The Medifast diet has been known primarily as a liquid diet, but while it includes shakes, there are many food options also available.
Medifast is ideal for people who don’t cook or who have no interest in cooking. Dieters simply order their food from the Medifast website and can receive enough food for two weeks, four weeks or a customized length of time. They add one meal per day that they prepare or order in a restaurant.
Medifast is a difficult diet to follow. It’s portion-controlled, nutritionally balanced (with both protein and carbohydrates) and low fat, but it can leave dieters hungry. Most days, dieters will consume 1,200 calories or less. However, dieters often lose weight much faster on Medifast than they would on other diet programs.
The foods that dieters receive include shakes, snacks, breakfast items and meal-replacement bars. These are used in combination throughout the day (for a total of 5 “meals”), and dieters add one “Lean & Green” meal , which dieters prepare on their own. It might include a grilled chicken breast, salad and vegetables.
Medifast encourages dieters to think about their program as a lifestyle change and not just a diet. Dieters are given tools to help them transition off the shakes and onto “regular” food; they can also take advantage of forums and other tools that help them to connect with other dieters and find support there.
In addition to the Medifast meals and snacks, dieters can enjoy snacks like celery sticks, sugar-free popsicles, sugar-free gum or mints, dill pickles and sugar-free gelatin (like Jello snacks).
Clinical studies have shown that the majority of people on the Medifast plan lose 2 to 5 pounds per week the first two or three weeks they are on the diet and they lose 1 to 2 pounds thereafter and until they reach their goal.
The bulk of the Medifast dieter’s foods are provided for them. A 2-week shipment from Medifast will include 21 shakes, 14 meal-replacement bars, 14 oatmeal selections, 7 soups and 14 desserts. Dieters will cook their own “lean and green” meal each day, or they can make a careful order in a restaurant.
While dieters can add one snack per day in addition to the meal and the Medifast food items, the program is carefully controlled, so dieters are warned that eating more than one snack per day might result in less weight loss.
Pros and Cons
- The majority of the food is sent to dieters, making the diet relatively simple to follow
- Program is calorie controlled and includes a careful balance of proteins, carbs and various nutrients
- Gluten-free options are available as well as options for nursing moms, teens, people with diabetes and seniors
- Weight loss can be speedy
- Dieters can find themselves hungry and craving certain foods
- Diet can get repetitive, with the dieter only alternating shakes, bars and simple food choices
- Dieters with a lot of weight to lose might get bored and frustrated
- Dieters who aren’t careful risk regaining weight after they go off the diet
Two weeks of Medifast costs about $163.00. Dieters will have to add in the cost of their homemade “lean and green” meal, or about $40 every two weeks. According to Medifast, the cost of the diet is comparable to what Americans are currently spending on groceries.
Snack Medifast barBreakfast
Skinless chicken breast, broccoli and cauliflower with a spinach salad
Dieters who follow the Medifast plan should be confident they will lose weight. However, staying on this plan is difficult and is best for those who are 100% dedicated to losing weight in one of the fastest ways possible outside of surgery.If dieters decide to go off the diet and diet on their own, they run the risk of gaining weight or losing any weight loss momentum they had. Once dieters reach their goal weight, they should take advantage of the various support systems in place through the Medifast website.