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An Overview of the Medifast Diet Plan

written by: Michelle Kingston • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 12/16/2010

Ever heard of the Medifast Diet Plan? Read about this popular diet program and determine if it can support your weight loss goals.

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    What is the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan?

    This weight loss plan offers 5 prepared Medifast meals from over 70 food categories, including shakes, puddings, stews, soups, hot cocoa, maintenance bars, oatmeal, pancakes, and scrambled eggs.

    You also get 1 "lean & green meal" that you must prepare yourself. 'Lean' choices refer to broiled, baked, or poached lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish, beef, and lamb. Vegetarians can select the meatless option. The 'Green' portion includes a combination of 3 vegetables.

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    Medifast's Targeted Customers

    The Medifast plan is marketed to men, women, and diabetics. The women's packages, for example, offer 42 shakes in a variety of flavors. Women plagued by menopausal symptoms like hot flashes may find some relief from the herbal ingredients (chaste berry, black cohosh) in the shakes.

    Medifast also provides free guides and tools for teens, seniors, nursing moms, and gout and bariatric patients. The brochure style guides give you a good summary of the Medifast Diet Plan. You also get sample Medifast meal plans, colorful meal charts, nutrition advice, success charts, and detailed guidelines relevant to each participant group.

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    Medifast for Weight Loss

    Medifast guarantees an average weight loss of up to 2 to 5 pounds a week, or up to 20 pounds each month. With only 800 to 1,000 calories allowed daily, the 5 & 1 Plan is designed for dieters to achieve weight loss quickly. Physical activity is also necessary for losing weight quickly. But, in absence of a fitness program, Medifast offers a free downloadable exercise guide.

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    Advantages of the Medifast Plan

    When you look at the Medifast Diet Plan, you can see there are many advantages. To begin, the diet plans are low-calorie, high in protein, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and well balanced nutritionally. With Medifast, you don't have to weigh your food or count carbs.

    Medifast meals are shipped directly to your home. Everything you need to eat comes secured in freeze-dried packages that require just a few minutes in the microwave. All meals are portion-controlled, but you can eat 5 or 6 times a day and not feel hungry.

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    Disadvantages of the Medifast Plan

    Weight loss success comes early, but the long-term effectiveness of the program may be disappointing. At the end of the diet, some participants struggled to keep the weight off, and eventually resorted to old eating habits. The extremely strict caloric count was also an issue with some who argue the amount was dangerously low to be considered safe.

    Some dieters voiced complaints that the food lacked inspiration, is monotonous, and could use more variety, this despite Medifast's claims that they offer a huge selection of satisfying meals.

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    Cost of the Medifast Diet

    The meal plans are a great value. For example, the women's 4-week (28 day) package costs $299.50. This works out to approximately $11.00 per day. Penny-wise, Medifast compares favorably to other popular, yet pricey weight loss programs. If you decide to try Medifast, keep an eye out for coupons and promotion codes that can be redeemed when you purchase Medifast online.

    Medifast is a healthy diet plan, but do some research first to see if this diet plan is the best program for you.