Nutrisystem and Cancer

The other day, I received an email from someone who asked me for information about “Nutrisystem and cancer.” She was no more specific than this. I wrote her back and asked for more information, but in the meantime, I began Googling the two phrases together. This is a question that I had never been asked before and I must admit that it had me stumped because I’ve been on this diet and in weight loss forums for a long time and I’ve never seen or heard these two phrases connected. However, I did research the topic and I did get more information from the writer of the email. I’ll discuss this more in the following article.

Nutrisystem’s Website’s Mention Of Cancer: Googling these two phrases together did not yield much information. I found some women in a breast cancer forum discussing the Nutrisystem diet but there was no correlation between their health and the diet. They were simply talking about weight loss as women, not as patients.

I then found one mention of the word cancer on the company’s website (under terms and conditions,) but this was merely a sentence saying that there is a correlation with being 20 percent over your ideal weight and an increased risk for certain types of illnesses. There is a long list of examples of the illnesses and cancer is one that is listed. This is a pretty broad statement that you will generally see on most weight loss websites.

Low Carbohydrate / High Protein Diets And Cancer: Eventually, the person who sent the email got back to me and offered more information. She really wanted to know if low carb / high protein diets contribute to cancer. And since Nutrisystem is “glycemic friendly,” she thought that it might fall under this category.

This diet does limit carbs and focus on getting lean protein. However, many of the high protein diets cited as being potentially harmful to your health limit fruits and high carbohydrate vegetables. This diet does not go that far. You are asked to add in fresh sides (which can include fruits and vegetables) at every meal.

Many of the critics of high protein diets are concerned that the lack of fruits and vegetables contribute to your not getting enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Not only are Nutrisystem’s foods fortified with these things, but the diet asks you to add in your own healthy fresh foods at each meal to ensure that these basis are covered. I do understand the concern if you are on a very strict diet that limits fruits and whole grains, but this is not one of them.

Using Your Own Common Sense: Of course, you should discuss any concerns about this or any diet that you might be considering with your doctor. The company’s website does stress that it’s not offering any medical advice and that you should rely on your doctor, not the website, for information about your health.

However, I think that if you look at the nutritional information of the foods, you might be pleasantly surprised. Sure, they are glycemic friendly, but they are not overly restrictive. You are not only allowed but encouraged to eat fruits vegetables, and whole grains on this diet. The idea is to encourage a healthy lifestyle, not a dangerous one.