eDiets is arguably the biggest name in online weight loss. So big in fact, that their name has become synonymous with any web-based diet program. I’ve seen many people on various forums talking about “doing an e diet”.
Florida-based eDiets have been around since the early days of the Internet (started in 1996), and boast an incredible amount of members – over 1.8 million (over the duration of eDiets history). eDiets have been ranked as the #1 Most Trafficked Health, Fitness & Nutrition Site, and been voted “Best of the Web”in the diet and nutrition category by Forbes. Q3 2004 revenues were $11.8 million.
That said, what are they really like?
My impressions of signing up through their process were this:
eDiets are quite commercial – they have one of the biggest advertising budgets in the industry, and their site is heavy with graphic ads (everything from food to tampons). They also have an extensive shopping section where you can buy anything from fitness equipment to beauty products.
However what offsets this, is the incredible amount of quality content that is published within eDiets – most of it subscription-only. They have doctors, writers, nutritionists publishing many articles every day. It is truly a good place to get informed about diet and nutrition. The Internet has spoiled us with so much free information – but sometimes it is worth paying for that little bit extra.
Getting Your Profile
eDiets begins with a free diet profile, which assesses your current condition and then provides recommendations. It is at this point that they capture your email – and will send you one or more follow-up emails after completing the profile. There has been some complaint of spam from eDiets – although you can opt-out at any time (so calling it spam is inaccurate). After completing your profile, you can go ahead and subscribe (paying by credit card).
Their subscription prices are a bit confusing. You can select from varying options (the diet plan, a fitness component, and/or eDiets solutions – which seems to be access to the forums, to registered dietitians, and other content, there is also the eDiets Recipe Club). At it’s most basic, the diet plan portion works out to $2.99 per week. However the options were bewildering (see below).
What Makes eDiets Different?
One of the biggest differences between eDiets and all their competition is the huge array of popular diet programs available. As well as the basic eDiets Weight Loss program, you can also choose from popular diets (such as Atkins, Blood Type Diet, Perricone, Slim-Fast, etc). However the options are always changing as brand-name deals come and go. You can change your plan at any time, or mix and match various meal and menu options.
The message boards and forums at eDiets have long been thought of as the best in the industry. In 2004 many people were disappointed that access to these boards become priced out separately – however the net cost has remained the same.
As far as a fitness component, eDiets offer two fitness-based programs – their own eFitness product, and Get With The Program, an excellent program written by Oprah Winfrey’s former trainer Bob Greene.
Anecdotally, eDiets works. A look around various opinion sites shows that people have lost weight with eDiets, and bad reviews are rare. The tools are good, but as time has gone on eDiets has been facing more and more competition in the online diet sector.
My take: If you know what you want to do (for example; you want to follow the Glycemic Impact Plan), then eDiets is the perfect means to do this. Menu plans, meals, recipes, motivation, will all help you succeed. However if you’re unsure about exactly how you are going to lose weight, you might find eDiets a bit overwhelming – something like DietWatch or SparkPeople might be a bit easier to handle.
What does eDiets offer?
Mayo Clinic Plan
Glycemic Impact Diet
eDiets Alternative to Jenny Craig
eDiets.com Weight Loss Plan
Bill Phillips’ Eating For Life
Slim-Fast Optima Diet
The Blood Type Diet
The Perricone Nutritional Face-lift
New Mediterranean Diet
Bob Greene’s Total Body Makeover (of Oprah Winfrey fame)
Living With Type 2 Diabetes Plan
Heart Smart Plan
Low Sodium Plan
High Fiber Plan
Hypoglycemia/Low Sugar Plan
Healthy Soy Plan
Low Fat Diet Plan
Wheat-Free Meal Plan (added July 06)
eDiets Solutions (online meetings, message boards, professional chats, etc – $1.99 per week)
eDiets Fitness Programs ($2.99 per week)
eDiets Recipe Club (access to 2,000 recipes for $2 per week)
Getting a complete package (diet + fitness + solutions) is expensive ($7.97 per week). In this case it may be better to use another online program that includes all these components at a more competitive price (although quality of content may not be as high).
Are eDiets Really Worth It?
Yes – they are. Even if only subscribing for a quarter, it is a great way to educate yourself on nutrition and a weight-maintaing lifestyle.