With the availability of more dietary plans, finding a program that fits your needs might not be easy. Before getting on a diet, you need to know the main facts, benefits, and issues associated with the program. Comparing the pros and cons of different weight-loss techniques increases your chances of making the right choice. Below is a detailed look at Medifast.
Medifast Diet Overview
Medifast is a calorie-restrictive diet plan that uses ketosis to stimulate rapid weight loss. This diet features more than 70 different types of meals, each of which is low-fat. Moreover, the carbs included in this program are low on the glycemic index, which is the measure of a carb’s impact on blood sugar. In addition to overweight individuals, this program is also ideal for people suffering from conditions like gout and type-2 diabetes. Medifast has plan modifications for people with special dietary needs, those trying to avoid soy, and those taking anticoagulants. Vegetarian and gluten-free variants are some of the options available. Additionally, bariatric surgery patients, seniors, and nursing mothers are allowed to use the diet.
Aside from the basics, you’ll want to understand the advantages and disadvantages offered before you decide to give this diet a try. Here are the pros and cons you should consider:
The Pros of Medifast Diet
Effective: The Medifast program works by inducing a mild state of ketosis. In this state, the body usually consumes fat for fuel. This plan allows you to take as little as 800-1000 calories and not more than 30-50 grams of carbs daily. Although these levels are below the minimum amount recommended in federal guidelines, experts say they are moderately safe for adults.
Carbs are our main energy source, so denying the body excess carbohydrates causes it to burn the best available alternative source of fuel, which is fat. The Medifast diet forces the body to start burning fat by restricting calories and carbohydrates, triggering significant weight loss.
By sticking to the diet plan as instructed, you can lose up to 2-5 pounds a week during the first 14 days and about 1-2 pounds every week thereafter. You can, therefore, lose up to 10 pounds within the first two weeks of using Medifast. In fact, cheating a little bit does not prevent weight loss, it simply reduces the rate. In a span of eight weeks, many of the program’s users have reportedly lost up to 40 pounds. Loss of weight is therefore guaranteed.
Reduced or almost nonexistent hunger: Medifast offers one meat-and-veggies entree a day along with five meal replacement products that are low-calorie and low-fat. Each of the meals contains lots of proteins, fiber, and vitamins. This high nutrient content translates to a high fullness index, meaning the meals should keep you nourished and full for longer. Low-glycemic index carbohydrates can help ensure steady levels of metabolism and blood sugar. As a result, you might feel fuller longer.
Additionally, once the body goes into starvation mode, it will try to store nutrients as fat. Spacing the six small meals throughout the day keep this from happening and helps control hunger. Hunger is, therefore, not an issue when using the Medifast diet.
Reliable: This diet plan’s long track record attests to its reliability, which is one of the reasons why it has received recommendations from over 20,000 physicians. At some point in its 30-year history, the program was available only through physicians. Today, however, anyone can access Medifast-products online.
The plan’s reliability is enhanced by the support offered. Medifast centers have professional weight-loss coaches who provide support and health monitoring services. This offline support creates a sense of community and helps ensure positive experiences.
Besides the support offered in Medifast clinics, a free online community provides support for Medifast users. Previous and current Medifast dieters can communicate with one another for tips and encouragement.
Clinically proven: Medifast has undergone numerous clinical trials, many of which have proven that the program is both effective and medically safe. Below is an overview of a few of the studies.
- The findings of a study conducted at the Johns Hopkins University show that the Medifast diet results in significant weight loss. When using Medifast, adult males can lose an average of 67 pounds while their female counterparts can lose an average of 56 pounds. It’s, however, notable that all of the participants attended Medifast clinics.
- Another study compared this program against diabetes medications and found that the dietary plan is more effective at controlling type-2 diabetes than a number of the ADA-recommended programs.
- A study conducted in 2015 and published in the Internal Medicine analyzed 45 different proprietary and commercial weight-loss programs, one of which was Medifast. Compared to counseling, the use of low-calorie diet programs like Medifast resulted in significantly greater weight loss. At four months, the difference was estimated to be 4 percent, but some of the effects were lesser after six months.
- A fourth study showed that Medifast’s meal replacement programs were slightly better than most of those generally recommended for obesity pharmacotherapy, which means drug treatment. The study also found that Medifast had a higher customer retention rate than most of the recommended commercial programs.
- In 2015, another study published in the Nutrition Journal studied the charts of 310 Medifast clients. All of the participants were either obese or overweight and followed the Achieve Plan. The study found those who adhered to the plan lost an average of 24 pounds within 12 weeks and an average of 35 pounds inside 24 weeks. Also, each participant, irrespective of gender or age, lost more fat than lean muscle.
Easy to use: Medifast is a simple, easy to use program. The most popular plan involves five, pre-packaged Medifast meals plus one lean and green meal daily. This plan is known as the five-and-one plan. The self-prep meal (lean meat and green vegetables) is earmarked for dinner while the five pre-packaged meals are spread evenly throughout the day.
As a Medifast dieter, you won’t have to track or count much of anything. Medifast takes counting calories, carbs, or points out of the equation, allowing you to focus on a limited set of options for your meals.
Medifast gives you a much greater sense of control over your diet and weight. For starters, you get to eat after every two hours. Secondly, the inclusion of pre-packaged meals eliminates guesswork, which makes it easier to take your mind off of food and helps ensure healthy eating. Dieters are more likely to stick to diet plans that do not require extensive preparation, at least not on their part. With Medifast, you don’t have to measure potions precisely or count calories. As a user, this simplicity can help you stick to the plan, particularly during the early days when adjustment is likely to be difficult.
Time-saving: Not only is selecting a plan and ordering simple, but automatic delivery is also available. When using the Medifast diet, you don’t have to think about packing a snack or lunch for the day. Instead of resorting to fast foods or taking your time to come up with a fairly healthy meal for lunch, it’s simpler to grab a shake before heading out in the morning. With the simplest of instructions, food preparation is also fast. For Medifast meals, you’re only required to add water and heat up in the microwave. As for the lean and green meal, even the most unskilled of cooks should be able to tackle the preparation process quickly.
Convenient: For starters, Medifast has a 30-day refund policy, meaning the company will reimburse any unused products shipped back to them within this time frame. Secondly, Medifast products don’t need refrigeration, particularly since they have a shelf-life of about 12 months. However, you’ll want to use a thermos or refrigerator to store prepared meals, which you can prepare 12 hours in advance.
The Cons of Medifast Diet
Health issues: Rapid weight loss is associated with a few health concerns. It can cause digestive problems and gallbladder issues. For those at high risk, it can lead to gallstones or gallbladder disease. Making sure you eat the two healthy fat servings as recommended is the best way to minimize these risks. For digestive issues, the symptoms will often diminish within the first 14 days. Consulting with your doctor is, however, recommended for those who experience any adverse symptoms. Remember, being overweight is known to cause health issues.
Variety and taste: Medifast products are unlikely to win any cuisine competitions. Also, most of the meals are hot, which means they might not be ideal for the hot summer months. With five meals a day, the selection might wear a bit thin even though different varieties of soups, shakes, and snacks are available through Medifast. You’ll probably have a more limited selection if you are allergic or dislike many of the flavors offered. Besides putting all of its products through a tasting panel, the company closely monitors customer feedback with the aim of discontinuing the duds and developing more favorites.
Adjusting: Medifast has a sharply reduced calorie allowance, which can make it a difficult adjustment. For one, making sure you eat every meal on time might not be as easy as you’d expect, especially at first. Secondly, going from taking three large meals daily to eating six carefully controlled meals is likely to shock the system.
Ketosis: The Medifast diet induces ketosis, as a result of which acetone is released through respiration. Acetone is known to give the breath an unpleasant aroma that can be mistaken for the smell of alcohol. For extended periods of ketosis, the supervision of a medical professional is required to ensure lasting damages do not occur.
Cost: Medifast costs an average of $330-350 per month depending on whether mineral and vitamin supplements are added to the plan. Unless eating out is your normal meal plan and it costs you a lot of money, switching to Medifast might be more expensive. With a limited menu and small portions, it is likely that some dieters will not adhere to the plan. However, the cost might help you stick to the plan since you would not want to spend that much only to default.
Considering the pros and cons, Medifast is worth investing in, especially for those suffering from type-2 diabetes. In addition to working for both obese and overweight patients, this dietary program has very few side effects, all of which can be managed easily.