Nutrisystem Meals vs. Healthy Choice Meals: A Comparison of Calories, Carbs, and Protein

I recently received an email asking me if simply eating healthy foods would be as effective as being on the nutrisystem diet. I only have experience with one of these, but I suspect the answer to this question would be no. The reason for this is that healthy choice foods sometimes contain more calories, carbohydrates, fats and sugars. I suspect you might have trouble getting into fat-burning mode (or ketosis) if you eat too many of these. To help show how this might happen, I’ll compare a nutrisystem meal to a healthy choice meal in the next article.

In order to compare similar foods, I will use an Italian chicken meal on both plans. First, I’m going to look at Healthy Choice’s chicken fettuccine alfredo. This meal contains 290 calories, 6 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of sugars, and 16 grams of protein. The calorie, fat, carb, and sugar content is higher than I’d like for my own goals, but everyone is different.

Now, let’s take a look at nutrisystem’s chicken and pasta in cacciatore sauce. This meal has only 130 calories, 2 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugars, and 10 grams of protein.

What immediately strikes me is that there are 160 more calories, 4 more grams of fat, 23 more carbs, 9 more sugars, and 6 less grams of protein in one of these entrees. These overages can, in my opinion, make a big difference in the results you see. It is true that the healthy choice food has more protein, but the much higher amount of carbohydrates could work against this. And, the ratio of carbohydrates to protein is more favorable in the nutrisystem meal.

Also keep in mind that you will eat three meals and one dessert and one snack on one of these diets. If every meal had this kind of deficit, these numbers would certainly add up. Also, I couldn’t find any healthy option breakfast entrees. So, would you be alone here or would you have to use the company’s bread for the toast.

That does not mean that neither of the two options is bad. But when you’re dieting, every calorie and every gram of carbs, protein, and sugar matters a lot. One of these lines has quite a bit more than the other and if this were calculated on a week’s worth of meals it seems to me that the difference could be quite significant so the results would probably vary as well. This could be especially true if you’re going to rely on eating fewer carbs and fewer calories in hopes of getting into ketosis so you can burn fat instead of carbs.

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