Research: An evaluation of a commercial weight loss program on weight and body circumference

Research DefinitionResearch Definition
Research target

Research target

Few if any commercial weight loss programs have research to back up their use for short or long term weight loss.   Commercial diet plans are readily available to the most weight conscious consumer, but their cost may not be worth the investment because the evidence on their effectiveness for promoting weight loss is lacking.  There is some evidence to support the use of portion-controlled diets such as Nutrisystem ®.

Three prior short studies examined the effects of Nutrisystem® weight loss plans on changes in body weight and other anthropometric indices such as body circumference.  This study is an additional study to back this portion controlled program by  Nutrisystem®, but it is limited by the fact that they funded it.

Obese Woman with Tape Measure

Obese Woman with Tape Measure

A study from April of 2017 looked at Nutrisystem and compared the results to that of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.  The primary purpose of this randomized, parallel group study was to determine changes in body weight and body circumferences when generally healthy overweight and obese adults in the two types of diet.  The study looked at the results of 84 overweight randomly selected patients.   Both programs resulted in significant reductions in body weight and body circumference parameters.  Subjects on the Nutrisystem® program lost approximately twice as much weight during weeks than subjects on the DASH diet.  Subjects on the Nutrisystem®program also lost significantly more total body circumference than subjects on the DASH diet. 

The bottom line:  Nutrisystem® program appears to be superior to the self-directed DASH diet for weight loss and reductions in body circumference over four weeks.  The study is slightly biased by the fact that it was funded by Nutrisystem, Inc.  I would like to see a more independent study over a longer period.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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