Review of Medifast Weight Loss Program

If you live in the United States you have probably heard of Medifast, a popular diet food company.  When Medifast was founded back in 1980, its weight management products were sold directly to doctors, who would then prescribe them to their patients. Today, Medifast’s products are available directly to consumers and have been sold to more than a million people. The efficacy of the Medifast diet plan has been backed by the recommendation of more than 20,000 doctors and the positive results of a number of scientific studies. This has made Medifast a highly reputable diet company.

Medifast Diet Plan

Medifast diet results in weight loss through calorie restriction. The low-fat 800-1000 daily calorie intake of the Medifast plan leads to fast weight loss; usually 2-5 pounds loss a week. However, unlike fad diets that restrict a specific macronutrient, such as  carbohydrates or protein, the Medifast plan keeps all necessary nutrients in a perfectly balanced ratio.  It is medically designed so that the calorie restriction will not result in malnutrition.

Medifast Meals

Medifast meals are enriched with 24 essential vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients that keep the dieter nutritionally balanced. Medifast uses the 5 plus 1 meal plan. In a typical day, dieters consume 5 small Medifast meals, in the form of shakes, bars, puddings, soups and drinks. In addition, they consume one meal that they prepare by themselves. This meal is known as “Lean and Green” because it consists of a lean protein serving and a portion of low-carbohydrate vegetables.

Medifast Studies

Does Medifast work? A considerable amount of peer-reviewed clinical research has proven the efficacy of the Medifast plan. Three of the more recent studies are briefly mentioned below:

  • A 2008 study published in the The Diabetes Educator, the official journal of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, compared the efficacy of Medifast meal replacements with a standard food-based diet for weight loss in type 2 diabetic patients. This controlled clinical trial assigned 119 women and men with diabetes to one of two 34-week diet plans: (1) the Medifast plan or (2) a standard diet based on the recommendations by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The Medifast plan outperformed the ADA diet in terms of initial weight loss and regain after 1 year of maintenance.
  • The long term impact of Medifast supplements combined with appetite-suppressant medication was evaluated by Haddock and colleagues and published in the Eating and Weight Disorders June 2008 issue. In this study 1,351 overweight people were treated with a combination of Medifast meal replacement supplements and appetite-suppressant medication for 52 weeks. The participants lost 9.4kg, 12kg and 12.4kg at the 12, 24 and 52-week follow-ups. The study concluded that “Results were better than those typically reported for obesity pharmacotherapy in both short- and long-term studies, and also better than those reported for partial meal-replacement programs.”
  • The most recent study was presented at the conference of Experimental Biology in April 2009. In this study 45 people who followed the Medifast diet for 4 months, were compared to 45 people who followed a Food-based diet for the same length of tiem. The Medifast group lost 2 times more body weight, 5 times more body fat and their visceral fat presented 7 times greater % reduction. In addition, the Medifast group adhered better to the diet (higher retention rate) than Food-based group.

Cost VIP membership

The Medifast plan is tailored for specific groups of people. They offer separate plans for women, men and diabetics. A typical 4-week package costs $300. Online searches for “Medifast coupons” result in a plethora of websites that offer up to 18% discount on the Medifast plan.

In conclusion, Medifast, a company based out of Owings Mills, Maryland, United States, produces, distributes and sells a medically designed, well-structured diet program that results in safe and quick weight loss. It has been helping people lose weight, improve their health and maintain a healthy lifestyle since 1980.