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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 4 of 4, 80 total comments)



I only have positive things to say about Spark! It is healthy-choices-living, no doubt about it. Come join us, you that are looking for the ultimate wonderful way to lose weight or to just get healthier!!!

posted Dec 3rd, 2008 6:32 am



I have been on SparkPeople since June 2008 and have lost 35 lbs so far. I recommend SP to everyone

posted Nov 21st, 2008 4:46 pm



Sparkpeople has a great assortment of weightloss tools available at no charge. It is know if you track what you eat, how much you workout and keep a journal, then you will be more successful at losing weight. It is up to the individual to utilize these tools to their advantage.

posted Nov 6th, 2008 3:40 pm



I just found Spark People a couple of days ago. I am just in love with it. They have almost every food known to man in their food tracker, and if its not there, you can import it from someone else. It is so easy, you just have to really want it.

posted Nov 2nd, 2008 9:31 am

D Smith


SparkPeople really is a GREAT site, especially considering it's free. For the other competitive people out there, the points work great. The only real downside is that you really do have to want it for yourself and have to be willing to do the research, and the little time it takes each day. Make sure you make yourself a support network right away and find a buddy, so they an email you and harass you if you stop going!

posted Oct 24th, 2008 10:53 pm



Wonderful. Couldn't live without it. It motivates me. I feel like I can't cheat because I have to record it then.

posted Oct 24th, 2008 9:07 am


I have lost 50 lb with them. They are the best. I have tried WW and after paying fees for about a year and only losing 10 lb I left them.

posted Sep 11th, 2008 6:18 pm


SparkPeople is easy and fun. It's a good place to learn smart lifestyle choices and make lots of friends.

posted Aug 12th, 2008 5:23 pm


You list - No pre-prepared meals. - No magic-bullet pills. - More information than you can digest at one sitting. As Cons but many people see that as Pros. You can eat what you want, there are no pills so its healthy and maintainable and affordable. I don't think these cons are cons at all. BTW I currently use Sparkpeople and its great.

posted Jul 17th, 2008 8:14 am


Sparkpeople is a site for someone who wants long term results. It is not the cookie cutter diet, or the quick fix. SparkPeople support building,developing and maintaining a HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP with our bodies in many aspects, not just food. I I am the typical yoyo dieter and need to lose over 100 lbs. I normally lose interest & motivation before the weight on the other diet programs. started Spark in Jan of this year and have had a lasting motivation and loss of weight and gain of healthy habits, more than any other attempt prior. I am and will continue to be a fan and cheerleader for Spark and thank them (the coaches, program developers and memebers) for their encouragement, motivation and real guidence.

posted Jun 23rd, 2008 10:03 am


I can't not use sparkpeople. when I stop tracking my food etc, i gain weight. When i am "good" i lose weight. So I believe in sparkpeople, it has helped my boyfriend lose 20 pounds and i am now on my way too.

posted Jun 17th, 2008 2:48 pm


Love, Love Spark People I lost already 12 pounds in 3 weeks...I have not once felt overwhelmed, the stories that you read are so compelling, it really make you believe you can do it too...and I am doing it!!!! GO SPARK PEOPLE!!!! I encourage anyone just to be part of it.

posted Jun 9th, 2008 9:48 am


SparkPeople.com is an answer to my prayers. I don't do their diet, I do my own thing...which is basically just making better choices, eating healthy foods and trying to make time for exercise. But the people there are amazing, so welcoming and motivating. I track my food, water, and exercise daily on that site and have lost 13 lbs thus far (6 weeks). It's just a positive place to be.

posted Feb 27th, 2008 8:20 pm


I love Sparkpeople, this has been the easiest way for me to shed 10 lbs, I need much much more to go but with the help of spark, I realize that I need the support the forums provide and that it's not a quick weight loss program. I'm glad there's no miracle pill or any nasty pre-packaged meals. If you need to rely on a pill or pre-packaged meals to lose weight, you're doing something wrong and you've got the idea of losing weight wrong!

posted Feb 26th, 2008 10:10 pm

Maureen Canale

Spread The Spark...Long Live Sparky Town!!! Never in my life would I have imagined myself as part of an online community. I am a Believer...this is where I am supposed to be...MoeDancing I am...come get Sparked!

posted Feb 26th, 2008 10:10 pm


I've been on SparkPeople for almost two years now, and I couldn't imagine my life without it. The best place to go when you need support!! :)

posted Feb 25th, 2008 5:33 pm


I LOVE Sparkpeople. It is great for those who have pretty good self-motivation and just need a few simple tools to help them get on track. Forums provide great support (so many types of groups!) and the tracking tools make it almost fun to get in shape. A+++


Just joined recently. Lots of great weight loss, nutrition and fitness tools


sparkpeople does just that, it gets you motivated to endure the weight loss journey


there are so many people that are so happy to help you on this program. Everyone is very encouraging


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