Sometimes I get emails from people looking for alternatives to medifast or wondering what is special about the company’s products. I understand this because I used to ask myself these questions too. At the time, I didn’t understand that the cost of the food in this plan is actually cheaper than the groceries, and that the nutrition, carbohydrates, and protein content of medifast foods are often significantly better than alternatives. I’ll use the very popular oatmeal as an example in the next article.
The real differences between Medifast oatmeal and regular oatmeal: I’m making no secret of the fact that I love plan oatmeal. All the flavors are good (blueberry, peach, apple, cinnamon, and brown sugar and cinnamon) but I love peach. And, I often use 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 from, say, Quaker oatmeal. Well, let’s see the numbers.
The oatmeal on this diet (peach flavored) has 110 calories (15 of those calories come from fat). It contains 1.5 grams of fat, only 16 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of sugars. It has very high 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. In addition, it contains at least 25-30% of the requirements of vitamins and nutrients such as iron, folic acid and vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as biotin, niacin and riboflavin.
Now, let’s look at the equivalent of Quaker (also peach flavored). It has 130 calories and 20 calories from fat (2.0 g total). This isn’t that bad, but things get worse when you look at the carbohydrate and sugar content. Regular oatmeal has a whopping 27 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of sugar. It only has 3 grams of protein 2 fiber and this is the biggest difference. (As for taste, believe it or not, there isn’t a huge difference between the two, at least in my opinion.)
The importance of the low carb / low sugar / high protein combination: The reason the medifast diet works so well is because of ketosis. This means that the low amount of carbohydrates and sugar and the high amount of protein convince your body to activate fat and burn it effectively. The oatmeal on this diet is an example of how many of the snacks change the nutrition to make sure you are not only consuming a low amount of calories, but also limiting your carbohydrates and sugar.
Sure, regular oatmeal is pretty low in calories and fat. But that’s not the whole story. It is very high in carbohydrates and sugar and does not have enough protein to counteract this. There is no way this product will allow you to enter ketosis, which is really the key.
And you can make similar comparisons with many different types of food. Throw in your typical protein bar or pudding and you’ll find tons of sugar and very little protein. This is not the case with the medifast equivalents.