Nutrisystem vs Medifast  – Cost, Taste, Menu and Other Factors Compared

Which is the best diet program for you? This is perhaps one question that has been bothering generations over the years. If you look around you, there is no end to fad diets that promise you rapid weight loss in record time. Given that the market is flooded with exciting diet options, it becomes more difficult than ever to choose the right one. 

Both Nutrisystem and Medifast are diets that have been rated highly by experts. They may be amongst the most popular diet programs available now, but do you know which one is right for you? To know the answer to this, it becomes important to study about these diets in-depth and analyze their pros and cons.

Nutrisystem vs. Medifast-a comparative analysis:

Nutrisystem has been around since the seventies when it originally began as a brick-and-mortar store. It was set up in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania; today, it is one of the leading diet-planners helping consumers across the world to lose weight healthily. You can avail of their resources, diet programs, and nutritional counseling through the Internet and phone calls. Medifast was started in Baltimore and created by William Vital in 1980. It merged with multiple health organizations over the years. Medifast now provides resources and health products vis-à-vis a website and franchises.


Nutrisystem focuses on providing portion-controlled and low-calorie meals. Medifast is also a low-calorie program but designed for rapid weight loss unlike Nutrisystem which seeks to achieve the same goal slowly. Medifast plans are meant for quick results but Nutrisystem is designed for helping you develop better eating habits. This is probably why Nutrisystem diet plans are more accommodating, allowing you to include fresh foods in their meals.

Diet programs:

Nutrisystem offers different kinds of diet programs to cater to different types of dieters. So, you will find special programs for vegetarians, diabetics, women, men, and seniors. Medifast rebranded its earlier Take Shape for Life program to come up with diet solutions which will prevent dieters from experiencing frequent hunger pangs throughout the day. This new program called OPTAVIA has 3 variations.

Meal portions:

Nutrisystem plans encourage you to eat small meals throughout the day. The meals are nutritious and contain foods that are low in Glycemic index like whole grains, fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, and foods having low sodium content. This means you can eat regular meals but in moderate portions. However, when you choose to opt for Medifast diet plans, your meal choices are far restricted. Its Optimal Weight 5&1 plan, for example, advises you to eat small meals many times in a day. In this, you can choose from a variety of specially-formulated Medifast food products that are portion-controlled and nutrient-rich. So, you eat 5 “Fuelings” that include bars, soups, shakes, biscuits, and puddings. The final meal is one which you make yourself along with 3 portions of non-starchy veggies; this is called the Lean & Green meal.


Nutrisystem plans are calorie-controlled and you will not have to worry about calorie intake in every meal. There is no need to prepare any meal at home as the company will have all these precooked meals delivered to your doorstep. So, you are completely free to engage in other chores without having to worry about buying groceries to cook at home. However, with Medifast plans, there is a Lean & Green meal which you must cook at home. The five packaged meals are delivered to your home by the company but the sixth one must be made at home. In terms of convenience therefore, Nutrisystem seems to score ahead.


Nutrisystem will make you lose a couple of pounds every week while the Medifast 5&1 allows you to lose up to 2-5 pounds in a week. So, in terms of results, Medifast appears to be more effective on paper, but this is also why it is difficult to sustain. Nutrisystem is flexible and lets you add foods to supplement their meals. It is sustainable and easier-to-follow.

Counseling services:

Nutrisystem not only provides dieters with customizable meal plans but also extends valuable nutritional advice and counseling when they need it. You can download the NuMi app to make sure you stay on track with your weight loss goals even if you are traveling. This makes Nutrisystem an easy-to-use program. Even diabetics can get access to certified diabetic counselors. Besides prepackaged meals, the OPTAVIA program by Medifast offers support and counseling from dedicated coaches. The coach is supposed to get in touch with you every week to track your progress. So, you can enjoy one-on-one counseling with Medifast.

Meal type:

Nutrisystem meals are either frozen or shelf-stable; this means you simply have to heat them once before eating. You can buy their ready-to-eat diet meals and use fresh foods from the grocery to supplement these. This is what makes Nutrisystem a much more appealing option for dieters. Medifast meals are all precooked and these are in the form of soups, shakes, puddings, etc. They may be low in calories but do not resemble the type of meals you are used to having.

Overall health:

Nutrisystem meals have foods with low GI because this helps to keep blood sugar levels in check. A high-protein low-carbohydrate ratio is conducive to weight loss and prevents energy or mood fluctuations. But, if you switch to diets like Medifast that focus on losing a lot of pounds in a very short time, the side-effects in terms of energy changes can be hard to check. 

Menu options:

Nutrisystem lets you choose from more than 150 menu options. Medifast meals may include tasty options like brownies, soups, pretzels, etc., but the choices offered by Nutrisystem are much wider.


Nutrisystem meals are available at different prices, usually running into $263-$342 a month. Medifast meals are also reasonably priced and you need not buy additional food. You can get Medifast products for low Glycemic, lactose-free, and even vegetarians and these are available for categories like women, men, and diabetics. So, for both Nutrisystem and Medifast meals, there is no need to count the calories or look at the ingredients. The only problem with Medifast meals is that people need time to get used to the sudden drop in carbs.


As far as fitness goes, Nutrisystem has come out with 3 workout DVDs; two for women and one for men. You are provided with a DVD depending on the program you have selected but there are no guidelines on how frequently you must exercise. Medifast offers exercise guidelines alright, but there is no workout program. It simply asks you to work out every day but the duration and frequency depends on you. However, it advises dieters to wait for a couple of weeks before starting exercises. This is because the body may need some time to get adjusted to the sudden cutting down of carbs.

If you consider both Nutrisystem and Medifast diet programs, you will see that both are effective and safe for losing weight. That should be the primary goal for any weight loss program. But, at the same time, it is important to choose a plan that you can stick to. It is not enough to eat healthy meals only for a certain time-period; it is important to inculcate healthy eating habits that will last you a lifetime. 

Nutrisystem meals are wholesome, well-balanced, and nutrient-dense; they are low in trans fats and saturated fats. They will help you shed the extra weight slowly but steadily. If you want very quick results, you should consider Medifast. But the downside is that dieters following such diet programs tend to put the weight back on after 6 months. Weight loss may be fast initially since calorie intake is drastically reduced, but this is not sustainable in the long-term. For making the transition to long-term weight loss you need a balanced diet planner like Nutrisystem. Nutrisystem plans are easier-to-adjust to and follow even for months on end. Losing weight can be a challenge if you cannot find the right plan for yourself. Choosing just any diet plan on the market may do more harm than good. So, take time to find out more about diet plans and consult your doctor before starting off on your weight loss journey with Nutrisystem.