Editor’s Note: This service is still available but no longer fits the criteria of this review. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
What began 27 years ago as a meal-replacement program that was only available through doctors is now a widely available commercial diet plan. Medifast is a low-calorie diet program designed for quick weight loss. With this online diet plan, you primarily eat Medifast meals that are delivered directly to your home. Sticking to the diet will undoubtedly lead to significant weight loss, but the program's limited online resources can make doing so more challenging than you might expect.
Medifast promotes its 5&1 Plan, which requires you to eat five Medifast meals and one meal of your choosing that includes lean protein and vegetables. While some dieters may find the requirement to eat the program's food restrictive and expensive, eating the low-calories meals will certainly lead to weight loss starting in just a few weeks. Furthermore, Medifast offers specific diet plans for individuals with special dietary needs. For instance, there are meal plans for diabetics, vegetarians, nursing mothers and seniors.
You begin to transition off the Medifast meals once you've reached your target weight, in what's known as the transition phase of the weight-loss program. This phase lasts six weeks, during which time you incrementally introduce more calories back into your diet. Some Medifast users report the transition phase as being the most difficult; the transition back to regular food and sticking to the strict calorie allotments can be challenging.
Despite its being a well-known commercial diet plan, the Medifast website doesn't offer nearly as many features and support services as other weight-loss programs in our reviews. Since you won't be making your own food (at least for the first part of the program), the Medifast plan lacks diet features such as a dining-out guide, suggested substitutions and portion-control tools.
The program's online fitness tools are likewise a bit sparse. The site has a basic exercise program you can follow, though it's a good idea to check with your practitioner before you begin it. Other weight-loss diets we reviewed allow you to build customized workouts based on your preferences, current fitness level and goal weight. Medifast doesn't have any customizable options such as those. However, it does provide a 12-week walking program that's ideal for beginners, particularly if you currently are not very active. It's also important to note that since you'll only be eating 800 to 1200 calories per day in the first phase, you may not have much energy to exercise anyway.
The Medifast diet is far more restrictive and prohibitive than other popular online diet services. Subsequently, it's not the right diet plan for everyone – especially if you're looking for a balanced weight-loss diet. Its online resources are limited but may prove useful if you opt for this low-calorie diet plan to lose weight rapidly.