Medifast – Diet Review

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Medifast 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 BlenderBottle® – 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.  (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 enrol 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-.
  • 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.
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Frank

    I started looking at changing my life in Nov 2012 as I was on a low dose of Blood Pressure Meds and my physical in Nov. revealed that even though I was on BP Meds, my BP was 130/103. Dr. put me on a Calcium prescription to take with the BP Meds. I am 52, 6’1″ sit at a desk job 8 hrs. a day and weighed 285 lbs. In December of 2012 I started to change my eating habits and lost about 8 lbs. I started the MediFast program on Jan 24th 2013, by the recommendation of a friend who is also a Medical Dr who had lost 103 lbs. on the program. I weighed 278. As of today, almost 4 months to the day, 17 weeks I am down to 238. Not doing much exercise until about 2 weeks ago. Just went to my Dr. BP is now 120/78 and I’m off all meds. The 5-1 program works, it’s easy. I’ve had weeks where I didn’t lose or gain as I wasn’t on the 5-1 but Dr. A’s Habits Of Health text book that comes with the initial program membership has taught me about what I need to do to maintain and contine with LLHL (Long Life Healthy Life) attitude so I never again will gain as much weight as I did.

  • martha

    I am just ending my 3rd day on MF. I lost 85 lbs 2.5 yrs ago on WW. I truthfully tho did not follow their plan. I did not eat all the allotted points if I had I would have never lost weight. And I have gained it back not by overeating – truthfully – but by eating like a normal person. Ok I get that so I am doing this and I realize this is going to have be a life change I knew WW should have been but I made Lifetime member stuff happened as it does in life and I stopped going to meetings and weigh ins I know if I hadn’t I’d still be successful with it. So the light bulb hopefully is on and will stay on this time and I will “get it”. I can’t eat like everyone else I have to watch what I eat.
    I am concerned about the possibility of gall bladder and losing hair tho. Other than that I am ok with the meals so far and I’m eating like I’m supposed to and my stomach tells me when it is time to eat again. I get pangs that let me know it is empty and I like that feeling. This is not really drastic for me in fact I am eating more often before I would eat “brunch” and then dinner and that was it and was not budging on the scale so I’m hoping the gall bladder thing won’t happen. It didn’t happen with WW but I ate food that was not packaged. Hope this works for me I am really wanting to be successful. Like all the comments good or bad they are helpful. Thanks for listening.

  • Barbara

    I went on this diet in 2003, along with 3 other friends. We all lost over 60 pounds quickly and easily, but all of us got gall stones from the lack of dietary fat. We all had to have our gall bladders removed. Bummer!

  • Lala

    Hey guys
    so Im planning on starting this diet tomarrow and will be blogging about it.
    Would love some support.

  • Kathy

    Lost 9 lbs first week gained 3 lbs second what??

    • ted

      You keep going. Weight loss isn’t a 50 yard dash, it’s a marathon. 3 lbs could be simply water weight. Hang in there and don’t give up :-)

  • Glenn

    3 days into the diet. I have already lost 5 lbs. I know it’s mostly water weight from no sodas, but it’s great to see the scale moving so early.



    • jennifer Martino

      Hey Emily! not sure if you started the program or not but, 2 1/2 years ago I was 70 lbs over weight, and now two years later I have been able to lose the weight thanks to the 5 & 1 plan and maintain it using dr a’s habits of health system. I loved my health coach so much and all that she had done for me supporting me on my journey that I have decided to pay it forward and help others.

  • Limey

    My bmi was at 30
    It is now at 21 thanks to this diet.
    Almost 50 lbs lost.
    The first week is hard, and you do have plateaus throughout the journey, but be sure to take measurements in addition to logging weight. Sometimes I inches when I am not losing weight. The mymedifast website is a great tool.
    It works

  • Claudia Hamilton`

    Someone please help. I’m on oxigen 24/7 and can’t exercise. I can’t even walk far, I get out of breath walking from one room to the other.
    I don’t know if I should take a chance on this diet, I think I tried the all with no success. What are your points of view, should I try this diet or not.

    • Lynn Ramsey

      Hi Claudia,
      I hope and pray by now that you have experienced Medifast results by now. I have witnessed great improvements in people’s lives from losing weight to move toward healthy living. Please reach out for support if you need it, so many health issues can be reversed by diet and exercise!

    • ted

      Hi Claudia, This diet was designed for people such as yourself.

  • Joe Pollock

    As I have aged and my metabolism has apparently changed, weight loss programs I used in the past failed to work. With Medifast I have lost 43 pounds in four months, 35 in the first three months. I have begun adding normal foods and the loss has slowed, but that is by choice. I have plenty of energy for workouts and have established a new “shape weight”. I was 200 pounds in shape, I am below 190 now and still am not satisfied that I have reached my appropriate conditioned wieght for my age. Happy man.

  • Amy

    I’m new to Medifast (13 days in, 9.5 lbs down) and I will say the first 3 days were hard for me, but not unbearable. After that – I have not been hungry. This is miraculous to me – it has never happened to me on a diet before. Aside from this HUGE benefit, the other 2 things I like about this diet are that it works fast, and that it takes away the need to obsess over food choices. My phone alerts me when it’s time to eat. I look in my bag and grab whatever sounds good – sweet, savory, liquid or solid, and I’m done. I have several lean choices in my freezer and I pull one out and make a salad or stir fry some veggies – done. I plan to lose 70 pounds and I have no doubt that it will happen if I stick to the plan.

    • Rita

      Amy…I have a question. Did you experience any weight loss plateaus in week 2? This is where I am right now – middle of my second week and my weight has not budged for 3 days. I’ve read some comments on a similar issue during week 3, but not for the second week.
      I lost almost 8 lb in week one, none since then.
      Any thoughts?
      Thank you

      • Deb

        I have been on the diet since September and have had many plateaus. Just keep going, it will come off here and there. I have already lost about 30 pounds and am down almost 5 dress sizes(depending on the maker) This really will work and it really is so easy.

      • Omayra

        Rita try to shake it up just shakes for a day or two! Trust me its works and i know from experiance i lost 18lbs in 18days and a total of 60lbs in 3 months & 2wks! U can do it

  • Candace

    Previous comment, STOP exercising!! You’re putting your body into starvation mode and your body has gone from metabolizing to storing. Sounds strange, but don’t exercise for a long time after you’ve been on the plan.

  • Laura

    What is happening? I began this diet plan 8 days ago. I dropped a pound and a a half in 3 or 4 days then went up a pound 3 days later and it won’t budge! I exercise for 75 min a day. Am thinking of giving up. I began this plan just to get 5 lbs off. I am within my weight range, so maybe my body just feels like i am starving it!

    • traci

      try the 4&2 version of the plan

    • ted

      Medifast really isn’t recommended for people with just a few pounds to lose.

  • TeeO

    just wanted to know if powerade zero and propel are allowed on the mf diet

  • Crystal

    I love the medifast diet, i was on it several years ago and i had lost 45 pounds in 6 weeks, i had to stop this diet as it got too expensive as with every diet out there it is vey costly. I just wish they would make this product cheaper.


    • traci

      u can devise your own similar plan using eggbeaters, oatmeal, slimfast shakes etc…and take a multivitamin

  • Heather

    I’m with you on that, Marta. I went in for the evaluation and felt as though I was made to agree on $1200 plan, but only wanted to spend about $300 since I didn’t need to pay someone to use their scale. I was offered the flex plan and pay about $240 for a couple of weigh ins and can call for advice, but have to pay about $80.00/wk for the meals and have the scale to use. I think it’s a commission thing because the enthusiasm definitely changed when I wouldn’t sign up for the $1200 program.

  • marta

    I’m really discouraged. I signed up with a center a couple weeks ago. can you tell me why if you sign up online, you get free coaches, free bottles, recipe books, lots of support & tools – all for free, yet when you sign up in person, I am paying them over $1000 in addition to the food cost (which will most likely be about another grand for me). what exactly am I paying for? I do not get discount on food, I would have to pay extra for the bottle, mixer, recipe book, etc. Seems more tools & info is available to online users…Can someone explain? am I paying an additional $1000 for a weigh in?

  • Susan Smelser

    Just found this site and read the comment from Nancy Jones. The first 3 days should NOT be hell! Please don’t go by the advice of any one person. I am a FREE health coach with Take Shape For Life and we use medifast products for our clients. A little light headedness, some hunger OR a bit fatigued could all be side effects in the first 3 days but are not for most people. I am happy to share any info on the program with anyone.
    I have lost 130 lbs and hubby lost 150lbs. Our family of 4 lost 450 between us so I am speaking from real experience.

    • meg

      Can you give me any advice on the transition phase? How long? Do you continue using medifast forever or does it slowing get you back to a normal balanced diet?


      • Tess

        You do not have to continue purchasing the products. My transition was about three months. However, I continue to purchase the bars and calorie burns because I just love the taste and they make my life easier.

  • Nancy Jones

    I am starting this diet next week. I heard from one of my freinds to go to a website called, and you will get a free “coach” that you can work with the entire time on the program. It is through a section of Medifast, and it is legitimate. I ordered food for the month, plus four boxes of snacks, a blender bottle, and shipping all for $278.00. Can’t beat that! I have about 15-25 pounds to lose, and heard that I will lose it very quickly, and then that I MUST follow the transition and maintenance parts of the program. I also heard that the first three days are HELL. So, not looking forward to that! :( The main reason I want to try Medifast is because I heard that on this program, hunger is not an issue (after the first three days, anyway!). Is this true?

  • jason

    You would understand that if you called the 800 number they explain the 3rd week your body is adjusting to losing so much weight. You need to stop weighing yourself so damn much. Please weigh only 1 time per week and realize that 3rd week is the hardest week because your body is trying to stop you losing weight…after that the body will begin losing again.

  • jan

    Just started 2 weeks ago, first week lost 7lbs, 2nd week gained one lb. I’m so confused, I HAVE NOT cheated. I eat my 5 & my one lean & green & lots of water. I truely dont understan & I’m very discouraged

  • Jenni

    I just need some “help”! Ok, so I am over weight obviously that’s why I am on medifast. Today is day 3 and I can say I have NEVER cheated, not one Cheerio not one fishy cracker…..but here’s my issue. I have gallstones and I was told that by loosing weight it would help as well as lowering my fat intake drastically. Because i would really prefer not having surgery, i wanted to try other things first and surgery last fesort. So I saved my money up, got medifast, got the energy, motivation and determination and started. Well now I am starting to get gall bladder attacks very often…so far the pain is bearable BUT not comfortable or manageable for too long. I called medifast and they said they aren’t a dr and to call mine…well it’s the weekend and obviously they aren’t open….I just don’t know what to do!! I am so upset and frustrated! I just can’t win, they say loose weight, then I do and it’s too much too quick and I get bad gall stone attacks…wtf?! Any advice would be great! Thank you!,,

    • Limey

      Make sure you have your healthy fat allowance each day, as this is important for maintaining gall bladder health

    • traci

      and u can win just do what needs to be done and take care of yourself without the drama

    • traci

      stop whining and see ur dr or go to the nearest er

  • Laura

    I’ve been on medifast for 10 days and i’ve lost 10 lbs. The first three days were torture, but after that I have barely been hungry. I am, however, a very picky eater. I only like a few of the bars and the shakes. I also only eat chicken. I am getting beyond bored of eating the same thing every day, so much so that I skip medifast meals (which I know is not healthy) because I can’t bare the thought of having another bar. This diet has definitely “reset” my system to barely being hungry anymore, and with such amazing results I refuse
    to stop being on it. I would recommend this diet only if you have a lot of willpower and are not a picky eater. By best advice would be to get through the first three days before you decide to continue or not.

  • Jim

    after being on this Diet for more than six months my wife and I both had to have our Gallbladder removed and I also had to have a very large kidney stone removed has anyone else had this problem?

    • ted

      I would guess that both of these issues are the results of being overweight for many years and not than result of being on Medifast.. Large Kidney stones take a lot longer than two months to form.

  • John

    I’ve been on this diet since the middle of April, 2011 and I’ve lost 118 pounds. It’s by far the easiest diet I’ve been on and the food was suprisingly not bad. I don’t care for everything but they offer you a variety of things so you’re bound to find something you like.

    • traci


  • Terry

    I started this diet in October 2011 and have consistently lost weight, now a total of 45 pounds. I enjoy the nutrition bars, eggs, oatmeal and pancakes the most. I’m not a great fan of the other products, but everyone is different so you have to see for yourself. What I like most about the diet is that it has given me a new sense of portions and portion control.

  • Bob

    The absolute worst. Don’t waste your money. The food is so awful it is unbelievable. You WILL lose weight, but you will not be able to last because it is so bad. The “shakes” are powder floating on water. The bars are flavored rice. The meal was truly inedible. Yuck! I sent it all back.

  • Susan

    I’m on week 3 of my Medifast diet and I’ve lost 22 pounds already! I’m hitting the gym for 2 hours everyday so that’s helping me a lot. I do agree that results will vary from each person on it so go at a pace that is best suited for you. I plan to lose 100 pounds in 13 weeks. I’m getting married to the man of my dreams & I can now see a size 6-8 wedding dress in my near future instead of a size 22. I highly recommend the Strawberry Cream Shakes & also the South Western Style Egg Whites. I add a little Equal for more sweetness to the shakes plus ice in a blender to make it as yummy & as close to taste as the ones from McDonald’s but for only 90 cals! With the eggs, I add a dash of sea salt with a bit of mild hot sauce & wow does it help. The Eggs can be dry if you don’t add a little extra water to the mix. I added the recommended amount then I measure out about 1/4 cup more. I cook them in the microwave for 90 seconds first, then take them out to stir & then put them back in for another 30 seconds & yum!-breakfast is served! I have tried pretty much every meal item Medifast offers & out of everything, those South Western Flavored Egg Whites really keep me full. Thanks Medifast!

    • traci

      100 pounds in 13 weeks is ridiculous! u r a weight loss regain stroy waiting to happen! generally people that lose 100 pounds on this diet do so in an average of 8-10 months not 13 weeks, sounds like u r heading for the grave instead of the altar…very worrisome

    • Tanya

      100 lbs. in 13 weeks!? Wow, that sounds scary! Be careful and check with your doctor. Good luck to u and congratulations! :)

  • Brandi

    I am a newbie to MediFast but so far I have been doing well. Like some others have said, you really have to want this. You have to understand that it is a lifestyle change and once the weight is lost you cannot go back to your old habits but that you will be able to eat “normal” healthier foods again. This program teaches you portions and I like that they work with you after you have met your goal. I only started on Tuesday so my first weigh in isn’t until next week but I’m excited to see the results. I use the cookbook that I recieved when I signed up for my dinners and so far they have been delicious. It is definitely what I look forward to after being good all day. Drinking the proper water helps if you happen to get hungry but I really have been quite satisfied. Some of the foods are not that wonderful with being soy based but some really are delish. My favorite’s so far are the Cheese Pizza Bites, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars and the Brownies! Definite dislikes are all of the “New Formula” pretzels…yuck! As well as the puffs that they offer…didn’t like the parm or chilli ones :P I think the most important thing is to have support from your family/friends and to remember where this program will ultimately get you. My goal is 100 lbs. by Memorial Day weekend 2012 and to still be nice and trim by my wedding day in October of 2012! I take vitamins and lots of them so hopefully the hair loss problems that some have had won’t be an issue. Good luck to anyone else in their journey with MF!

    • Tanya

      How are you doing on the diet? Have u reached your goals?

      • Limey

        Lost almost 50 lbs and am maintaining.
        Feel great.
        Still using some medifast meals each day but am gradually adding in regular food.
        If you are ready for a lifestyle change this will help.

  • Becky

    I did Medifast 3 years ago to lose 30 pounds to go on a tropical vacation. In just 30 days on the shakes and bars along with extra calcium and vitamins, I lost exactly 30 pounds! I kept if off for 4 years! However, a year ago, I was in a bad accident and wasn’t able to get around well and during that time, I gained over 100 pounds from just sitting around in pain and with no exercise. I’ve recovered so 1 week ago, I bought Medifast again through the Take Shape For Life program but this time, I got the shakes in 3 flavors, some of the soups and the eggs. I skipped the bars because I’m not really a fan of sweets everyday. Plus some of those bars are so good, I was over eating them in the past. ;) Yes, the Cream Soups take some getting used to and my very first taste of the South Western Style Eggs was terrible but over the past week and with a weight loss of 8 pounds so far, I found that adding a dash of salt light, a little bit more water to the mix and some ketchup on the eggs, they have become my all time favorite food. Why? Because their warm for breakfast & they really fill you up if you drink a large glass of ice water with them. I love the chocolate shakes and the strawberry isn’t bad either. Vanilla and Banana in my opinion are terrible and taste chalky to me. My goal is to lose 100 pounds by Christmas and since I get to work out again, I joined the 24 Hour Fitness Gym and I’m putting in 4 hours ( yep! true!) of Cardio plus weights 5 days per week. I’m using the idea for this plan from the Biggest Loser TV Show. Since the gym is open 7 days a week and never closes, I do a 2 hour workout every 12 hours 5 days per week and then hike or bike ride on the weekends. If you get out there and move and not cheat on the Medifast diet, it really works great! The saying goes, “Nothing taste better then being skinny feels.” Good Luck to all!

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