Diet-To-Go Diet Review

In March of 2016, a meal-delivery diet service called Freshology was forced to recall more than a hundred-ten pounds of a pre-made chicken salad, because in a random USDA check it was discovered the salad recipe included an allergen-containing (eggs) dressing that Freshology did not acknowledge on its label. [1]

Five months later, in August, the very last post on Freshology’s Facebook page appeared. [2]

By November the company’s plant in Burbank, California, had closed and Freshology was no more.

Interestingly, I didn’t learn all this until I typed in Freshology.com in writing this article (November 2017) and landed on a meal plan site called Diet-to-Go—located at the exact same Burbank address Freshology had occupied. It appears Diet-to-Go had been more together than Freshology; Diet-to-Go has been in business since 1991, and Freshology only lasted a little more than a decade.

So it appears well-established Diet-to-Go absorbed, bought out, or just took over when Freshology shut down, including the factory in Burbank and apparently, the domain name—the actual process of “merging” isn’t crystal clear. [3]

What is pretty clear is that Freshology, which had tens of thousands of followers on social media, hasn’t been heard from in the past year. Meanwhile, similar businesses are clamoring for Freshology customers. [4] [5]

Freshology had popped up all over the place, from The Doctors daytime TV show to an E! Online feature story about celebrity fans of Freshology, like singer Pink and actress Ricki Lake. [6] [7]

The last Freshology Facebook page review, posted by “Gina Marie” in late August of 2016, was still very positive:

Very delicious, fresh and healthy. I’m on my third day and very impressed. I don’t feel like I’m on a diet because the food is so very delicious. Customer service is slightly slow and their chat feature is pointless. They lose one star for this. The food is not frozen and very, very good! Well worth the investment!” Shortly after posting, she edited her post to include: “Customer service has since reached out to me and have been excellent! I’m on day 4 and lost 3 pounds (I haven’t even been that strict, still having some wine which adds calories). Every meal has been incredibly fresh, delicious and really top quality. Don’t think about it, just do it. You won’t regret it! [8]

So one must assume it was the USDA catch which did them in—they knew they couldn’t afford even one egg-related lawsuit. I must admit, the way Freshology described itself and its foods, and the way it was reviewed, it sounded pretty tempting—if you can afford to have your meals made and delivered. But today, Diet-To-Go is the new-old kid living at Freshology.com. The business model is very similar. So let’s check them out.

Diet-To-Go Claims

Diet-to-Go, which delivers dietitian-designed, chef-crafted meals to your doorstep, says:

No matter what your weight-loss and healthy living goals, Diet-to-Go can help you achieve them,” they say, with a disclaimer of course that results vary and weight loss is not guaranteed. But, the idea is, Diet-to-Go says, with “our delicious, healthy and portion-controlled meal plans to our expert support staff and tools, we have over 25 years of experience helping people just like you reach their goals. [9]

The skinny on the meals and the prep: All Diet-to-Go meal plans are:

  • either approximately 1200 or 1600 calories a day
  • have a fridge life of 7 days and a freezer life of about 30
  • are made in one of their two kitchens, flash-frozen, packed on dry ice and shipped in large foam coolers
  • are mostly microwave-ready.

The cool thing is they have diverse menus for different weight loss or health needs: Balance, Balance-Diabetes, Carb30, and Vegetarian.

The Balance menu “…has been helping dieters reach their weight-loss goals for 25 years. This menu combines mouth-watering, restaurant-quality flavors with dietitian-approved, balanced portions of the foods you love. Calorie-controlled and nutritionally balanced; Heart-healthy — controlled for sodium, carbs, fat and cholesterol; Vegetarian & no seafood options.” [10]

A sample of the meals that will be delivered: blueberry pancakes and turkey sausage for breakfast, tuna salad and fruit for lunch and pasta with a turkey sausage sauce for dinner. Other entrees include seafood and chicken dishes, but mostly turkey is the star: turkey chili, turkey meatloaf, turkey tamale pie, Thai turkey, a turkey Reuben, turkey salad—you get the idea.

NOTE: Folks, this is what I eat right now. I kid you not. I buy a 3-pound package of ground lean turkey for about $9 and it lasts all week; turkey burgers, ground curry turkey, homemade pasta sauce with turkey, turkey chili with tons of black beans, and similar. Turkey is super versatile and there’s nothing you can’t make with it plus, if it’s lean, it’s a great protein, tasty and—for me and for most everyone I know—the fact that it’s cheap is a blessing.

The Balance-Diabetes menu plan follows the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines for carbohydrates and fat and is designed for weight loss, prediabetes management, and type-2 diabetes prevention. The meals are created to control blood sugar naturally and like the regular Balance menu, the meals have limited sodium, carbs, and not-good-for-you fats.

The Carb30 menu is quite different:

For those who understand and prefer a classic, Atkins-style, carb-restricted diet, this menu is perfect for you. The Carb30 menu offers a variety of delicious meals – including meat, cheese and eggs – that can help you lose weight quickly and effectively. Carb-restricted plan; replaces carbs with fat—Only 30 net carbs per day, on average—Adding fruit, bread, sugar or other
carbohydrates is not recommended. [10]

For anyone who has done a super low-carb diet, you know this simple truth: after a week, what do you eat? You’re sick of meat and you’re vegetable-d out. Low-carb diets may be difficult to stick with, so if there’s a menu from Diet-to-Go that could be a real problem-solver, this might be it. At a net 30 carbs per day, I bet this can really help folks drop pounds…as long as they don’t cheat. The first thing you notice is the inclusion of red meat; beef tenderloin and pot roast are on the menu. Eggs every morning the first week until Friday, when it’s a pork chop breakfast—yes, a pork chop with veggies. In fact, every meal is a protein portion (red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, even veal and sausage, and of course, seafood) and two portions of vegetables.

The Vegetarian menu is—not surprisingly—packed with vegetables; protein sources including dairy, eggs, beans, and some soy.

“This menu combines mouth-watering, restaurant-quality flavors with dietitian-approved, balanced portions of the foods you love.” [10]

Dieters can personalize their plan and use Diet-to-Go menu management tools to swap out meals or pause your plan if life gets crazy or you’re going out of town. So there’s nothing here you cannot do at home. But what makes this desirable for some people is that everything is done for you.

I chose the Balance Diabetes menu—seven days a week, three meals a day—and the cost with shipping and handling is about $150 to $190 a week, or approximately $650-$950 per month (30-day). [11]

The Nutrisystem “Uniquely Yours” plan, by comparison, is $335 for the month—far less than Diet-to-Go—but the difference in food quality, freshness, and “restaurant-quality” may be a reason for the incredible disparity in cost for a meal-delivery diet. [12]

Also, Diet-to-Go has an FAQ page the likes of which I rarely see; it’s voluminous and comprehensive, seemingly every question is answered. [13]

Diet-to-Go Ingredients

Food. That said, there’s quite a bit of turkey. Diet-to-Go meals are said to be prepared by professional cooks or chefs, are restaurant-quality—which could mean anything from takeout to fine dining—using lean proteins, tons of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and minimal sodium, processed carbs and unhealthy fats. Diet-to-Go says it uses “organic ingredients whenever possible, but we do not use them exclusively” and they claim their meals contain no preservatives (hence the reason for a 7-day fridge shelf life.)

I was able to find a few images of Diet-to-Go meal labels. One was a close-up of the Tomato Pesto Meltover—an open-faced sandwich made with pita bread, mozzarella, basil pesto sauce, and oregano—and Apple Cake. I could just about read it, and though I didn’t see any ingredients listed besides food, one has to assume the mozzarella cheese in the sandwich was made elsewhere (I doubt they’re preparing fresh mozzarella in their manufacturing “kitchens,” though it’s possible). [14] [15]

Diet-to-Go meals are whipped up in the Burbank or Lorton, Virginia, kitchens, then are flash-frozen. Speaking of manufacturing kitchens:

Diet-to-Go is inspected, monitored and certified by several government agencies. We also strictly adhere to HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) food handling procedures. HACCP was developed in the 60s by NASA and Pillsbury to ensure all food on space flights was safe. The procedures have been adopted by USDA and FDA as the standard for safe food handling. Diet-to-Go follows HACCP as a strict, standards-based program for identifying where hazards might occur and preventing them before they occur. The program allows us to closely monitor all potential hazards, through critical control points, from the moment food supplies arrive at our facility until the finished product leaves our facility. [16]

The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Diet-to-Go

Federal nutrition science recommends healthy, well-balanced, portion-controlled meals created from whole fresh foods; WebMD concurs. [17] [18]

Of course that sounds great, but isn’t always doable, especially the whole fresh part and the time it takes to shop for and prepare meals. [19]

So if Diet-to-Go meals deliver the proper nutrition in great tasting meals—and they would likely not be in business since 1991 if they were not delivering, literally and figuratively—then they should be widely praised by customers, right? Let’s see.

Word on the Street about Diet-to-Go

Epicurious magazine—a well-known and lauded Condé Nast magazine for foodies—said at some point that among eight plans tested, Diet-to-Go was the best diet plan meal-delivery service for taste. I could not determine the date of publication, even with the page source.

At Epicurious, we spend a lot of time cooking healthy, low-calorie recipes but we recognize that even the most enthusiastic home cooks don’t always have time to whip up a meal; so we took a hard look at the diet delivery world in search of tasty meals that are both reasonably priced and healthy. … Of the dozens of options, we found eight well-known brands that met our criteria, and of those, three diets we would all happily go on for a sustained amount of time. …

Diet to Go gives you choices—plenty of them. You can sign up for low-carb, low-fat, or low-fat vegetarian meals. You pick whether you want to consume 1,200 or 1,600 calories a day, plus the nutrition info is available on the site. Meal options are pre-selected, but customization for allergies and sensitivities are allowed. All flash-frozen meals get delivered at once in the beginning of your start week.[20]

But actual customer Diet-to-Go reviews are, in a word, iffy. Diet-to-Go meals aren’t sold on the usual go-to sites like Amazon, so the candid reviews we’re used to are not possible. There’s no way to know if they’re legit, objective, and uncompensated—except on Yelp! But Yelp! reviews are mixed. [21]

“Care B” says Diet-to-Go is her fourth diet delivery service try and apparently the best to date, despite the fact she’s:

  • not a huge fan of the taste
  • wonders why the company says “never frozen” when the meals come frozen
  • doesn’t like the styrofoam packaging as it’s terrible for the environment.

Still, she rated it 4 stars of the four she’s already tried.

Out of all of them, this one is by far the best. …[but] My hunt continues to the next meal prep delivery service! I’d say try this one & see what you think. Hopefully, you’ll have a better experience! [21]

“Amy N.” does not mince words (I have removed the numerous redundant exclamation points):

Don’t do it! The food is awful and by the time you realize how bad it [is], it is too late to cancel for the next week. First of all, the fresh food is frozen. When asked about it, they admit the food is fresh prepared and then flash frozen. Lean Cuisine is made the same way, so save your money. Secondly, you don’t know what you are getting because it will say lemon chicken and vegetables. What vegetables? Hope you love broccoli because everything is served with broccoli. Thirdly, the quality is poor. Food is bland and watery (because it was frozen). Lastly, they serve veal! Why would they serve something that is so inhumane. Get any other meal service. You would be better served shopping frozen dinners from the grocery store.” [21]

Ouch.

But Los Angeles reviewer 53-year-old “Eric K,” says the Carb30 meal plan is working for him; he likes the food and the convenience—he picks his meals up at his local gym—but not such a huge fan of the cost. That said, he gives Diet-to-Go high praise: “I’ve now eaten several days worth of meals, and I’m super impressed.” Eric K’s review sounds a lot like the reviews from Freshology days. [21]

The Bottom Line: Is Diet-to-Go Worth a Try?

Depends.

I’m fine with this idea; if you can afford it and plan to stick with it, then go for it.

My issue is that Diet-to-Go is also a multi-level-marketing type of operation, as there are opportunities for “influencers” (people with social media followings, blogs or just plain vocal) to get free product and maybe earn a few dollars for promotion, and actual distributors who may earn money if they push, but likely do it for product as remuneration.

Overall I’m not a fan—but if it works for you, more power. I honestly think I would have preferred Freshology.

Review Sources
  1. S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, “Freshology, Inc. Recalls Chicken Salad Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergen,” news release, 22 March 2016, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2016/recall-025-2016-release.
  2. Freshology’s Facebook page, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.facebook.com/freshology/.
  3. Cision PR Newswire, “Diet-to-Go Scoops Up New Meal Delivery Facility,” news release, 17 April 2017, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/diet-to-go-scoops-up-new-meal-delivery-facility-300440527.html.
  4. Freshology, Twitter homepage, accessed 2 November 2017, https://twitter.com/freshology?lang=en.
  5. Chef Denise, “Freshology Has Closed Its Doors, So Make a Fresh Start with California Chef!” California Chef Services website, last updated 4 January 2017, accessed 2 November 2017, http://www.californiachef.com/1900-freshology-closed-doors-fresh-start-california-chef/.
  6. The Doctors, “Freshology Meal Plans,” video, The Doctors website, aired early October 2008, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/freshology-meal-plans.
  7. “8 Healthy Meal Delivery Services Celebs Love,” E!News Online, accessed 2 November 2017, http://www.eonline.com/photos/8934/8-healthy-meal-delivery-services-celebs-love/287980.
  8. Reviews, Freshology’s Facebook page, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.facebook.com/pg/freshology/reviews/?ref=page_internal.
  9. DietToGo, accessed 2 November 2017, https://diettogo.com/.
  10. “From Our Kitchen to Your Plate,” DietToGo website, accessed 2 November 2017, https://diettogo.com/meal-plans.
  11. “Get Started” (order page), DietToGo website, accessed 2 November 2017, https://diettogo.com/pricing.
  12. “Uniquely Yours,” Nutrisystem website, accessed 2 November 2017, http://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/diet-plans/weight-loss-plans.jsp?plan=uniquelyyours.
  13. “Frequently Asked Questions,” DietToGo website, accessed 2 November 2017, https://diettogo.com/faqs.
  14. JPG photo of prepared DietToGo meals, Nourished Simply website, accessed 2 November 2017, http://nourishedsimply.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/diettogoorder.jpg.
  15. JPG photo of prepared DietToGo meals, posted on Hello Subscription website, accessed 2 November 2017, https://27n041n4jlv3ccxxk27r1mq1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/diettogo-6-1-600×800.jpg.
  16. “Food Safety,” DietToGo website, accessed 2 November 2017, https://diettogo.com/food-safety.
  17. “Healthy Eating,” gov, last updated 21 November 2017, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/smart-nutrition-101/healthy-eating.
  18. Morgan Griffin, “The Benefits of Healthy Whole Foods,” WebMD.com, last updated 12 May 2009, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-healthy-whole-foods#1.
  19. Colette Pester and Dr. Lora Wilder, “Build a Healthy Diet with Smart Shopping,” gov, published 2005 & reviewed March 2011, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/food-shopping-and-meal-planning/build-healthy-diet-smart-shopping.
  20. Carolina Santos-Neves, “The Best-Tasting Diet-Plan Meals,” com, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.epicurious.com/archive/healthy/news/diet-plan-meals.
  21. “Diet To Go,” Yelp! website, accessed 2 November 2017, https://www.yelp.com/biz/diet-to-go-lorton.

Top 5 Diets in 2018*

Program Price
Food Recipes
Health Coaches
Phone support
Email Support
Support Group
6 Month MBG
#1 PS1000 Plan
$$
#2 Trim Down Club
$
#3 Ketogenic Diet
$$$
#4 Weight Watchers
$$$$
#5 Medifast
$$$$

*Individual results will vary.

Information on this website is not to replace the advise of the doctor, but rather for general education purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be considered as medical advice. Aways consult your doctor before starting any diet or taking any dietary supplements.

Articles, reviews and investigations are our own opinion, and written based on the information publicly available or simply contacting the companies. We try our best to stay up to date with constantly changing information. If you find any information inaccurate, please email us, we’ll verify for accuracy and update it.

Disclosure: some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase an item following one of the links, we will receive a commission. Regardless of that, we only recommend the products or services, that we strongly believe will benefit our readers. Read full disclosure here.”