Do Dieters Lose Weight With MEDIFAST Diet?
Dieters on Medifast do typically lose weight, especially in the beginning. The diet calls for only 800 to 1,000 calories to be ingested on a daily basis. However, the level of weight loss success ultimately depends on the ability of a participant to stick to all the rules set forth by Medifast.
Even though weight loss can be expected by those following the program to a tee, the amount of weight loss is greatly contested. The claim of 2 to 5 pounds per week is one that can’t really be proven as some will lose more than others and there are many variables that go into the amount of weight that is achieved while on the Medifast Diet.
Word On The Street About MEDIFAST Diet
What about Medifast reviews? Since Medifast is so well-known and such a powerhouse in the diet world, I went straight to Consumer Reports for Medifast reviews, all of which appear quite candid and legitimate.
The most recent review was from just a couple of days ago, August 2017. “Kyleigh,” who gave Medifast 4 stars, says she was introduced to Medifast through an online video.
“…My experience going through the diet started off well and I was surprised by how good a lot of the meals tasted…I didn’t experience any more weight loss with this program than I would if I just changed my diet. I think the results are overstated in a lot of the publicity and that was the biggest drawback for me. I really like that it was convenient, but it wasn’t quite what I expected …“.
But a common theme I found was that a number of people, while giving it high marks as very effective for extreme weight loss, caution that it’s difficult at best to sustain it and many gain some or all of the weight back once they go off the diet.
I went in search of very negative reviews, too—1- and 2-star reviews—and found 80 reviews; some were frightening, with users listing serious health problems occurring post-diet. It’s not clear how many of these people consulted a doctor before starting the diet. Nonetheless, let that stand as a warning: ask your doctor before you start Medifast or any other diet.
What Is MEDIFAST
In announcing its ranking on Forbes’ lists, Medifast described itself as “a leading portion-controlled weight-loss program.” Actually, Medifast is a very low calorie diet (VLCD) consisting of Medifast prepackaged meal replacement shakes and other foods. It’s also a multi-level-marketing (MLM) diet business, which the company calls its “Take Shape for Life” personal coaching division. Medifast also sells its program and products online and through call centers, in its Medifast Weight Control Centers and through a network of doctors.
Medifast will sell to anyone online or through distributors, but in its centers people should be at least 30 pounds overweight based on body mass index guidelines. It’s a very big and lucrative business—especially for those at the top of the MLM pyramid.
“Medifast is safe and effective to do on your own whether you want to lose 15 or 120 or more pounds.” That’s the weight loss claim. Medifast says it is safe and effective and used by doctors for years. In fact, Vitale sold the diet to fellow doctors and that’s how he got that direct marketing business model rolling. Medifast says tens of thousands of doctors have recommended it over the decades but adds, “It’s only been within the past decade that Medifast was formulated to be available to you without a doctor’s supervision.”
Medifast claims that their weight loss meals are “nutrient-dense and fortified with 24 vitamins and minerals, so you can lose pounds and inches without losing out on nutrition. Each meal has essentially the same nutritional profile, and has been designed to have enough low-fat protein and healthy fiber to help you feel full and satisfied, without the between-meal hunger that can sabotage a weight loss plan.” Medifast says the key to weight loss on its plans is simple: “After a few days on either Medifast weight loss plan, your body will start to burn fat so you can lose weight while preserving muscle tissue.”
There are two plans. Medifast Go was formerly known as the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan. Let me digress here for a minute; the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan was the subject of a sweeping 2012 federal investigation and lawsuit, wherein federal agencies alleged the company engaged in false advertising when it claimed you’d “lose 2-5 pounds” per week with no scientific proof of that claim. Medifast ultimately settled by paying a $3.7 million fine, but declined to admit guilt.
Medifast has changed the program name to Medifast Go, and added a new weight loss meal replacement program, Medifast Flex, previously known as the Medifast Achieve Plan. Each will run you around $75 to $100 a week.
On the Medifast diet you eat “Medifast Meals fortified with the essential vitamins and minerals you need for healthy weight loss.” Medifast claims it’s nutritionally balanced meals, more than 65 of them, “are all based on a similar design, so they are easily interchangeable and you’re assured of getting great nutrition every day.” These ‘meals’ are bars, shakes, soups, snacks, desserts and a few pasta entrees.
You do need to, obviously, supplement with real food. Medifast has that part covered with its “lean and green” recipes, described as including 7 ounces of protein, 3 servings of vegetables, and up to 2 servings of healthy fats, the latter “depending on your lean protein choices.” The recipes are available to Medifast customers on their blog and in their cookbook. But they also sell individual Medifast ‘Flavors of Home Lean and Green’ meals.
A 14-day Medifast diet meal replacement kit is $149 and includes an assortment of Medifast “meals” (70 total) that include shakes, snacks, and soups so I’m not sure if a shake constitutes a meal, but I am assuming it does. So you’ll get stuff like a pasta dish, brownies, chicken noodle soup, peanut butter crunch bars, vanilla shakes, and mashed potatoes. And you receive a welcome kit, food journal, dining-out guide and a plastic blender bottle.
Similarly, the 30-day kit at $329 provides a month’s worth of Medifast Meals, 147 in total with dishes like the 14-day but it appears like you get more variety like oatmeal and pretzel sticks, but the list on the website appears to be mostly snack foods, shakes and a couple of side dishes, also known as meal replacement stuff.
The Bottom Line: Is MEDIFAST Worth a Try?
Risky (mid-level risk). It is, simply put, a very low calorie diet. But one that requires Medifast brand meal replacements, including Medifast shakes, Medifast bars, Medifast snacks, and more.
I’m not a fan of prepackaged food diet food, no matter how much nutrition is said to be packed in there. It is still processed in some manner, and processed foods – especially “diet” processed foods.
“may contain hidden additives that some nutritionists claim may sabotage weight loss. Just saying”
That said, if your doctor recommends it – or if you ask and your doctor approves – go for it. But know up front, unless you change your eating habits and incorporate regular and energetic exercise into your life for good, just like with any other diet, you won’t keep that weight off once you go off the plan. But it’s your call.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Medifast work?
It can work and it is safe, however it may be more difficult to maintain the weight loss after discontinuing the program.
Does Medifast put you in Ketosis?
To an extent the Medifast 5 &1 plan may put you in a mild state of dietary ketosis.
Does Medifast food expire?
Each package of food does have an expiration date. Please check each of your packages if you have had them for sometime.
How does Medifast work?
Each meal has essentially the same nutritional profile, and has been designed to have enough low-fat protein and healthy fiber to help you feel full and satisfied, without the between-meal hunger that can sabotage a weight loss plan.
What does Medifast cost?
The price of Medifast varies but on average it costs about $11/day or $329/30 day supply as a new customer.