Metabolic Research Center – what’s it all about?

If you’ve been following my blog for the past 3 months or so, you’ll know that I embarked on a weight loss journey the first of the year. I am using Metabolic Research Center as my weight loss program.

MRC is not in all 50 states, in fact they are only in 18 states as of now. They are hoping to open up in more areas in the future. They have about a dozen locations here in Colorado.

The program itself is fairly simple. You eat regular food, but you are restricted as to what those foods are. There are many lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, with a variety of carbs as well. The diet itself is made up of 60% protein, 20% fat and 20% carbs. You might wonder how you can get THAT much protein in one meal, and that is where the “HNS’s” come in. HNS stands for High Nutritional Supplement, which is essentially a protein drink. There are many varieties of these drinks available, and some aren’t even drinks at all. They also have puddings, chocolate snacks, and soups. The drink mixes come in powders and concentrates and are mixed with 8oz of water. Pricing on the HSNs runs $12 for a box of 7, or you can buy 5 boxes for $50. Those 5 boxes last me about a week and a half. I have 4 HNS’s a day (you can have 3 or 4, or if you are over 200lbs you may have up to 5)

There are different menus based on how much you weigh. The biggest difference between menus is the amount of protein you can have at each meal. When you first start on Metabolic Research Center, you are on a menu for either 5 or 10 days. At the 5th day, depending on your weight, you may change to a more restrictive menu for the next 5 days, or stay on the same one until day 10. At day 10, you begin your menu that you stick with either for the duration, or until you are under 200 pounds.

When you are over 200lbs, you can eat 6 oz of protein with each meal in the form of eggs, cheese, cottage cheese or lean meats including chicken breast, turkey breast, elk, bison and few different fish. Twice a week you can have a little fattier form of protein, such as salmon, scallops, sirloin, or crab meat.

You have carbs at two meals a day – breakfast and dinner. This may be half a flour tortilla, a slice of 40 cal bread, 1/4 cup of various beans, or 1/4 cup oatmeal. At lunch and dinner you have either 8 oz fresh veggies or 4 oz cooked veggies. You are slightly limited with your veggie choice, i.e. no corn. At lunch you have fruit. Again there are some fruits that are not permitted, like bananas.

Seasonings are limited. Nothing with sodium is allowed. You can have mustard, but no ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc with increased sugar.

There are a handful of vitamins and herbs that are optional to take. Remember, if you go in to sign up, the only thing that is mandatory are the HNS’s. Here is what I take: MRC-6 – a product sold by MRC. A prenatal vitamin (you can take a multi-vitamin), a fish oil capsule with each meal, and Vitamin D. I also take Vitamin B-6 when it’s “that” time of the month to help with bloating. Of all of those, the only one that you need to buy at MRC is the MRC-6. It is $60 for a 2 month supply. The rest you can all buy for much less at Target, Costco, etc. The Fish Oil is recommended due to not getting a lot of oil in your diet (you can have up to 2 Tsp a day with your cooked veggies)

You’re probably also wondering about the price. When all is said and done for ME, I will likely have spent $300 on the program (not including the HNS’s or MRC-6). This price includes twice weekly weigh-in’s (which are private) and a private consult with your counselor. This also includes unlimited classes in exercise, food prep, lifestyle, and twice-monthly sessions with a licensed counselor who deals with weight-related issues. I once considered going to a therapist about my food issues, so considering the counselor is available twice monthly, I think this is a pretty good price (for me it will be up to 13 sessions over 6+ months).

Here’s a sample of what I eat in a day:
Breakfast:
2 fried eggs with pepper
1 slice 40 cal bread
1 HNS (usually peach mango, I’m stuck in my ways)

Lunch:
2oz Pepperjack cheese
8oz cucumber (one whole, pretty much)
3/4 c fresh strawberries
1 HNS (usually wildberry)

Snack:
HNS hot chocolate

Dinner:
4oz chicken breast
1 slice 40 cal bread
sauteed mushrooms in EVOO
mustard
HNS (usually peach mango)

The basis of this program is that the increased amount of protein will help burn the fats and carbs. This is called ketosis. Ketosis is the principle behind MRC’s plan. I average 3.5lbs lost per week. It is very important to not eat foods not on program as it will kick you out of ketosis. It can take 3 or more days to get your body back into ketosis and continue with the weight loss. Since starting on January 2nd, I have only eaten off program three times, and all three were planned occurrences. And yes, your weight loss does slow that week.

As you hit your goal weight, additional foods including dairy and carbs are reintroduced back into the diet. It is important to remember there is no caffeine or alcohol on this program, as well as dairy.

Hopefully this gives you an oversight of what the Metabolic Research Center program is about. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me!

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92 comments

  1. Katie says:

    I will say I feel really good on this program and am rarely hungry. It will definitely be interesting to see how it goes once I start adding back in more carbs and fats.

    • Stephanie says:

      Katie- I have struggled with weight loss for as long as I can remember over the years the scale has slowly increased and increased. Now that I am engaged and planning a wedding for next october (YAY!!!) I am soo ready to get into shape so i can look amazing! I have been on my permanent MRC diet plan for over a week now and I am SERISOULY struggling! I am a nursing student and EXTREMELY busy during the day and am already getting frustrated, especially when it comes to meal planning! Is there any advice you can give me to help keep me going? How long were you on MRC and how much did you lose? please help!

  2. Lynsey Jones says:

    This is great – I have been looking for an explanation and something I can actually UNDERSTAND! I’ve never had a weight problem before, but lately have packed it on (turning 30 have something to do with it…maybe!?) Anyways, I look forward to reading about your journey!
    .-= Lynsey Jones´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – New Bike! =-.

  3. Darlene says:

    Hi can you tell me about the conditioning part at the first; IS there anywhere to get the menus besides the ctr. I am short on funds, thanks

  4. Katie says:

    There is a time period (about a week or so) called pre-conditioning where you get your body ready for the program by starting to cut out some of the foods slowly (including caffeine, alcohol, bad carbs, etc)

    As for the menus, I have not seen them posted online anywhere as of yet. A very important part of MRC are the HNS’s, so without them even with the menus you wouldn’t really be doing the MRC program and it wouldn’t work the way it is intended to.

  5. Katie says:

    This sounds great; however, where might I purchase the HNS without having to join a reserch center? Thank you so much for this information!!!

    Katie

  6. Rose says:

    I was wondering what could be eaten on this plan – can you have low sugar peanut butter or natural peanut butter and also what about splenda can you have that – another item I love is fudge bars with splenda is that ok for a treat- what do you do with your chocolate urges or do you have any???? Thanks…
    Rose

  7. Katie says:

    Hi Rose,
    Splenda is allowed on program. There are no nuts or peanut butters allowed on program. I am not a big chocolate fan, but they have many HNS’s that are chocolate flavored, like hot chocolate, chocolate pudding and chocolate crisps. You are allowed one of those a day.

  8. Katie says:

    Hi Katie – unfortunately I’m not sure where else you can buy HNS’s aside from the center. I have heard someone mention Diet Direct, but I don’t know if they are the same thing. I’ve only ever bought mine from the center. All of the supplements can be bought elsewhere (Target, Whole Foods etc)

  9. Natalie says:

    You can get HSN’s or something very close through Herbalife. I used them when I was on this diet several years ago. I am thinking about giving this diet another try as I have put on some weight.

  10. Katie says:

    The ones on Herbalife aren’t the exact specifications that the MRC ones are – there is supposedly a company called Diet Direct that has some that are much closer, I just found out.

  11. kay says:

    This is my first day. I had cheese, 1/2 an orange and bread for breakfast with my HNS. For lunch, I had 1/2 cup cottage cheese, tomato, I am really hungry. Does it get easier?

  12. Katie says:

    Hi Kay, Your first 10 days are the hardest as your body adjusts. I rarely have times when I am hungry. The extra protein really works to keep me satisfied. But like I said, the first 10 days are the hardest to get through because of how strict those 10 days are. Once you move to the green menu it will be a lot easier :)

  13. Lori Alford says:

    Thanks for the great info!! I have been contemplating weight loss surgery but this sounds so much better! i thought it was very expensive but sounds very affordable!I’m gonna give them a try!!

    • Katie says:

      Hi Jen, as of 6 1/2 months on program I have lost 73 pounds and am about 5 pounds from my goal weight. Things have been going very well & it’s been a really easy program for me to follow!

      • CIndy says:

        Katie… that’s great 73 pound wow…. I started the program in June. I love it. I have to agree with you about being a really easy program and for me I haven’t been hungry at all. I have lost 29 pounds so far, and last time I was measured 46 1/2 inches. I feel so great. I would recommend this to all.

  14. Regina says:

    I am currently 4 days into the green menu. If I eat one meal off the diet (on vacation) should I just continue on the green menu, or would I need to go through the stricter first 10 days menus again?

    • Katie says:

      Hi! Just hop right back on the green menu. You’ll probably want to up your water a little bit foor a day or two to help flush put the extra sodium. Good luck!

  15. Janie says:

    Katie,

    I just started the program and bought the multi-vitamin, what is the difference between prenantal vitamin and ther multi-vitamin. Does
    the MRC-6 take weight off faster.

    • Katie says:

      A prenatal vitamin is for someone who is pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant in the not-so-distant future. We are hoping to early next year.

      MRC-6 helps you in losing inches, not weight. It won’t aid in any weight loss, but it will help you to trim up a little better.

      Hope that helps!

      • Janie says:

        I am taking prenatal. Are you taking the mult-vitamin by MRC
        and what oils are you taking. This is day four of the green sheet
        I am very tired, I was told to drink supplement breakfast and
        lunch, does the drink give you energy.

        • Katie says:

          I’m only taking a prenatal, not any other multi-vitamin. When I did take a multi-vitamin, I took a Target brand one.

          The drink is a high protein drink and should help with energy. You are only 4 days on to the menu, so give it a few more days :)

          • Katie says:

            I buy my fish oil either at Target or Costco. You do not get enough EFAs with the foods that you eat on program, that is why they recommend that you take them. I take 6 daily. Did they explain that to you in your food instruction meeting?

  16. Kelly says:

    If any of you are vegetarians out there and are thinking about this program, a little heads-up for you: the only HNS you can have are a couple of the creamy ones and you cannot take any of their vitamins, as they contain gelatin and not the vegetarian variety. Even with the modifications I have made, I have lost almost sixteen pounds in a little over a month. I think the modifications I have made have also had the added benefit of saving more money since the products I by from them are limited. I also did not give up my coffee. Good luck everyone and keep at it!

  17. Connie says:

    I’ve never heard of this program. Thanks for the great explanation of how it works. I think never having another banana would be the hardest part for me. I love them!

    I’m doing Weight Watchers and so far it’s been really easy. I’m a vegetarian so it’s hard to find a plan I can follow.

    I’m looking forward to following your journey!
    Connie´s last blog post ..My Food Diary for the Weekend of 2-20-11

  18. Patti says:

    Just starting MRC with my daughter. Hearing lots of scary things about it and having doubts. Both of us are starting our “Yellow” four day diet tomorrow, Monday 4/25/11. Please let me know how any of you have done, good or bad. Thank you.

  19. Pam says:

    A few days ago, I visited an MRC. I am seriously thinking about starting on it. You mentioned that you cannot have any alcohol. They did not tell me that! I do not HAVE to drink,, but on weekends I do like to drink a few beers with friends. Will this not work for me?

    • Patti says:

      That is correct. NO alcohol permitted. I dearly miss my wine, Pam. Think hard before doing it. Stayed home from several get togethers because I did not want to expose myself to temptation at this point.

      • Katie says:

        I don’t care for alcohol so much that I would have to stay home from a social event because I couldnt have any. I still went to all the family gatherings and other social events I normally would without any problems. Alcohol is enjoyable, buy eating healthy and losing the weight I needed to lose is far more enjoyable!

  20. Tami says:

    Hi. I just started MRC a couple of weeks ago! It is going well so far. I am down 8lbs! I think the best purchase I have made is for the MRC Cookbook. It is awesome. I wasn’t real good with looking at what was allowed for me to eat and mixing it up a bit. My first week was pretty lame as far as food was concerned…picking one item from each list at a time…, but when I got the cookbook and began creating recipes, that was a huge help. There are so many I can make that my whole family can eat with me! The overall costs of items that aren’t required but are suppose to be very beneficial, have sorta crept up on me, but I believe each will be worth it in the long run. I am happy to have found this discussion board! I love all of the input and support!!!

  21. Joanne says:

    I just started the program on June 10th. I wasn’t planning on starting when I walked into the center – infact, I was just going to get the information and start at the end of July. They immediately weighed me, and so it began. It’s quite something. Alot of money – but the very fact that I’m spending the cash is an added incentive to stay on the plan. I have been hungry and they told me to add the fiber drinks to help fill me up a bit. I’m added Mirolax. It has less calories and I have tons of it at home…it can’t hurt. I have to say that I’m enjoying the not-thinking-about-food all the time. I know what I can eat, it doesn’t feel like a big deal, I just eat it and I’m done. I’m no obsessing, like I thought I would. I lost 5lbs in one week and that’s great. I just started the “yellow” menu. I have to go away for the weekend, and I’m a little nervous about being able to find the right quantities and items at various restaurants….one things for sure – I feel so much better than I did a week ago…

  22. Susan says:

    Have you used the thermogenic ADWL? I read about thermogenics online and they sound a bit like diet pills. I am interested in starting the program but am uncertain how the thermogenic will make me feel. My understand is it will rev up my metabolism but I wasn’t tested for low metabolism. Can anyone provide information on this particular supplement?

  23. Lisa says:

    Katie,
    Thank you so much for posting this information about the MRc. I have heard some people talk about it and know a couple people who have lost allot of weight. But I could not find out much of what it was all about (my friends are tight lipped about it) until I stumbled upon your blog. Thank you for sharing. What about after you reach your goal weight, is it difficult to keep the weight off? I have found it is with most weight loss programs. I am so glad you are doing so well with it.

    • Joanne says:

      After you reach your goal weight, you go on a maintenance plan. I think that’s when you slowly add back certain foods and various times. I’m not there yet – still go 19lbs to go. It’s been really slow for me. I’m following the plan exactly and using all their supplements. I’m not usually hungry until meal times. I’m just starting to look at their cookbook, because I haven’t been very inventive this past month. It’s just an interesting program – but it is expensive. I’m kind of committed to it right now, so I don’t want to jump ship. I will decided at my 30 day weigh in and measurment analysis. Will keep you posted.

      • Lisa says:

        thank you Joanne, I am very curious about this program. I did one called Prizm about 11yrs ago and lost 130lbs in 9 months. It did not cost much at all, it was a great support group, and a very strict diet plan. Unfortunatly a few years later I got a tumor on my thyroid, they took the tumor off and my thyroid stopped working and I put back on 120lbs. Once they realized my thyroid wasnt working and got me on meds I lost 68lbs very quickly but I have never lost the rest. It is very hard. So I am looking for something. This one sounds really strict too. Keep me posted on your results and best of luck to you. Thanks again.
        Lisa´s last blog post ..Neala by Lisa Rose Musselwhite

        • Joanne says:

          Well – the weight was coming of quite slowly…but I stuck to the plan and last week at 35 days, I had lost 15lbs. I am very happy about it. I have 10lbs left to go. yeah!

  24. Debby Hancock says:

    I am thinking about joining MRC. Since my mid 50″s hit, meapause has kicked my butt. The more i think about losing weight, the worst i am. Just can”t seem to get a handle on it. Apparently my fear of failing is greater. It”s time to slay the dragon. This weighs on my mind all day long

  25. Kristin says:

    Can anyone give me an idea of how much this costs? I keep reading “expensive”. but trying to get a feel for a dollar figure. Thanks!

    • Katie says:

      it’s usually $99 to enroll for 8 weeks. They will try to sell you supplements that you don’t necessarily need to buy (MRC-6, etc) and then the HNS’s run about $55 for a week and a half supply.

  26. Tina says:

    Hi,
    I just went to a center the other day and things have changed a bit according to what you guy were offered. The joining fee is $398 for 17 wks & 1yr man. And the multi vitamin & fish oil from them is mandatory also of course the HNS’s. So the prices are pretty high.. I am however considering it since I have struggled with my weight for so long with not much success. I have PCOS which makes it very hard to lose weight, even though I eat good foods and work out at least twice a week. So I am just wondering if anyone out there with PCOS has had success with this plan?? Debbie did you end up joining? Thanks

  27. Elizabeth Lynn says:

    Just curious…it’s been awhile now since you embarked on the Metabolic Diet…what are your thoughts now?
    Thanks for sharing your story:)

    • Katie says:

      I still think it’s a good plan, and teaches you how to eat plenty of fruits and veggies (something I don’t always do enough of). Integrating back into every day life after completing the program can be challenging, but it can be done.

  28. Big Dog says:

    Katie, i joined in August and have lost 24 lbs. the first time i’ve lost in a long time! used to do WW all the time, join, lose, gain, join again! i like this plan much better and the protein keeps me from getting hungry! go to 3 Fat Chicks on a diet website and find the forum Metabolic research. it has been very helpful in my success even more so than the counselors at the center.
    my 17 weeks are up in 2 weeks so will prob. do this on my own to get the last 10 lbs or 15 off.
    do you log what you eat online? any other helpful hints you can share with us?

    thanks,

    • Katie says:

      I didn’t log what I ate online, but I did use the meal tracker sheets that they have at the centers and that did help some. Good luck!

    • Katie says:

      There are a bunch of different flavors. My favorite were wildberry and peach/mango, however I also loved the pink lemonade. They come in both powder and liquid form. There are also “creamy” HNS like hot chocolate, cappuccino, vanilla & chocolate pudding, and chocolate crisps.

  29. Amy says:

    Thank you for the information! I start the program next Monday. I was wondering how you are doing now with the maintence? What is your newest update on this program? Do you have any advice? Recepies? Also what fruit and veggies are you allowed to eat? I know that bananas are a no-no.. I am very exicted to embark on this journey.

  30. Brandy says:

    I started this diet jan 1 2012. I was only on the pre condition diet for 4 days. Started yellow page diet, I’m on day 3 of this. Was not able to make it to center to pick up blue menu. They were gonna email it me since I have to drive about 45miles to the center. Weighed myself today and only lost 1 pound!! I am soooooo frustrated!! I’m following this diet to a T. The only thing is I am slowly weaning myself from caffeinated coffee. With my salad I use wishbone salad spritzers which they said I could use. I’m drinking my water,I drink 2 HNS a day. Why am I not losing more weight???? This is why I fall off diets. No results!!

    • Katie says:

      I am pretty sure you are supposed to be drinking at least 3 HNS a day. I can’t answer why you’re not losing weight, but I would suggest that you don’t weigh yourself daily!

  31. Brandy says:

    Is drinking my caffeinated coffee in the morning that bad?? I don’t weigh daily,I was just checking to see if I lost anything since my initial consultation. Is this normal not to lose anything first week or two? Any suggestions??

  32. Brandy says:

    Im on day 11 of metaslim and I’ve gained 4 pounds!!!!!! I’m soooooooo frustrated I’m about to quit this diet. Anybody else goin through this??

    • Stacy says:

      Brandy…don’t quit! It could just be your body adjusting. Plus if you are drinking more water (which you should be) your body may be trying to hold on to it–so it could just be water weight. Be encouraged, and take one day at a time.

  33. Terri says:

    Katie,
    Have you been able to successfully keep your weight off? That is my only question. I’ve heard from so many people that these type of diets actually slow your metabolism because you are not eating many calories and you gain back more than you lost. Just wanting to be cautious before joining.
    Thanks for the info.

  34. Laurie says:

    I started MRC 6 days ago and have already lost 6 pounds and my waistline is getting smaller. So excited how easy this program is. It is pricey…but the end result will be priceless!!!! I use 4 HNS a day and take the cortislim, pentaprim, and MRC along with 6000 omega 3 fish oil, multi vitamin, B12, B6 , D3 and the MRC GUGGLIL

  35. Kristina says:

    Laurie,
    Since you are the most recent to start, I was wondering what you consider “pricey”? Earlier in the blog I see them talking about $99 for the first 4 or 5 weeks….. I am considering the program, but don’t want to spend a fortune.

    • Kitty says:

      Kristina,
      I’m considering joining and the current rate in my neck of the woods is $199 for 17 weeks. (plus HNS, MRC-6, Cortislim…other things). The $199 is just the plan, weigh-ins, counseling, and maintenance. At my MRC they will sell you the metabolic products separately (MRC-6, etc). If you have done Physicians Weight Loss (PWLC), it’s the same thing – or nearly so. The difference I can see are the herbal products. PWLC has Thermogenics and carb blockers. MRC has MRC-6, Cortislim, PhenaTrimPlus, etc.)

  36. Sherry kelley says:

    Love your post I just signed up and my food class is next Friday I can’t wait to start losing weight

  37. Heidi says:

    Thank you Katie for your insite I have my appointment tomorrow and this has helped me prepare and understand the program better.

  38. Valery says:

    I recently started the MRC program. I have been struggling with the MANY supplements that I was told to purchase. I am $800+ in the program…1 month into it. I am not thinking that I can stick with it. I am taking 6 pills before every meal and 2 before bed. I feel so bloated after I take them that I am often not eating a full meal…only to find myself hungry after a couple hours. I don’t take pills very well and I am feeling slightly taken advantage of because I do need to lose 50 lbs. Thank you for the information you shared. I am thinking that I could lay off some of these supplements and focus on the healthy food? I would appreciate your thoughts.

  39. sonya says:

    Hi Katie..Just ran across your blog onliine..Congratulations! ( did the program briefly in 2004 and lost 27 pounds in under 3 months. I moved to a place where there were no centers and kind of got off track. I’ve gained my weight back and then some. I’ve tried weight watchers, and various other programs over the years. I am restarting this program again next month..I spoke with someone on the phone and they have a promising sounding at home deal for people like me who live over 3hours away from the nearest center. Yes its kind of pricey but ultimately it’s worth it…when I was on the program, I felt great and when I was able to be smaller size clothes I was ecstatic!

  40. Stefani says:

    I have been on MRC program since 1-6-12 and have lost 120lbs. I like the program except for my extremely dry skin and hair that were very oily before this program. Also, my hair has been falling out since about a month after I started it. I talked to my doctor and he says it is because of the reduced calorie diet and the abundance of protein. Your hair needs protein to be healthy, but when your body has more than it needs, as with this program, it can cause the opposite effect and cause it to fall out. He said if I go off this program but continue to eat healthy, just less protein, it might come back but he couldn’t promise me it would.

    I found this website that has the HNS drinks similar to MRC http://www.nashuanutrition.com. A co-worker of mine has order from there after leaving MRC and she says they are just as good as MRC. She compared the nutrition lable of both and says they are almost identical.

  41. Kyli says:

    I just started this program yesterday….a little freaked out about the costs but went for it anyway!! What is your advice about the vitamins and supplements? Is there anyway I can make this diet cheaper?

    • Katie says:

      I would suggest that you take your own vitamins and the supplements are not necessary at all. The HNS are, but not any supplements

  42. Shannon says:

    Just started the program yesterday. I had been doing research on the program for the last couple of months..on how the program works, the necessities and the financials. A coworker and I started the program together. The counselor asked us what we could afford to spend. I felt that was a fishing expedition, so I told her I didnt have any money…and I was robbing Peter just to pay Paul to get through the doors. I never gave her an answer. I believe she got frustrated when I kept shooting down her prices…saying no I cant afford that. Price went from 389 to 149 for 17 weeks. Im at the preconditioning stage and doing okay with eating and consuming a lot of water, but the sweet craving is so so hard for me. I’ve been eating pb&j sandwich and it curbs the appetite.

  43. KAJAL says:

    How important is it to actually go to the center itself? Do you think I can make up my own plan or copy what they do. I’m a college student that cannot afford to pay for research center. Any ideas? Thank you.

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