Frequently Asked Questions

Can I try Medifast for just a few days?

We do not recommend trying Medifast for just a few days or weeks. Your Medifast counselor will explain in detail the reasons why short term weight loss does not provide long term results.

Why is the Medifast weight-loss program special?

Medifast is an effective, healthy weight-loss program, especially when compared to other diets you've likely experienced without success. Think of Medifast as a lifestyle change, not just a short-term diet or weight-loss solution. Medifast is a portion- controlled, low-calorie weight-loss program that leads to faster weight loss than traditional diets. Medifast has specially tailored programs to meet the needs of nursing moms, seniors, teens, and people with diabetes or gout.

What is Medifast?

Medifast is a portion-controlled, nutritionally balanced, and low-fat meal program that helps people lose weight faster and more effectively than traditional diet plans. Medifast Meals come in individual packets that you mix with water and microwave or refrigerate, and are available in a wide variety of foods and flavors, including shakes, soups, stew, chili, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fruit drinks, iced teas, hot beverages, bars, puddings, pretzel sticks, and cheese puffs. Quick and easy to prepare, they offer a healthy fast food alternative to a busy lifestyle!

How does Medifast work?

Medifast results are based on the use of a structured meal plan featuring Medifast Meals, which are nutritionally designed with a proven combination of protein and carbohydrates, allowing you to successfully lose weight while minimizing loss of muscle. The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan, our standard plan for weight loss, is medically designed to create a calorie deficit, allowing your body to burn fat for energy

What is the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan?

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan consists of 5 portion-controlled, nutritionally balanced Medifast Meals plus one Lean & Green Meal each day.

What is a Medifast Meal?

Almost all Medifast products are "meals" since they contain protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. There are only a few exceptions: Flavor Infusers?, Medifast Soy Crisps, and Medifast Crackers (Soy Crisps and Crackers are optional snacks). All other Medifast offerings, including shakes, soups, stew, chili, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fruit drinks, iced teas, hot beverages, bars, puddings, pretzel sticks, and cheese puffs, are Medifast Meals.

What is a Lean & Green Meal?

The LEAN portion of the Lean & Green Meal includes 5-7 ounces (cooked weight) of lean protein or meatless protein (serving size varies depending on your protein choice) and 0-2 servings of healthy fat (serving size varies depends on your protein choice).

What kind of snacks can I have on this program?

In addition to your five Medifast Meals and one Lean & Green Meal, you may choose one of the following optional items per day (NOTE: Snacks are not to be eaten in place of Medifast Meals or Lean & Green Meals. Eating more than one snack per day may hinder your weight-loss efforts.):
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 fruit-flavored sugar-free Popsicle®
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free gelatin dessert, such as Jello®
  • Up to 3 pieces of sugar-free gum or mints
  • 2 dill pickle spears
  • Medifast Soy Crisps (Apple Cinnamon, Ranch, or White Cheddar flavors - one packet = one snack serving)
  • Medifast Crackers (Multi-grain or Garden Vegetable flavors - one packet = one snack serving)

Can I substitute a sixth Medifast Meal for my one Lean & Green?

Medifast does not recommend this. In order to maximize effectiveness and to ensure that you get all the nutrition your body requires, the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan (five Medifast Meals plus one Lean & Green Meal) should be followed as written, unless otherwise recommended by your physician. The Lean & Green Meal contributes needed calories and dietary fiber, vital vitamins and minerals, protein to help protect lean muscle mass, and a small amount of dietary fat which is essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins and keeping the gallbladder at optimal health. The Lean & Green Meal also provides a once-a-day learning opportunity to better understand how to select and prepare healthy meals while still enjoying the convenience of the structured 5 & 1 Plan.

Is the Lean serving size the cooked or uncooked weight?

It is the cooked weight (to ensure proper portion sizes, weigh your items after cooking them).

How many calories and carbohydrates are in the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan?

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan provides approximately 800 to 1,000 calories per day and 80-100 grams of carbohydrates, depending on your personal selections.

Do any Medifast products contain MSG?

Medifast Cream of Tomato Soup is the only product that contains MSG.

What is the average weight loss amount per week?

Results vary. Medifast clients can expect to lose 2-5 lbs per week the first two weeks and 1-2 lbs per week thereafter. The scale isn't the only test, so check other indicators such as your waistline measurement and how well your clothes are fitting you. Your results are dependent upon various factors such as your starting weight, targeted weight-loss goal, level of exercise, presence of medical conditions, use of medications, accuracy with diet compliance, etc. As with most diets, Medifast suggests that you consult with your physician prior to starting a weight-loss program.

How does Medifast help sustain your weight-loss results?

Medifast won't abandon you the way fad diets have in the past. The Medifast Transition, Maintenance, and Exercise Plans pick up where the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan ends, and teaches you how to be equipped with the knowledge to make the right decisions that will determine your long term success!

How do I get started on Medifast program?

Simply stop in or schedule an appointment at any one of the eight convenient Minnesota and Wisconsin Medifast Weight Control Centers.

What should I do when on vacation?

Medifast recommends planning ahead so you can continue your program while vacationing. If your meals aren't with you, you can't eat them! This may necessitate packing food items in your luggage or having them shipped to your destination. Pre- planning can help you continue to lose weight while you travel. Those who are able to plan and continue the program while traveling (or dining out) get the best results.

What if I don’t feel hungry?

It is important to get all five Medifast Meals plus one Lean & Green Meal in each day; otherwise, you are not getting all the nutrition (calories, protein, vitamins/minerals, and fiber) required to maximize the 5 & 1 Plan's effectiveness.

Should I take vitamins?

Generally speaking, you shouldn't need to take vitamin supplements while on the program. The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan provides you with at least 100% of the daily value for 24 vitamins and minerals. If you have been prescribed special supplements by your physician or have a specific concern, please consult with your physician so that they may adjust recommendation, as they deem appropriate.

Will I ever be able to eat fruit, dairy, or starches again?

Absolutely! While on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan for weight loss, we recommend that you avoid fruits, dairy, and starches because of their high carbohydrates contents (eating too many carbohydrates during the weight-loss phase can prevent you from achieving or maintaining the fat-burning state). However, these foods are very healthy for you and we encourage you to re-introduce all fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole-grain products during the Transition and Maintenance phases of your weight-loss journey.

How much water should I drink on this program?

It is important to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day while on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan to keep your body hydrated.

Can I drink alcohol?

Alcoholic beverages are not recommended on the Medifast Program. Alcohol provides unneeded calories, can slow your weight loss, tends to stimulates the appetite (encouraging additional food intake or lowering your resistance to outside temptations), and can deplete your body of needed water. Low-carbohydrate versions of beer and other types of alcohol are not recommended because these also provide calories with no nutritional value. Those who choose to drink alcohol tend to feel its effects at lower consumption levels, due to the lower calorie level of the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan.

Can I use any seasonings or flavorings?

You can season your Medifast Meals and your Lean & Green Meal with most herbs, seasonings, or spices. Experiment with different seasonings to find the flavors you enjoy. For general health purposes, we recommend limiting salt intake.

How long can I stay on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan?

You may stay on the 5 & 1 Plan until:
  • You've lost your desired amount of weight.
  • You develop a new contraindication to the program (such as pregnancy).
  • Your physician recommends you transition into Maintenance Plan.
If you have significant weight to lose and plan to be on the weight-loss phase of the program longer than 16 weeks, we recommend that your physician monitor your program. After you've completed the weight-loss phase, you will transition into the Maintenance Plan

Why did the scale go up?

The amount of weight you lose will fluctuate from week to week. Several situations may change the number on the scale, including the time of day you weigh yourself, your menstrual cycle, not drinking enough water, adding a new medication whether or not you recently eliminated, exercise habits, gaining muscle through exercise, or how closely you are following your 5 & 1 Plan. Don't panic if the scale doesn't move for several days - or even goes up slightly. If you stay consistent on your program (and consume all of your meals), the scale should eventually show results. Try to weigh yourself only once a week, at the same time each week (the ideal time being immediately after you wake up). Look for other measures of success rather than just your weight on the scale, such as lost inches and looser fitting clothing.

What can I do about a weight-loss plateau?

From time to time, you may experience a weight-loss plateau. Typically, a weight-loss plateau is defined as two or more weeks with no weight loss at all. Rates of weight loss can vary from one week to another, and slower weight loss should not be seen as the 5 & 1 Plan "not working." If you experience a weight-loss plateau, look for other indications of progress such as wearing a smaller size of clothing. Weight loss should resume if you continue to follow the program. You can contact our Nutrition Support team if you need assistance.

Do Medifast users require medical supervision while on the program?

You should consult with your physician prior to beginning (and throughout the course of) any weight-loss program. We strongly recommend you talk to your physician prior to starting, and throughout the course of, your weight-loss program if you:
  • are over the age of 70
  • are under the age of 18
  • have diabetes, hypertension, or any other serious medical condition
  • are taking medications, especially for diabetes

Are there any special guidelines for Medifast customers over age 70?

If you are over age 70, this program should be done with your physician's supervision. Your physician may recommend that you use a higher calorie meal plan than the 5 & 1 Plan (such as the 1,100-1,500 calorie meal plans found in the Medifast for Seniors Guide) based on your individual needs. Dosages of medications may need to be adjusted, and labs and vital signs may need to be monitored.

What is the fat-burning state?

On the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan, the amount of protein you eat is comparable to that found in a typical American meal plan. However, the amount of carbohydrates is less compared to what may be typically consumed. On the 5 & 1 Plan, an individual can expect to take in less than 100 grams of total carbohydrates per day (generally in the range of 75-95 grams total). This lower level of carbohydrates, coupled with the reduced calorie level of the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan, allows your body to enter the fat- burning state, also known as a very mild "dietary ketosis." This causes the body's fat stores to release free fatty acids, which are then converted by the liver into an energy source called ketones. This mild dietary fat-burning state helps the body achieve faster weight loss while helping preserve muscle tissue. The fat-burning state also helps naturally reduce appetite and hunger while still allowing you to feel sufficient levels of energy.

How long does it take to get into the fat-burning state?

It generally takes about three to five days to get into the fat-burning state if you're following the 5 & 1 Plan recommendations.

Should I exercise along with the program?

Exercise is a necessary part of losing weight, improving metabolism, and maintaining weight loss. Exercise also provides many health-enhancing benefits such as: improved blood sugar control, improved flexibility and balance, blood pressure control, strength and endurance, and help to decrease stress. If you are not already exercising regularly when you start the Medifast Program, we recommend you wait two to three weeks (and check with your physician) before you begin an exercise program. Start an exercise program slowly, and gradually increase time spent on an activity (and intensity of the activity) as your body allows. Choose an activity that you can enjoy regularly. Most of our customers find walking is the easiest activity to incorporate into their day.

Can I use Medifast products as part of my weight Maintenance Plan?

Yes, we encourage continued use of Medifast Meals during your weight Maintenance Plan. In fact, most people use 2 or 3 Medifast Meals per day as part of their ongoing Maintenance Plan. You may also use a Medifast Meal as a protein source in your regular meal, adding other foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or a salad to maintain a healthy nutritional balance.

What conditions would absolutely PROHIBIT my use of a low calorie diet such as Medifast?

Heart Attack within previous 3 months (unless cleared by a cardiologist) or unstable angina
  • Recent stroke and/or TIAs (mini-stroke)
  • Clotting disorders
  • Type 1 diabetes (Medifast Meals can be used in addition to outside food choices for improved nutrition or weight maintenance but the 5 & 1 Plan is not recommended)
  • Severe liver disease (may require a lower protein diet)
  • Severe kidney disease
  • Active peptic ulcer disease or bleeding ulcers
  • Active cancers or actively being treated for cancer
  • Eating disorder (e.g., anorexia nervosa or bulimia)
  • Severe psychiatric disturbance (history of major depression and/or suicide attempts)
  • Corticosteroid therapy >20 mg/day
  • Chronic illicit drug usage, addictions, alcoholism, or substance abuse
  • Pregnancy (this is not the time to attempt to lose weight, as your body needs additional calories to have a healthy baby; Medifast Meals can be used as a healthy snack choice with your physician's approval)

What conditions could LIMIT my use of Medifast products?

Certain conditions may necessitate close supervision by your physician. Please check with your physician prior to starting the Medifast Program if any of the following conditions apply to you:
  • Use of the medication lithium (your physician/psychiatrist will need to monitor your laboratory levels for lithium while you're on the 5 & 1 Plan)
  • History of seizures: (your physician may wish to monitor your seizure medication levels while you're on the 5 & 1 Plan )
  • History of peptic ulcer disease (not active)
  • Use of anticoagulant medication such as Coumadin® (warfarin): (your physician should be aware that Medifast Meals are fortified with vitamin K and that your daily intake of vitamin K will be consistent; your physician may wish to monitor your medication levels while on the program.
  • Over the age of 70: (a higher calorie and/or protein level may be necessary, so we do not recommend the standard Medifast 5 & 1 Plan without a physician's approval.
  • Adolescent use (age 13 to 18): (any weight-loss program should be used only as directed by your physician.
  • Gout.
  • Nursing mothers.

Can I use Medifast if I am currently using diuretics?

We recommend that you ask your physician if a low-calorie, reduced-carbohydrate meal plan (one that would induce a mild dietary ketosis/fat-burning state) is appropriate for you. Using diuretics while on the 5 & 1 Plan may result in an alteration of your sodium/potassium levels (due to increased urine output), so your physician may wish to monitor your electrolytes and/or adjust the dosage (or discontinue the use) of the diuretic while you are doing the Medifast Program.

Can I use Medifast if I am currently using medication to treat high blood pressure?

Individuals with hypertension can use Medifast under the direct supervision of a physician. Your physician may want to monitor your labs and medications, so be sure to consult with your physician before starting Medifast and as you continue to lose weight.

Can I use Medifast if I am currently using thyroid medication?

Individuals with hypothyroidism can use Medifast under the direct supervision of a physician. Your physician may want to monitor your labs and medications, and may suggest using a soy-free Medifast Meal around the time of day that you take thyroid medication. Within four to six weeks of starting the Medifast Program, you'll want to get your thyroid levels rechecked to help ensure that you are receiving a therapeutic level of medication.

Can I use Medifast if I have had gastric bypass surgery?

We have had many individuals use Medifast prior to and after having gastric bypass surgery. Your meal plan should be adjusted based on the type of surgery and when your surgery was completed. For those who are preparing to have or have recently had laproscopic adjustable banding. Medifast recommends (as with any weight-loss program) that you consult with your physician prior to and throughout the weight-loss process. Your physician may want to monitor your labs and medications, or can help determine a calorie level that's appropriate for you.

Does Medifast have weight-loss programs for people with diabetes?

Yes! Medifast has special programs for people with type 2 diabetes to help you understand how you can safely and effectively lose weight and better control your blood sugar levels using Medifast, with your physician's supervision.