Diet Delivery Slim Down: Is the Convenience Worth the Cost?

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Most people think of Nutri System when they think of diet delivery food. If they're really into diets, perhaps they're also familiar with Zone.

But a new player -– with a big name –- has just entered the market. And it promises fresh foods and big results.

South Beach Diet -– the famous diet and best-selling book -– will now deliver its low-cal meals to your door. For busy people trying to lose weight, the convenience of having a weeks' worth of food delivered to your door is hard to beat. Three time per day, just pop your meal into the microwave for three- four minutes. You don't even need to dirty a dish.

The South Beach delivery food, like the diet itself, it set up in phases. The first phase promises to "eliminate cravings" the second is to reach your goal weight and the third is to maintain. I tried phase one only, and, despite a few cheats, managed to lose almost five pounds in two weeks.

The food itself is not delicious. But it's healthy – proteins and non-starchy vegetables dominate the meals – and for the most part, satisfying. . . if a little boring day in and day out.

But as with anything in life, all this convenience comes with a steep price tag. 7 days of meals – that's 21 in all – is $190. But the people behind South Beach believe there's a market for diet delivery food. And other experts agree.

"Diet delivery is indeed a growing trend," said Dr. Caroline Cederquist, Medical Director of Bistro MD, a diet delivery service that consulted with South Beach on its new service. "People are very busy balancing work and family. Bottom line is people have realized that if they rely on restaurant or prepared meals they're gaining weight."

BistroMD's food is similar to what you'll find in South Beach – in both taste and calorie count. But, BistroMD also has a five day plan, a good choice for those who want to use weekends to maintain their weight loss rather than stick to a more rigid plan every day. And Bistro MD's seven-day plan has 20 meals – not 21 -- so that each week people can have a "break" from the diet.

How much weight a person loses has a lot to do with how much they weighed to begin with. A woman who is 170 pounds is getting the same food as a woman who is 130 pounds – so if these two women stick to the same plan, the heavier woman is going to lose more.

And to be clear, there's nothing in either of these diets that can't be done for much less money in your own kitchen. So what to eat is you're looking to lose a few pounds, on your own quickly?

"I would recommend non-starchy vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower and string beans, said Cederquist. "And make sure all your meals have lean protein – egg white, chicken or fish and drink lots of water to keep hydrated."

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