Sometimes, I get emails from people looking for alternatives to medifast or wondering what is so special about the company’s products. I understand this because I used to wonder these things too. At that time, I didn’t understand that the cost of this plan’s food is actually usually cheaper than groceries and that the nutrition, carbohydrate, and protein content of the medifast foods is often quite a bit better than the alternatives. I’ll use the very popular oatmeal as an example in the following article.
The Real Differences Between Medifast Oatmeal And Regular Oatmeal: I make no secret of the fact that I love the plan’s oatmeal. All of the flavors are good (blueberry, peach, apple cinnamon, and brown sugar and cinnamon) but I really love the peach. And, I often use the brown sugar as a dry ingredient for very low fat, low calorie, but tasty oatmeal cookies. One of my coworkers asked me how this diet product was different than say, Quaker oatmeal. Well, let’s look at the numbers.
This diet’s oatmeal (peach flavored) has 110 calories (15 of those calories are from fat.) It contains 1.5 grams of fat, only 16 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of sugars. It has a very high 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Additionally, it contains at least 25-30% of the requirements for vitamins and nutrients like iron, folate, and vitamins A,C, D, E, and K, as well as biotin, niacin, and riboflavin.
Now, let’s look at Quaker’s equivalent (also peach flavored). It is 130 calories and has 20 calories from fat (2.0 g total). This is not too bad, but things worsen when you look at the carb and sugar content. The regular oatmeal has a whopping 27 grams of carbohydrates and 12 of sugar. It only has 3 grams of protein 2 of fiber and this is the major difference. (Taste wise, believe it or not, there is not a huge difference between the two, at least in my opinion.)
The Importance Of The Low Carb / Low Sugar / High Protein Combination: The reason that the medifast diet works so well is because of ketosis. This means that the low amount of carbs and sugar and the high amount of protein convinces your body to turn on it’s fat and effectively burn it. The oatmeal in this diet is an example of how many of the snack type foods change up the nutrition to make sure that not only are you consuming a low amount of calories, you’re also limiting your carbohydrates and your sugar.
Sure, the regular oatmeal is pretty low in calories and fat. But, that’s not the whole story. It is very high in carbs and sugar and it doesn’t have nearly enough protein to counter this. There’s no way that this product would allow you to get into ketosis, which is really the key.
And, you can make similar comparisons with many different kinds of the foods. Chose your typical protein bar or pudding and you’re going to find tons of sugar and very little protein. This isn’t the case with the medifast equivalents.