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While we feature the Medifast diet, we are also blog on the latest diet, nutrition, and health news. So, you can stay up to date on the latest nutritional science and learn healthy approaches to fighting obesity throughout the weight loss process.

Enter DietScienceNews.com

by TMP Editor on June 17, 2014

Greetings dear readers. In an effort to better reflect our overall mission and upcoming strategic transition, we will soon be switching the name of our website. We will no longer be themedifastplan.com and will move to the new URL of DietScienceNews.com. We are hoping to have this transition completed in the upcoming days.

What does this mean to you? Nothing much to start with. We still love Medifast and will continue to promote what we view to be the most effective commercial diet on the market. However, you have probably noticed that we cover a lot of general diet and nutrition news in our blog posts. We are going to continue in this direction and develop a more agnostic approach to our views of the dieting industry.

We look forward to continuing this journey with you as we refine our quest for real, science based diet and nutrition news.


Americans are exercising more, but they aren’t getting much slimmer. Exercise is an essential part of a weight loss strategy, but portion control could be more important. The challenge is to maintain a balanced diet that provides the nutrition necessary to remain healthy while eating less.

Medifast Twice as Effective

When it comes to portion control, a recent trial found that the prepackaged food regimen featured with Medifast helped people lose twice as much weight compared with dieters who tried to match the same nutrition and calorie count on their own.

Exercise can’t overcome poor diet

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics found that in the last decade, the percentage of Americans who got sufficient weekly exercise increased from 46.7 to 51.3. In a report on the study published in the journal Population Health Metrics, the researchers concluded that this increased physical activity has done little to reduce the U.S. obesity rate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of Americans are obese. A separate report by the institute published in the Journal of the American Medical Association identified poor diet as the primary reason why Americans are so unhealthy compared to other developed countries.

The portion control solution

Another study, published in the April 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity shows that a prepackaged portion control diet plan can be a viable solution to this intractable problem.

Researches at Tufts Medical Center in Boston conducted a rigorously controlled year-long study comparing the results of dieters on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan with dieters given advice on how to achieve the same nutrition and calorie intake independently.

A total of 120 men and women from 19-65 years old with body mass indexes ranging from 35 to 50 were randomly assigned to two equally sized groups. The study included a 6-month weight loss phase and a 6-month weight maintenance phase.

Medifast results

At the end of the weight loss phase, people in the Medifast group lost an average of 16.5 pounds (6.7 percent of their starting weight). Those buying and preparing their own diets lost an average of 8.4 pounds (3.4 percent of their starting weight. The Medifast dieters shrank their waists an average of 2.24 inches compared to 1.46 inches for independent dieters. Total cholesterol dropped an average of 8.4 mg for the Medifast group compared to 1.1 mg for the independent group.

Often after a significant caloric restriction a few pounds return as the body seeks equilibrium and the Medifast plan was no exception. However, overall weight loss for the Medifast dieters was an average of 10 pounds, more than twice that of the independent group at 4.4 pounds.

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan consists of five pre-packaged meals each day designed to supplement one meal of vegetables and protein prepared at home. The portion control program offers 70 prepackaged foods arranged in multiple combinations totaling 1,000 calories a day. Medifast dieters also receive access to dieticians and recipes for the home-cooked aspect of the plan, which costs about $300 a month.

Source: International Journal of Obesity, HealthWatch MD, Los Angeles Times



The proportion of the world’s population that is obese has grown dramatically over the past few decades. Copious amounts of research have been conducted in an effort to pin down the root cause of the obesity phenomenon. Recently, a genetic basis for obesity has one of the most talked about theories.

The FTO gene

Numerous studies have identified a certain gene known as FTO that bears the strongest correlation with obesity. Previous research has found that people bestowed with the FTO gene are 70 percent more likely to be obese than those who don’t carry it. Does that mean if you carry FTO and find yourself gaining weight you are destined to become obese and stay that way?

Not necessarily, according to an international team of researchers who investigated how carriers of the FTO gene respond to weight loss efforts.

No difference

For their analysis, published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers reviewed data from eight different weight loss studies more than 9,500 overweight and obese participants. The studies intended to draw associations between those with the FTO gene and the effects of different combinations of diet, exercise and drugs on body fat percentage, weight and waist circumference.

In study periods lasting from between 8 weeks and 3 years, the researchers found no difference in the response to weight loss programs between people with and without the FTO gene. According to the researchers, it doesn’t really matter if you’re male, female, young, old, or black or white. If you have the FTO gene, diet, exercise and discipline will produce results.

Obesegenic environment

The researchers concluded it’s more likely a person’s environment, not their genetics, has a greater impact on whether they will become overweight or obese. This idea has given rise to the term “obesegenic environment,” defined as environments that encourage overeating and lack of exercise. These are largely urban environments that discourage walking, populated by people working sedentary jobs who run a gauntlet of fast food outlets and junk food advertising on their way to work.

The definition of the obesegenic environment extends to the home and school as well. Foods available at home and how families share meals are a strong influence. It’s been shown that families who sit down at dinner together eat healthier and weigh less. Most schools augment their student cafeterias with vending machines full of junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages. These “competitive foods” are often much more compelling to children and adolescents than the healthy lunch options increasingly offered in U.S. schools.

Lifestyle changes

The most important difference between the influence of genetics or the environment on obesity is that while you can’t change your genes, you can definitely change your environment and how you function within it—otherwise known as your lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, fundamental lifestyle changes will start you in the right direction, FTO or no FTO.


MedPage Today


Harvard School of Public Health


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