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How does Medifast work?

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Quick Answer

The Medifast diet works by limiting the dieter's calories through the use of pre-packaged, portion-controlled meals, shakes and snacks. The Medifast program uses low-fat, nutritionally balanced convenience foods. The most common plan used by Medifast dieters is the "5&1" plan; it involves consuming six meals a day, five of them being Medifast products, in addition to a "lean and green" sixth meal.

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Full Answer

The "5&1" plan, according to Medifast, is comprised of five 100-calorie Medifast products, which include shakes, bars, cereals, soups, entrees or even snack crackers. The sixth "lean and green" meal is to be prepared by the dieter and is comprised of 5 to 7 ounces of lean protein, such as chicken breast or fish, and three servings of non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach or cauliflower.

Using the "5&1" plan, dieters typically consume between 800 and 1000 calories per day. In addition to calorie-cutting, the Medifast program limits carbohydrates as well, to about 30 to 50 grams below the federal government's 2010 guidelines. According to US News and World Report, restricting carbohydrates forces the body to use the next best available energy source--stored body fat. The carbohydrates that are allowed are low on the glycemic index, meaning they have a reduced effect on blood sugar levels. Keeping blood sugar steady helps keep hunger at bay and metabolism elevated, according to Medifast.

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