Is this possible? Is it safe?
Medifast can work but you need to know the facts, research, and any issues you might face.
Medifast Has a Long Track Record
Medifast has been around for a number of decades, and at one time was only available via physicians. However for some years the products have been available to anyone online.
How Medifast Works
Medifast offer meal replacement products – typically formulated to be low-calorie and low-fat, and containing optimum levels of vitamins. The formula will generally take users into a mild state of ketosis.
The most popular plan is called 5 and 1. This plan (800-1000 calories daily) comprises 5 meal replacements and one “real” meal containing a lean protein, vegetables or salad. Medifast claims a weight loss of 2-5 pounds per week during the first two weeks and 1-2 pounds a week thereafter on this plan.
Medifast Has Undergone Clinical Trials
- One Johns Hopkins University study showed that Medifast results in significant weight loss (67 lb average loss in males and 57 lb average loss in females). Note that this study looked at patients who attended Medifast clinics.
- Another compared Medifast with diabetes medication. The study found Medifast more effective at controlling type 2 diabetes than an ADA-recommended program (more).
- A third study (source) showed that Medifast meal replacement programs were better than “those typically reported for obesity pharmacotherapy [i.e. drug treatment], and that retention of customers was “better than most commercial programs reported”.
Medifast have a number of “success stories” – including Nnedi Uzowihe-Igwe of Maryland, USA. Nnedi appeared in People magazine describing a massive transformation that resulted in a 160lb weight loss..
We were contacted by Nnedi and confirmed that she has maintained her weight loss.
Issues to Be Aware Of
Protein fasts and low-calorie meal replacements are a drastic solution, and appropriate for drastic situations.
Given the choice between gastric bypass surgery or Medifast, then Medifast is be a better answer.
One issue with Medifast is the long-term consequences – especially coming off the program. The transition phase is 4-6 weeks, and starts off by introducing oatmeal at breakfast, and fruit for snacks.
Exercise must become a part of life (5 days a week). It begins fairly low-key during the restrictive part of Medifast – but once transitioning – it is more important.
Due to low energy intake and exercise levels – it is likely that some muscle loss will occur during the weight loss phase. To rectify this, gradually include strength training during the transition phase to build up muscle tone.
The standard 4-week package plan costs $315. However – that’s the cost of the 5 replacements- you will still need to buy your daily “lean and green” meal (lean protein plus salad/vegetables). Dieters have the option to enroll in their Advantage program for significant savings.
Advantage Membership offers the best value;
- Free standard shipping on qualifying orders
- Free 56 Medifast Meals – 28 with this order, and 28 with your second order ($132.00 value!)
- Free BlenderBottle® – a must-have for mixing your Medifast Meals
- Free Online meal planner and support community
Programs for Men & Women
Different formulations are used for men and women.
The men’s shakes have a higher soy protein content.
A diabetic program is available – with very good success rates: “after 34 weeks, 24 percent of the Medifast users decreased or eliminated their diabetes medication, compared to 0 (zero) percent on the standard food diet”.
Final Thoughts: Does Medifast Work?
Behavioral changes are critical to the long-term success of Medifast. Unless these lifestyle changes are applied, then the weight could swing back on like a yo-yo. It’s worth taking a look at the post 10 Questions To Ask Before Changing Your Diet.
I don’t believe Medifast is for the person who wants to lose a few pounds.
This is a serious program for serious situations, and it may be advisable to follow the program while receiving regular support from a clinic or health professional
Ample proof exists that the program does work and can lead to significant weight loss provided the transition phase is followed correctly.