SparkPeople began in 2001 in Cincinnati. The company was founded on principles of helping people with goal-setting and motivation. The weight loss website grew out of this and was released in 2002 (called GoalPilot). For the last two years they an online weight loss program for an annual price of $9.95 which was incredible value for money.
At the end of 2004 SparkPeople added a slew of new features, and also upped the price to $1.99 per week.
In 2006 SparkPeople has now been made free for life!
This represents incredible value for money.
Diet Plan AND Fitness
SparkPeople is a powerful on-line service featuring all the tools you could possibly use in a weight loss program. Meal plans, exercise demonstrations, pretty calculators and trackers, loads of resources, message boards.
Equal emphasis is placed on the fitness component (alongside dietary recommendations). In fact, SparkPeople is all about meeting the simple goals of eating less, and exercising more.
So What About The Diet?
The macro-nutrient recommendations place SparkPeople as a moderate fat, high carb, low protein diet - similar the guidelines of the USDA Food Pyramid. A typical diet recommendation will come out at 15% protein, 55% carbohydrate, and 30% fats.
Calorie recommendations are based on whether you select "moderate" or "aggressive" weight loss. Selecting aggressive will put the calorie recommendations on the low side - too low for an active person.
Is SparkPeople Recommended?
It's a great website, with an amazing array of easy-to-use tools. Many people have had success with SparkPeople as it takes more of a holistic approach than just prescribing a diet plan.
However - the caloric and macro-nutrient recommendations may not suit everyone, and if you intend to build or tone muscle, the combination of low-calories and low protein may not be appropriate. A higher-carb diet is more appropriate for endurance athletes who are burning a lot of energy.
How Do They Compare To Others?
When SparkPeople had it's original low price - it was hard to beat, and now with the free memberships - it represents excellent value for money.
SparkPeople is similar to DietWatch, but DietWatch offer a complete and thorough course on emotional eating - making DietWatch a superior offering.
eDiets is also similar, but is more aligned with popular diets such as the Atkins or Slim Fast. eDiets is also more expensive.
Our Take - eDiets vs SparkPeople vs DietWatch
Use eDiets if you want to follow a specific diet regimen. Use SparkPeople if you aren't so interested in diet alone but want a holistic motivator.
Use DietWatch if you want a few more dietary options and the option to explore and solve any eating issues you may have.
Other useful Diets information: Medifast diet | Gain Weight diet | Fruit diet | Perricone diet | Low carbohydrate diet | Arthritis diet | Slim Fast diet | Lemonade diet | Low Carb diet | Ketogenic diet
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