BistroMD Review: Weight Loss Without Sacrificing Taste?

BistroMD Review: Weight Loss Without Sacrificing Taste?


| |
| |

BistroMD is a weight loss meal delivery program. The brand claims that their meals are “doctor designed” and that they allow for weight loss while still tasting good, describing their service as “weight loss without the sacrifice."

But is BistroMD proven in clinical studies to cause weight loss? Is the program healthy? How do real users rate the taste and weight loss effects? And are the meals actually too low in calories?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we review the calorie content and ingredients in BistroMD meals to give our take on whether or not the program is likely to cause sustainable weight loss.

We'll also share our thoughts on the healthiness of BistroMD meals and BistroMD snacks, and feature unsponsored customer reviews of the program.

Will BistroMD Cause Weight Loss?

BistroMD Turkey Breast meal calories

The ability of a diet plan to cause weight loss depends on the weight of the dieter.

A diet plan and recommended caloric intake for a 350 pound person will differ from a diet plan for a 190 pound person.

Based on our review of BistroMD meals, we do believe that this program is likely to cause short-term weight loss, but we’re unsure how sustainable it is, given that many of the meals contain calorie counts that would be significantly under baseline caloric maintenance for most overweight people.

Most of the meals we reviewed ranged between 250 and 400 calories. Even at a generous estimate of 350 calories per meal, that’s only 1,050 calories per day for three daily meals, which is quite low.

BistroMD Shepherd's Pie meal calories

According to medical research, the average caloric maintenance level for women is around 2,000 calories per day, and for men it's around 2,500 calories per day.

These are very rough estimates and will of course vary significantly between individuals, but it's notable how much higher these calorie counts are than what three BistroMD meals provides.

Most users of diet programs are overweight and have higher baseline caloric needs, which makes us questionable how sustainable this program is long-term.

Commercial diet programs with very low calorie counts tend to fail long-term, as compliance is challenging and users tend to regain the weight, as we documented in our Nutrisystem review article.

As an example, a 300 pound person trying to lose weight may be recommended by their doctor to consume 2,300 calories per day, which would likely be below caloric maintenance level for a person of that weight even without exercise.

Based on the average calories provided by BistroMD meals, this person may need to intake around 1,300 calories just in BistroMD snacks daily to meet their caloric needs, even on a weight loss program.

We're unsure if this is the best model for long-term, sustainable weight loss, and it's notable that BistroMD does not appear to have funded any clinical research proving that their diet plan is effective for weight loss.

Real People Try BistroMD

A YouTube creator with a channel called "Your Favorite Family" reviewed BistroMD and showed what a day's worth of BistroMD meals looks like:

A YouTube creator named Traci shared her experience trying BistroMD as a diabetic:

Is BistroMD Healthy?

BistroMD Bagel Sandwich ingredients

The ingredient list from a sample BistroMD meal, their Bagel Sandwich, is shown above.

We consider BistroMD to be healthier than the average American diet, but some of their meals contain questionable additive ingredients that we recommend avoiding.

First, let’s discuss the good things. Many BistroMD meals contain at least one serving of fruits or vegetables, which is already an improvement to the standard American diet.

At the time of updating this article, around 75% of the meals on BistroMD’s site contain a serving of fruits and vegetables, although many of the servings appear small at least based on the images.

High intake of fruits and vegetables benefitting human health is one of the few things that nutrition researchers almost unanimously agree on.

A medical review published in the Circulation journal found that increased fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower mortality rates after analyzing data from nearly 2 million patients.

There are several aspects of BistroMD’s meals that we consider unhealthy.

The first is that the brand appears to source meat from conventionally-raised animals rather than pasture-raised animals. As we discussed in our Hungryroot reviews article, clinical studies suggest that pastured meat is more nutrient-dense, and the fatty acid ratios are more optimal.

Some BistroMD meals also contain additive ingredients we recommend avoiding for health reasons.

Natural flavor is a generic term that fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used, and a meta-study published in the Toxicology Research journal highlighted some potential toxicity concerns with food flavoring agents.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that’s been associated with whole-body inflammation in a series of medical case reports

Cane sugar is a refined form of added sugar, and we prefer natural sweeteners in their whole form such as maple syrup and raw honey.

A number of BistroMD meals contain vitamin additives like vitamin A palmitate (in the Red Pepper Frittata), and we prefer nutrition from whole foods rather than synthetic vitamin additives.

Overall, we consider BistroMD to be somewhat healthier than the average American diet, but we do not currently recommend the program from a nutritional perspective due to the questionable additive ingredients in some of their meals, and the choice to use conventionally-raised meats rather than pastured meats.

BistroMD Snacks Review

BistroMD snacks

BistroMD sells a number of snacks which we consider to be the least healthy options on their menu.

For consumers set on purchasing from BistroMD, we recommend obatining most of your daily calories from their meals rather than their snacks.

Some BistroMD snacks contain relatively high levels of added cane sugar.

As an example, their Salted Caramel Pecan bar contains 22 grams (g) of carbohydrates and 7 g of sugar.

Some of their other snacks are sweetened with honey and fruits which we consider healthier options.

These snacks are definitely healthier than commercial snack products by a significant margin, but they may not be the best option for someone dieting. 

Our Clean Weight Loss Picks

There are food-based nutrients which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for weight loss.

Dietary fiber was shown in a medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition to cause 16 pounds of weight loss in 6 months when combined with moderate caloric restriction (750 calories per day below baseline).

MBG Organic Fiber Potency+ is our top fiber pick because it's certified organic, provides 7 g of fiber per serving and costs under $1.85 per serving at the time of updating this article.

MCT oil was shown in a meta-study to cause more than one pound of weight loss over 10 weeks. This equates to potential annualized weight loss of 6 pounds per year with less than one tablespoon's worth of MCT oil per day.

Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil product, because the only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts. and it currently costs only $15.50 for over a month's worth of product.

Ginger intake "significantly decreased body weight" according to a 2019 meta-study on ginger and weight loss that analyzed data from 14 clinical trials.

Pique La Ginger is our top ginger product, because it's an organic tea in convenient crystallized form, and all that's needed is to pour the powder into a glass and add hot water.

All three of the products mentioned in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy.

BistroMD Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of BistroMD in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Low enough calorie levels to support weight loss
  • Most meals contain fruits or vegetables
  • Snacks are healthier than most snacks in a grocery store
  • Mostly positive online customer reviews

Cons:

  • Calorie counts may be too low
  • Brand appears to source meat from conventionally-raised animals
  • Some meals contain cane sugar
  • Some meals contain natural flavors
  • Some meals contain citric acid
  • Some meals contain synthetic vitamin additives
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

BistroMD may support short-term weight loss, because the program provides significantly fewer calories than maintenance, even for someone who's not overweight.

Any weight loss program that provides fewer calories than baseline can cause weight loss.

The average caloric content of three BistroMD meals is around 1,000 calories, which is significantly lower than the average baseline caloric requirement for an overweight adult.

Consumers on the BistroMD plan can also eat snacks, but that's the least healthy category of food they provide in our opinion.

Eating a BistroMD diet would likely improve the nutritional status of most Americans, because the average American diet is unhealthy, but we don’t recommend the program from a health perspective due to the use of conventionally-raised meat and some questionable additive ingredients.

We believe there are better meal delivery options on the market, and for consumers on a budget, simply eating whole foods, consuming a high level of fiber, and avoiding processed foods entirely would be a healthier option in our opinion than purchasing from this brand.