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What is the Optavia Diet and Does it Work?

A diet is any typical food that an individual species habitually consumes and thrives on. All too often, when most people hear the term diet nowadays it induces thoughts of caloric restriction, weight loss, or more importantly, no fun. But a diet shouldn’t always be that way. It should be something that you enjoy utilizing, that helps provide nutrient-dense foods, and that you can thrive on for life, without feeling regret or remorse.

With a new diet popping up on an almost seemingly quarterly basis, it can be overwhelming. To be honest, most have been around for years, they’re just re-branded as something new and shiny. Take the Optavia Diet. The Optavia is a home delivery system that provides clients with pre-cooked meals in the form of shakes, bars, desserts, in pre-packaged plans. Their “Fuelings” (their fancy word for meals) “help make change easy. They remove the guesswork and offer a simple, nutrition-dense, delicious variety of choices to help you build new healthy habits.” So, is Optavia the next best thing and should you try it?

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Meatloaf slices with metal fork on a plate beside a towel with "Optavia" below the dish.

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What Is the Optavia Diet?

The Optavia diet is based on a caloric-deficit, low-carb, programmed home delivery service that also has personalized coaching to help you lose weight. They offer their “Fuelings” in pre-packaged form as well as entree-based “Lean and Green” meals — lean protein options with non-starchy veggies and healthy fats.

Boxes of Optavia Fuelings and their respective finished products on a surface.

Their Plans

Optavia offers a couple of different plans based on your individual needs in terms of personal goals. Here is what they offer:

  • Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan – Their most popular plan, this version includes five Optavia Fuelings and one Lean and Green meal each day.
  • Optimal Weight 4&2&1 Plan – For those who need more calories or flexibility in food choices, this plan includes four Optavia Fuelings, two Lean and Green meals, and one additional snack per day.
  • Optimal Health 3&3 Plan – This plan is designed for maintenance. It includes three Optavia Fuelings and three balanced Lean and Green meals per day.
A close-up of a sheet pan shrimp scampi.

How it Works

By selecting the plan that fits your goals and lifestyle, the Optavia Diet tries establishing one lifelong healthy habit at a time in order to make this a lifestyle change. The first goal is achieving a healthy weight, which hopefully leads to healthier habits, like those listed below:

  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Movement
  • Hydration

Meal plans are based around six meals per day, eating every 2-3 hours.

A close-up of a bagel sandwich on brown paper on a table.

Pros of the Optavia Diet

  • Weight Loss – Focusing on putting the client in a caloric deficit will result in overall, initial weight loss.
  • Personal 1-on-1 Coaching – Any diet can have a caloric deficit for weight loss, but the additional help of an actual coach to help teach mindful habits can be very beneficial with the added bonus of extra accountability.
  • Easy to Follow – The diet is a home-based food delivery service that keeps it simple depending on which plan you are doing and makes sticking with it easy. No need to track or count, just reheat and eat.
Three mushroom bun sliders with cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce on a rectangular plate served on a circular wooden tray.

Cons of the Optavia Diet

  • Long Term Success RateA 2017 study found that “commercial weight-loss programs consistently fail to produce modest but clinically meaningful weight loss with high rates of attrition suggesting that many clients find dietary changes required by these programs unsustainable for long term goals.”
  • Sales Pressure and Costly – Just like any type of delivery service, there are additional costs for delivery and convenience. Then there’s the whole added sales pitch built into the system as well.
  • Highly Processed  – Any type of food that is prepackaged is going to be processed which can lead to chronic inflammation and gut health issues.
  • Long-Term Sustainability – Following Optavia’s most popular plan, the 5&1, an individual would consume roughly 800-1200 calories on average per day. That is not sustainable for most men long-term. Great for initial weight loss, but extremely worrisome with significant muscle loss.
Arroz con pollo served on a plate on a table with "Optavia" at the bottom right corner.

Our Take

While the diet does seem ideal for time efficiency and is definitely better than consuming McDonald’s three times a week, there is still plenty of room for improvement. The best diets are ones that have long-term success and don’t restrict food intake drastically, and also have a much more well-rounded approach.

If you want an even better place to start, check out our take on some of the best diets available right now and see which one is best for you. Hint: They are the ones that have been around for decades and are sustainable long-term.

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