The Medifast Diet


The Medifast program has been around for quite a while now – this year is its 30th anniversary. This program was designed to bust myths about weight loss, and has been proven effective over the years. More than 20,000 doctors have recommended the program, and it has helped over a million people worldwide.

The Medifast program can be used by virtually anyone, and there are specific plans available for diabetics, teenagers, seniors, nursing mothers, gout patients, and people after bariatric surgery. The plan is based on portion control, balance of nutrition, and low-fat meals.

Basic Ideas

Medifast’s success lies not only in its good practices, but also in the fact that it changes (or should ideally should change) your lifestyle and puts it on a healthy track. It all begins with the so-called Medifast 5&1 plan, during which you eat 5 Medifast meals a day, as well as one made by yourself. Of course, that one meal has to be strictly low on fat, and consist of “green” products. There are 6 specific 5&1 plans targeted at different social groups.

These plans are designed in such a way that they put your weight loss into overdrive, making you lose anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds a week. This serves as a way to inspire dieters to continue following the plan. Although, admittedly, this can be difficult for many people due to the fact, that the Medifast plan allows only 800-1,000 calories a day.

The Medifast website provides many free instruments to help you follow the program, including a free session with a “Health Coach”. You can choose to enroll in a “Take Shape for Life” program, in case you want the Health Coach to walk you through the whole program.

Exercise Component

While there is no specific fitness component to the Medifast program, they do provide a 26-page Exercise Guide, which can be downloaded, and will help you exercise on your own.


The food part of the Medifast diet is both good and bad: it is good because it does not consume a lot of time – all the meals are prepared, except the 1 you have to make yourself; it is bad because the food itself is neither fresh, nor frozen, but the kind of food most eat when they want to fill their stomach without too much effort involved. All of the food has a balanced nutritional value, so theoretically hunger should not be a problem, but having in mind the calorie limit, this seems doubtful.

Another problem with the Medifast diet is money: the 5 Medifast meals will cost you $300 a week, plus the one self-made meal every day. This is well above what the average person spends on food, and might therefore not be the solution for everyone.

After you have achieved your weight loss goals using the 5&1 plan, the transitional 3&1 plan begins – this is a bit less restrictive and allows more vegetables/fruit. After that you will be left to your own devices, as well as the Maintenance Guide, which will help you keep your winnings.

The Medifast website has detailed lists of food suggestions, a meal planner, and recipes which will help you adhere to the low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie system. You may also use their free weight loss tracker.


There is not a whole lot of thought required on this diet. The majority of meals are easily ordered and come pre-prepared. You just add water and heat or refrigerate. You will have to shop for, and prepare, the “lean and green” meal. There are also Medifast Weight Control Centers in 6 states, where you can get a health profile review with personal counseling and purchase Medifast meals.


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