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In the search for an effective low-carb diet plan, both the Atkins Diet and Medifast are well-known names 2. While both diets restrict carbohydrates, the fundamental food choices and method of participating differ significantly. For dieters trying to decide between the two plans, understanding the similarities and differences between the two is essential.
The Medifast system involves a regimen of six meals a day, five of which consist of meal replacement products provided by the company and one to be made at home of lean protein and nonstarchy vegetables. The daily calorie count for a dieter on Medifast typically ranges between 800 to 1,000 calories. The Medifast website claims that its plan can lead to weight loss of 2 to 5 lbs. per week. Because most of the food on the diet is prepared for you, there is no need to count calories or carbohydrates.
- The Medifast system involves a regimen of six meals a day, five of which consist of meal replacement products provided by the company and one to be made at home of lean protein and nonstarchy vegetables.
- The daily calorie count for a dieter on Medifast typically ranges between 800 to 1,000 calories.
Atkins Diet Identified
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The Atkins Diet is a commercial weight loss plan that claims that restricting carbohydrates can help you lose weight and reduce cravings 2. Dieters go through four phases during which they slowly reintroduce small amounts of carbohydrates to the diet in an attempt to find the level of carbohydrates that causes hunger and weight gain. The idea is to teach the dieter to eat healthy foods while keeping carbohydrate levels below a daily limit for life. Weight loss on the Atkins Diet may be as high as 15 lbs 2. during the first two weeks and less during subsequent phases.
Both Medifast and the Atkins Diet are considered low-carbohydrate diets 2. The Atkins Diet allows a carbohydrate intake ranging between 12 and 100 g per day, depending on which phase the dieter is in 2. The carbohydrate levels on Medifast range between 80 to 100 g per day during the entire program 2. Both diets operate under the principle that high levels of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, lead to spikes in blood sugar that cause hunger and overeating 4.
Because Medifast is a meal replacement program, the company offers over 70 different products for dieters to eat at regular mealtimes while on the diet 2. The Atkins Diet does not deliver prepared meals to the home, but the company does offer shakes and bars that dieters on the plan can use 2. The main focus of the Atkins program, however, is on home-cooked meals 2. Accordingly, Atkins sells a few different cookbooks and also provides an online database of recipes for dieters to try. The company also offers products such as baking mix and pasta for consumers to cook with. Both systems offer online support in the form of forums and articles.
- Because Medifast is a meal replacement program, the company offers over 70 different products for dieters to eat at regular mealtimes while on the diet 2.
- The company also offers products such as baking mix and pasta for consumers to cook with.
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- MayoClinic.com: Atkins Diet
- Atkins Diet: The Program
- Medifast Official Site
- Diets in Review
- Anton SD, Hida A, Heekin K, et al. Effects of Popular Diets without Specific Calorie Targets on Weight Loss Outcomes: Systematic Review of Findings from Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):822. Published 2017 Jul 31. doi:10.3390/nu9080822
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.
- Shilpa J, Mohan V. Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane? Indian J Med Res. 2018;148(3):251–253. doi:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1666_18
- de Menezes EVA, Sampaio HAC, Carioca AAF, et al. Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr J. 2019;18(1):41. Published 2019 Jul 23. doi:10.1186/s12937-019-0457-z
- Goff SL, Foody JM, Inzucchi S, Katz D, Mayne ST, Krumholz HM. BRIEF REPORT: nutrition and weight loss information in a popular diet book: is it fact, fiction, or something in between? J Gen Intern Med. 2006;21(7):769–774. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00501.x
- Westman E, et al. A New Atkins for a New You. Touchstone Press. New York, New York. 2010.
Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.