Bistro MD is expensive (about twice as much as Nutrisystem), but delivers very high quality food that makes dieting a pleasure. The service is simple--fill in an online questionnaire to tailor your goals, order the food, and eat. You'll get a week's worth of food--prepared fresh by chefs and delivered frozen (via Fed-Ex in a dried ice cooler)--basically all your meals. And this is not dehydrated "just-add-water" food, but real gourmet meals vacuum sealed in pouches.
If you stick to the plan and eat nothing else, then mathematically you will lose weight, as the restaurant quality meals contain only around 1200 calories, enough of a deficit to ensure weight loss. Bistro MD claims you can lose 2-3 pounds per week, though they do recommend incorporating some exercise.
The service has been featured by talk show host Dr. Phil, who raves it is the "best home meal delivery available." It has also featured as the meal provider for the hit TV show the Biggest Loser. Of course, you pay for that quality, but it is the easiest and most luxurious way to "diet" in our opinion.
Bistro MD puts your diet on autopilot--there's no cooking, no shopping, no calorie counting or measuring portions--just heat the meals. The program (previously called Diet To Your Door) was founded by Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, one of the few American medical doctors certified in bariatrics, the specialty of medical weight loss. Unlike many diet programs, it grew out of this 15-year medical weight loss practice--not some marketing company or dietician, and the food was designed to meet the discriminating palates of her Naples patients.
Of course, the program is not perfect--for a start you can't customize the weekly deliveries as you can with some similar service. Also there is not as much support as with some other diet programs, though online forums are available. Likewise, the program doesn't really teach you how to eat a healthy diet, except perhaps in the sense that you could try to imitate preparing the healthy foods that are delivered.
However, if you have little time, or just want to reset your weight after some binges or failed diet attempts, then trying Bistro MD for a few weeks or months before transitioning to a moderate, healthy diet for maintenance is a sound strategy.
Menu: The food is chef-prepared to meet Dr. Cederquist's strict nutritional requirements. The meals mainly feature lean proteins and complex carbs required for the body to function properly--they don't focus on calories alone. In fact, while the average day has 1200 calories, the meals are designed to vary from 1100 to 1400 to keep your metabolism on its toes and prevent your body from getting acclimated to one set point. The menus vary from week to week (see sample at the right) so there's plenty of variety.
People on Bistro MD used to other diets often worry that there is "too much" food on this diet, but because the foods tend not to be calorically dense, this is not an issue. Unlike many diets, you should rarely feel deprived on this Bistro MD.
In addition to the meals (which unlike other diet plans include everything you need to eat), you are also advised to drink 64 ounces of water (8 glasses) per day. Caffeinated drinks are allowed, but limited to 2 per day.
We have heard some complaints that it is difficult to customize the menu--you can register your food dislikes dislikes by type such as meat, mushrooms, tofu, etc., and you will be asked about food allergies or sensitivies. You also can comment after the fact to tell them about any meals you didn't like.
Prices: Bistro MD costs $159 per week for three meals a day (snacks are $20 more). Many people choose to have the service only for 5-days per week, then cook sensibly for themselves on the weekends--this option costs $129.95.