Medifast Investigated

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

medifastMedifast is a low calorie diet that will bring about rapid weight loss – in the region of 2-5 pounds per week for the 1st two weeks and then about 1-2 pounds/week after.

The diet is undertaken by purchasing meal replacement products from Medifast that will provide an optimal calorie and nutrient amount for both men and women.

The 5 and 1 Plan

The most popular Medifast diet plan is “5 and 1”. This plan comprises up to 5 meal replacements per day (generally shakes, but there are also soups, stew, chili, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fruit drinks, iced teas, hot drinks, bars and puddings).

In addition to the meal replacements, 1 meal per day is a “lean and green” meal – a small portion of lean meat, and generally up to 2 cups of salad or vegetables.

medifast 5 and 1

  • The lean meat must be grilled, poached, or baked (but not fried).
  • You eat every 2-3 hours.
  • You must drink a minimum of 64oz of fluid (water) per day.

Caloric intake is between 800-1000 calories per day. Medifast recommend having supervision from a physician – however you can order the food without this.

While there are many different pre-packaged foods, the most popular items are the 70 shake varieties – made up of differing proportions of protein.

Medifast has optimized vitamins and minerals to ensure there will be no deficiencies while reducing calories.

Medifast Advantage

If dieters sign up for Medifast’s membership program, they receive significant savings and benefits as opposed to their standard plan.

Medifast are currently offering the following incentives with Advantage membership.

  • Free standard shipping on qualifying orders
  • Free 56 Medifast Meals – 28 with this order, and 28 with your second order ($132.00 value!)
  • Free BlenderBottleĀ® – a must-have for mixing your Medifast Meals
  • Free Online meal planner and support community.

Offer ends soon. Click here for special offer.

Take Shape For Life

Medifast’s Take Shape For Life program is designed to create health instead of reacting to illness. As part of membership dieters can be assigned to a personal health coach. This coach will help members throughout every step towards their journey to better health by:

  • Offering one-on-one support and encouragement.
  • Answering meal and eating questions.
  • Offering exercise advice.
  • Some one to lean on during the difficult days.

“A Take Shape For Life health coach is there to ensure that the user of Medifast products and program does so safely, effectively, and without risking their health.”

Maintenance Plan

Once the desired weight is reached, the Medifast plan involves a gradual transition back to ‘normal’ meals over a period of about 16 days. Beyond this, Medifast recommend 1-3 Medifast meals daily and a moderately intense exercise routine (e.g. 30-45 minutes 5 days per week). This is essential to keep the weight off.

Successful Weight Loss?

Medifast is one of the more successful and balanced low-calorie diets – it has been trialled successfully at John Hopkins Weight Management Center, among other places.

There are numerous success stories from overweight people who have successfully used Medifast to drop their weight down to manageable levels.

Proof and Research

A number of clinical trials and studies have been conducted on Medifast. Here are a few of the latest:

  • 2009 – Showed that the 5 & 1 program out performed other programs with similar calorie levels. At 4 months weight loss and body composition was more improved than other programs, and retention rates were higher.Ā  (link)
  • 2008 – Looked at a 52 week impact of Medifast Meal Replacements. Results showed that retention was better than other weight loss programs, and significant and sustained weight loss was the outcome. (link)

Things to Be Aware of

This weight loss program is generally only used by the very overweight (BMI >= 30). It will only suit some people, and partnership with a doctor would be helpful. One of the primary criticisms aimed at these kind of programs is when the client returns to “normal” food. This is why the maintenance phase is very important and this process should be followed for as long as possible.

Costs can vary, but the typical cost is around $75 per week. To get the maximum benefits be sure to order to enroll in VIP membership and purchase only 4-week orders (rather than 2 week orders).


    • Coleman, C., Davis, L. M., Rampolla, J., Kiel, J., Hutchisen, T., Ford, L., et al. (2009). Efficacy of Medifast’s 5&1 meal replacement program compared to a food-based diet for weight loss and weight maintenance: 4-month weight loss results. FASEB J. , 23, LB453-. link
    • Haddock, C., Poston, W., Foreyt, J., DiBartolomeo, J., & Warner, P. (2008). Effectiveness of Medifast supplements combined with obesity pharmacotherapy: a clinical program evaluation. . Eat Weight Disord. , 13 (2), 95-101. link
    • Christopher, C., Jessica, K., Andrea, H. M., Carmine, S., Nicholas, F., & Lisa, D. (2012). Use of the Medifast Meal Replacement Program for Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Clients: A Retrospective Chart Review of Three Medifast Weight Control Centers (MWCC). Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2012. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: July 23, 2015. Disclaimer