There are a lot of competitors out there in the prepackaged weight loss plan industry, and one of the big names out there is Medifast. Medifast was founded back in 1980 by Dr. William Vitale who created the foods that were sold to doctors and, in turn, given to patients. Since then, it has undergone some name changes and has grown from just a couple of employees to a company whose revenue is nearly $300 million and has more than 800 employees.
While there have been plenty of pros and cons with Medifast, there is surely to be a notable amount of success since it’s grown so much, right? Let’s take a look at Medifast and how it could work for you. There are a lot of details to know about Medifast, so we’ll get right to it.
With all of the other prepackaged plans out there, you usually eat three of their meals (or shakes) per day. On Medifast, you eat their products five times per day on the normal plan. There is also a separate plan where you are eating a total of four Medifast products per day. Medifast promises that you can lose two to five pounds per week on the program, which they say is completely balanced in terms of nutrients and vitamins.
Here are the Medifast plans in more detail:
There are two separate kits that you can order through Medifast on the Go! Program that last for either 14 or 30 days. The 14 day program gives you a total of 70 food products along with a brochure, food journal, guide on eating out and a blender bottle (all of which can also be found in the 30 day program). The 14 day kit costs $149 on average and each re-order is about $7 cheaper.
As for the 30 day plan, you get all of the same resources, except that you get a total of 154 meals. That’s about three or four extra meals for free compared to the 14 day program, and costs about $329. Each re-order is just under $300, so it ends up being a better long term value for the convenience even though it costs more the first time. There is also a larger selection on the 30 day kit to give you more variety.
The biggest difference between Flex and Go! Is that you get to eat one additional meal on your own that wasn’t provided by Medifast. Like the Go! Plan, Flex offers both 14 and 30 day kits, and there are two different 30 day plans. The 14 day kit comes with 56 meals and all of the same gifts that you get from the Go! Plan, and it costs around $149.
For the two 30 day plans, there is the select kit and complete kit. The select kit has 126 meals with nine microwavable meals and costs $299, while the complete has three extra microwaveable meals and costs $399. The rest of the cost is made up with 30 day supplies of supplements for both heart and digestive health.You also get a blender with the complete kit and 21 extra sancks, so the price difference isn’t as large as you think.
Flex and Go! aren’t the only Medifast plans, as they offer five different programs for people with special needs. These plans are for those with diabetes, gluten allergies, vegetarians, pregnant and nursing mothers and seniors.
What’s on the Menu?
Let’s say that if you’re on Medifast, you decide to select the standard Go! plan. You get five of the prepackaged Medifast meals, and get to select one meal of your choosing that they call the lean and green meal. Don’t expect to eat anything indulgent for that extra meal, as they give you options to choose from. Here is what a standard few days looks like on the Medifast plan:
Breakfast – Medifast Cereal Bar
Snack – Medifast Cheese Pizza Bites
Lunch – Medifast Pineapple Smoothie
Snack – Medifast Honey Mustard Pretzel Sticks
Dinner – Spinach, Tomato, Turkey Pizza
Breakfast – 2 Cups of Scrambled Eggs with Olive Oil and Sauteed Mushrooms
Snack – Medifast Chocolate Bar
Lunch – Medifast Tomato Soup and Crackers
Snack – Medifast Vanilla Shake
Dinner – Medifast Brownie
Breakfast – Medifast Blueberry Oatmeal
Snack – Medifast Strawberry Shake
Lunch – 7 Ounces of Grilled Shrimp with Broccoli
Snack – Medifast Cereal Crunch
Dinner – Medifast Macaroni and Cheese
There are dozens of different foods to choose from on the Medifast plans, though you have to pay more to access the full variety. However, the nutrition is just about the same for almost all of their programs as they are low in carbohydrates with a higher rate in vitamins, fiber and protein. Each meal is also right around the 100 calorie mark, meaning that you are getting only between 500 to 1,000 calories from Medifast meals per day. The rest of which is made up from your lean and green meal which is also low calorie.
Exercise and Weight Loss with Medifast
There’s a chance that you won’t be consuming many calories per day on Medifast, with some saying that they are only eating 800 to 1,200 on a daily basis. That’s below what most doctors would suggest, so you should be cautious that you are getting enough to keep going through a normal day. Most weight loss plans will tell you that you should exercise as much as you want, but not with Medifast.
Instead, Medifast says that you should only be exercising a maximum of 45 minutes per day and that you should start off very slowly. 10 of the 45 minutes of exercise are suggested to be walking, though they would prefer if all 45 minutes were indeed walking. You should also be drinking a lot of water, especially when exercising, which Medifast also suggest you should be doing.
When it comes to losing weight on the program, you’re certain to drop pounds when only eating around 1,200 calories per day and adding exercise. Again, Medifast has promised weight loss of up to five pounds per week, but that’s usually only for heavier patients that are starting out. As a matter of fact, Medifast has gotten into some hot water for touting weight loss of up to five pounds per week.
Medifast had a subsidiary that was forced to pay nearly $4 million for false advertising as the number of pounds they could lose were not backed up by science. Now, Medifast is more careful with their claims and have at least one clinical study to provide as evidence. That has been a way of improvement in the past five years as more clinical trials have been released.
What to Know About Medifast
Although there have been clinical trials that support that Medifast allows you to lose weight quickly with their very low calorie plan, there have been some negatives. One independent study showed that programs that included Medifast didn’t result in much more weight loss than regular calorie counting plans, and even had some patients suffer health problems.
Another study showed that people who participated in Medifast lost 30 pounds on average over the course of four months while other groups lost an average of 14. However, six months later, the Medifast dieters did not sustain as much weight loss. Regular patients has regained just two pounds over the six month course on average while Medifast clients regained 10 pounds in the same time span.
Knowing these studies, Medifast is continually adjusting their plan so that they can promote long term weight loss. There are a lot of resources that Medifast offers both for free and with their paid programs. Medifast has also released an app that allows you to sync your activity tracker with your food journal, as well as books for those that prefer something physical. There are also consultants available online and in centers around the United States.
Summing it Up
There are plenty of programs out there that are offering prepackaged meals, but one that has gotten some of the lowest marks by experts is Medifast. Going from overeating to suddenly 1,000 calories per day can actually be dangerous to your health. Even though you are almost certain to lose weight on Medifast, it’s hard to sustain.
Eventually, a lot of people that cut calories that much end up depriving themselves and get back into habits of overeating to the point of weight gain. There are plans for those with special dietary needs, but the problems with those programs is the same for the standard ones in the fact that there are too many calories to the point where exercise is actually discouraged to a certain point.
Overall, it’s something that you might want to try for a 14 day period to lose some quick weight, but it’s not the healthiest long term plan. With the price, as well, it’s not a plan that’s going to be beneficial for everyone. This is the ideal plan for losing 10 pounds in a couple of weeks, but that’s the high point.