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Old 08-02-2005, 10:44 PM   #16  
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From my experience, the Complete program (all MF meals, average 6 daily) on Medifast is about 800 calories (I swung too low on my previous post with the 600-700 estimate.) The 5 & 1 Plan is 800-1,000.

Though MF has indeed introduced " 'Maintain by Medifast' (a science-based diabetic program of low glycemic shakes, bars and soups targeted towards consumers with Type II diabetes and those who need to lose weight)" on the HSN - off their press release - the 6 regular MF "meals" don't add up to over 1,000 calories for sure.

I agree with you, MrsJim, it would indeed be cool to see MF reviewed in a more official manner than having brief on-the-surface studies done by JHU...

After doing a lot more casual reading last night on the web, it does look like, yep, the success rate for MF/other liquid-based diets is 5-10%. Yes, it works faster than traditional plans, but it does not change most dieters for the long haul.

I would not say Medifast is a gimmick though. I definitely believe in its quick weight-loss effect and the safety of it. Personally speaking, I felt great on it... and lost weight faster than ANY other program I've ever been on. I admit boredom was a factor, due to food variety restriction... but I think if a person is willing to tough it out, and get medical and moral support along the way as needed, it can work a lot of good.

I would say that MF is a step above Jenny Craig or NutriSystem if only for the quality soy protein base they use, which helps drop cholesterol, and the higher amount of protein which helps to preserve muscle as fat is lost. I know for myself that at the same weight of 191/192, on WW and MF, my waist and hips were each 2" smaller on MF. I'm going to go with the theory that these being my chubbiest places, the fat was burning off better with MF.

As I am now gearing up to go on MF again in a couple weeks, I now have a Tanita body-fat/muscle analysis scale, and I am keen to see just what happens to my "numbers" as I continue on the MF. (Unfortunately I do not have the same data for my WW years, but I am definitely going to be keeping an eye out for losing muscle! I expect to lose a small amount since that is the way of the dieting beast, I fear, but not any more than I have to!)

From my reading, it looks like under 800 calories really DOES REQUIRE one to get medical supervision on dieting. Over 800, well, not a bad idea by any means, but I'm not (only my opinion!) positive this is a necessity for those who otherwise have no medical issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart irregularities, stuff like that. I'm sure an intro talk and lookover by a doc would be a good thing before embarking, regardless.

I realize MF is not a "normal" everyday way to lose weight. It can be too much money for some too. It's not a huge menu to choose from It teaches regular small meals, but not of the create-your-own menu variety, which can create a crash-and-burn at the end for some as they come off it... but I do firmly believe it works well and safely if followed by the book. It's up to the user in the end to stay the course and really educate themselves along the way, so they can be one of those elusive 5-10% that STAY THIN.

Last edited by BerkshireGrl; 08-02-2005 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:43 AM   #17  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerkshireGrl
From my experience, the Complete program (all MF meals, average 6 daily) on Medifast is about 800 calories (I swung too low on my previous post with the 600-700 estimate.) The 5 & 1 Plan is 800-1,000.

Though MF has indeed introduced " 'Maintain by Medifast' (a science-based diabetic program of low glycemic shakes, bars and soups targeted towards consumers with Type II diabetes and those who need to lose weight)" on the HSN - off their press release - the 6 regular MF "meals" don't add up to over 1,000 calories for sure.
If Jason Pharmeceuticals/Medifast is offering a VLCD on HSN, then I'm sure the FDA and the FTC will have something to say about it - seeing as the company has had 'issues' with both the FDA and FTC in the past, I'm sure that it was easier for them to ramp up the calorie level in their OTC products by a few hundred calories - for the company, their real money-maker is the reputation of their BRAND NAME - which the general public equates to ultrafast weight loss (and the "Medi" at the beginning of the name causes the public to believe/assume that the medical community stands behind the products). Not to mention there are VERY real health negatives in going so low in caloric intake without medical supervision, such as the effects on your gallbladder (which is why all of the participants in the Stanford/Optifast study I was part of were required to be on Actigall during the fast period).

From an FTC report "Deception in Weight-Loss Advertising Workshop":

Quote:
Dr. Heymsfield started the discussion of this claim and noted that very low calorie diets, i.e., less than 800 calories per day, produce weight loss in the range of two to four pounds per week. These diets entail certain risks and should only be followed under medical supervision. Based on risk factors and taking into account initial water loss caused by a low-calorie diet, Dr. Heymsfield concluded that the safe rate of weight loss would be about 10 pounds per month. According to Dr. Stiffer, there could be a different threshold for what is considered safe weight loss, depending on whether the person is under medical supervision, the size of the person, the content of the diet, and other relevant risk factors. In response, Dr. Hubbard indicated that onset of symptomatic gallstones is a risk associated with rapid weight loss, and observed:

"[T]here are always individuals who can lose larger amounts of weight
safely compared to others, and what we’re trying to do is establish some level
that is [reasonably] safe for the general population that is not seeking any type of medical advice."


Dr. Wadden indicated that although it is possible to lose three pounds per week on certain diets, it is not something that individuals can do safely on their own, pointing out that in the 1970s, people died from using a popular liquid protein diet.
Given that, the Medifast program being offered to the general public is NOT the same one that you would get in a medically monitored program - patients on Very Low Calorie Diets MUST be medically monitored as ramping one's calories down so low is dangerous.

FDA: Modified Fast: A Sometime Solution to a Weighty Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by BerkshireGrl
I agree with you, MrsJim, it would indeed be cool to see MF reviewed in a more official manner than having brief on-the-surface studies done by JHU...

After doing a lot more casual reading last night on the web, it does look like, yep, the success rate for MF/other liquid-based diets is 5-10%. Yes, it works faster than traditional plans, but it does not change most dieters for the long haul.
Another FTC document, dated 1992, regarding Very Low Calorie diets, stating what they can and cannot say in advertising - interesting reading. Of course since the "Over the counter" Medifast plan isn't a VLCD, they can pretty much say whatever they want - I'm sure they've hidden the required "Results not Typical" somewhere on the site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BerkshireGrl
I would say that MF is a step above Jenny Craig or NutriSystem if only for the quality soy protein base they use, which helps drop cholesterol, and the higher amount of protein which helps to preserve muscle as fat is lost.
According to the FAQ on the Medifast site, they use Supro soy protein (marketed as Solae Soy Protein by DuPont Labs) in their products - which is used by a LOT of different companies and is in many different products, including Slimfast, Myoplex, Snapple-a-Day, etc. per Dupont's Solae website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BerkshireGrl
As I am now gearing up to go on MF again in a couple weeks, I now have a Tanita body-fat/muscle analysis scale, and I am keen to see just what happens to my "numbers" as I continue on the MF. (Unfortunately I do not have the same data for my WW years, but I am definitely going to be keeping an eye out for losing muscle! I expect to lose a small amount since that is the way of the dieting beast, I fear, but not any more than I have to!)

From my reading, it looks like under 800 calories really DOES REQUIRE one to get medical supervision on dieting. Over 800, well, not a bad idea by any means, but I'm not (only my opinion!) positive this is a necessity for those who otherwise have no medical issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart irregularities, stuff like that. I'm sure an intro talk and lookover by a doc would be a good thing before embarking, regardless.

I realize MF is not a "normal" everyday way to lose weight. It can be too much money for some too. It's not a huge menu to choose from It teaches regular small meals, but not of the create-your-own menu variety, which can create a crash-and-burn at the end for some as they come off it... but I do firmly believe it works well and safely if followed by the book. It's up to the user in the end to stay the course and really educate themselves along the way, so they can be one of those elusive 5-10% that STAY THIN.
Best of luck to you the SOLE issue I have with the Medifast marketing of the OTC is that it is NOT THE SAME as the medically monitored program and should not be considered as such. I did not see this noted on their website which is why I think it's IMPORTANT to stress here. From my own personal experience it's not the products as much as the professional, medical SUPPORT and basically 'retraining' the patient for the REAL challenge of weight loss - keeping it off -aka- MAINTENANCE - is absolutely essential for success (it goes without saying, perhaps, that my personal definition of success includes keeping the weight off!).

Some more reading from Vanderbilt University's website: To Fast or not to Fast?

Without the medical support, whether the products are 'superior' or not, the OTC Medifast plan is just the same as any other pre-packaged, pre-portioned diet plan - the same as NutriSystem or Jenny Craig, IMO.
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Old 08-03-2005, 02:02 PM   #18  
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An addendum regarding VLCD's in general - a couple more links:

Australian Government Dept of Health & Aging: Obesity Guidelines - Treatment: Energy Intake

This is a 26 page PDF - beginning on page 8 is a summation of what they call 'Very low energy diets' and page 10 covers the use of meal replacements.

Systematic Review: An Evaluation of Major Commercial Weight Loss Programs in the United States published by the Annals of Internal Medicine (est. 1927 by the American College of Physicians).

Interesting stuff.
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Old 08-03-2005, 03:30 PM   #19  
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I'm not going to get into all this Google searching and article posting business because, frankly, for every article that is FOR one thing, there is another one right behind it AGAINST. While I do appreciate being informed, I'm not going to lie and say that it doesn't bother me to come on here for support and then be confronted with all the bad press about the program I have chosen to follow. I am not an ostrich and I don't bury my head in the sand, but if I spent my time going tit for tat on articles regarding the good and bad of soy, the good and bad of drinking gallons of water everyday, the good and bad of running, etc. I'd drive myself nuts. It's one thing to make a reasonably informative choice, but it's another to beat the subject to death trying to figure out whose studies were better. I'm certain that Johns Hopkins was paid a more than nominal fee for their studies, but do you honestly think that they would let their reputation and good name be used in conjunction with anything they felt was unsafe or bad in general? Just because JH doesn't have Medifast advertising campaigns on their web sites and/or the study wasn't monumental enough to report in a medical journal, it still doesn't discount the fact that they approve of the program's health factor and allow their name to be used in the booklets, leaflets, etc.

It should be noted that Medifast doesn't push it's Complete program because it should be done "strictly under the supervision of a doctor". It says that in EVERY booklet, on the web site, and the Health Advisors, which you are given access to when you order any Medifast products, will tell you the same thing. And no, it probably isn't the same exact program as it once was when prescribed by doctors, because they continuously conduct studies to better the program. The following quote is taken from a Medifast website, run by 2 Internationally certified Health Advisors.

Quote:
Terry was on the phone the other night when Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen (He is the Medical Director of Medifast Diet and Take Shape For Life) made an important announcement regarding the 5 and 1 Program.

I'd like to share a portion of Dr. Andersen's message with you.

I will write more about it in the January 2005 Newsletter.

The Protocol for the 5 & 1 Protocol has been changed.

Dr. Andersen writes,

"After extensive review, including input from Johns Hopkins University, we are excited to announce a change in our 5 & 1 protocol. Your clients are no longer restricted to 3 cold shakes per day. They can choose any product from our large variety of complete Medifast meals to fulfill their 5 meal replacements each day."
If you did the 5 & 1 program a year ago, you would have had to ensure that at least 3 or your 5 replacements of the day were cold shakes. Now, after this study, it has been determined that you can use ANY of the replacements to fulfill the 5. Therefore, I think it would be a fair bet to make that the program has changed a **** of a lot over the past 23 years as more studies have been done and newer information has come to light regarding nutrition, etc. Do you know that I get the same amount, if not MORE, vitamins through my shakes alone as my mother gets in her multiple vitamin? 20 years ago no one understood the bad effects of what too many refined carbohydrates and sugar can have on the body, its insulin levels, etc. but that doesn't mean that we should eat them anyway just because our grandparents did and they lived to be X years old! New information and studies have been done that show us the negative effects and now the world is trying to break old habits and catch up.

Of course there is risk involved when doing a low calorie diet, but there is also a **** of a LOT MORE risk involved in being 150lbs overweight. This is a gamble I'm willing to make so I don't have to have invasive surgery, which carries with it even MORE risk.

So to all those who are going to do the program, I wish you every success.

To all the nay-sayers - your opinions are certainly valid and I respect them. However, a simple, "Well, it's not my thing but I wish you all the success in the world" or a "You go girl, you're doing so well!" would have meant a LOT more than copy/pasted psych-babble. Please remember that most of us are more than capable of doing our own research and, in MY opinion, regurgitated articles usually fall VERY short of encouragement, support and/or motivation - something I thought this forum was created to provide. Then again, it's highly possible that I'm wrong.
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Old 08-03-2005, 05:18 PM   #20  
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What an interesting thread I guess the most important thing to walk away with is that it's crucial to research any diet plan before starting, to make sure it's in our own best interest to make that decision. It's all down to personal choice, comfort, health, and goals.

I think it's time to close this thread, since there doesn't seem to be anywhere to go with it from here, without it becoming a heated debate, and we all stand to benefit more if that doesn't happen.

Thank you all for all of your opinions, and we hope the information here helps others in the future that may inquire about this plan.

In the meantime, if anyone is following the plan, you are welcome to start up a support thread in our Support Groups forum or one of the other forums, and maybe there will be others that join you. This particular forum (Does it Work) is perfect for debating the pros and cons of a program, but any support threads started elsewhere will be just for support of that program.
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