Medifast is one of the most popular weight loss programs around today. Based in Maryland, the company was founded in 1980 and has since gone on to become one of the great success stories of dieting. Learn more about this diet plan on their website, or continue reading our review and access Medifast coupons below. Medifast is based on the 5+1 principle. This means that members receive five meals by Medifast, each of which has to be eaten that day. These meals contain the nutritional and dietary requirements for that particular member. Members are also advised to produce a ‘lean and green’ meal for their sixth and final meal, examples of which can be downloaded once members have subscribed. The 5+1 diet contains approximately 1,000 calories, which is around the amount of calories a person needs to limit their consumption to for weight loss. Medifast also offers specialized diet plans for patients with diabetes, heart disease, or gout. They also offer a specific dietary plan for patients taking warfarin, an anticoagulant medicine. The average 4-week cost of a meal plan is about $315.
What is Medifast's Goal?
The goal of Medifast is to lose weight intensely over a 4-week period. The idea is to maximize nutrition while cutting hard on caloric intake. This is achieved by inducing a fat-burning phase in the body, a phase that gradually uses up caloric fat as opposed to caloric muscle. They have numerous plans to help members achieve this goal, some stricter than others, depending on the needs and circumstances of the member in question.
- Nutrition – one of the greatest and most convenient advantages of Medifast is that they deliver 5 of the 6 meals, meals which deliver the member's nutritional requirements.
- Stress-free - members don't need to worry about checking calorie counts or nutritional value. This work is done by Medifast at the very outset.
- Expensive - this diet plan does not come cheap. At over $300 for a 4-week plan, it is more expensive than other diet plans.
- Blandness - while members are delivered each of their meals, this food is sometimes powdered and bland. Keeping members motivated and enthusiastic about the diet can become difficult.
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Does Medifast Really Work?
Medifast has, by many accounts and studies, been shown to work. However, this comes with numerous caveats. While studies show that this diet plan is effective in the short-term, it can often prove ineffective and counter-productive in the long-term. For example, studies show that while members do indeed lose weight over the course of their membership, they are also likely to regain much of this weight in the post-membership period. Members often find it difficult to retain their dietary structure in the long-term.
And nor should this come as any great surprise. The central idea behind Medifast is the idea that five of the six meals are produced by the organization. This means that when members come off the plan, they have to re-organize their lives around five new meals. Each meal by Medifast contains approximately 100 calories. It’s unlikely that when members come off the plan, that they will stick to 5 x 100 calorie meals. They are more likely to consume more calories, meaning weight is easily re-piled after the subscription ends. This could be down to two factors: a failure of Medifast to wean members off their diet plans or a failure of members to stay motivated in the post-diet period or both. In either case, this raises eyebrows over the long-term efficacy of this diet and its products.
The central idea behind Medifast is to replace a member’s existing diet with a 5+1 or 4+2 plan. This means that members are given either 5 or 4 meals per day (depending on which plan is chosen) and that they supplement this with one of their own meals each day. The caloric count of the diet plan is approximately 1,000 calories. This is about half of what's recommended by dietary experts for weight maintenance (the recommended daily allowance is 2,500 calories for men and 2,000 calories for women).
The caloric count also contains all necessary nutrition. The purpose of consistent low-calorie, high nutrition meals is to induce the body’s fat-burning capacity, a capacity which, in the short-term, burns a considerable amount of fat. Studies show that members on the Medifast diet lose more fat than standard diets. However, studies also show that subscribers of the diet are consuming more protein and fewer carbohydrates than is currently recommended.
Experts have designated the Medifast diet as ‘moderately healthy’ in this regard. It is also recommended that users participate in regular exercise while following the meal plan. They are advised to complete 30 minutes’ moderate exercise each day (up to a maximum of 45 minutes’ intense exercise). The exercise is, however, considered a supplement to the dietary focus.
Is Medifast Easy to Follow?
It’s not particularly easy to follow the Medifast diet. This is based on the nature of the diet program and the academic studies that have looked into its value. First, let’s assess the nature of the diet. It’s an unrealistic plan that is not sustainable in the long-term. It asks members to immediately switch their diet into a 5+1 or 4+2 ratio, meaning the diet plan is more of a fad diet than a sustainable lifestyle change. Members also find the diet quite taxing, as it doesn’t permit alcohol and has harsh regulations on things such as eating out and snacks. Their regulations are so strict, in fact, that while members may lose weight in the short-term, they are doomed to tedium in the long-term. The sustainability is a big factor. If members are to ‘come off’ the diet, they have to replace 5 x 100 calorie meals with their standard meals. This leads to complacency and a return to weight gain for many users. Academic studies, too, back up this conclusion. Studies have been done with two groups: a Medifast group and a control weight loss group. While the Medifast group lost more weight in the short-term, they also gained more weight in the long-term.
How Much Does Medifast Cost?
Medifast is quite an expensive product, at least when compared to other diet plans such as Weight Watchers. Medifast can cost over $300 for a 4-week period. The cost may adjust depending on the needs and circumstances of the member in question. However, it’s worth noting that, though this is expensive, it does include five meals out of 6 for a one-month period. Despite that convenience, the Medifast diet is pricey. Its supplementary foods, as provided in its shop, are also expensive. A peanut butter crunch bar, for example, currently costs $19.50 in their online shop. However, there are a variety of Medifast coupons and savings that can be easily accessed.