Are you a diabetic? Is a medical fasting weight loss program provided by an MD, a hospital or clinic what you need to help you lose weight? Take our Diet Wizard to find out whether a structured medical fasting diet like Medibase is the best diet plan for you. Our objective diet analysis examines your lifestyle, food preferences, and budget, and reviews your needs versus a medically supervised weight loss program like Medibase, as well as other popular diets. Then BestDietForMe.com provides you with unbiased and in-depth reports on your matches, complete with detailed reviews of Medibase and other diet plans, to help you choose a diet plan that’s right for you…
(medical weight loss modified fasting program)
Type of Counseling: by physicians and registered dietitians using the program
Typical Cost:$1,500 – 3,000
Type Program:medical, modified fasting plan,
Type of Foods Used:company liquid supplements plus grocery store food
At-Home or Direct Mail Plan Available?No
Medibase (parent company is Dean Distributors)
1350 Bayshore Highway, Suite 400
Burlingame, CA 94010
The Medibase program really has not changed since the year 2000, in terms of content, protocols, or price. It is still a 16-week fasting program that costs about $3,500 for a full-year plan. The Medibase program is currently being used in less than 10 hospitals, by about 50 MDs and 20 clinics, located throughout the United States.
The higher calorie Medibase 2 supplement (800 cal./day) is sold direct to the patient, via the physician or by word-of-mouth. No prescription is needed. The company did add nutrition bars recently.
Medibase is not the top priority for parent company Dean Distributors. The program has no medical staff or sales reps, relying mostly on word-of-mouth advertising and reputation. Many MDs and clinics buy the Medibase product and use it in their own program.
BestDietForMe.com analysts estimates that only about 7,500 people nationwide use this program, based on overall trends in VLCD (very low calorie diet) enrollments and interviews with management. The Medibase plan is geared to registered dieticians, in conjunction with MDs. Advanced Healthcare also claimed that it was one of the few companies other than OPTIFAST® (Novartis Nutrition) that conducted serious research that is published. They perform substantial research with Type II diabetics.
How The Program Works
The program’s protocol and pricing has essentially not changed since 1991. The plan is flexible in that patients may use real food along with the supplement, if they desire. The patient’s physician can thus personalize the plan. Company brand food entrees are not part of the plan. The supplement comes in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors, and is mixed with water. The patient consumes three servings per day. A chicken soup (not a broth) is also available.
The program begins with an orientation, then a complete physical exam and history, lab tests, an EKG, and a nutrition evaluation. Generally, only people that are 30% or more above their ideal body weight are admitted, and those with kidney or renal diseases are not admitted. The plan is based on a full year's commitment, and is broken down into the following phases:
... the rapid weight loss phase, covering 12 weeks in which the supplement is used three times daily with bi-weekly physician monitoring and weekly counseling sessions. Expected weight loss during this phase is 40-50 pounds, depending on the degree of obesity.
Phase II... covers a period of 16 weeks during which patients are gradually reintroduced to proper food choices. The supplement continues to be used as a meal replacement, initially three times daily, then two times per day and finally one time. Weight loss continues through the first half of this phase, averaging 2 pounds per week, stabilizing by the eighth week. Counseling sessions continue weekly but medical monitoring is reduced to once every four weeks, unless otherwise necessary.
Phase III... the maintenance phase, designed to span 24 weeks. Use of the supplement as a meal replacement for one meal is optional. Counseling continues bi-weekly and medical monitoring is reduced to a level indicated by the patient's condition.
According to the company, 90% of patients beginning the program complete Phase I, 75% complete Phase II, and 60% complete Phase III.
MediBase is a VLCD supplement formulated to be used three times daily, for a total of 420 calories. MediBase II supplement is used four times per day for a total of 800 calories. It is mainly used for transition from the MediBase formula and in situations in which the doctor wishes to use a higher calorie regimen.
The full-year program still costs approximately $3,500. Costs vary, based on the physician, clinic or hospital. The firm does not sell supplement only (as some companies may do)--they make sure that a counseling program is in place as well, and they personally visit sites and doctors who want to administer the Medibase program.
This has always been a small program, operating within the medically supervised fasting segment of the weight loss industry. The company really does not advertise that much, mainly via word-of-mouth. Consequently, it may be difficult to find a local physician, clinic or hospital that uses this plan. You are much more likely to hear of HMR, Optifast®, or Medifast. However, this program has always had a strong expertise in serving diabetics. If you are diabetic, this program may be well worth checking out.
Summary of Modified Fasting Programs By Hospitals, Clinics, MD’s
Approximately 550 hospitals and clinics nationwide are now using a modified fasting VLCD programs.
Hospitals pay for the VLCD supplement product, but they get free staff trainings and program literature. Staff typically used includes dietitians, nurses, ex-patients, and psychologists. These people provide the patient counseling.
Strong recommendations have come from the NIH and others that the diet medications be used only with strictly supervised medical programs that provide behavioral components. There is a high dropout rate when the medications are used alone, and one usually sees only small amounts of weight loss.
Marketdata estimates that fully 30% and perhaps more of the total patients in a modified fasting program are re-enrollees (clients that were on the program before), rather than new patients. We believe that many people that were on the diet drugs came back to these fasting plans.
The rise in popularity of the diet medications is bringing more dieters into the realm of medically supervised programs. This can only help boost enrollments in VLCD plans, as some will be found to be unsuitable candidates for the medications.
The increase in the number of bariatric surgeries has benefited VLCD programs and the demand for fasting supplements. Many patients are put on the supplement to lose weight prior to the surgery, to make the operation go smoother, and many patients also use the supplement after the surgery, to assist in the long-term weight maintenance phase.
Most VLCD programs have made their programs more flexible, adding "intermediate" level (more moderate) programs, food entrees, nutrition bars, and higher calorie levels.
Insurers are reimbursing more often for the behavior modification/counseling portion of fasting programs, a good sign.
Although liquid protein diets have been available to American consumers since the mid-late 1970s, many of today's competitors did not exist until the early-mid 1980s. For example, OPTIFAST® (Novartis Nutrition) has been around the longest, since 1976 in the United States. Medifast was introduced in 1980 and the HMR program in 1983. Most of the other companies, however, did not appear until much later... Ross Labs' New Direction (now part of Robard) - 1988, Ultrafast – 1987 (now out of business), Baylor Fast (now not operating) – 1985.
Typically, about 70-80% of those on medically monitored fasting programs are women. Their average age is 43 years. Medicare and insurance firms will reimburse patients for the cost of the physical exam and any tests related to obesity conditions, but they generally do nor reimburse for the supplement formula.
Strictly from a cost/benefit approach, a VLCD program, if successful in maintaining weight loss over the long term, will eliminate future need for ongoing medication, surgeries and other, more costly procedures. Consequently, the VLCD can be viewed as a preventive measure.
Obesity research expert Thomas Wadden pointed out to Marketdata that VLCD programs are actually more powerful or effective in losing weight than are the diet medications. He says that it’s probably a waste of money for a dieter to use both a VLCD program and the medications. With a VLCD program, one can expect to lose up to 20% of body weight.
A specific diagnosis is always required for a VLCD patient's insurer to reimburse them for part of the total program. The cost of the supplement is not covered (which may represent as much as 50% of the total bill). On average, the VLCD supplement alone accounts for 47% of the total cost of the program, and is not reimbursed by health insurance.
Personnel at various VLCD companies say that the most common diagnoses pertaining to patients include...obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterol, hypertension, hypertriglycerdemia, degenerative joint disease, hyperglycemia, arthritis, and sleep apnea.
Try our Diet Wizard to find out which diet programs are best suited to your specific needs, and which ones will help you keep the weight off.
The information on this web site is intended for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Before starting any weight loss program, it is recommended that you consult your physician or other health care professional.
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