The program consists of five Medifast meals per day, accompanied by one “Lean and Green” meal (“lean protein and salad greens”). The Medifast website states: "The clinically proven results of Medifast are designed to create a healthy gap between the calories you take in and the amount your body burns, thus promoting natural weight loss." According to my calculations, and based on the roughly 3,500 caloric-deficit needed for a pound of weight-loss, that’s a “gap” of 2,333 calories a day. If you were eating 2,500 calories a day (and maintaining your weight at that figure), you’ll now eat 167. I don’t see any program-recommended exercise, except for that suggested during the post-diet, “weight-maintenance” stage. In fact, the website states that, “Unless you are already exercising, you should not begin an exercise program in the first few weeks of weight loss.” Clearly, with a deficit of 2,333 calories a day, you’re not going to be able to run that far.
The website advertises that “Medifast programs have been recommended by over 15,000 physicians.” What physicians are recommended this program, given that most people in-the-know do not recommend more than a 1-2 pound weight-loss per week (and this is up to 5)? I also wonder what kind of chemicals, fillers, and multisyllabic ingredients they’re passing off as a meal (the site indicates that most products use “acesulfame potassium” as a sweetener).
The copy promises you’ll never get hungry. That "fast" is part of the product name doesn't bode well for you feeling satisfied. And, anyway, how is this even possible? If you’re eating 2,333 calories per day less than you’re burning, I’d think you’d be hungry! And so do they, to some extent: The FAQ’s page encourages users to take an antacid to deal with persistent hunger pains. Other potential side effects they list? Diarrhea, gurgling stomach cramps, constipation, bad breath, feeling cold, skin rashes, heartburn, and hair loss. All this for short-term weight-loss. After all, even the Medifast people recognize the difficulty of keeping off weight, once you’ve completed the program. The site states:
You will maintain your success by making long-term changes in your lifestyle such as healthy eating and consistent exercise. You may also need to work on how you cope with life so that you don't reach for food when you are experiencing stress, depression or other emotional needs.If you could do all this, you wouldn’t be turning to Medifast in the first
place. . . .