A Medical Weight Loss Plan in America is Just a Fad Diet

I happened to see an ad for Medifast, a medical weight loss plan. The photo in the ad looked like some kind of giant chocolate chip cookie. I checked the Medifast website and it WAS a giant chocolate chip cookie. It was THIS chocolate chip cookie. Large enough that it’s suggested you should eat it with a fork:


Here is what visitors looking for a medically-supervised weight loss plan will see on the website:


So if you need to lose weight and you think going on a medically-supervised program is the way to go, you’ll be eating soft bake brownies, crunch bars, chewy bars, and cookie dough. You can also buy “Bites, Pretzels & Puffs,” as well as “Puddings and Soft-Serve.” The “Hearty Choices” are garlic mashed potatoes, some kind Sloppy Joe in a cup, and macaroni and cheese. You eat SIX meals a day. The “fast” part is for losing weight FAST! It’s developed by DOCTORS! It’s SCIENCE! This is what passes for a “medically-supervised” weight loss plan in America. Fake candy bars, chocolate chip cookies, and “the delicious comfort food you’re looking for.” You’re supposed to eat one “Lean & Green Meal” but you can buy Brown Gravy mix for it. You are encouraged to “Splurge on this rich holiday favorite any time.” Because nothing says “lean and green” like brown gravy. The “Lean & Green” meals you can buy are chicken and rice and turkey meatballs in marinara sauce. A four-week package—and yes, you can choose the “Chocolate Lovers Plan”—will cost you $339. What will you want to eat when you’re done with this program? Will you chocolate lovers still be looking for comfort food?

Optifast had a heyday in the 1980s, especially after Oprah lost 67 lbs in four months back in 1988. She reportedly dropped from 212 lbs to 145. After she hauled a red wagon filled with fat out on the stage of her show, hundreds of thousands sought out the liquid fasting program. I’d guess hundreds of thousands gained the weight back just like Oprah did. The Optifast program is actually not much different today. A visit to the website confirms it’s still the same chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavored meal replacement drink or chicken flavored broth. There has been the addition of a bar to “satisfy the desire to chew.”

The meal replacement drink is still called “Optifast 800” which makes me wonder if its formulation has remained the same throughout all these decades. Its first ingredient is water and the second ingredient is sugar. The fifth ingredient is corn syrup solids. The bars are…interesting. The second ingredient is corn syrup and the third ingredient is high fructose corn syrup.

Only in America would medical professionals recommend attempting to lose weight by consuming industrially-manufactured substances made from corn. Only in America would we believe we could adopt beneficial life-changing habits by indulging a love for chocolate and cookies and eating six daily “meals” composed largely of snack-like items.

America has manufactured its obesity problem. The American cultural ideals of “Get motivated–Get inspired–Achieve anything you set your mind to” are cruel, mocking taunts to those overwhelmed by the American industrial food complex that has made Americans fat and distorted what “healthy eating” means.


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    • JoAnn on July 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

    WTF! Exactly which doctor prescribes what is essentially a corn syrup-based diet? On the face of it, I don’t have problem with convenience foods to make it easy and remove having to make too many food choices. You just have to wonder which part of this promotes health and wellness. Where is the focus on nutrient dense foods or teaching people how to make better choices? It’s better to market than to provide honest counsel.

    1. Yeah, really, what are people who go on these programs going to eat when they get off them? They sell fast weight loss and that’s it. After that, you’re on your own!

  1. These diets can be work for a short period of time but it is not a permanent solution to fat. The best way to reduce fat is by only doing workout and cutting down the consumption of high calories.

    1. You’re so right, Mike! And what’s worse—after a diet of processed bars, snacks, and cookies, people on these plans will learn NOTHING about how to eat for the rest of their lives! If anything, their worst habits will be reinforced! Just like Oprah, the weight will come right back.

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