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Spark People

Spark People

SparkPeople is the largest free weight loss community on the web.

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  • Established: 2001
  • Founder: Chris Downie
  • Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Accessibility: Online, book
  • Diet Type: Free online weight loss community; low-calorie, low-fat, increased exercise
  • Gender: Male, female

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Check-out the new book by SparkPeople CEO Chris Downie, The Spark.

SparkPeople is a community. SparkPeople is a health site. SparkPeople is a fully-developed free diet plan. It incorporates a lifestyle-change approach to healthy living. It bases its nutritional components upon the food pyramid and its diet plan on the premise that you must take in less calories than you expend, in order to lose weight.

SparkPeople does not simply provide a one-line synopsis of what dieting should or shouldn't look like. Instead, it guides you through a four-stage program that you initiate and sustain through education, group support and motivation. All this is done online via a community that exchanges information through forums, shared recipes and stories of success or failure, from people who are navigating through the same journey as yourself.

SparkPeople began in 2001 as a goal-setting site. When it became apparent that nearly all of the contributors and community members shared the goals of wanting sound nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, they flung themselves full-heartedly into providing the best information about health that they could find. This lead to a full-scale discussion about the kinds of dieting programs that consistently produced results. What they came to believe, after all the study and input was complete, is that there is no magic bullet when it comes to living healthy. Being healthy is about both daily and lifetime choices. The site that exists today is a collaborative effort and attracts nearly two million users. In 2006, SparkPeople was ranked as the 6th most visited site in the "Health and Medical-Wellbeing" category and 3rd amongst diet sites. Spark's mission is about creating support that translates into success and "sparks" the desire to pass "lessons learned" to others.

  • Providing our body with a total fitness regimen, including all the nutrients that a diet rich in variety can provide
  • Provides exercise/fitness support
  • Emotional support
  • Complete four-step plan and educational tools to make each step understandable.
  • Forums and support modules on-site to help direct and support each member's efforts.
  • Email reminders that help you remain true to goals, or offer alternative methods when life gets in the way.
  • Diagnostic tools for determining Base Metabolic Rate (BMR), age, weight, etc., which take into account the time frame you desire to reach your goal and help devise a weight-loss plan, accordingly.
  • Thousands of user-suggested recipes and comments from those who tried them
  • FREE. The plan, the support and the community remain one of the few free weight loss regimines in the world.
  • May be more information than you can digest at one sitting

There are several tools available to help you eat a healthier diet. Spark members have access to Spark Recipes which offers over 200,000 different recipes. The web site also includes a calorie counter and meal plans. The beauty of the information available through Spark is that everything is free. When you are documenting your meals, there are thousands of common foods to choose from in the database. Meal plans can be printed out and you can also print your grocery list directly from the meals you will be eating each week. If there are any foods you don’t like that are showing up in your meal plan, you can simply remove them. Below is the sample day of eating with a Spark meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Yogurt with fresh peaches; wheat bran muffin; tea
  • Lunch: Spinach salad with cheese, shrimp and strawberries; roll; tea
  • Dinner: Chickpeas and spinach with feta; roll; banana
  • Snack: Bean dip with salsa; carrots

In October 2011, Chef Meg Galvin authored The Sparkpeople Cookbook for the popular weight loss brand. It includes hundreds of healthy, satisfying recipes that serve as healthier versions of some of America's favorite foods.

A sampling of the recipes can be found here at DietsInReview.com:


Exercise is a focal point with the SparkPeople community. Incorporating some fitness acivities will help lead you to a healthier life. It will also help you reach your weight loss goals faster. Once you sign up, you will answer some questions about your current workouts and your goals. This helps create your workout schedule which will consist of cardio and strength training exercises. Each day you log in, the site will tell you how much cardio or strength training you should do that day. There is a tutorial for how to work with the exercise component. If at any time the workout schedule you have doesn’t work you can easily change your options. You are in complete control of how long you workout, what days include certain exercises and what specific exercises you do. On your cardio workout days, the system tells you how many calories you need to burn. How you burn them is completely up to you. Some of the suggested cardio exercises include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Various house chores
  • Aerobics
  • Cycling
  • Circuit training
  • Hiking

The SparkPeople fitness database offers a wide selection of workout activities to choose from. Once you’ve selected your activity, you type in how long you worked out and save your calorie burn to your SparkPeople profile. The process is the same whether you are recording cardio or strength training time. SparkPeople offers several demonstration photos and videos to help you maintain proper form in your workouts. Members can talk to each other on the various SparkPeople message boards for inspiration or help in finding the proper workout.


The Internet now affords us neighborhood meetings from the comfort of our own home. For those brave enough to enter even one discussion group, the opportunities for growth are limitless. The SparkPeople have filled an enormous need by bringing some of the best information they can provide to the general site, and then, by offering varied groups of people at differing stages of the journey, who can share, encourage and enjoy one another. Spark is most likely for that person who is willing to take personal responsibility for their progress, while enjoying the obviously well-intentioned input of others who have met and overcome their own hurdles. By sharing what works and doesn't work among one another, no task seems nearly as daunting.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

Spark People, Spart People, Spark Diet, Sperk People, Spark Peeple, the spark

How Does Spark People Compare?
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User Feedback

(Page 2 of 4, 80 total comments)



SparkPeople provides an awesome amount of support! I use it dilligently, and have slowly and healthily lost 20 pounds with their guidance. LOVE it!

posted Jun 4th, 2010 2:45 pm


This is one of th best websites I've ever been too for health and nutrition and it's FREE! I've belonged to most of them and it's by far the most informative, helpful, tracks the best, etc., etc...... It's wonderful.

posted May 21st, 2010 12:46 pm



I am typically overweight and out of shape at 56, but have no one to share ideas, recipes, exercises, etc. Don't need "skinny" people telling me what I am doing wrong. This sounds perfect I work from home. I am excited to start!!!

posted May 20th, 2010 2:16 pm



I love spark people. I have been a member for almost a year and since 2009 have dropped almost 90 pounds, almost 130 total. I have never been able to lose more than 10 or 15 pounds at any given time but now that I have the tools and motivation that spark people has helped me gain I know I will reach my goal weight!!!

posted May 11th, 2010 12:39 pm



Love it!! I have lost 27 lbs in 4 months!!! Best weight loss website out there!!

posted May 5th, 2010 8:42 am



love this site.. but if you think to complicated, just blog on there some one will help you. web MD is simpler, but like sparks better because of all the info.

posted Apr 28th, 2010 12:16 pm



Great site! Very easy to use and has features that I didn't even know I wanted until I started using them. It helps me set realistic goals, follow a simple plan (that doesn't feel like a diet at all...it is a lifestyle change) and the awesome supportive community keeps me motivated and actually makes it fun! I would highly recommend SparkPeople.com.

posted Apr 13th, 2010 11:58 am



I never could get the hang of it. Way to complicated. To much changing pages etc.

posted Mar 10th, 2010 2:32 pm



SparkPeople is a place where you can journal, track what you are eating (and get feedback in the form of reports), and track your exercise. You can blog, post photos, and interact with other members. You can join teams. I love reading the articles, following the strength training exercises from Nicole, and having it all in one place. It is definitely for those who are motivated---it won't do it for you, you have to do it yourself, but the tools for doing it yourself are great.

posted Feb 27th, 2010 11:43 am



First off....SparkPeople is NOT a diet!!! It is lifestyle change....diets don't work, lifestyle change works! I love it! I lost 50 lbs using SparkPeople and gained many, many friends and supporters. It has a nutrition page where you log your food and drinks for the day...it will give you a total of calories, fat, carbs, protein and can break it down even further (fiber, sodium, calcium, etc) if you like. The Fitness page is where you log your excercises for the day and it gives you a total of Calories burned. They have a wonderful support team of nutrition, fitness,and health experts...plus more important Spark Friends and Teams that provide the support and encouragement you need,

posted Feb 20th, 2010 8:35 am



Shelia....No you don't have to be a member of anything but SparkPeople...and it is FREE!

posted Feb 18th, 2010 5:04 pm


Do you have to join facebook or twitter to be part of SP? Please answer . Thanks

posted Feb 17th, 2010 1:47 pm

Casey Mclendon


I have been using Sparkpeople around 1.5 years.And I've lost around 80 lbs. I find that it has been essential to my health journey to be able to log my food and exercise and interact with people going through the same things that I am. My sparkname is Caseygirl1982.

posted Jan 26th, 2010 8:02 pm user comment



its great

posted Jan 19th, 2010 7:33 pm

Lauren (uglyshoes)


I love Spark People. I've been on there over a year. I met so many friends locally that I've actually met up with. I met my personal trainer through this website as well. You get free nutritional plans, fitness plans, teams for support, forums for questions, workout videos, calorie counter, fitness journal, blog...it just goes on and on. It is also completely free.

posted Jan 11th, 2010 6:18 pm


I just passed my third anniversary as a Spark People. While acknowledging the weakness of an internet program, I have found success at SP. I have lost over 50 lbs and kept them off. I still enter food and exercise as both keep me going. I have friends who hold me accountable. I recommend it to anyone. It might not work for some, but I know a lot of people who are better because of SP.

posted Jan 7th, 2010 2:35 pm

Tina S.

I do like this program very much. In the past when I had a ditician that I visited every three weeks and went to the gym three to four times a week I lost 20 pounds in 3 months watching my caloric intake and exercising, so I know that is the only plan that works for me!!! So Spark notes is a little easier b/c recording calories can be time consuming, but with spark notes all u have 2 do is type in what u ate and they calculate the rest. Cause counting calories can be time consuming but it is the only way to know what u ate.

posted Jan 6th, 2010 7:05 am



I lost 25 lbs this summer!!! I learned how to eat better and that to me is invaluable!!!

posted Jan 3rd, 2010 1:57 pm



After doing Weight Watchers for several years on again off again (with pregnancies, medical issues, etc.), I've recently found SparkPeople, and I'm very happy. It offer much of the same concepts of Weight Watchers, offers community support online, boat loads of relevant competent information - all for free.

I couldn't be happier. Canceled my WW online subscription and the only thing I'm loosing is personal meetings, which I can still go to locally if I want.

I am amazed at the caliber of the SparkPeople community. Can't give it enough thumbs up.

posted Dec 10th, 2009 2:39 pm


ive belonged to that site one month and i know its not enuf time but i have not seen one ounce com off and have done everything i was supposed to..what gives?

posted Nov 8th, 2009 11:07 am


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