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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Quick weight loss, that’s what nine new diet centers around Philadelphia are offering. But is it too much, too fast? 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl takes a closer look.

It’s an astounding reveal. Amy Wheeler has lost 98 pounds.

“My very first week I lost seven pounds,” said Amy. She started out weighing 253 pounds, and is getting results on Medifast. It’s not a fast, but it’s extreme, only 800 to one thousand calories a day. And she says somehow you’re not hungry.

“It’s really simple to follow. The food tastes awesome and it works. You’re not hungry and the weight falls off,” said Amy.

Glenn Lite was one of the first clients at the new Medifast Center in King of Prussia. He lost 35 pounds, in eight weeks. In addition to getting the pre-packaged food, he also comes here for weekly weigh-ins and counseling. The 54-year-old decided to try Medifast, after he gained back the weight he lost after having surgery.

“Not only have I been on every diet. I’ve had gastric bypass eight years ago and I’ve lost more weight through Medifast, than I had through gastric bypass. So it’s been a life saver for me. It really has,” said Glenn.

Lisa Davis, Director of Research and Development for Medifast, says each serving contains 90 to 110 calories. She says the plan is backed by 20,000 physicians, and there’s research to prove it works.

“Each meal has a balanced proportion of carbohydrates and protein, which allows for the suppression of hunger as well as for target fat loss,” said Lisa.

The Medifast plan consists of five pre-packaged meals, and one regular balanced meal a day.

Stephanie Vander Veur, a Weight Loss Researcher at Temple University, says the rapid weight loss, over several weeks, can be dangerous.

“I think that is concerning. They’re probably making some pretty drastic changes to their lifestyle that aren’t going to be maintained over a long period of time,” said Stephanie.

And she says pre-packaged meal plans can be expensive, but usually they do get results.

“I think the quick weight loss was a huge motivator for me. And that made it work. I think the restriction of the diet also maybe helps people to stick to it,” said Amy. The 33-year-old mother of two says the weight loss has also improved her blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels.

“It is a whole different world. I feel great. I feel like myself again. I feel like I’ve regained my confidence. I’ve regained my beauty. I’ve regained by health, and I’ve regained my happiness

Experts say Medifast helps people learn to eat smaller portions, and make exercise part of their daily routine, so they can maintain their weight loss.

The initial cost to join a Medifast Weight Control Center is $400, and then about $80 a week for the for the pre-packaged food.


Medifast Information
Medifast Weight Control Centers

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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