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A Review of How Medifast Diet Plan Achieves Weight Loss

written by: N Nayab • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 5/9/2011

Wondering how does Medifast work to reduce 20 pounds a month? Medifast diet aims at low calorie intake to block energy from food sources, forcing the body to break down stored body fat for energy. The exclusive Medifast meal plans ensures that muscles do not break down with fat.

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    5 & 1 Plan

    How Does Medifast Work The 5 & 1 plan is the first and core part of the Medifast diet plan. Medifast supplies five low-calorie, low-carb, and high-protein meal substitutes a day. The meal substitutes include a wide assortment of choices including shakes, bars, brownies, soft serve pudding, oatmeal, soups, drinks, pancakes, scrambled eggs, pretzels and cheese puffs, soy crisps and crackers.

    Each menu item contains enough vitamins and minerals to meet the body’s daily nutrient needs, and consist of high-fiber, high-satiation ingredients that provide a feeling of fullness, and prevent hunger pangs.

    In addition to the five meal substitutes, you need to consume one “lean and green” meal daily. This meal needs to include:

    • Five to seven ounces of grilled, baked, broiled, or poached lean meat such as chicken, beef, fish or lamb, or egg and veggie burger, and three servings of condiments, and
    • One to two cups of raw, steamed, grilled, baked or broiled vegetables or salad such as salad greens, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, or tomatoes. High carb vegetables such as carrot, corn, peas, potato, onions, and Brussels Spouts find exclusion.

    The consumption of five meal substitutes and the single “lean and green” home made meal takes place with a gap of two to three hours throughout the day.

    The daily meal plan continues until the dieter achieves the desired weight loss. The frequent meals ensure that the body is never short of fuel for its needs, and at the same time preempts hunger, all the while limiting the daily calorie intake to about 800 to 1000 calories a day.

    Medifast offers separate packages for men, women, people with diabetes, and a gluten free option.

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    Transition to Maintenance Phase

    The question that remains is how does Medifast work to achieve desired weight loss objective when such a diet plan is not sustainable on a permanent basis. The answer lies in the different phases of this diet plan.

    The second phase, that is the transition phase starts as soon as the dieter achieves the weight loss goal. This phase involves reintroduction of regular foods such as high carb vegetables, non fat or low fat dietary foods, whole grains, and more lean meat. The focus of this phase is to control portion size and limit intake to healthy foods, while increasing net calorie intake to normal levels.

    The extent of transition phase depends on the weight lost and the time the body requires to return to normalcy. When the body returns to its normal state, the third phase, or the maintenance phase starts. This phase require consumption of regular foods in combination with Medifast meals to balance the calories consumed with the calories spend, and thereby maintain current weight.

    The Medifast diet plan requires reinforcement with mild exercise such as walking, swimming, or biking for success.

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    Conclusion and Disclaimer

    Research has not fully substantiated the success of the Medifast diet plan. Certain groups of people such as pregnant women and or very active individuals may develop complications with this diet. Such people and even others can develop side effects such as constipation, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, dry skin, and or dry hair.

    Always talk to your doctor or a registered dietician before starting this diet.

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    1. Medfast Official Site:, 2010.
    2. NYU Langone Medical Center. “Medifast Diet”. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
    3. Zelman, Katlleen. "The Medifast Diet Plan.", 2010.

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