Who Created the Optavia Diet?
Optavia was launched as a weight-loss plan from Medifast Inc., an American weight loss company that produces, distributes, and sells packaged foods and other weight loss products.
Cake Boss star, Buddy Valastro, endorses the diet and attributes his 35-pound weight loss to the Optavia diet itself. Read our Optavia diet review here to find out if it's really worth it!
How to Follow the Optavia Diet
The weight loss plan revolves around eating a mix of purchased, processed food, called “Fuelings” and homemade “lean and green” diet meals.
You can choose from a wide range of options when it comes to your “Fuelings and “Lean and Green” meals.
Optavia “Fuelings” makeup over 60 items and include shakes, pancakes, soups, pasta dishes, mashed potatoes, popcorn, and more. Each of these meals are protein-based, low in carbs, and includes a probiotic for digestive health.
There are a few different weight loss programs in which users can choose depending on their weight-loss goals, including the 5&1 Plan and the 4&2&1 Plan.
The 5&1 Plan is the most intense, which involves eating five small meals per day in addition to one “Lean and Green” meal in which you prepare on your own.
5&1 provides only 800 to 1000 calories for the day and costs $356.15, provides 119 servings, which could last you about 20 days.
On the other hand, the 4&2&1 Plan is a bit less structured. It comes with four daily fuelings as well as two of your own “Lean and Green” meals you make and one Optavia-purchased snack.
4&2&1 provides slightly more calories, about 1550 per day. This kit costs $399, provides 140 servings, which could last you about 35 days.
Finally, the 3&3 Plan requires the most cooking at home and is intended for weight maintenance rather than weight loss.
Most users move onto this plan once they have hit their goal weight.
3&3 comes with three “fueling” per day and three balanced home-cooked meals.
In addition to following the meal plan, the Optavia diet also includes one on one coaching. Your assigned coach will determine the right plan for you and guide you throughout the process.
What You Can Eat
Because of the nature of the Optavia diet, the foods you can eat are the daily “Fuelings'' the company provides which include shakes, bars, soups, and biscuits. The “Lean and Green” meals are those you make yourself, which usually require a lean protein, up to two servings of healthy fats, and three servings of nonstarchy vegetables.
However, there are several foods you cannot eat on the Optavia diet.
First, starchy vegetables such as potatoes or corn are off-limits for the 5&1 and 4&2&1 plan. Even fresh fruits, low-fat dairy products, and whole-grain products are not allowed during the first few weeks of the diet plan.
In addition, alcohol is not recommended during any of the plans as it adds unnecessary calories and increases your hunger levels.
The company also recommends avoiding butter, coconut oil, or solid shortening. Further, chocolate, desserts, or sugar drinks are also off-limits.
Potential Benefits of the Optavia Diet
The Optavia meal replacement products, or “Fuelings',' are delivered to your home, which saves time and energy.
This makes it much easier for many to follow the meal plan. However, keep in mind that you will still need to shop for ingredients for the “Lean and Green” meals.
Rapid Weight Loss
Most people require around 1600 to 3000 calories per day to maintain their weight. So having a slight deficit than their maintenance calories is what helps people lose weight.
Given that the Optavia diet restricts calories to as low as 800 per day then it is guaranteed to result in weight loss.
One of the big differences between many other diets and programs out there is that the Optavia diet provides one on one coaching.
Having social support while on a diet plan can help a lot in achieving one’s desired goals.
The program also includes group calls, recorded videos, and more to create a sense of community which helps encourage each other.
Potential Concerns of the Optavia Diet
The Optavia diet cost depends on the program you choose, the kit range starts from $350 per month and can go up to $450 per month. This can be a big investment and it does not even include extra purchases you will need to make for the “Lean and Green” meals and other snacks.
Unsustainable Weight Loss
Like many programs, the Optavia Diet comes with rapid weight loss. While great at first, it can result in many users regaining the weight once the plan is over.
Therefore, maintaining weight loss after one has completed the program may be difficult due to the severe caloric restriction and meal options.
Includes a lot of Processed Foods
Although Optavia’s “Fuelings' are low in calories, they are still pre-packaged and processed. Much research has shown that processed foods can have a detrimental effect on one’s health.
According to many Optavia diet reviews by dietitians, the diet is unlikely to alter your eating habits in the long run. Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, of New York City, highlights how “the emphasis on prepackaged food choices never teaches someone how to eat,”
Detroit-based Grace Derocha, RD, CDE, a health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, also notes that it has insufficient calories. She says, “In terms of overall health and nutrition, as well as affordability, this diet does not rank high on my list of best approaches.”
Overall, if you are keen to try this diet, make sure you become educated on healthy eating to maintain your weight loss in the long run once you are off the program. Also, speaking to a registered dietitian can help you learn more about creating nutritious and satisfying meals and create a lifelong healthy relationship with food.
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