Welcome to The Medifast Plan, the independent source for Medifast diet info. Get the latest Medifast coupons and learn about the program with our in-depth coverage and resources.


While we feature the Medifast diet, we are also blog on the latest diet, nutrition, and health news. So, you can stay up to date on the latest nutritional science and learn healthy approaches to fighting obesity throughout the weight loss process.

Americans are exercising more, but they aren’t getting much slimmer. Exercise is an essential part of a weight loss strategy, but portion control could be more important. The challenge is to maintain a balanced diet that provides the nutrition necessary to remain healthy while eating less.

Medifast Twice as Effective

When it comes to portion control, a recent trial found that the prepackaged food regimen featured with Medifast helped people lose twice as much weight compared with dieters who tried to match the same nutrition and calorie count on their own.

Exercise can’t overcome poor diet

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics found that in the last decade, the percentage of Americans who got sufficient weekly exercise increased from 46.7 to 51.3. In a report on the study published in the journal Population Health Metrics, the researchers concluded that this increased physical activity has done little to reduce the U.S. obesity rate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of Americans are obese. A separate report by the institute published in the Journal of the American Medical Association identified poor diet as the primary reason why Americans are so unhealthy compared to other developed countries.

The portion control solution

Another study, published in the April 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity shows that a prepackaged portion control diet plan can be a viable solution to this intractable problem.

Researches at Tufts Medical Center in Boston conducted a rigorously controlled year-long study comparing the results of dieters on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan with dieters given advice on how to achieve the same nutrition and calorie intake independently.

A total of 120 men and women from 19-65 years old with body mass indexes ranging from 35 to 50 were randomly assigned to two equally sized groups. The study included a 6-month weight loss phase and a 6-month weight maintenance phase.

Medifast results

At the end of the weight loss phase, people in the Medifast group lost an average of 16.5 pounds (6.7 percent of their starting weight). Those buying and preparing their own diets lost an average of 8.4 pounds (3.4 percent of their starting weight. The Medifast dieters shrank their waists an average of 2.24 inches compared to 1.46 inches for independent dieters. Total cholesterol dropped an average of 8.4 mg for the Medifast group compared to 1.1 mg for the independent group.

Often after a significant caloric restriction a few pounds return as the body seeks equilibrium and the Medifast plan was no exception. However, overall weight loss for the Medifast dieters was an average of 10 pounds, more than twice that of the independent group at 4.4 pounds.

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan consists of five pre-packaged meals each day designed to supplement one meal of vegetables and protein prepared at home. The portion control program offers 70 prepackaged foods arranged in multiple combinations totaling 1,000 calories a day. Medifast dieters also receive access to dieticians and recipes for the home-cooked aspect of the plan, which costs about $300 a month.

Source: International Journal of Obesity, HealthWatch MD, Los Angeles Times

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According to American Heart Association guidelines of no more than 1,500 mg per day, just about everybody eats more salt than they need. But the American food supply makes limiting your sodium intake to no more than the 2,300 mg. per day recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans seem like an insurmountable task.

cut salt with tasty herbs and spices

Healthier eating, more flavors

Fortunately, studies have shown that cooking with spices and herbs instead of salt can significantly reduce your salt intake and your blood pressure. Using salt alternatives can also lead to healthier eating overall and more enjoyment of a wider variety of flavors.

According to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014, teaching people how to flavor food with spices and herbs is considerably more effective at reducing salt intake than having them do it on their own. However, learning how to do it yourself isn’t exactly rocket science.

Low salt 101

In the first phase of the study, researchers from the University of California San Diego, put 55 volunteers on a low-sodium diet for four weeks. More than 60 percent of the participants in the study had high blood pressure, 18 percent had diabetes and they were all overweight.

By the end of phase one, sodium intake decreased from an average 3,450 mg per day to an average 1,656 mg per day. In the second phase, half of the volunteers participated in a 20-week program to learn how to reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day by cooking with spices and herbs instead of salt. The other half tried to reduce sodium intake on their own.

At the end of the second phase, sodium intake increased in both groups. But those who received training consumed an average 966 mg per day less than the group that didn’t receive the training.

Low salt cooking

Cooking classes that focus on low/no salt cooking may be difficult to find. But doing it yourself is relatively easy. If you’re used to salty food, chances are you will be more successful breaking the habit if you cut back gradually. Research shows that if you back off on salt over the course of several weeks, eventually you won’t even notice the difference.

Read labels

Start by shopping for real, unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits or vegetables. Choose fresh poultry, fish, and meat instead of processed or smoked varieties.

Make a habit of reading food labels for sodium content. Look for products labeled “sodium-free,” “very low sodium” or “no salt added.” Remember that broths, dressings, soy sauce, bouillon cubes, meat tenderizers, seasoned salts, and condiments are very high in salt.

Also, sodium isn’t necessarily salt. Watch for additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda, baking powder, and sodium benzoate—all sodium compounds.

Get creative

When a recipe calls for salt, replace it with another herb or spice. A long flavorful and colorful list of choices includes rosemary, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, onion or garlic powder, curry powder, pepper, nutmeg, cumin, ginger, cilantro, bay leaf, oregano, dry mustard and dill.

It’s amazing how a few drops of acidity in the form of vinegar or lemon juice can intensify flavor. And you can’t go wrong with adding garlic, whether minced, roasted, freshly pressed or sautéed. Fruit or vegetable peels and juices used as a base for sauces add complex flavors.

Finally, salad dressings are easier to make than you think. Standard rule of thumb is two thirds extra-virgin olive oil, one third regular, apple cider or red wine vinegar, some citrus fruit acid, a little bit of honey and some seasoning.

Source: Science Daily, WebMD, Yahoo Shine

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Being thin is considered the ideal in the U.S. as the country struggles with how to resolve its obesity epidemic. But just like most everything else in life, when it comes to being thin, more isn’t necessarily better. A review of numerous studies has shown that people who are clinically underweight have an even higher risk for dying than obese people.

too thin adverse effects

BMI and death risk

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health, was a review of 51 previous health studies researchers call a meta-analysis. Studies included in the analysis followed people for five years or more and focused on associations between body-mass index and death related to any cause. The researchers also looked at how death rates correlated with weight patterns among newborns and stillborns.

Data was excluded from people who were underweight as a result of cancer, chronic lung disease or heart failure. Factors linked to a higher risk for being underweight included malnourishment, drug or alcohol use, smoking, poverty and mental health issues.

Six feet underweight

The analysis showed that adults who were underweight – with a BMI under 18.5 or less – had a risk of dying 1.8 times higher than those with a normal BMI from 18.5 to 24.9. The connection between being underweight and having a higher risk for death held true for both adults and fetuses. In comparison, the risk of dying was 1.2 times higher for people who were obese (BMI of 30-34.9) and 1.3 times higher for those who were severely obese (a BMI of 35 or higher).

No matter how frustrating trying to lose a few pounds may be, being underweight isn’t a problem you want to have. Underweight people are susceptible to many problems related to nutritional deficiencies that could be life threatening.

Nutritional deficiencies

Without adequate nutrition, your body’s immune system is compromised. Being underweight can lead to deficiencies in vitamins important to healthy immunity such as A and C, which could leave you vulnerable to everything from the common cold to cancer.

Underweight people are also likely to become deficient in calcium and potassium, essential minerals for strong and healthy bones. Potassium is also important for a healthy heart. A lack of iron leads to anemia and very low energy levels. If you’re female, being underweight can lead to amenorrhea—irregular or completely absent menstruation. This interruption in ovulation could make it difficult to have a healthy pregnancy even if your BMI returns to normal in the future.

Reasonable body fat

In a news release, study leader Dr. Joel Ray, a physician-researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said it’s important to keep a healthy body size in mind when attempting to tackle the obesity epidemic.

“BMI reflects not only body fat, but also muscle mass. If we want to continue to use BMI in health care and public health initiatives, we must realize that a robust and healthy individual is someone who has a reasonable amount of body fat and also sufficient bone and muscle,” Ray said “If our focus is more on the ills of excess body fat, then we need to replace BMI with a proper measure, like waist circumference.”

[To calculate your own BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in centimeters squared.]

Source: Medical Xpress, Philly.com, azcentral.com

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