Before you get on Medifast, you may want to know the pros and cons of this diet program. As I love to research diet programs, I looked at what Medifast users say about this doctor-endorsed diet. I read many comments in blogs and forums and I made a list of the pros and cons. But first, let me tell you the basics of Medifast.
The Medifast diet has over 70 choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks. Each meal is low fat and has a low glycemic index. The diet is not limited to only overweight people who are healthy otherwise. The program also caters to individuals who suffer from conditions like Type 2 diabetes and gout.
In addition, those requiring special dietary needs have choices including gluten free and vegetarian versions of the diet. With the concern and increased number of individuals requiring a gluten-free diet, it is comforting to know that the Gluten-Free Certification Organization certified Medifast's gluten-free diet.
Nursing mothers, seniors, teens and those undergoing bariatric surgery are not restricted from using the diet. For those who are taking anticoagulants or trying to avoid soy, there are plan modifications.
In addition to the basics of the diet, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of the Medifast diet.
Medifast Diet Pros & Cons
Here are the pros and cons of the Medifast diet based on real user experiences.
- It Works. Users say the Medifast Diet is effective for dropping pounds. The Medifast website claims between two and five pounds per week can be lost on the program. Users concur, reporting weight loss of up to 40 pounds in eight weeks.
- It's Fast. Many dieters say weight loss is rapid when the plan is followed precisely.
- Reliable. Medifast has a 30-year history and has received recommendations from more than 20,000 physicians.
- Clinically Proven. Clinical studies have proven the Medifast diet to be effective and medically safe. Research includes a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University. GetYouHealth.com provides an overview of the study.
- Scientifically Designed. The use of foods with a high satiety index combined with eating smaller meals every two to three hours maintains more stable insulin levels and helps dieters feel more satisfied.
- You Can Eat Real Food. One of the 6 meals that you eat every day is real food that you prepare yourself. It is called "Lean and Green". This allows you to have a normal lunch/dinner. Some users say being on the diet makes them feel uncomfortable when eating with colleagues or friends, so many avoid the lunch room or social gatherings to avoid awkward questions about their diets. But that's not the case with Medifast. You can dine out in a restaurant and order your "Lean and Green" meal.
- Online and Offline Support. Dieters who live in proximity to a Medifast Weight-Loss Centers report positive experiences with weight-loss coaches, a sense of community and health monitoring.
- Hunger is Not a Big Issue. Users consistently say they’re less hungry when using the Medifast Diet.
- It Fights Sugar Cravings. Some users report decreased cravings for sugar and say they’re less likely to go on a sugar binge.
- It is Sensibly Priced. The Medifast Diet can be cost effective, depending on the user’s prior lifestyle. For instance, those who eat out 2-3 times per week or more may find the Medifast Diet more affordable.
- Not Hard to Follow. The Medifast Diet makes it easy to obtain proper ratios of carbohydrates, fat and protein through pre-packaged meals.
- There is Some Decent Variety. Meals include a variety of food and drink replacements. The selection includes oatmeals, soups, shakes, puddings, iced tea, hot cocoa, chocolate bars and granola, pancakes and soft serve ice cream, among other options. Overall, dieters have more than 70 meal replacement options.
- Sufficient Support. A free online community provides online support for dieters who can communicate with other Medifast users for tips and encouragement.
- Good for Diabetics. Diabetics appreciate the balance of nutrients in Medifast meals, and most say they enjoy the simplicity of knowing their diets are properly balanced with a low glycemic index.
- Good for Your Skin. A number of users say the Medifast Diet has a positive effect on skin health. Users report healthy looking and glowing skin.
- No Guesswork. Users appreciate the sense of control the Medifast Diet gives them over their diet and weight. The pre-packaged meals take the guesswork out of healthy eating, so users say they’re able to take their minds off of foods.
- A No-Brainer. There’s no need to think about packing a lunch for the work day when using the Medifast Diet. This is a plus for some users who say it’s simple to grab a shake in the morning and head out, rather than spend time coming up with something reasonably healthy to eat for lunch, or worse, resorting to fast food.
- No Calorie Counting. There’s no need to count calories or strictly measure portions when using the Medifast Diet. Users appreciate the simplicity and say they’re more likely to stick to a diet that doesn’t require extensive preparation on their part.
- Personalized. There are various plans to choose from, so users can select a plan that best meet their personal needs. Plans for men, women and diabetics are among the options, as well as vegetarian choices and options for dieters who are lactose-intolerant. The Medifast Diet is also said to be safe and effective for dieters with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- Convenient. Medifast meals don’t require refrigeration and have a shelf life of up to 12 months. Meals can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance, although they must be stored in a refrigerator or thermos.
- Refundable. Medifast offers a 30-day refund policy. Unused foods shipped back to the company within this time frame are reimbursed in full.
- May cause digestive issues initially. Most users say this diminishes within the first two weeks.
- Exercise must be limited to 45 minutes. For physically active users, this can be a downside.
- Many Boxes. The pre-packaged foods come in a five-week supply. Some users find the many boxes cumbersome to store.
- Not Enough Variety. Some users who stayed on the program for a long time say they quickly became bored with the foods, and a few noted that all the meals are hot, which isn’t ideal for hot summer months.
- You Can Gain the Weight Back. Some users report gaining all their lost weight back after discontinuing the Medifast Diet. However, others counter that users who continue a healthy diet without returning to their old eating habits will successfully keep the weight off.
- Ketosis Debate. Some experts say ketosis, a bodily state that burns fat as a primary fuel source and is created by the Medifast Diet, isn’t safe for the body. In addition, the diet discourages fruits (which have a low glycemic index). Some dieticians say fruits are an important component of a healthy diet.
- Flavor. There’s some debate about the flavor of Medifast meals. Some users say the meals are as delicious as the company claims, but others say they lack flavor and taste like diet food.
- Soy Intolerance. Some users find it hard to follow the Medifast diet for the first few days. Digestive upset and a sudden change from typical eating habits contribute to this problem; however, most agree that users who stick to the plan typically adapt within one to two weeks. Because many of the Medifast meal replacements are soy-based, some dieters feel reactions are based on an intolerance of soy products.
- Not Home-Cooked Like Other Diets (i.e Bistro MD). The meals lack a home-cooked feel. Because meals are pre-packaged and prepared with water and then heated, they tend to be hotter than a home-cooked meal and don’t offer the same comfort-food satisfaction a home-cooked meal provides.
- Not Everywhere. Medifast Weight-Loss Centers are only located in some areas, meaning some dieters won’t have the opportunity for face-to-face support and interaction.
- Too Few Calories. The Medifast meal replacement plan is low in calories, averaging about 1,000 calories per day. For some dieters, this is a significant reduction in daily intake, which contributes to difficulty sticking to the plan for the first several days. However, Medifast incorporates foods with a higher satiety index. As Fast-Diet-Plans.com notes, foods containing the same amount of calories can produce quite different results in terms of satiety. For instance, a 200-calorie baked potato produces greater feelings of fullness than a 200-calorie serving of potato chips.
- Fatigue. The initial decrease in calories causes some dieters to feel fatigued during the first few weeks of the program.
- Costly for Some. The monthly cost for the Medifast program averages between $330 and $350, depending on whether a dieter chooses to add vitamin and mineral supplements to the plan. For some dieters, this cost is substantial, particularly for dieters with families who may not see a significant decrease in monthly grocery costs. Get a Medifast coupon code here.
- Not for Everybody. Patients with medical conditions should consult their physician prior to beginning the Medifast diet or any other diet plan. While Medifast has been proven effective for individuals with various medical conditions, it may be necessary to take certain precautions or make modifications to ensure safety. Pregnant women and individuals with severe kidney dysfunction should not use the Medifast diet.
- Side Effects. Dieters who choose to use supplements in addition to the pre-packaged meals report flatulence as a common side effect. Other initial side effects of the Medifast Diet plan include headaches, dizziness, irritability and bad breath.
- Hair Loss. A few dieters report hair loss on the Medifast diet. This isn’t a common effect, but can happen if the Medifast meals do not provide enough nutrients an individual requires. Because every person is different, some dieters may need to supplement the meals with added vitamins or minerals.
Author Bio: Katelyn is a copywriter for Julianna Rae, makers of luxury, silk intimate apparel for women.