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Sep 16

Medifast weight loss program review- does it work?

Product:  Medifast Weight Loss Plan

Price:  $363.90 for the 4-week starter kit (from Medifast) or you can order the meals from amazon once you get started on the program by clicking on Medifast Custom Order

Owner:  Medifast Inc. (NYSE: MED) Owings Mills, MD

Website:  www.medifast1.com

Overall Rating:  5 out of 10

LUNCH!

A healthy “meal replacement”

Description

According to the Medifast website “The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® is designed for fast, safe weight loss. Eat five of our specially formulated meals and one Lean & Green Meal of your own, and you can lose 2-5 pounds a week for the first two weeks and 1-2 pounds per week thereafter.”

The 5 & 1 Plan is one of the plans that Medifast offers and it seems to be the one that is recommended for most people starting out.  They claim that you will eat six meals a day and lose weight quickly, all while learning healthy eating habits that will remain with you long after you reach your goal.

Once you reach your ideal weight, they have a Transition Plan that lasts 5 weeks, and then you go on the Maintenance Plan indefinitely.  Once in the maintenance phase, you will eat 3 normal meals and 3 “fuelings” of Medifast meal replacements.

Along with the 5 & 1 Weight Loss Plan, you get free one-on-one support from a Health Coach.

In addition, you have the option of going in to a Medifast Weight Control Center or getting online and phone support.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Many people have lost weight on the Medifast programs.  Some people who had struggled with dieting for decades lost weight and have been able to keep it off.
  • Once you’ve received your 4 weeks worth of meal replacements, you don’t really have to think much about what to eat.
  • It simplifies grocery shopping.  You only have to prepare one meal a day.
  • If you follow the plan as designed, you will lose weight.
  • The plan is easy to follow.
  • If you want, you can work with a Take Shape for Life Health Coach.  This Coach has typically used Medifast successfully and has additional training in nutrition and behavior modification and can be a great asset to someone trying to lose weight.

Cons:

  • The 5 “meals” are not really meals at all.  Examples are breakfast bars, brownies, cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, pudding, pretzels, smoothies, shakes, soft serve, soups, macaroni and cheese, and eggs.
  • From many accounts, the “meals” are really bad.  Some people compare them to cardboard, while others say that cardboard would actually taste better.  There is hope… one person said “the food isn’t totally bad”.  That’s nice to know.
  • Many people reported gastrointestinal distress, to include gas, diarrhea, bloating, stomach discomfort, and indigestion.  Some people reported headaches, lethargy, and even hair loss.
  • Expensive.  Many people reported spending $1500- $2800 initially upon signing up.
  • Although the company claims to give refunds on unused product, it seems that they have so many rules that it’s virtually impossible to return anything once you’ve opened the package.
  • The “Health Coaches” are paid by commission, so they work with you as long as you are buying product.

The “food”… what you will be eatingmedifast food

First, I’d like to say that I had no bias for or against Medifast when I started researching the product.  I was actually hoping that it was a good product that I could endorse and perhaps even sell through this website.  However, I have to give you my opinion which, at this time, is not neutral.

I am shocked by the ingredients in this “food”.  Here’s a sample list of ingredients from the peanut butter crunch bar:  Soy protein isolate, polydextrose, oligofructose, peanut flour, glycerine, evaporated cane juice, peanut butter (peanuts, mono and diglycerides, salt, mixed tocopherols), vitamins and minerals (encapsulated potassium phosphate (potassium phosphate), calcium carbonate, potassium lactate, calcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, ferric orthophosphate, vitamin E acetate, niacinamide, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, copper gluconate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A palmitate, chromium polynicotinate, sodium molybdate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, vitamin K, cholecalciferol, cyanocobalamin), fractionated palm kernel oil, maltitol syrup, non fat dry milk, brown rice syrup, rice starch, milk protein isolate, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, salt, distilled monoglycerides, sucralose, guar gum.

Have you ever heard the saying that if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it?  This is the epitome of unpronouncable words.  There is nothing in there that resembles real food and yet they claim that it is nutritionally balanced.  It’s full of chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Just in case you might think that the peanut butter bar is a fluke, check out the ingredients in the scrambled eggs.  Surely, scrambled eggs don’t really need anything but eggs and maybe a little salt.  Here’s the ingredient list:

Egg whites, whey protein concentrate, dextrin, chicory root extract (inulin), natural flavor, salt, guar gum, soy lecithin, xanthan gum, annatto (color).

Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium carbonate, potassium phosphate, magnesium oxide, potassium chloride, ascorbic acid, ferric orthophosphate, vitamin E acetate, niacinamide, zinc oxide, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A palmitate, chromium chloride, folic acid, sodium molybdate, biotin, potassium iodide, sodium selenite, vitamin K1, vitamin D3, vitamin B12.

And in case you are fooled by the words “natural flavor”, this usually refers to monosodium glutamate which is a poison and anything but natural.

After reading the ingredient labels, I’m not at all surprised that people have gastrointestinal distress, hair loss, and even irreparable damage to their digestive tracts.  And unfortunately, I’m not surprised that doctors recommend Medifast to their patients.

Does it work?medifast testimonial

People who stay on the plan do seem to lose weight.  There doesn’t seem to be any scientific evidence to support the claim that you will lose 2-5 pounds a week the first 2 weeks and then 1-2 pounds per week thereafter.  In fact, the FTC took Medifast to court over unfair or deceptive acts or practices and false advertisement that implied that the amount of weight lost in testimonials was a typical result of using the program.  If interested, you can read more about that here.

The reason that you would lose weight on the plan is that you will be consuming only 800-1,000 calories per day.  That is probably half of what most people are consuming daily, so it goes without saying that this would result in weight loss.

The problem as I see it is that it’s not sustainable.  It’s not real.  It’s not a way of life that anyone would want to sustain for a long period of time.  It encourages people to eat things like pudding, brownies, pancakes and other sugary carbohydrates.  For long term weight loss, people should be encouraged to eat healthy nutritious food like vegetables and fruit and protein.  I should add that there is one “Lean and Green” meal a day which is when you would get your protein and vegetables.  I don’t see any options for fruit.

Supportmedifast1

When you sign up for the program, you are assigned a Health Coach.  This person is there to support and encourage you to while you are on the plan.  They are also there to encourage you to stay on the plan and keep ordering “food”.

From the number of complaints that I read, it appears that customer service is lacking.  People tried to return unused portions and didn’t receive refunds.  People received orders that they didn’t want because they were put on an automatic renewal that they didn’t know they had authorized.  It also appeared that people were given the run around when they tried to cancel the program that they signed up for.

Summary

Product: Medifast Weight Loss Plan

Price:  $363.90 for the 4-week starter kit (from Medifast) or you can order the meals from amazon once you get started on the program

Owner:  Medifast Inc. (NYSE: MED) Owings Mills, MD

Website:  www.medifast1.com

Overall Rating:  5 out of 10

Final Verdict

I can’t in good conscience recommend Medifast.  This is my opinion and only my opinion.  I think it’s an informed opinion based on my research.  I think that your money would be much better spent by hiring a Health Coach who is not affiliated with a weight loss program who could work with you to lose weight and do it in a way that is healthy and sustainable.

Thank you for being here.  I would love to hear from you.  Please leave any comments, questions, or personal experiences below.

Love,

Alice

4 comments

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  1. Tom

    Very well written review. I have not had any experience with Medifast, but I am suspicious of any program which requires you to buy their “meals”. From what I’ve seen, most of the “meals” aren’t meals at all: shakes, smoothies, etc. Far better to listen to your family doctor, eat a balanced diet limiting your calorie intake, and get some exercise. But that’s me.

    1. Alice

      Hi Tom, I absolutely agree about the “meals” not being meals at all. You’re right on the money with a balanced diet and exercise. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Muriel

    Hi Alice,

    Very well written review indeed. I love the theme you have selected for your website as well. Keep up the good work!

    1. Alice

      Thanks, Muriel. I hope you found it useful. I will be writing many more reviews so be sure to stay tuned.

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