Medifast is an American based nutrition and weight loss company founded by Dr. William Vitale, a medical doctor, who started the company in 1980. The aim of the program is to eat six meals per day and still lose weight. Medifast terms the endeavor a “5&1 plan” which entails eating Medifast – made products and supplementing them with one meat and vegetable meal each day.
The plan has been published in the Nutritional Journal and International Journal of Obesity. The studies compare the Medifast program to other traditional food-based diets of the same caloric count. In one study, after sixteen weeks of weight loss program, members of the Medifast program had a more efficient way to lose weight and improve several health parameters during maintenance of their weight. In another study, the Medifast program resulted in greater reductions in body weight and fat after one year of a randomization compared to a food-based diet.
Medifast as previously stated was started in 1980 by Dr. William Vitale who created weight loss products and sold them to doctors who subsequently sold them to their patients. Medifast claims to have a rich heritage of clinicians, about twenty thousand since 1980, which prescribed the product to patients to control their weight for the better. Initially, the program was prescribed to patients through clinicians, but now people can directly access the program to lose weight.
The entire program is based on eating meal replacements and one meal that an individual chooses in what is termed as a “5&1 plan”. According to Medifast, an individual can eat six meals a day all the while losing two to five pounds during the first two weeks of the plan.
Once a person reaches their target weight, calories are added over a six week period. The plan encourages individuals to follow its “3&3 plan” which entails three meals and three meal replacements indefinitely to maintain the weight target acquired.
The program has a healthy meal replacement menu of more than seventy meal replacements. However, the meal an individual decides to choose for the day should include five to seven ounces of lean protein, three servings of vegetables and up to two servings of healthy fats. The program has food item restrictions and only provides for several food items on their food list. This, therefore, is different from other diet plans that offer comprehensive diet plans.
However, due to the food restrictions majority of the time members of the program would opt for the meal replacements which offer variety with various options including cereals, bars, shakes, and snacks. For the 5&1 plan, however, fruits, starches, and dairy products are not allowed.
The program is purely diet specific and does not offer a particular exercise regimen. However, members of the program are encouraged to participate in daily exercise routines.
The program does provide long term results with members having to faithfully stick to the outlined weight loss diet meals. This can bring about some difficulties in people sticking to the program for a long time due to its food restrictions.
The opportunity it does offer is to remove the hustle of tracking your calories in the food you eat and allows you to eat from its menu that has already been rigorously catered to provide weight loss solutions.