Advertisements For Medifast

By Laura Moncur @ 8:42 am — Filed under:

I have seen a lot of advertising for Medifast lately. Their current celebrity darling is Genie Francis, the woman who played Laura in General Hospital. Oprah lost her weight with Medifast back in the late Eighties, but she immediately started gaining the minute she went off the program. A public failure of their program is something that I’m surprised Medifast was ever able to recover from.

I don’t mind celebrity endorsements, but misleading advertising is another story. This Medifast ad in particular bothers me:

Medifast Ad

It was an animated ad that showed the girl fat, then thin. The thing that bothers me is that she isn’t a success story. They don’t claim that she is. They don’t claim that the girl pictured lost any weight with Medifast, but having her there is misleading.

I KNOW that this isn’t a before and after picture. How do I know? Shoddy Photoshop technique. When they used the photo editing software to make her “fat” they forgot to airbrush out her ribs. Can you see in the “fat” version? The shadow of her ribs are still there. I don’t know about you, but I have never had the shadow of ribs show up in a photo, even when I am thin. You have to get EXTRA skinny to see your ribs.

This is the opposite of what Redbook did to Faith Hill. Instead of taking a perfectly beautiful woman and making her too thin, the advertising agency for Medifast took a strikingly thin girl and made her look fat for her “before” picture.

It makes me wonder. If Medifast REALLY can make you lose weight two times faster, then why don’t they have some REAL people who lost weight in their ads? Why do they have to Photoshop themselves a good before and after picture?

When you go to their site, they have a handful of real people (in addition to Genie Francis) who have lost weight on their program, but why didn’t they use them? Real people get a little sick of starving. That’s what fasting is, starving. When their real customers go back to eating real food, they might have an embarrassing relapse just like Oprah Winfrey. So, it’s better that they find a thin model for the after picture, fatten her up using Photoshop for the before picture and never mention her name. She’s “just” a model afterall.

Sounds like the best thing to do is stay away from companies that are willing to bend the truth a little bit in order to get you to buy their product. Sure, they didn’t lie. They never said that the beautiful blonde pictured in their ad lost weight with Medifast, but having her on their advertisement is manipulative and shady. Don’t trust your health to a company who’s willing to cross those lines.

Here are some other articles about altered images and what they do to our view of ourselves:


6 Responses to “Advertisements For Medifast”

  1. TrishNYC Says:

    What makes it even worse is that she is not large enough in the “before” picture to justify a liquid fasting diet! I thought only the morbidly obese should consider fasting after a doctor’s recommendation since they are dangerously low in calories and nutrients.

  2. Harl Delos Says:

    The fact is, diets don’t make you skinny; they make you fat.

    You can gain or lose about 10% of your weight relatively easily. It’s virtually all water, of course, but you can do it.

    About 2% of the population permanently loses a significant amounts of weight each year. It isn’t intentional; it happens because something goes wrong with your system. When someone becomes diabetic, it is fairly common for them to lose a lot of weight, because their bodies are starving.

    Pills that are supposed to supercharge your metab9olism? It’s easy to tell that they don’t work, because YOUR BODY TEMPERATURE DOESN’T CHANGE, which is what would happen if you were were burning up that food.

    Nutrition researchers now believe that body fat is a “stress organ”. If you are overstressed, it gets bigger, just like an overstressed heart or overstressed liver becomes enlarged. There’s no known way to reduce the size of an overstressed organ.

    When you go on a weight-reduction program, you stress your body, and the result is permanent weight gain. Over 95% of those starting a diet four years ago today weigh more now than they did then.

    Still, you have the diet programs saying “Look, I lost all this weight, and then they explain that they’ve changed the program, and they lost weight on a previous diet. They changed the diet because the old diet generally didn’t work. The new one doesn’t, either, but nobody can prove that, yet.

    Do a medline search, and you’ll find that there is NO weight loss diet that is even 20% effective in taking off 40 pounds and keeping it off for 4 years. None at all. You’d think that if cutting calories, carbohydrates, fat, or some other nutritional restriction resulted in permanent weight loss, someone would have been able to show results….

  3. Cindy Says:

    While this is pretty insidious Photoshopping and diet scam manipulation, I have to note that if I stand up straight, you can see my top four ribs even though I have a fair amount of weight to lose. It just depends on how your fat is distributed – mine seems to all be in one big “tire” lower than the waist of this girl’s jeans.

  4. Carol Zachmann Says:

    Oprah did NOT do the Medifast diet. She did a different program that has a similar name called Optifast. These are two different diets.

    Any diet will help someone lose weight. Unless you change your lifestyle and eating habits though, that weight will come right back.

  5. Amber Says:

    This obviously isn’t a before and after. It is not meant to be a before and after, it is a marketing ad to catch your attention to have you further investigate Medifast. I do believe that you all are thinking way to literally. if you were to go to the Medifast site then you would see the numerous testimonials that they do have and Medifast does save lives, everyday. It saved mine.

  6. John Says:

    Of course people gain weight after they end their diet, that’s because they go back to eating the way they did prior to the diet and is really no fault of the medifast diet itself. The fault lies on the people people who don’t read the literature that is often provided with the diets pertaining to the food “common” food reintroduction period. The real travesty with medifast is that they sell 4 weeks worth of oatmeal, slimfast, and granola bars for $300. Ouch.

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