Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Medifast Achieve 4&2&1 Plan Permits Pasta, Baked Potatoes and Fruit!

Adios Ketosis! 

In one of the more cynical marketing ploys in commercial diet program history, Medifast has introduced a new weight loss plan that pretends to be more affordable and permits customers to consume formerly forbidden high-carb foods like fruit, pasta and potatoes.
This graphic for Medifast Achieve
from a recent blog post
is the same big hot mess
as the diet itself.

Ironically, Medifast is calling this program Medifast Achieve™ although the most likely achievement will be a short-term spike in its stock price.

As the company's profits -- and customers' waistlines -- expand, the only thing likely to shrink are customers' wallets.

When I lost 35 pounds on Medifast two years ago, I followed the more nutritionally logical 5&1 Plan which eschews fruit, pasta and potatoes in favor of lower-carb alternatives. I developed a habit of doing without these foods and planning my meals around a protein and vegetables.

Which I still do to this day, with the addition of butter, coconut oil and other healthy fats.

Medifast is using a cheap
point of entry as a hook
to sign up new members.
Happily, the 5&1 Plan is still being promoted by Medifast's Take Shape for Life (TSFL) division, which includes the services of a free health coach who provides guidance and emotional support. However, for those who opt to order their food directly from the Medifast website, that plan is neither mentioned nor offered.

The new Medifast Achieve™ plan is now just another low-fat, low-calorie diet, similar to Weight Watchers -- but without the meetings.

Because the higher carb load will not put dieters in the fat burning state called ketosis in which the body burns ketones instead of glucose, weight loss will be significantly slower. This will dampen motivation and increase the likelihood of failure.

Medifast admits on its own website that carb load makes a difference in losing weight:
"In general, be aware of your total total carbohydrate intake. If you are experiencing slower weight loss or hit a plateau, we recommend staying between 80-85 grams of carbs per day."
And this:
"While on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan for weight loss, we recommend that you avoid fruits, dairy, and starches because of their high carbohydrates contents (eating too many carbohydrates during the weight-loss phase can prevent you from achieving or maintaining the fat-burning state)."
So how does that square with the fact that the newly permitted baked potato snack contains a whopping 37 carb grams and has a glycemic score of 111 (anything over 70 is considered high)?

And though the Medifast Achieve™ website links to multiple studies that "prove" the Medifast diet is effective for weight loss, a footnote at the bottom states, "* All studies based on the heritage Medifast 5 & 1 Plan."

Indeed, I could not find any studies on the Medifast Achieve™ website to prove this new plan works except as a means to separate desperate people from their money.

Since there are only four Medifast replacement meals per day in the new Medifast Achieve™ plan, it will seem cheaper -- and thus more appealing -- to dieters on a tight budget. In reality, they will have to fork out money for an extra lean & green meal and snack each day, resulting in higher overall food costs than the 5&1.

I credit Medifast with being my catalyst to discovering a more ketogenic eating style, but I have since parted ways with the program because I disagree with its focus on low-fat foods. However, I will always feel indebted to the company for helping me achieve my initial quick weight loss -- a success that Medifast newbs may never experience.

Fortunately, they can still lose significant weight on Medifast via the company's Take Shape for Life program, which continues to advocate the "heritage" 5&1 plan with its history of proven success.

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