Our Medifast Diet Review takes a look at a popular, very low calorie weight loss program designed for and used by physicians…can you really lose 20lbs in 30 days?
Now, we’re always suspicious of any diet that claims you can lose more than 1-2lbs a week…3lbs a week max.
In most cases the weight loss claims are unsubstantiated and are normally made on the basis of a few testimonials from Joy in Utah, Jack in Johanesburg or Jill in Manchester.
Now that’s not say that testimonials are not a good way in which to judge a diet, we just need a bit more proof…guess we’re getting cynical in our old age!
So, a doctor approved diet should have plenty of evidence to support such extravagant weight loss claims, shouldn’t it!
Medifast Diet Review for Easy Weight Loss
Originally, Medifast was a prescription only, doctor supervised, liquid, fasting diet…hence the name.
Since becoming a public company, the product line now includes ready meals and snacks in addition to the shakes and soups.
The repackaged product line is now marketed direct to the public via its website and myriad of affiliates promoting the diet and products.
On its official website, Medifast claims that you can “lose weight without shopping, cooking or counting”…calories we presume.
They also deliver their “low calorie, nutritionally balanced meals” to your door.
Medifast is a meal replacement program that, if you follow the “5 and 1” plan, is based on five meal replacements a day…shakes, soups, snack bars, etc…and one “lean and green meal” — lean meat and veg/salad.
You’re also supposed to eat something every 2-3 hours so as to keep your metabolism ticking over.
The basis of the diet is convenience. It will attract busy people and those who ‘can’t cook, won’t cook.’
All the meals bar the “lean and green” one come prepackaged so you don’t have to think about what you eat next.
There’s no meal planning, etc – just choose your ready meal and eat!
You also get a stack of recipes for the one meal you do prepare.
Once you’ve hit your target weight you move to the maintenance plan, again based largely on meal replacements.
You gradually increase your calorie intake over three or more weeks and then keep eating 1-3 of the meal replacements a day…forever we presume!
There’s also a recommendation to exercise – 30-45 minutes a day, 5 times a week. Not sure how you do that on less than 1,000 calories a day without feeling drained of energy most of the time!
As with any diet, you’re advised to drink plenty of water, around eight 8oz glasses a day.
There’s also a Medifast Plus for Diabetics plan, which we’ve not looked at in this Medifast Diet review. The results of a study examining its effectiveness are published on the website.
Medifast Diet Review – Does it Work…?
Eat this few calories and you’re bound to lose some weight.
The diet has been around for over 25 years and there are plenty of references on the webiste to the Medifast Plan being “clinically proven and physician recommended”.
We couldn’t download the physicians information PDF file for this Medifast Diet review – it was damaged and couldn’t be repaired – that we presume contained the clinical evidence.
The website claims that the diet’s effectiveness has been proven in multiple clinical trials, has been used by over 1 million customers and recommended by over 15,000 physicians.
Now, the original Medifast diet was designed for use by very obese people.
It was a quick start program to be used for four weeks only, essentially to get some weight off fast.
The weight loss claims made are for the initial very low calorie phase. There’s no information on how much weight you can expect to lose after the initial four weeks.
The diet is also intended to be used with medical supervision – there’s a disclaimer on the website to that effect.
The references to the diet being used at John Hopkins University are just that, a clinician supervised diet for very obese people.
We would suspect that once the initial four weeks are up, that weight loss is little more than the recommended 1-2lbs a week at best.
However, many very low calorie diets cause your metabolism to drop resulting in some or much of the weight lost being regained quickly once you come off the diet.
The weight maintenance phase is supposed to stop that happening, but 2-3 weeks is not a lot of time for your body to adjust to your new weight.
This is a meal replacement diet. Our Medifast Diet review suggests that the problem with such programs is that they are of dubious value in terms of modifying the behaviours and eating habits that caused the weight gain in the first place.
If you plan to continue using Medifast products for life then fine, but if you plan to eat regular food again what happens when you have to start shopping and cooking?
Successful weight loss programs engender new healthy eating habits. We would doubt whether Medifast is going to do that.
Then there’s the price. Your five Medifast meal replacements are going to cost around $10 a day, then there’s the cost of your “lean and green meal”.
Is that expensive compared to regular food? You decide, but for many people with a family to feed as well, that’s pretty hefty.
We do like the 6 meals a day principle, as small meals meals spread throughout the day is a proven weight loss strategy.
However, you’ll be eating less than 1,000 calories a day for four weeks so we doubt the claims made on the website that you won’t feel hungry.
Ditto the claims about not losing muscle tissue. You will lose some muscle regardless of the diet you’re on.
Despite the protein content of this diet, eating less than 1,000 calories a day for a month will lead to lean tissue loss.
Medifast Diet Review – The Bottom Line…
We’re not fans of very low calorie diets.
The original Medifast Plan based on five shakes a day added up to less than 500 calories a day and should only be used under strict medical supervision.
The 5 and 1 plan whilst not technically a very low calorie diet as it’s over 800 calories, still comes in at less than 1,000 calories a day.
Whilst you will inevitably lose weight on the Medifast Diet, whichever you choose, rapid weight loss can be dangerous and almost inevitably leads to rapid weight regain.
Furthermore, our Medifast Diet review would suggest that it will not change your eating habits…
Well it will get you buying and eating relatively expensive Medifast products, which you may not have eaten otherwise!
There are plenty of positive Medifast Diet reviews from people that have used the program on various websites and blogs. However, this is not going to be a program that everyone can or should follow.
Is eDiets right for you?
Our Medifast Diet review verdict? We prefer real food, healthy meals and gradual and steady weight loss!