Medifast is a protein-supplemented modified fasting program. This means you eat a restricted amount of meat and have a reduced calorie intake. The plan also consists of multiple daily meals and pre-packaged foods to help the user lose weight. Though there has been research conducted to prove the validity of this type of diet, some users may find that it is not a good choice for long-term goals or that the diet may conflict with current medications.
A Medifast user’s calories are restricted to 800 to 1,000 calories per day, with 80 to 100 grams (g) of carbohydrates. The plan claims to combine protein and carbohydrates in a way that is designed to help the body lose weight.
The Medifast diet is divided into three main programs for women, men and diabetics. There are also more individualized plans for nursing mothers, teens, seniors, people with gout and people with diabetes. The diet also has a vegetarian plan for those who do not eat meat.
These plans incorporate portion control and the use of herbs. Fasters are allowed to eat five small meals a day from a pre-approved list of around 70 foods, many of them pre-packaged and sold under the Medifast brand, much like other diet plans like Weight Waters and Jenny Craig. These meals include oatmeal, various drinks, soups, eggs and vegetables. The Medifast dieter is also allowed to eat one “Lean and Green” meal per day. This meal consists of one lean protein and three servings of vegetables. The diet also has a vegetarian plan for those who do not eat meat.
Medifast is sold through distributors, but the diet is also offered through doctors and hospitals for use with weight-reduction programs.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine performed a study that provided evidence that Medifast may be a legitimate method for losing weight. In the study, 91 percent of the male subjects and 72 percent of the female subjects lost more than 40 lbs. using the Medifast diet. The National Center for Biotechnology Information of the U.S. National Library of Medicine agrees that Medifast may be a good way to lose weight initially, but it may not necessarily be the best choice for long-term weight loss because keeping the weight off is difficult with these types of plans.
Some of Medifast’s diet shakes contain black cohosh, echinacea and chaste tree berry. This could affect any medication you may be taking, so consult with your doctor before starting the Medifast diet. Diabetics should always consult their doctor before starting any diet plan.