Ranked by U.S. News at number 25 in their top of best overall diets in 2014, the Medifast diet shares a place near the bottom of the list with the Macrobiotic diet. If you’re thinking of giving it a try, find out more about the pros and cons of the Medifast diet before paying over $150 for only two weeks on their meal plan.

Find out more about the “5 & 1” diet plan recommended by the Medifast diet and decide if it’s the right choice for your weight loss needs.

Pros of the Medifast Diet

The Medifast diet seems easy to follow and is recommended for a wide variety of lifestyles, but is it your best chance of losing weight? Read on for the main benefits of the Medifast diet.

Medifast Diet Meals

Is Nutritionally Sound

When it comes to protein, carbs and fat, the Medifast diet has significant overlap with good dietary guidelines, approved by nutritionists worldwide. This low-calorie diet states that 40% of daily calories should come for from protein, while carbs and fat coincide with the federal government’s dietary guidelines. The salt intake is also lower than the maximum recommended, so the Medifast diet is nutritionally sound.

No Counting Calories

If one of the main reasons why you can’t follow a diet for too long is the complicated calorie math, you’re in luck. The Medifast diet takes away most of the guesswork with it 5 & 1 plan. The program advises you to cook and eat a single meal every day on your own, while the other 5 are Medifast products with no more than 100 calories per serving. The meal you’re in charge of consists of 5 to 7 ounces of lean protein and three servings of vegetables, while the Medifast products include everything from soups and shakes to oatmeal and cheese puffs.

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Helps You Lose Weight in the Short-Term

The short-term promise of the Medifast diet is between 2 and 5 pounds of weight lost every week. Most studies confirm this, but also highlight the fact that the weight isn’t very likely to stay off once you transition from the purchased meals to food that you choose and prepare yourself.

Can Be Adapted as a Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Diet

The Medifast diet can be adapted for many dietary preferences, but since it’s already a restrictive diet, lacto-ovo vegetarians have the most options. The choices are even more restricted for those who don’t eat dairy, and there’s no vegan diet plan. However, many Medifast products are gluten-free, so the diet can be adapted for those who suffer from Celiac disease or simply prefer a diet without gluten.

Cons of the Medifast Diet

While it’s definitely a great option for obese people who are struggling with weight loss, the Medifast diet doesn’t always live up to everyone’s expectations.

Doesn’t Offer Any Longterm Guarantees

The Medifast diet and meal plan lives up to the initial weight loss promise, but most studies have shown that some weight gain is expected after 24 weeks and in some cases, all the weight that was lost is gained back.

Can Be Difficult To Follow

Small portions and the lack of varied choices is definitely a downside of the Medifast diet and that has lead to many people abandoning it before the end of the first year.

Medifast Diet Foods

Doesn’t Offer Any Exclusive Health Benefits

The Medifast diet promotes burning fat and replacing it with muscle, but it hasn’t scored higher than many other diets when it comes to cardiovascular benefits, along with diabetes prevention and control.

It’s Not Recommended for Everyone

The health risks associated with the Medifast diet are similar to most other low-calorie diets, including fatigue, headaches, hair loss, bad breath and even menstrual changes. The Medifast meal plans is not recommended for pregnant women, type 1 diabetics, people with severe liver or kidney disease and people who are recovering from a stroke or heart attack.

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Isn’t a Good Option for Very Active People

Medifast dieters are advised to exercise moderately around 30 minutes a day, but if you plan on going for more 45 minutes of vigorous exercise per day, the low calorie meals might become a problem.

Can Be Expensive

While buying groceries for the one meal you cook every day doesn’t get expensive, buying the 5 Medifast meals a day costs over $300 for four weeks.