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medifast reviews

Medifast Reviews | Does this Diet Really Work? (Good + Bad!) • 2019

medifast logoWhat we learned from Medifast reviews: Medifast is a popular meal-delivery program that’s high in protein and low in carbs and calories. It once again made the list of the Top 10 Commercial Diets and promises fast weight loss and diabetes control. But, does it really deliver?

So, Does Medifast Really Work?

Medifast’s website states that “Medifast is safe and effective to do on your own whether you want to lose 15 or 120 or more pounds,” and adds that:

“The average weight loss for Medifast customers on the “Go!” plan is 11 pounds over 8 weeks”

Their own data infers that Medifast works, but let’s consult both expert ratings and customer reviews to learn more. Then, hopefully you can better determine whether it’s a good weight loss program for you. (If it is, we have today’s best coupons here!new)

Expert Ratings:

U.S. News recently asked a group of experts in the health and diet field to rate Medifast on a number of important factors. Here’s how they scored:

medifast ratings weight loss

Medifast ratings from expert reviews

As you can see, in expert reviews Medifast was rated exceptionally high for “short term weight loss,” but low for “long-term weight loss,” and “easy to follow.” This is probably due to the fact that Medifast requires a significant diet and lifestyle change, asking users to eat mostly their pre-packaged meals.

These dietary restrictions don’t work for everyone, and the discrepancy in “weight loss” scores implies that many people tire of the diet and its pre-packaged meals, and either cheat or quit after a few months.

Now, let’s see how users rate Medifast by looking at customer satisfaction scores from user reviews:

Customer Reviews:

So, how do users rate Medifast? On Consumer Affairs, customers were asked to honestly rate their overall satisfaction” of the diet. Here’s how they rated the program:

medifast customer reviews

  • Positive ratings: 57% (4-5 stars)
  • Neutral ratings: 12% (3 stars)
  • Negative ratings: 31% (1-2 stars)

So, in effect when these customers were asked whether Medifast works, 57% said, “yes,” and were satisfied. The other 43% weren’t thrilled, or had a negative review, often complaining that Medifast doesn’t work long term.

However, Medifast claims on their website that more than 3 out of 4 customers said it was effective,” and that their own survey concluded that, “8 out of 10 customers surveyed said the Medifast Plan fit their lifestyle.” 

So, why is Medifast rated lower on Consumer Affairs? When it comes to diets, people who had a negative experience seem to be more likely to quit and write a bad review than customers who were satisfied and stayed on the diet. That’s ok, though, criticism is productive, and there’s a lot to learn from complaints and bad reviews!

Medifast Bad Reviews:

medifast funny review

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Sometimes the negative reviews for a diet or weight loss program are the most interesting and helpful. Why did it fail? Why do half the people on the diet eventually quit?

Here are the top 3 complaints from bad customer reviews:

  1. Doesn’t Work Long-Term: Medifast scores relatively low for “long-term weight loss,” getting a score of 2.1/5 from U.S. News
  2. Not enough “real” food: Most Medifast meals are shakes, bars, or just-add-water. Some users end up quitting because they don’t like the taste of the food and miss eating more conventional meals
  3. Too expensive: With a cost of up to $20 per day, the price is relatively high. Even though Medifast meals replace most of your current meals, you’ll still need to supplement the their meals with some groceries

Many people turn to Medifast for fast weight loss. While it usually delivers, reviews support the idea that people often tire of the structured menu and yearn for real food again. Others quit after reaching their goal weight, but may gain the weight back after returning to old eating habits.

Other things that customers complain about in reviews is that there isn’t enough variety on the menu, and that you are encouraged to not drink alcohol. With this diet you have to be willing to give up menu freedom for fast weight loss, or it won’t be effective or enjoyable.

Customer review“Although I’ve lost 15 pounds, sometimes I miss the taste of ‘real’ food at certain meals.” Missy W. Durango, CO

Customer review:  “If I want to just drop 30 lbs on a diet, then it’s good to do Medifast. But as far as being on it long term and maintenance, I do not think it’s very good.” – Edna, Memphis, TN

However, most user reviews for Medifast are positive, so let’s look at what people like about it.

Medifast Good Reviews:

medifast good review

review goodThe world of commercial diets is highly-competitive, so Medifast must be doing something right to still be in the game after 30+ years. Medifast can also boast recommendations from over 20,000 doctors during that time, and a consistent ranking in the top 10 commercial diets. Let’s look at the best qualities of the diet:

  1. Fast initial weight loss: Medifast’s biggest strength is quick weight loss, and it is ranked #3 in “Best Fast Weight Loss Diets” by U.S News & World Report
  2. Nutritious: The original goal of this diet was to create the elusive quality of being low in calories but high in nutrients, which they seem to have achieved
  3. Structured & Simple: If you follow the Medifast Plan, the math says that you are going to lose weight. Customers like the fact that there’s counting of carbs, calories, or points making it a good potential choice for the 50% of people who say they “hate to cook”
  4. Other Diets Didn’t Work: Medifast is a popular diet choice for certain people, including obese and diabetics, who have already tried other diets unsuccessfully and become frustrated. This is not a fad diet or a “lose 10 pounds for a wedding” weight loss program. Medifast offers hope for people who yearn to live a healthy lifestyle, and are willing to accept menu limitations to bring order to back their lives. In fact, Rod Tidwell (Jerry Maguire) Might say that people trying Medifast, “have been to the puppet shows, and have seen the strings.”

A number of customer reviews also mentioned enjoying the support and encouragement they got from others in the Medifast Community online, and from the helpful customer support. Several reviewers mentioned that the convenience of tracking meals and exercise through their FitBit was a plus.

Customer review: “I did exactly what they said to do and in the course of about three and a half months, I lost 53 pounds.” – Jeff, Clive IA

Customer Review: “I lost 50 pounds and my husband lost 90. So, it was very good. But lately, I was out of control. In order for Medifast to work, it’s helpful to make losing weight the most important thing, and it should take priority over everything.” – Milena, Rampa, Fl

Need inspiration? Here’s one of a number of positive and seemingly honest customer testimonials that you can find online:

You can see more testimonials on their site, and find a lot of positive quotes in online reviews:

Ok, so now we have a feel for what experts and customers think of the diet, now let’s learn more about the history of Medifast and how it works.

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*Get 30% Off the Medifast GO or FLEX Plan! Or, view all coupons here

What Is Medifast? Here’s a Brief History

Back in 1980 when most of us were busy playing the newly released “Pac-Man” video game, Dr. William Vitale was busy creating a specially formulated meal plan to help his obese patients lose  significant weight. His mission was to create a healthy diet that provided both initial weight loss and long term, sustainable results.

Dr. Vitale developed a meal plan that he called, “Medifast,” that was nutrient-dense but very low in calories.

After achieving exciting results with his patients, Dr. Vitale soon made the “Medifast diet” available to the public. In the years since, Medifast has never gained the fame that Pac-Man did, but it has helped tens of thousands of people meet their weight loss goals, and has been recommended by thousands of doctors.

So, how does the Medifast diet work?

How Medifast Works:

While on Medifast you’ll eat 6 small meals a day (every 2-3 hours) consisting of a combination of their prepared low-calorie “Medifast meals” and snacks plus 1-2 “Lean & Green” meals that you prepare yourself.

1.) Medifast Meals:

medifast diet meals reviews

Each Medifast meal is high in lean protein and fiber which makes you feel full longer, and helps to eliminate unhealthy cravings. These meals are fortified with 24 essential vitamins and minerals, allowing for significant weight loss without sacrificing on nutrition. The low-glycemic carbs in Medifast food help to regulate your blood sugar levels, making it a popular diet with diabetics.

The meals are also low in carbs and total a mere 1000 calories per day; that’s only half the FDA’s recommended allowance. As you can imagine, this usually results in fast weight loss, as your body learns to burn fat instead of carbs for energy.

2.) Lean and Green Meals: 

lean green medifast meals

Every day you’ll have 1-2 “lean and green” meals, depending on which plan you choose. The “GO” plan includes only one lean & green meal per day, while the “FLEX” plans include two.

  • The “lean” is a serving of any protein from their list of lean options including fish, poultry, and beef
  • The “green” is three servings per day of vegetables from their list of green options which include non-starchy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes

You can choose to make your own Lean & Green meals, or choose their Flex Complete plan which includes frozen ones. There are also a number of lean & green recipes available if you need ideas.

Here’s more about plan options:

Medifast Plan Options: Go or Flex?

Men and women both have the option of two plans, Go!, and Flex. Here’s the difference:

medifast go flex plans

1:) The “GO” Plan:

Formerly called the, “5 & 1 Plan,” the GO plan offers faster results, and is most popular with busy people who want to lose weight quickly. A day of GO includes:

  • 5 Medifast meals
  • 1 “Lean & Green” meal
  • Learn more about the Go! plan here

2:) The “FLEX” Plan: (Select or Complete) 

Formerly called, “Medifast Achieve,” the FLEX plan is their most flexible plan that offers steady, gradual weight loss. Each day on FLEX includes:

  • 4 Medifast meals
  • 2 “lean & green” meals
  • 1 healthy snack
  • Learn more about the FLEX plan here

There are two levels of the FLEX plan: “Select,” and “Complete.” You’ll pay more for the “Complete” kit, as it has more food variety, lean & green meals, and includes Essential1 Heart Health® and Digestive Health® supplements ($50 value) 

The Medifast plan can also adapt to those with special nutrition needs, including diabetes, vegetarian, and gluten free diets.

Which Plan Is Best for You?

medifast good review

To answer that question, consider both your weight loss goals, and your own unique personality. Are you willing to sacrifice food variety for faster results?

  • Faster weight loss: If you are most concerned with losing weight quickly, then consider the GO plan
  • Flexibility: If the idea of eating more “real” grocery store food is appealing, then consider the FLEX plan

Both of these plans include their monthly auto-delivery service called, “Medifast Advantage®.” With Advantage you get a lower, promotional price at signup, plus future discounts, rewards and free shipping.

You’ll remain on either the GO or FLEX plan until you meet your weight-loss goal, after which you’ll transition to a maintenance phase called, “Thrive by Medifast™.”

The cost of Medifast is about $12-15 per day depending on which plan you choose, and which promotion you signup with. Here’s their best promotion for new customers:

So, does it really work? Scouring through hundreds of ratings and customer reviews online we were able to find some common themes. Let’s look at both the good and bad reviews, and learn whether it’s a good option for you.

Medifast Food Reviews

Medifast doesn’t score highly for their food, and you might just call it “adequate.” Most Medifast Meals are shakes, bars, and “just add water” meals that fall far short of a meal from the Olive Garden. But, then again, at 1900 calories, the Olive Garden’s Fettuccine Alfredo might be the reason you’re here in the first place!

Anyway, while their packaged food is uninspiring, the daily “lean & green” meal(s) are your only chance to eat something special.

*Metaphor alert: Think of it this way: You’re going on a journey, like someone who plans to scale a mountain. It’s not easy, so you need good gear and a map, and you know the food won’t be great. However, the view from the summit is worth the effort. That’s what Medifast is like.

Food Nutrition:

Medifast meals are low in calories (1000 per day) and carbs (85g per day). These meals are high in protein and fortified with 24 vitamins and minerals so that you can lose weight without losing out on nutrition.

These Medifast meals are also similar in nutritional content which means that you can substitute meals at any time without concern for your daily nutrition.

Every Medifast meal and snack lists Nutritional info and ingredients:

medifast food nutritional info

This is especially helpful if you have any allergies or want to know the exact amount of carbs, protein, fiber, sodium, or fat.

Medifast food is low in carbs and each day you’ll consume about 50g fewer carbs than the FDA’s recommended amount. This will help to curb cravings and teach your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs.

Sample Menu:

medifast shakes reviews

Medifast shake and a sample “lean and green” meal

What does a typical day of meals look like when you’re on Medifast Flex? Here are sample menus:

Sample Menu: (Day 1)

  • Breakfast: Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal*
  • Mid-Morning: Pineapple Mango Smoothie*
  • Lunch: Ziti Marinara*
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack: Peanut Butter Crunch Bar*
  • Dinner: (recipe) Chicken Stir-Fry w/ Broccoli & Red Peppers 

Sample Menu: (Day 2)

  • Breakfast: French Vanilla Shake*
  • Mid-Morning: Fruit & Nut Crunch Bar*
  • Lunch: Vegetable Chili*
  • Mid-Afternoon:  Cheese Pizza Bites*
  • Dinner: (recipe) Grilled Salmon w/ Asparagus 

*Medifast meals
‡ Lean & Green meals

For meals that you can make on your own, you’ll find lots of recipes on their blog here

Medical Studies (Kind of Boring!)

Now let’s look at independent studies to determine whether Medifast works. Studies and clinical trials notoriously stop short of publishing success rates or actually concluding that any diet truly “does work,” but here’s what they said:

1.) A 2015 study by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that: “Participants in low-calorie meal programs, such as Medifast, lost more weight than nonparticipants in trials lasting 4-6 months.” 

2.) Another positive review came from nih.gov, which concluded that: “In obese adults, a meal replacement diet resulted in significantly greater reductions in body weight and fat compared with a food-based diet for 1 year after randomization.”

3.) The International Journal of Obesity compared Medifast to a conventional food-based diet of similar calories. They found that, “Medifast resulted in significantly greater reductions in body weight and fat after 1 year.” study

4.) Medifast Reviews from Mayo Clinic – The Mayo Clinic lists Medifast among its “meal replacement” diet options but notes that with all meal-delivery programs you have to make healthy choices for nutritional balance. (The Mayo Clinic also offers their own highly-rated diet, too) 

Ok, thanks for the generic answers! It seems the best way to answer the question of whether Medifast works is to consult the wisdom of the masses by looking over the scores of customer reviews online.

In Summary:

medifast reviews

medifast logoThe Medifast diet is not for everyone. The weight loss program scores highly in expert ratings and and user reviews for “quick weight loss” but lower for “long-term weight loss.” This may be because of the nature of the diet which relies on prepackaged “meals” that are mostly shakes, bars, or food that you add water to.

With Medifast you’ll only have 1-2 “real” meals a day, and even those “lean and green” meals have to meet specific high-protein, low-carb guidelines.

If cooking or eating “real food” with few limitations is important to you, then Medifast might not be a good fit. However, if fast weight loss and structure are most important, then it’s worth considering.

Thinking of trying Medifast? Like we said, the diet has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but works for the majority of people.

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*Get 30% Off the GO or FLEX Plan! Or, view all coupons here

Medifast Alternatives:

There is no single diet that works for everyone, so be sure to compare Medifast against other popular diets like:

*Many people also ask us whether or not Nutriststem works, which we are happy to answer as well! 

Your Medifast Review?

If you have tried the Medifast diet, please rate it and leave your own review below:

medifast diet meals reviews

(Trusted) Medifast Ratings: 3 Top Health Sites Weigh In

medifast coupon logoWant to read real Medifast Reviews? If you are searching for important answers to questions like, “how much does Medifast cost,” or “is Medifast recommended for diabetics,” you want straight answers. First, here’s an overview, and then the best places to find credible ratings & reviews.

*New: Our review of Medifast

medifast shakes reviews

Medifast Diet Summary: How Does It Work?

Medifast dieters eat 6 small meals a day, 5 of which are Medifast products like shakes, bars, and soup. The 6th meal can be eaten anytime, and consists of a “lean and green” entree consisting of a protein (healthy fish, chicken, or other meat or vegetable protein).

As you can imagine, this often results in fast weight loss, as you are drastically reducing the number of calories that you consume.  Medifast costs about $300 per month (similar to Nutrisystem) in their packaged meals, plus the cost of your one other meal each day.

Once you reach your ideal weight, you transition into a maintenance phase which establishes your ideal caloric intake, and weans you off of their meals.

  • Positives: Medifast ranks highly as a fast weight-loss diet, (2-5 pounds a week) and it’s relatively easy, as there are no points to calculate or counting calories or carbs. Positive reviews mention seeing fast results
  • Negatives: The downside of the fast weight loss is that it is low-calorie with limited menu options from their product line, and small portions. About half of dieters drop out before the first year is over. Eating out can be challenging, and drinking alcohol is not encouraged, as it is high in calories and can make you hungry.

For that reason, we’ve highlighted the best ratings and reviews of the Medifast diet for you to consider, but first, here’s a quick overview.

does medifast work

Medifast Diet Review from WebMD

logo webmdWebMD employs an actual doctor to give a good, unbiased review of Medifast on their site. Here are some of the questions that they address:

Read the review at WebMD.comnew

  • Does Medifast work, and how much effort is needed for success?
  • What can you eat, and what are the limitations and restrictions?
  • Is Medifast recommended for people with diabetes?
  • Is there a Medifast plan for vegetarians?
  • Do they accommodate gluten-free diets?
  • How many calories do you eat a day? (800-1000 during first phase) 
  • How much does Medifast cost, and does it work?

medifast rating us diets

Consumer Affairs: Customer Reviews & Complaints

Read Medifast reviews at ConsumerAffairs.comnew

If you are looking for honest, often negative reviews of a diet or weight loss program, check out Consumer Affairs. You’ll here a lot of positive reviews here, but It’s often a place for dissatisfied customers to vent about their negative experience. Like Yelp, they also do a pretty good job of verifying reviews so that they are real.

If you’re thinking about starting a diet, it’s worth scrolling through their 100+ verified customer reviews for Medifast.

medifast brownies review

Medifast Rating & Review from U.S. News & World Report

View Medifast Ratings from U.S. Newsnew

us news world reportU.S. News & World report rated 38 of the most popular weight loss programs and ranked them in 4 major categories on a scale of 1-5:

  • Short-term weight loss: 3.5
  • Long-term weight loss: 2.0
  • Easy to follow: 2.4
  • Healthiness: 3.0

As you can see, their ratings reinforce the customer reviews that Medifast scores high for fast weight loss, but gets mediocre results in other rating categories. They also do a good job of answering common questions related to cost, expected weight loss, ease of diet, role of exercise, and whether it really works.

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*Get 30% Off the GO or FLEX Plan! Or, view all coupons here

Read the Bad, Ugly, & Negative Reviews, Too!

thumbs downSometimes the negative reviews for a diet or weight loss program are the most interesting and helpful. Why did it fail? Why do half the people on the diet quit?

One option might seem like the perfect weight loss program on paper, but everyone is different. Also, be sure to compare Medifast against other popular diets like Weight Watchers & the Nutrisystem diet. If you specifically want to find negative reviews, check out sites like pissedconsumer.com.