- What Dr. Michael Smith Says:
- 1. Bread
- 2. Potatoes
- 3. Pizza
- 4. Sugar
- 5. Fruit
- 6. Cereal
- Medifast Review: Can This Flexible Meal and Shake Plan Help You Lose Weight?
- How It May Help Boost Wellness
- How It Helps Make Wellness Possible
- How Much Does It Cost?
- The Bottom Line
- The Competition
- Medifast vs. Optavia: Which is Best for You?
- 1. Medifast
- Which Medifast Plan is Best for You?
- 2. Optavia
- How Does Optavia Coaching Work?
- Final Thoughts – Deciding Which One is Best For You
- The Medifast Diet
- What is the Optavia diet and should you try it to lose weight?
- What is the Optavia diet?
- Is the Optavia the same as Medifast?
- How much does the Optavia diet cost?
- Does Optavia work?
What Dr. Michael Smith Says:
Does It Work?
The Medifast Go! plan provides only 800 to 1,000 calories a day. You will lose weight due to the severe calorie restriction, but it’s an approach that will be tough to stick with.
Research shows meal replacement diets can work and are safe. Studies show they can also help keep the weight off if you’re able to make lasting changes to your lifestyle.
Getting enough nutrients would be a concern on such a low-calorie diet, but the replacements are enriched with nutrients to help offset any deficiency that may occur.
Medifast cuts out certain food groups, including dairy, so you’ll have to take steps to make sure you get plenty of calcium and vitamin D from other sources.
The lack of energy often caused by very-low-calorie diets may make exercise a challenge, but regular exercise is critical if you want to keep the weight off.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
Research shows that meal replacement plans can help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. But drastically reducing how much you eat could lead to dangerously low blood sugar if you take diabetes medicine. Work with your doctor to monitor your blood sugar and know what action to take if it falls too low.
Medifast could also be good for someone with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Weight loss helps each of these conditions and may even reduce the need for medicine. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medicine.
The Final Word
If you’re looking to make big changes in your weight and your health, Medifast can deliver results. But those extreme changes may make sticking with the program a challenge.
And to keep the weight off, you’ll need to transition successfully into the maintenance phase. While limitations ease up at that point, you will need to learn to live with and accept some restrictions in your diet to make it work for the long-term.
Remember, this is an extreme diet, so don’t try it without talking to your doctor first.
The Medifast diet is touted as a great way to lose weight. It’s similar to the Atkin’s diet in some ways and it guarantees that your body will become a fat burning factory provided the diet is followed. It is also beneficial to those who want to keep glucose levels low, such as diabetics.
The main principle behind the Medifast diet is that when your body does not have excess energy in the form of carbohydrates, it looks for an alternative source of energy. Our bodies can use ketones as energy, which is derived from fat. When your body is in this fat burning mode it is said to be in a state of ketosis. It is believed that our leaner ancient ancestors were all in a constant state of ketosis because their diet consisted mainly of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates weren’t as abundant as they are now.
Part of the Medifast diet is to replace meals with nutritious shakes that help promote weight loss. The diet also calls for as many as six meals per day to offset your new energy cravings and boost your metabolism.
Some foods aren’t compatible with this diet and would produce adverse effects. With that in mind, here are a few foods to avoid while on the Medifast diet.
Breads are loaded with carbohydrates, which are limited between 80 and 100 grams on this diet. Consuming this will withdraw your body from its ketosis state. This means that instead of fat being burned it is being stored. Eating bread on this diet will set you back, so try to avoid it.
Potatoes are categorized as being starchy. Foods high in starch usually contain high amounts of carbohydrates. A medium potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrates which is more than 25 percent of your daily allowance. Even though potatoes are bountiful in vitamins and nutrients, it’s not recommended if you want to succeed on this diet.
Pizza contains white flour and cheese, which are both prohibited on the weight loss phase of the Medifast diet. These two items combined with pizza sauce will be more than your maximum amount of carbohydrates allowed for the day.
Consuming sugar is detrimental on any diet. One tbsp. of sugar contains 11.9 grams of carbohydrates and 46 calories. Ingestion of sugar while on this diet will thwart your body out of ketosis. Also, avoiding processed foods is advisable since they contain hidden sugars that your body can’t afford to consume on this diet.
Fruit contains a high content of carbohydrates and will take your body out of its fat burning state if consumed. You will be allowed to reintroduce fruits into your diet during the transition and maintenance stage.
Most breakfast cereals are loaded with carbs from wheat, corn and rice. Cereal contains an abundance of carbohydrates. Though cereal may seem perfect for breakfast, consider something more Medifast diet friendly, such as meat or eggs. As always, small allowances may be permitted, but if the goal is ketosis, stay away from excessive cereal consumption.
I’m coming to the end of my Medifast Flex journey and in case you’re considering the plan for helping you to launch your weight loss goals, I wanted to share some of my favorite food options on the plan with you.
I believe the food that goes along with any weight loss plan will be the biggest factor in your success. Finding foods you like and finding foods that work within your lifestyle are two imperative change agents from success.
While on Medifast Flex I’ve had a chance to experience A LOT of their food and believe I’ve developed a good understanding in what will be considered fan favorite for them. Check out my list below!
Mixed Berry Cereal – This was by far my favorite breakfast. Taste wise, it was good and fruity, but I also loved that it was easier than some of the other breakfasts. I could make bowls of cereal for my kids, make one for myself and have a quick breakfast with them before the school day started. It left me feeling full and satisfied, which is always a great way to start the day.
Turkey Meatballs – The Turkey Meatballs were by far my favorite of the Medifast foods that I considered meals. Unlike the other foods on the plan these most closely resembled an actual meal for me that I would eat for lunch or dinner so I ate them often for these. I liked this the best because the taste was solid and I always felt full afterwards.
Beef Stew – This was my runner up in terms of food items that I considered meals. I liked the taste and also felt full after eating it. I could see the vegetables in it so that was a bonus for me. This was also good over some cauliflower rice, which I would add on a hard workout day.
Parmesan and Olive Oil Crisps – These were seriously yummy and I enjoyed having them as a snack. The flavor was good and the texture was consistent with a rice cake. I believe everyone would really love these.
Cheddar and Sour Cream Popcorn – This was another winner. Any diet plan that allows you to eat popcorn is ok in my book. This popcorn was perfect for an afternoon snack and it helped with some of the salty cravings.
Orange Creamsicle Shake – This was amazing! I could have probably had this for each meal and been a happy girl. They have you make it with water but I always made it with vanilla, unsweetened almond milk instead. Those extra calories from the almond milk gave me a full feeling and made the shake smoother than the water. Since one cup of almond milk is about 30 calories I didn’t feel like I was breaking too many rules.
Dutch Chocolate Shake (pre-made) – This was my favorite on-the-go shake. The taste was pleasant and it helped me to fill in the gaps when I was out. I usually would stop for a coffee when I wasn’t on Medifast so instead I would bring one of these along and feel pretty good about it.
Soft bake brownie – I was surprised when I liked this. I didn’t expect to honestly just because I’m a fan of homemade brownies. Again, I made this with almond milk versus just the water recommended. I’m a whole milk kind-of-girl so I generally substituted the almond milk when it made sense. Here it made sense to me and I liked the taste better. This would satisfy the late night or late afternoon chocolate cravings for me! Finding something that did that was really amazing.
Chocolate mint soft serve – This is Medifast’s version of ice cream. I believe they have a few flavors but I liked the chocolate mint the best. I found blending it a little tough sometimes because you have to have a good blender to get the ice chopped fine enough. However, it was worth a little extra elbow grease and it was my favorite way to end the day.
I’ll be sharing my final thoughts on the whole Medifast Flex plan soon, but until then I wanted to show you guys my before and after photos.
I started out wanting to lose about 10 pounds on this plan and it was HARD for me! It was personally a difficult time of the year to start a diet too. Usually in the fall and during the holidays I try to maintain because caramel apples and pumpkin everything speaks to me. However, I managed to lose some of the weight I wanted to (even with using almond milk and a little cheating) and I stayed on a fairly consistent work out schedule too.
For those of you that follow me on Instagram and watch my stories you may know I was doing a run streak during this time too. I ran for 44 days straight and I do think that helped with my overall body toning. Oh, and FYI – I have no make-up on here so be gentle. 🙂
For a woman who has had three babies, two C-sections and loves ice cream, I’m pretty happy with my overall results. My results aren’t perfect, but I’m a lot closer to where I want to be than I was in early October.
Save $145 on the 30-day Flex Kit. Offer includes 21 Free Shakes, w/renewal plan. Valid through January 31, 2018. .
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Medifast Review: Can This Flexible Meal and Shake Plan Help You Lose Weight?
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There’s a lot of chatter about which diet or eating approach is better or worse for weight loss. But one thing’s for sure: The American diet needs a makeover. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of American adults are obese, meaning they’re at a higher risk of serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It’s clear that food choices play a role in this risk, the CDC notes.
As someone who struggles with weight issues, I’m not surprised by these stats. We’re inundated with new food research and diet plans on a monthly and sometimes even weekly basis. Sometimes, the information we’re bombarded with is so contradictory that it’s hard to know how to eat, let alone find time to transform our eating habits. But there’s no need to give up hope.
After spending some time researching, I discovered one plan that has had positive results, and has been recommended by over 20,000 doctors for weight loss since 1980: Medifast, a program designed to simplify rapid weight loss with an easy-to-follow plan. Recently,Recently, U.S. News and World Report rated Medifast as the No. 3 diet for rapid weight loss.
At Everyday Health, we believe that wellness is at the center of your daily health, and a service like Medifast, which can help you meet your weight-loss goals, meets our Wellness Code. (Learn more about the Everyday Health Wellness Code used for all products and services reviews.)
How It May Help Boost Wellness
Medifast says its carbohydrate-controlled and low-fat meals contain nutrients and that help preserve muscle tissue and minimize hunger throughout the day.
You may have heard of their popular shakes, but today there are 65 different Medifast Meals from which to choose, and each has the same nutritional makeup — they’re carbohydrate-controlled, low-fat, high-protein meals that are fortified with vitamins and minerals. The meals are completely interchangeable, and meant to be eaten every two to three hours so you never feel hungry while losing pounds and inches. Besides shakes, Medifast meals can help fulfill every craving you might have, offering bars, cereals, pancakes, savory entrees (think garlic mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and vegetable chili), crunchy snacks, and sweet desserts.
Different plans are offered depending on your weight-loss goals. According to Medifast Go, for quick weight loss, you eat five Medifast Meals per day and cook one “lean and green” meal, consisting of whole foods, prepared by you: a protein, three servings of vegetables, and up to two servings of healthy fats. Medifast Flex enables more gradual weight loss with four Medifast Meals, two “lean and green” meals you cook, and one snack. Medifast can also customize plans for people with medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, or special dietary requirements like gluten or soy intolerance. And when you reach your goal weight, the Thrive Healthy Living Plan can help set you up for long-term success by offering support and products tailored to your individual health needs.
How It Helps Make Wellness Possible
Because the diet is so calorie-restrictive, Medifast is ideal for people who need to lose a significant amount of weight. It will also appeal to very busy people who can’t or don’t want to prepare meals, but still want a range of classic American quick-serve and portable dishes. And if you have days where making one whole meal isn’t possible, Medifast even offers their own version of the “lean and green meal,” which you can order for home delivery.
What keeps people going on the plan are the results that are quickly revealed on the scale. Weigh in at the same time every other day, preferably before you eat, to keep your eye on the prize. The fact that you are eating every two to three hours also helps to keep you from breaking down and going off the plan. But when you do feel the urge to cave (and let’s be real, it will happen), having a Medifast-approved treat on hand can help make all the difference. In fact, you can look forward to eating one of the plan’s approved chocolate brownies every day without sabotaging your goal in the least.
One surprising part of the plan is how it turns your one (or two, depending on your plan) whole-food meal of the day into a treat. The dining-out resources on the site offer tips to help you enjoy your lean and green meal at different restaurants, the blog is full of delicious recipes, and there’s even a cookbook for sale. In addition, customers have access to dietitians, personal trainers, and other experts for nutrition, fitness, and behavioral support. Plus, with an active community of fellow dieters sharing their tips, struggles, and newly discovered recipes, extra support and motivation isn’t hard to come by. In short, the company cares about giving its customers the tools they need to create a sustainable whole-foods diet and healthy way of living for the long haul.
How Much Does It Cost?
New customers can order a 30-day starter kit that includes a 30-day assortment of Medifast Meals and free bonus gifts, including a food diary, a blender bottle, a dining-out guide, and a healthy living workbook. The Medifast GO! starter kit is $329 with free shipping, and the Medifast Flex starter kit is $299 plus free shipping, and also includes an assortment of Medifast’s “Home Microwaveable Lean and Green Meals.” Medifast also stands fully behind their product, offering a full refund if you decide to cancel any time within the first 30 days.
The Bottom Line
If you want to lose weight fast and don’t have the time to plan and prepare most of your meals, Medifast is a solid option to help you achieve your goals. You can use it as a short-term solution to help jump-start your weight loss, as well as take advantage of the site’s resources to help you reintroduce healthier eating habits when you eventually decide to come off of the Medifast plan.
Learn more at Medifast.com.
Nutrisystem also delivers portioned breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks to subscribers looking to eat healthier to help keep the weight off.
BistroMD is a weight-loss program that delivers healthy, chef-made meals that contain a carefully balanced ratio of macronutrients designed to help boost your metabolism and jump-start healthy weight loss.
Medifast vs. Optavia: Which is Best for You?
When it comes to weight loss there are generally two states of mind and because of that, there are two main types of weight loss programs.
The first group includes people who want to lose weight quickly and primarily for the sake of appearance.
The second group is people who want to lose weight safely and live a healthy lifestyle.
The first group might rely on fad diets and questionable supplements while the second group focuses on portion control, lifestyle changes, and nutritional intake.
Medifast and Optavia are two weight loss programs that fall into the second category, yet can still appeal to those interested in the first.
They rely on medically safe and proven techniques for losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.
Both programs are created by the same group of people, but they have slightly different goals in the long run. Following is a closer look at these two programs, how they work, and how they differ.
How Does it Work?
Medifast (read our review) is designed to appeal to both of the groups mentioned at the start of the article.
It utilizes only safe and effective diet guidelines, but it is designed to help participants lose weight more quickly than other programs in the same category.
The key to success with Medifast is closely following all of the guidelines that are in place.
These include portion-controlled meal plans, specific eating times, and controlled vitamin intake.
Medifast has the advantage of history and experience. Their brand has been helping people lose weight since 1980.
In that time, more than 20,000 doctors have recommended the program to their patient. And these programs have been the subject of many clinical studies over the decade.
In each case, the studies have shown that Medifast works in a safe, healthy, and effective manner.
The Medifast Meal Plans
The primary tools in the Medifast program are the carefully designed meal plans.
Each meal contains a specific number of vitamins and minerals (24 to be exact) as well as calories, carbohydrates, fats, and other nutrients.
As long as you stick with the program and follow the meal plans at the given times, it’s nearly impossible not to lose weight.
And if you live an active lifestyle or start an exercise routine, then the results will be even more noticeable.
Medifast offers two unique meal plans depending on your weight loss goals.
- Medifast Go!
- Medifast Flex
The first plan is designed for people who want to lose weight quickly and the second is designed for gradual weight loss over a longer period of time.
The Go plan is their most popular choice. It appeals to that group of people who want to lose weight quickly before the beach season or some big event.
The basic Go kit covers a period of 30 days. Each day includes 5 Medifast meals and a 1 “lean and green” meal. The idea is that six small meals a day will help control hunger all day long.
There is also a gluten-free variation of this meal plan. It still includes a total of six meals a day, but without the inclusion of any gluten.
The price on the gluten-free plan is the same as the standard plan so there’s no reason not to take advantage of it if you have a gluten intolerance.
As the name suggests, the Medifast Flex plan is designed to be flexible.
It helps people achieve safe and gradual weight loss over time. There’s no rush to shed the pounds, but rather to eat healthily with noticeable results.
This plan is also sold as a 30 day kit with all of the meals you’ll need for each day of the week.
The Flex plan changes the meal composition to 4 Medifast meals and 2 “lean and green” meals with 1 additional healthy snack. That’s still a total of 6 meals a day, but with 1 less Medifast meal.
You can upgrade to 30-day Flex Plan Complete Kit to receive supplements that are proven to be safe and to assist with weight loss.
These include a 30 day probiotic and an Omega-3 supplement. The Complete Kit is slightly more expensive, but the additional supplements improve weight loss and overall health.
Which Medifast Plan is Best for You?
- $149 / Trial Kit
- Two Week Trial Kit
- 56 delicious Medifast Meals
- Free Bonus Gifts
- $5 Flat-Rate Shipping
- $299 / Select Kit
- 30 Day Meal Kit
- 126 delicious Medifast Meals
- Free Bonus Gifts
- FREE Shipping
- 10% Advantage Rewards Credit
- $399 / Complete Kit
- 30 Day Meal Kit
- 126 delicious Medifast Meals
- FREE Bonus Gifts
- FREE Shipping
- 10% Advantage Rewards Credit
- 30-day supply Digestive/Heart Health
How Much Weight Can You Lose?
How much weight you lose will depend on which meal plan you choose and how long you stick with the program.
The average person loses 11 pounds on the 30-day Go plan. But those results can definitely be improved by adding regular exercise into the mix.
Within a few days of starting the program, your body will begin to burn fat.
You can stick with the program for as long as you like to maintain a healthy target weight or to continue to lose weight until you meet your goal.
The program is extremely flexible and can be used to lose 10 pounds, 100 pounds, or more. This applies to both of the available meal plans.
Where Are The Best Medifast Deals?
The best place to secure a good price on a Medifast meal plan is directly on their website. They regularly offer sales, promotions, and other deals that reduce the price of their meal plans. They also ship all of their meals without any additional shipping and handling charges when purchased from their site.
The same great minds behind Medifast created the Optavia plan (learn more), but with very different goals in mind. The goal of Optavia is to help you transform yourself and your lifestyle into something healthier. Optavia is not a quick weight loss routine.
Yes, you will definitely lose weight while following the program. However, you should also notice improved energy and vitality as well an overall improvement in your well being.
Upon visiting the Optavia website you’ll be presented with a few options. The two of most importance are the “Get Healthy” and “Stay Healthy” option.
The first is for people who want to get healthy and feel better. The second option is for people who are already at their ideal weight but want help staying there. You will need to choose one of these options and then you will register for the corresponding meal plan.
Both Medifast and Optavia utilize carefully constructed meal plans provided by meal delivery system. Even the meals that they offer are very similar.
After all, they were created by the same people. The meals available on Medifast are proven to work so it makes sense that they would offer very similar meals on Optavia.
The first meal plan is for people who selected the “Get Healthy” option. Similar to Medifast, it includes 6 small meals a day for a period of thirty days. Five of those are standard meals and a single meal is “lean and green”.
These meals are designed with a very specific combination of proteins and carbohydrates. Protein levels are similar to what is available in the standard American diet, but carbohydrates have been decreased significantly.
The meals for each day contain 100 grams or less of carbohydrates.
After a few days consuming reduced carbohydrate levels, the body enters into “fat burning mode”. In this mode, the body will safely and gradually burn fat stored in the body while keeping the majority of your muscle mass. You can completely prevent the loss of muscle mass by exercising regularly.
Those who have already reached their optimal weight will be offered the “Optimal Health” meal plan.
This plan provides you with three Optavia meals each day as well as health bars, smoothies, and shakes. It will be up to you to make the other three meals required each day.
Key Differences Between Optavia & Medifast
While these two programs are strikingly similar in a lot of ways, there is one major difference: self-reliance. Optavia aims to educate participants while also providing them with meal plans.
Eventually, you should be able to stop relying on Optavia entirely and use what you’ve learned to prepare your own healthy meals at home.
This is most obvious with the Optimal Health Meal Plan offered by Optavia. This meal plan is unlike any of the plans offered by Medifast.
It only provides half of the meals necessary for each day. It’s up to you to create the rest. You can do that using what you’ve learned from previous meals as well as what you’ve learned from your Optavia Coach?
How Does Optavia Coaching Work?
Access to an Optavia Coach is what truly separates Medifast from Optavia. When you begin any of the available Optavia programs you are assigned a coach.
This is a person who will do all that they can to help you achieve optimal well being.
They teach you all that you need to know to prepare healthy meals, to start an effective workout regimen, and to stay healthy even after leaving the program.
With help from your coach, you can lose as much weight as you set as your goal. Your coach will help you set realistic time frames for achieving that goal as well as smaller goals along the way to keep you motivated.
Final Thoughts – Deciding Which One is Best For You
Both programs are excellent and can be used to lose weight. You have access to most of the same meals on either program.
If you’re interested in losing weight quickly without much else, then the Medifast Go plan is right for you.
But if you want to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and how to maintain a healthy weight without relying on a meal plan, then an Optavia plan with access to a coach is your best option.
Ready to learn more?
Looking for More Great Diet Reviews? Head to Our Homepage.
The Medifast Diet
When you first learned to ride a two-wheeler, you either did so the easy way or the hard way: training wheels or no training wheels. The Medifast Diet works for weight loss the way those training wheels did for balance and confidence, says dietitian Juliet Zuercher, RD, the director of nutrition services at Remuda Ranch, a treatment program for people with eating disorders, in Wickenburg, Ariz. While you’re on the program, you order nearly all of your food from Medifast. For the most part, you don’t have to prepare your own meals.
The Medifast Diet helps dieters by taking the guesswork out of weight loss, says Zuercher and other dietitians. But just as those training wheels were temporary, this diet should be as well.
The Medifast Diet: How It Works
The Medifast Diet offers a so-called “5 & 1” plan. That means each day you eat five Medifast “meals” and one meal that you prepare yourself. The Medifast Diet meals include shakes, bars, scrambled eggs, and different flavors of oatmeal, pudding, and soup. For the meal you prepare yourself, dubbed the “Lean & Green” meal, you can have a lean source of protein plus three servings of certain vegetables. With the Medifast Diet, you eat every two or three hours, but consume only 800 to 1,000 calories every day.
The Medifast Diet: Sample Menu
A day’s worth of food might include: blueberry oatmeal; chocolate pudding; beef vegetable stew; strawberry shake; a meal with portabello mushrooms, chicken breast, tomato, and broccoli; and a lemon meringue crunch bar.
The Medifast Diet: Pros and Cons
“The thing that I like about Medifast is that it looks like the program encourages you to eat small frequent meals throughout the day,” Zuercher says.
The Medifast Diet also offers the opportunity to work with a health coach, which upstate New York-based nutrition consultant Molly Morgan, RD, thinks is a good idea, although she advises that working with a registered dietitian is preferable.
The Medifast Diet does have potential shortcomings. The company acknowledges that the low-calorie diet encourages you to burn fat for fuel, called ketosis. This isn’t good for your body, says dietitian Robin Werner, MS, RD, a dietitian in private practice in New York City: “Your fat is not supposed to be your first source of energy.” Werner suggests that you check with your doctor before starting the Medifast Diet.
She is also concerned that the diet recommends avoiding fruit, an important source of fiber, and dairy, an important source of calcium. It also doesn’t emphasize exercise, although you might not have the stamina for it, considering the few calories you’re consuming, Werner adds.
Another point: The Medifast Diet is not cheap, Zuercher says. A four-week package with 143 meals costs just under $300.
Medifast Diet: Short and Long-Term Effects
The dietitians’ main complaint is that this is a temporary fix, not a recipe for long-term success. While you can lose weight on the Medifast Diet, you need to learn how to transition to sensible food and exercise choices once you step away from its rigid structure.
Zuercher thinks the diet is a reasonable choice “if it’s a springboard that someone uses for a few months, and they lose 20 pounds or so, and it feels so good that it positively motivates them to want to continue taking care of themselves.” After all, she adds, “Do you want to live the rest of your life with training wheels? Or do you want to take off and ride the bike on your own?”
What is the Optavia diet and should you try it to lose weight?
Food Network star Buddy Valastro might make some scrumptious desserts on Cake Boss, but he’s not taste tasting his own products anymore. The New Jersey-based baker revealed his significant weight loss in an Instagram post — and he has the Optavia diet to thank.
A lot of people have been asking me how I’ve slimmed down lately so I just wanted to share that I’ve used the Optavia program. Im not being paid to say this and it should be noted that I think every body is different and you should do whatever suits you but this is what I’m doing and I’m very happy with the results so far!
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“A lot of people have been asking me how I’ve slimmed down lately so I just wanted to share that I’ve used the Optavia program,” Valastro wrote in the caption. “Im (sic) not being paid to say this and it should be noted that I think everybody is different and you should do whatever suits you but this is what I’m doing and I’m very happy with the results so far!”
Should you follow Valastro’s lead on the Optavia diet?
What is the Optavia diet?
If you’ve heard of Medifast, then you’re already familiar with the basis of the Optavia diet.
The Optavia diet is based around eating several meals a day — called “fuelings” — that are supposed to keep you full and help reduce weight.
“Our approach to health is radically different,” the company writes on its website. “We believe Optimal Health and wellbeing is about what’s added to your life, not what’s subtracted from the scale. These habits add to your quality of life by getting your mind and body working together to work for you.”
There are three different Optiva diet programs you can follow, depending on your goals:
5&1 Plan. On this Optavia diet, you eat five Optavia fuelings (that you get directly from Optavia) and a “lean and green” meal of protein and vegetables.
4&2&1 Plan. With this Optavia diet, you get two lean and green meals, four fuelings and one “healthy snack.”
3&3 Plan. This Optavia diet revolves around around three fuelings and three lean and green meals a day.
The Optavia diet meals are comprised of “60 convenient, nutritionally interchangeable, scientifically-designed fuelings,” according to the company. These pre-packaged meals include options for macaroni and cheese, brownies, pancakes and more.
Is the Optavia the same as Medifast?
Optavia is the new name for Medifast’s Take Shape For Life program. So, yes it’s a subsidiary of Medifast.
The difference between Medifast and Optavia is that the Optavia diet includes access to a coach with the program. The coaches are independent retailers who are there to help achieve goals, but also make a commission off the sales of products.
How much does the Optavia diet cost?
The Optavia diet cost depends on the program you choose. The kits range from about $350 to $450, according to the website — a monthly charge. You’ll also have to purchase additional food for snacks and lean and green meals.
Does Optavia work?
Like all diets, the Optavia diet can help you lose weight while you follow it.
“When you know what optimal nutrition looks like, healthy eating becomes second nature,” the company writes on its website.
It’s obviously working for the Cake Boss, but know you can achieve the same results with making your own meals and snacks — for far less than $350 or $450 per month.
Glucose is generally regarded as the preferred energy source for cells in the body, with ketosis being regarded as the crisis reaction of the body to a lack of carbohydrates in the diet. In a diet that does not substantially contribute to blood glucose, the body goes through a set of stages to enter ketosis. After about 48 hours the body starts using ketones produced from stored fats for energy, releasing free fatty acids, while reserving glucose for important needs, thus avoiding the depletion of the body’s stored protein in the muscles. The burning of fat is thought to provide sufficient levels of energy while helping to eliminate physical hunger. Ketosis can be deliberately induced through the use of a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet, such as the Medifast diet, resulting in rapid weight loss due to the use of body fat for energy.
Specifically, the Medifast diet is a weight loss program that relies on meal replacement food products that are purchased from Jason Pharmaceuticals. Although medical supervision of the Medifast diet is not required, it is recommended. There are over 50 different meals that a dieter may choose as part of the diet, including shakes, bars, drinks, oatmeal, chili, soups, and puddings. The daily calorie intake on the plan is between 800 to 1,000 calories per day. During the weight loss phase of the diet, the dieter follows a 5 & 1 meal plan that consists of five portion-controlled, nutritionally-balanced Medifast meals plus one Lean & Green meal. The Lean portion of the Lean & Green meal consists of either:
- five ounces of cooked lean beef, pork, or lamb
- seven ounces of cooked chicken, turkey, fish, or seafood.
The Green portion of the Lean & Green meal consists of:
- Two cups of salad greens with 1/2 cup of raw vegetables (cabbage, spinach, sprouts, celery, radishes, cucumber, pepper, or tomato and 1-2 tablespoons of low-carb salad dressing, or
- One and one-half cups of low-carbohydrate cooked vegetables (Carrots, corn, peas, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts should be avoided during the weight loss phase of the Medifast diet).
A person who chooses to replace all meals with Medifast food products and to not incorporate the Lean & Green meal into their diet must do so only under a doctor’s supervision.
During the Medifast 5 & 1 weight loss phase, the dieter eliminates fruits, dairy, and starches because of their high carbohydrate content. These foods can be reintroduced into the diet during the maintenance phase of the Medifast program. The dieter is also directed to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day and to limit the intake of other non-caloric liquids,
although additional non-caloric beverages are allowed. Coffee and caffeinated drinks are limited to three per day, as the low caloric level of the Medifast diet may increase sensitivity to caffeine, resulting in anxiety or shakiness. Alcoholic beverages are not recommended on the Medifast program, as they provide additional calories without nutritional value. Alcohol also stimulates the appetite as well as depletes the body of water.
The protein used in Medifast meal products is soy protein, which as a complete protein, provides all of the essential amino acids required for nutrition. The benefits of soy protein include:
- potential lowering of blood cholesterol levels, especially levels of LDL cholesterol
- potential increase in the mineral content and density of bones, which may protect against bone fractures and osteoporosis
- possible prevention of hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer
- possible reduction in triglycerides and increase in HDL cholesterol
- possible reduction in menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes or night sweats
Different formulations of the Medifast shakes, Medifast 55 and Medifast 70, are used for men and women. All of the low-lactose shakes contain proteins, vitamins, and minerals. However, Medifast 70 has a higher soy protein content and is more suitable for men or for women who are physically very active. In addition, there is a Medifast Plus Shake for Appetite Suppression available that contains an appetite suppresant in addition to protein, vitamins, and minerals. There are also a variety of lactose-free or low-lactose products available for persons who are lactose-intolerant.
The dieter is allowed one snack a day on the Medifast diet. These snacks may be Medifast snacks purchased through the program or such items as celery stalks, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-ree gum, sugar-free mints, bouillon, sugar-free popsicles, or dill pickle spears. Medifast products are sweetened with fructose or acesulfame potassium. Medifast diet products do not contain any stimulants, ephedrine, or herbs. Additional vitamin supplements are not required with the Medifast program, as the Medifast meals are fortified with vitamins. There are about 3-4 grams of fiber in most Medifast meal replacement products. Only one Medifast bar is allowed per day on the diet, as the bars are higher in calories than the other Medifast food products. Meals can be seasoned with herbs, seasonings, or spices, but the use of condiments such as ketchup, mustard, soy or teriyaki sauce, vinegar, horseradish is limited to small amounts of not more than 3-4 condiments a day. To accommodate eating at restaurants while still adhering to the Medifast diet, the dieter can have the daily Lean & Green meal.
For persons with various allergies, Medifast provides information on allergens present in specific Medifast food products. These allergens include whey, milk, soy, lactose, wheat, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, caffeine, and gluten.
All Medifast food products meet the standards imposed by the United States Food and Drug Administration for standards, labeling, and packaging requirements for the marketing and sale of medical foods, vitamins, and nutritional products. As part of the medical food labeling requirement, each product lists the name and quantity of each ingredient and is identified as a weight management/modified fasting or fasting supplement. The majority of Medifast products are certified kosher by The Orthodox Union of New York. In addition, there are a number of vegetarian meals and snacks available. A vegetarian can replace the meat portion of the Lean& Green meal with such items as low fat cheese, eggs or egg substitute, tofu, cottage cheese, or vegetable burgers.
There are several specialized Medifast food products and supplements that can be used in conjunction with the Medifast 5 & 1 diet program. However, individuals should not incorporate more than one kind of supplement into their Medifast meal plan.
Medifast Plus for Diabetics is designed to meet the nutritional needs of persons with Type 2 diabetes. This Medifast program can be used as a supplement in a weight-loss program for a person with Type 2 diabetes or as a supplement to a diabetes diet that has been designed to control blood sugar. The Medifast food products for diabetics contain less than 5 grams of sugar per serving, and many of the products have been certified as Low Glycemic by the Glycemic Research Institute. Blood sugar, oral diabetes medications, and insulin needs must be monitored periodically and adjusted as needed. Blood sugar should be checked at least two to three times a day, especially at the beginning of the Medifast program.
Medifast Plus for Joint Health is a meal-replacement supplement that was formulated to relieve the symptoms associated with arthritis and poor joint health. Medifast Joint Health Shakes contain both glucosamine and chondroitin. Three Joint Health Shakes are included daily as part of the Medifast 5 & 1 Meal plan. A person who is already taking medication for arthritis should consult with their health care provider before incorporating Joint Health shakes into their Medifast diet plan.
Medifast Plus for Women’s Health is a meal-replacement supplement that was formulated to relieve and prevent the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. The Women’s Health Shakes contain black cohosh, echinacea, and chaste tree berry. One to three Women’s Health Shakes are included daily as part of the Medifast 5 & 1 meal plan. A women who is already on Hormone Replacement Therapy should consult with their health care provider before incorporating Joint Health shakes into their Medifast diet plan.
Exercise is an integral part of losing weight and maintaining weight loss. However, a person who does not have an exercise program in place prior to starting the Medifast diet should wait 2-3 weeks before beginning an exercise program, in order to prevent dehydration and to protect muscle tissue. A person who does participate in an exercise program before starting the Medifast diet should cut the exercise program in half for the first several weeks, to allow the body to adjust to the lower calorie levels. As the body adjusts, the length and intensity of exercise can be increased.
A person stays on the Medifast 5 & 1 plan until:
- the target weight has been met
- weight loss has slowed to less than three pounds per month
- the dieter develops a contraindication to the program, such as pregnancy
- the health care provider recommends transitioning into the maintenance phase
If a person has significant weight to lose that necessitates staying on the weight loss phase for longer than sixteen weeks, the program should be monitored by a health care provider.
During the transition phase, after the weight loss phase of the Medifast diet, calories are slowly added back into the diet to give the body time to adjust to the new levels of calories and carbohydrates. Following the transition phase, an individual should develop a plan to maintain the weight loss. In some cases, a person may choses to continue to include Medifast food products in conjunction with other low calorie meals to maintain a healthy weight. Persons experiencing a a weight gain of five to ten pounds may go back on the Medifast 5 & 1 plan for a few weeks in order to return to their target weight.
As of 2007, the Medifast diet costs about $10/day, $70/week, or $275/month when purchasing food in packages. Costs are higher when purchasing on a per-product basis. There are no enrollment or membership fees associated with the program. The Medifast program has a web-based support program for customers that provides the dieter with tools, support, and information to assist with nutrition, exercise, and motivation. The program provides also behavior modification programs. In August 2002 Jason Pharmaceuticals set up a health network subsidiary, Take Shape for Life, that by 2007 had enrolled over 150 physicians and medical professionals to supervise a network of qualified health advisors who work with individuals to help them successfully implement their Medifast diet plan.