companies are very generous with coupons and specials that offer both monetary savings and free food (sometimes as much as two weeks’ worth.)

Bottom Line: The bottom line is that both are very popular diets that offer decent tasting food and work well if followed correctly.  I find that Nutriystem appeals more to folks who like being able to control at least a part of every meal and don’t mind taking the time to prepare food. Medifast seems to appeal more to people who value convenience over making five choices per day.

Lindsey Price’s Medifast Review Website features videos, tips, coupons, information and products related to Medifast. She also offers a free medifast ebook to help you get started. You can visit her at

Lindsey Price often writes about medifast and has published a free medifast ebook called “Getting The Most Out Of Medifast”.  You can get a free copy at