Optavia review – Can coaches help you reach optimal health?

Optavia Review Summary

Optavia is a subscription weight loss programs that provides small meals and snacks called fuelings and access to coaches. Learn more in our Optavia review!

Nebula Genomics



Optavia is a weight loss program that offers support through personal coaches and prepared meals. The plans may get expensive and some customers have reported that the calorie intake from these meals is not enough to sustain them throughout the day.


This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.

February 6, 2021

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 facts from our Optavia Review

  1. Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  2. Products: Optavia offers food low in carbs and high in proteins, classified as fuelings and snacks. They are offered in kits for specific dietary plans
  3. Costs: The price will depend on which plan you choose, but an Optavia program goes from $300 to just a little above $400
  4. How to Order: You can order their products through the Optavia website  
  5. How it Works: Hire a coach, pick a plan, purchase the meals that come with that plan through a subscription
  6. Who can take this: Not suitable for teenagers, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. The company does offer dedicated diets for teenagers and moms  
  7. Complementary products: Nebula Genomics 30X Whole Genome Sequencing is the safest way to know what ingredients contained in Optavia products will work for you. Results will vary, and the reasons for those variations are found in your genes

Optavia Introduction

What is Optavia? Optavia is a weight maintenance plan created by Medifast Inc., consisting of several dietary programs to help people lose weight and still enjoy delicious food. Due to its popularity, it may be a company you’ve heard of before. 

The product is not marketed as a miracle diet to make you shed pounds instantly but rather as a program that takes time and dedication. In this Optavia review, we will turn to this program with a clinical eye to check how efficient it is at what it says it does. 

The vision of Optavia is to create healthy habits in small bits. It is a process that takes time and continues even when pounds have been lost. To help users achieve their goals, they offer a series of kits containing a curated selection of healthy snacks and foods.   

Interestingly, Medifast Inc., the parent company of Optavia, was fined $3.7 million by the FTC for violating a previous agency order on not making unsupported claims about one of their subsidiary’s weight-loss programs back in 2012.  This is not to say that Optavia, formerly Take Shape for Life, engages in dubious practices. There are no recent reports of such behavior nor fines about it. 

Medifast began in 1980 by William Vitale, a medical doctor. It started as Vitamin Specialties Corp, and then the name was changed to HealthRite in 1995 until 2001 when it was changed to what we know it for today. 

Optavia food selection
Optavia food selection

Optavia is one of the five subsidiaries of this corporation. Before July 2017, it was called Take Shape for Life. That same year, Optavia introduced the Optavia Essentials, which were sold from coaches to clients directly. 

Medifast’s headquarters are located in Baltimore, Maryland, and their products are sold within the U.S. market. In the first half of 2019, Optavia began expanding its healthy living programs to Hong Kong and Singapore. 

Optavia’s offer consists of health products (called fuelings) to lose weight and gain a brighter sense of wellbeing. They do this through programs or plans.

The website advertises three Optavia plans:

  1. Optimal Weight – 5&1 Program: This is like the starting Optavia program where users create a habit of eating six small meals every 2-3 hours. These meals are five fuelings and one Optavia lean and green meal. 
  2. Optimal Weight – 4&2&1 Program: For users that want to continue eating without restriction. This plan includes four fuelings, two lean and green meals per day, and one snack. 
  3. Optimal Health – 3&3 Program: To sustain a healthy lifestyle, you will need three fuelings and three lean and green meals each day.

The first step to being a part of Optavia’s health programs is to find a coach. This support system helps get better results, according to the company. This coaching program is made in its majority by users of the products that saw changes and want to share them.  Clients who have been actively using Optavia’s plans and products for a specific time may apply to become a coach and earn some money.    

Did you know that your DNA determines which foods are best for you if you want to lose weight? However, most genetic tests decode only 0.02% of your DNA. At Nebula Genomics, we offer Whole Genome Sequencing – the most complete DNA test that decodes 100% of your DNA. It will enable you to learn more about your wellness, health, and diet than any other DNA test! Click here to learn more!

Review of the Science Behind Optavia

According to claims made by the company, like other diets, the Optavia diet includes food low in carbohydrates. The premise here is that fat will then take its place, and the person’s body will start burning it, leaving behind only healthy fats. This fact makes this diet especially effective. 

Medifast has actual research behind it, and doctors, health professionals, and registered dietitians have put together the dietary plans. A 2016 study done with the 5&1 Optavia meal replacement program concluded that it works well but only when combined with phentermine, an amphetamine drug for weight loss. 

Optavia Fuelings

To accompany their meal plans, the company provides pre-prepared low-carb meals called “fuelings.” These, along with one or two “Lean and Green” meals, are shipped to your door. Depending on the program you are in, you can also get one or two healthy snacks.

Order screen for an Optavia kit
Ordering an Optavia kit

Regardless of the plan you choose, you will be getting six small meals per day. This amount of food, considered healthy eating, is not enough for many users, causing them to suffer hunger from calorie restrictions, which might counter the effect. When you examine what is in every fueling, it’s no wonder people find it difficult to follow. 

Fuelings are relatively small and may include pancakes, shakes, bars, etc. Their average weight is between 32 to 36 grams. For example, the Optavia Essential Orchard Apple & Cinnamon Spiced Oatmeal provides 110 calories and 33 grams. The suggested daily calorie intake is about 2,000 calories. 

With only five fuelings meals, there is no way to reach that amount. The 5&1 plan provides around 800 and 1000 calories per day. 

Lean & Green Meals

When adding the Optavia Lean and Green recipe meals, users get about 100 grams of cooked lean protein, which, according to some nutritional experts, is not enough to muscle-spare during weight loss. The Optavia recipes for these meals also include non-starchy vegetables and servings of healthy fats. 

The proper intake should be 1.6 g/kg/d (grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day) for dieters. Optavia provides this amount of protein to a person with a weight of 63 kg (139 lb).

Review of Optavia: Helping people achieve lifelong transformations

How does the program work?

Once you have browsed around and decided that you are interested in the potential health benefits offered, the first step is to find a health coach.

A virtual Optavia coaching consultation
Optavia coaches help you reach your goal

You will then be either connected to a coach near your location or one you already know. This coach will eventually contact you and get started on your program. Coaches are there to motivate and help you follow up with the program – they are not medical advisors and should not give medical advice. 

Once you have agreed with your coach on what Optavia weight loss plan to follow, they will help you keep up with your Optimal Health journey. The job of a coach essentially entails:

  • Guide and encourage 
  • Provide one-to-one support
  • Encourage the client to participate in the Optavia community
  • Inform Support about client’s adverse reactions or if they are hospitalized 
  • Encourage the client to seek professional help when needed

You can access your coach through Optavia Connect using your Optavia login information.

Review of Optavia Cost

Products are available on Optavia.com. The products and the kits required are not cheap, but also not crazy expensive. A monthly supply of fuelings goes between $300 and just above $400, depending on the plan chosen. 

The Essential Optimal Kit for the most popular plan (5&1) has a cost of $414.60. The amount of food there accounts for five daily meals. Clients are expected to cook one healthy meal for themselves and their family by themselves as well. 

You can also purchase individual menu items which generally range from between $10 – $30.

Individual Optavia menu items
Individual Optavia menu items

We discussed above how the Optavia diet restricts carbohydrates and provides a non-sufficient amount of proteins. Users complain about them being hungry as this might not be sufficient real food. The amount of protein and other nutrients that your body needs to prevent side effects can be determined through an extensive DNA test. 

Studies on the plan have established that it is effective to make goal weights in the short term. However, studies on its effect long term are not conclusive just yet. Besides that, it is still unclear if the diet is safe for patients with certain medical conditions. The plan is not recommended for people under 13 years old, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers. 

Review of Optavia Privacy

The information collected by the Optavia website includes your health information, which will be used to better target products depending on your needs. You do not need to register with the company for it to collect certain identifiers once you use the company website. 

Per their policy, whatever information they collect from you, either provided by you through registration or by them through your navigation habits, they will not disclose it to third parties. The company may disclose information regarding your navigation habits for marketing purposes. 

Optavia has a coaching program in which you provide information. This information, which includes your name, contact, and order history, will be shared with your coach.

Optavia in the News

Optiva has been highlighted by various news outlets and magazines, including People magazine, the Today show, and Men’s Health

  • Medifast and its OPTAVIA Community Advance Philanthropic Mission, Promote Healthy Habits around the World
  • Eat 6 times a day to lose weight under this program – highlights from a local news station in 2020. 
  • After Gaining 180 Lbs. in 1 Year, This Woman Lost Half Her Size: ‘My Whole Life Has Changed’ as told in People magazine. 

Some celebrities have also had positive reviews of this product:

  • Amber Johnston Reveals The Secret To Her Fitness Journey
  • Cake Boss Star Buddy Valastro Shares the Real Motivation Behind His 35-Pound Weight Loss

Other Optavia Reviews

Reviews on Optavia diet plans are mixed, but most of them tend to the positive. Actually, most Optavia complaints we found were not all about the diet, supplements, or plans but rather shipping issues and shady practices with plan monthly renovations. Customer service has also had some complaints. 

We found another common complaint that once getting off the plan, the pounds lost were quickly gained back. 

A positive Optavia review
A positive Optavia review
A negative Optavia review
A negative Optavia review

Optavia Pros and Cons


  • A vastly experienced company
  • Patients lose weight fast
  • The meals and snacks are prepared, which makes it easier for users to stay in the program
  • There is research proving that the dietary program works, albeit Medifast funded such research
  • It has a supporting coach program that motivates users to stick to their plans


  • The dietary plan is too low in calories, which tends to leave users hungry or tired
  • Not all the food has a tasty flavor and might deter some from sticking to the plan 
  • Plans consist of processed foods and pre-packaged foods, which may prompt customers to develop cravings for “normal food”
  • Just as fast as weight is lost, it can be regained if falling short of healthy habits
  • It can get expensive
  • Not suitable for vegans or people with dairy allergies (some people may experience allergic reaction to ingredients in Optavia)

Nebula Genomics

Diet programs will not work the same for everyone. This is why it can help to know beforehand how effective a program is. Optavia has plenty of positive reviews from users that saw significant changes. Others, however, did not see such changes and were left frustrated.

Optavia recommends that before getting into their dietary plan, you should first consult with a health professional. Before engaging in any healthy diet plan, it can be helpful to know exactly how your body may respond. This information is found in your genes. Nebula Genomics provides the most comprehensive DNA test to guarantee that you will truly know what your needs are. Plus, our Whole Genome Sequencing data is of the highest quality and can be used by physicians and genetic counselors.

Our 30x Whole Genome Sequencing provides the entire sequencing of your genome. This allows you to understand what regimes may work for you and also your genetic predisposition to being heavy or thin. Not only is our sequencing complete like no other, but it is also affordable from $0 – $299.

If you’re interested in other weight loss programs you may want to explore Noom, Nutrisystem, Perfect Body DNA, and Yoga Burn.

There are also some supplements that also claim to aid weight management:

  • Bio X4 (probiotic weight management supplement)
  • Contrave (prescription weight loss pills)
  • Goli Nutrition (apple cider vinegar gummies)
  • Hydroxycut (weight loss supplements)
  • Ka’Chava (meal replacement shake)
  • Leptitox (supplement to increase leptin and induce quick weight loss)
  • Lipozene (fiber based weight loss supplement)
  • Resurge (deep sleep supplement for weight loss)
  • Rootine (personalized supplement and vitamins based on DNA test)

Did you like our Optavia review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.