If you live in the United States, Modifast probably isn't a familiar name. Modifast, based in the Netherlands, is a very low calorie weight loss program in which packaged meal replacements -- shakes, puddings and cereals -- are consumed in lieu of your regular diet. As with all very low calorie weight loss programs, the Modifast diet is safe only when used under your doctor's care, says the Weight Control Information Network, or WIN.
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Modifast meal replacements are distributed by the Meerburg Pharmacy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Meerburg Pharmacy is the mail order division of Meerburg Apotheek, a Dutch pharmacy that services in-country consumers. According to information supplied by the distributor, Modifast meal replacements have 500 calories for every three packets, as well as all of your essential daily nutrients. Consumers may go to the Meerburg website for more information. A link is in the Resources section.
The Modifast diet consists of three phases, Phase A, B and C. During Phase A, you select a Modifast meal replacement three times each day, eating nothing else and drinking at least 2 litres of calorie-free fluids each day, or a little more than 2 qts. During this phase, you may lose between 1 to 4 kilos a week -- that's between 2.2 and 8.8 lbs. During Phase B, you continue to use Modifast meal replacements, but slowly integrate "carefully-selected" meals back into your diet. Phase C, purportedly the most difficult to achieve, is when you stop using Modifast meal replacements. According to the company website, the Modifast diet program is designed to last eight weeks; however, it does not give specifics as to how many weeks each phase of the program lasts. Nor does the website note how specific maintenance strategies are incorporated into the final phase to ensure that you don't regain weight.
Modifast Intensive meal replacements are available in shakes, puddings and muesli. Shake flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana and orange. Muesli, a type of cereal, is sold in strawberry and cinnamon-apple flavors. Modifast pudding flavors include chocolate, caramel and vanilla.
Modifast meal replacements are priced in Euros on the company website. These products are not inexpensive: a box of nine milkshake meal replacements cost $39.71 USD in mid-December 2010. The 15-day combination pack of Modifast meal replacements cost $188.62 USD, and a 92-day supply was priced at $1072.27 USD.
According to WIN, doctors sometimes recommend a very low-calorie diet that uses meal replacements such as Modifast products when patients are obese and have a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or greater. A very low calorie diet may also be appropriate for overweight patients if their weight has resulted in health complications. MayoClinic.Com indicates that very low calorie diets, or VLCDs, typically give you between 600 and 800 calories a day, compared to the Modifast diet, which starts out at 500 calories a day. Such diets are not to be done on your own; rapid weight loss can compromise your health, resulting in gallstone formation, especially in women. Other side effects associated with VLCDs include dizziness, headache, constipation, dry skin and cold intolerance.
A very low calorie diet can give you a quick weight loss "jump start" if you're obese and your doctor feels that this type of program is right for you. However, WIN points out that most people who struggle with weight do so for life. Meal replacement plans like Modifast take all the guesswork out of calorie-counting, but they don't teach you how to eat healthfully after you stop relying on these packaged meals. To treat obesity comprehensively, your doctor will work with you to make long-term dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as develop an exercise program to increase your level of physical activity. In some cases, prescription weight loss medications and weight loss surgery may be appropriate.