What Is It, Value and Does It Work for Weight Loss?
Diet Plans

What Is It, Value and Does It Work for Weight Loss?

Fashionable diets come and go, however one questionable — and costly — plan has been hanging round for a number of years now. Thought the Optavia eating regimen was formally launched in 2017, it’s really a brand new model a weight-loss plan known as Medifast, created in 1980. (The multilevel advertising and marketing firm behind it was fined $3.7 million for false promoting in 2012.) However even with the appearance of widespread weight-loss medicine such Ozempic, the eating regimen, which includes prepackaged meals, just a few lean, inexperienced meals a day and private teaching, nonetheless has its followers.

However what precisely does Optavia contain? With regards to restrictions, nothing is technically off-limits on this eating regimen. However within the Optimum Weight 5 & 1 Plan, the most well-liked of the eating regimen’s choices, you eat just one whole-food meal per day; the remainder of your 5 small meals come through “fuelings,” packaged merchandise you might be required to purchase from the website or your private coach. “A eating regimen like this may really feel extraordinarily restrictive, which might create the need to binge as soon as off of it,” says Marissa Meshulam, RD, of MPMNutrition in New York. “This all-or-nothing considering with our diets doesn’t result in lasting success and may create giant yo-yos not solely in our weight, but additionally with how we really feel.”

Optavia is at the moment tied for #21 out of 24 in a rating of diets by U.S. Information & World Report, with 1.8 stars out of a potential 5; the primary critique is that it’s “not a very simple eating regimen to observe,” although it does rating factors for taking off the kilos rapidly.

“In my expertise, the calorie restriction on Optavia is much too excessive for most individuals — particularly those that are selecting it as step one in establishing a more healthy consuming sample and way of life on the entire,” stated Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., CDN, a New York Metropolis-based Registered Dietitian, advisor, and writer of Dressing on the Aspect (and Different Weight loss plan Myths Debunked). “Whereas accountability and group are key elements to any habits change program, habits modification with restrictive consuming patterns units a few of us up for disordered consuming habits and limit–binge–limit tendencies.”

Editor’s word: Weight reduction, well being and physique picture are advanced topics — earlier than deciding to go on a eating regimen, we invite you to achieve a broader perspective by studying our exploration into the hazards of eating regimen tradition.

This is every little thing you have to learn about Optavia earlier than signing up:

What’s the Optavia Weight loss plan?

Optavia is marketed as a weight-loss or upkeep plan that includes consuming a mixture of bought, processed meals created by the corporate — primarily shakes, bars, soups and crunchy snacks known as “fuelings” — and home made “lean and inexperienced” meals. One good factor? You do not have to depend carb, energy or factors. As an alternative, you simply add water to powdered meals merchandise or unwrap a bar as a part of your plan, which might embody as much as six portion-controlled meals day by day. This can be a bonus for individuals who simply do not wish to must put any effort to plan their meals, however the choices are restricted — although there are 60 fuelings to select from, there may be only a handful of what could be thought of entrees, equivalent to purple bean chili and buttermilk cheddar mac. All fuelings include added protein and a probiotic, and are round 100-110 energy. “These fuelings are extraordinarily low calorie, which isn’t ample,” says Meshulem. “It is not rocket science that essentially the most nourishing eating regimen for all of us contains extra produce, wholesome proteins and fat and sluggish, nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources. By changing the vast majority of our meals with low-calorie processed meals, you could shed some pounds within the brief time period resulting from calorie deficit, however it’s undoubtedly not serving to out your well being in the long term.”

The latest providing from the corporate is the Optavia Energetic plan, launched in September 2023. The brand new line of merchandise, which they are saying have been created to assist muscle well being, contains whey powder and an Important Amino Acid (EAA) Mix. There’s additionally a choice of new packages designed for people with identified diabetes, in addition to issues for individuals over the age of 65. These packages barely deviate from Optavia’s signature 5&1 plan, and could also be extra customizable with enter out of your physician.

Optavia additionally provides steerage from its personal employees of eating regimen coaches that can assist you be taught their trademarked “Habits of Well being” — these people should not required to acquire any medical accreditation to carry out these companies, to be clear.

The plan moreover recommends doing about half-hour of moderate-intensity train per day. Ultimately, as soon as your weight reduction targets are met, the model provides a secondary plan for weight reduction upkeep that customers can subscribe to.

Is the Optavia eating regimen wholesome?

Within the Optavia eating regimen, protein makes up 10–35% of your day by day energy. It is also clear that this system depends on making a calorie deficit in your dietary routine for preliminary weight reduction outcomes, which requires long-term upkeep. Nevertheless, the processed, powdered number of protein that is featured in packages like Optavia can result in some less-than-pleasant uncomfortable side effects.

“A significant ‘purple flag’ right here is the usage of the phrase, ‘fuelings,’ that are designed to interchange meals on Optavia. These protein powders usually include components (together with sugar alcohols, emulsifiers and texturizing brokers) that may result in undesirable GI uncomfortable side effects, making you much better off consuming meals that embody excessive protein meals that you just get pleasure from vs. consuming them within the type of powder that will promote emotions of discomfort — notably within the context of utmost calorie deficit,” London stated.

Plus, the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary dietary supplements like shakes and powders for security and efficacy the identical approach it does for meals. “It is important you seek the advice of together with your doctor in the event you’re contemplating beginning this plan. Protein blends & powders could also be contaminated with undesirable, undesirable substances or work together with a medicine that you could be already be taking — and there is additionally no strategy to assure that what you may get in a single batch is identical as what you may obtain in one other one,” London added.

Extra FAQs

What do you eat on Optavia?

At the very least half of any Optavia eating regimen consists of its “fuelings,” which embody bars, shakes, cookies, cereal and a few savory choices, like soup and smashed potatoes. These processed meals usually checklist soy protein or whey protein as the first ingredient.

“Lean and inexperienced” meals fill out the remainder of the eating regimen, which requires you to buy and put together through meal prep classes by yourself time. These embody:

  • 5–7 ounces of cooked lean protein like fish, hen, egg whites, turkey or soy
  • 3 servings of non-starchy greens like lettuce, greens, celery or cucumbers
  • As much as 2 servings of wholesome fat like olive oil, olives or avocado

The Optavia advises consuming six or seven instances per day (about each two to a few hours) relying on the chosen plan. The three accessible plans are:

Eat 5 Optavia fuelings and only one “lean and inexperienced” meal per day.

How does Optavia provide help to shed some pounds?

Optavia closely depends on intensely proscribing energy to advertise weight reduction. Most “fuelings” hover round 100–110 energy every, which means you would absorb roughly 1,000 energy per day on this eating regimen. Vitamin specialists throughout the Good Housekeeping Institute have stated that an consumption of 1,200 energy is the naked minimal in an effort to keep away from disordered or unhealthy consuming, and going beneath this quantity can result in excessive starvation, micronutrient deficiencies and different adversarial uncomfortable side effects.

Regardless of Optavia’s dramatic method, U.S. Information and World Report at the moment ranks it #2 in its checklist of Greatest Quick Weight-Loss Diets, tied with Atkins and Nutrisystem, and behind solely the Keto eating regimen. Notably, Optavia drops to #22 on the checklist of Greatest Diets for Wholesome Consuming, with many packages outperforming it.

London says there’s a greater method to lasting weight reduction: “‘Consuming meals and snacks that incorporate a great deal of produce, 100% entire grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and pulses, low-fat dairy merchandise, eggs, poultry, seafood, and lean beef plus some indulgences is one of the best ways to shed some pounds sustainably for the lengthy haul.”

Meshulam factors out that this excessive calorie restriction can have long-term results that could be the alternative of what you hoped when beginning the plan: “Since Optavia is so low calorie, it will probably lead us to quite a lot of muscle loss, versus fats loss, which might sluggish your metabolism down after the eating regimen,” she says. “Lots of people will have a look at a eating regimen like this and see that it elicits fast weight reduction and see that as a professional, whereas I like to have a look at long-term success on this stuff. Even in the event you lose 20 kilos in just a few months, in the event you achieve it again throughout the subsequent yr or two, the eating regimen failed you and by no means actually labored.”

Is Optavia the identical as Medifast?

Considerably — Medifast Inc. is the guardian firm of Optavia. It additionally owns and operates the Medifast program you could bear in mind from the ’80s and ’90s, which had docs prescribing meals to their shoppers. Optavia makes use of comparable meals with an similar macronutrient profile, however customers can join the plan themselves on-line.

How a lot does Optavia value?

The important 5&1 plan, which is Optavia’s flagship providing, value greater than $375 per 30 days, and that is not together with what you may spend in your “lean and inexperienced” meals (or what you cook dinner at house). This is what you’ll be able to anticipate to pay for every program in 2024 (there’s a low cost for the primary month’s equipment, these costs mirror the common worth):

  • Optimum Weight 5 & 1 Plan: $511.50 for 154 servings
  • Optimum Weight 5 & 1 ACTIVE Plan: $571.45 for 184 servings, together with whey protein and the important amino acids powder).
  • Optimum Weight 4 & 2 ACTIVE Plan: $515.15 for 179 servings

In distinction, United States Division of Agriculture (USDA) estimates revealed in September 2022 recommend {that a} lady between the ages of 19-70 could spend upwards of $243 per 30 days on groceries whereas nonetheless following a nutritious eating regimen. It is true that you’re going to want to arrange most of your meals, in contrast to Optavia — although, there are various different packages so that you can think about that do not contain portion management.

The underside line: “Consuming actual, nutrient-dense, scrumptious and health-promoting meals that nourishes you is the one strategy to shed some pounds and preserve it off long-term,” London advised Good Housekeeping.

Headshot of Caroline Picard

Caroline is a author and editor with virtually a decade of expertise. From 2015 to 2019, she held varied editorial positions at Good Housekeeping, together with as well being editor, masking diet, health, wellness, and different way of life information. She’s a graduate of the Medill College of Journalism and desires of the day Northwestern will return to the Rose Bowl.  

Headshot of Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., NASM-CPT

Stefani (she/her) is a registered dietitian, a NASM-certified private coach and the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Vitamin Lab, the place she handles all nutrition-related content material, testing and analysis. She holds a bachelor’s diploma in dietary sciences from Pennsylvania State College and a grasp’s diploma in medical diet from NYU. She can be Good Housekeeping’s on-staff health and train skilled. Stefani is devoted to offering readers with evidence-based content material to encourage knowledgeable meals decisions and wholesome residing. She is an avid CrossFitter and a passionate house cook dinner who loves spending time along with her huge match Greek household.