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Optavia Diet: Definition, How It Works, and How To Do It On Your Own
The Optavia Diet, also referred to as Optavia 5 and 1, is a commercial weight-loss program developed by Medifast, Inc. It provides meal replacement plans aimed at managing calorie intake. Optavia was initially introduced as a rebranding of Take Shape For Life, a Coach-to-client system founded in 2002 by Retired Marine Colonel Bradley T. MacDonald and clinical specialist Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen.
The Optavia diet plan includes ready-to-go meal replacements like shakes, bars, and soups called “Fuelings” along with a DIY “lean and green” meal made up of lean protein and veggies. Optavia Fuelings comprise about half the diet, packing in roughly 100-110 calories per item, totaling around 500-550 daily calories.
The other part of the diet involves lean and green meals, which you can whip up at home, get delivered, or enjoy at a restaurant. The Optavia diet offers several plans to support weight loss and healthy living.
- Optavia 5 and 1 Plan: This plan includes five Optavia Fuelings and one Lean and Green meal, emphasizing low-calorie, high-protein choices.
- Optavia 5 and 1 Active Plan: Designed for individuals looking to achieve their ideal weight through a balanced combination of nutrition and exercise, this plan includes five Optavia Fuelings and Optavia essential amino acids (EAA) to help maintain lean muscle mass.
- Optavia 4 and 2 Active Plan: Tailored for those with different calorie needs or nutritional requirements, this plan comprises four Optavia Fuelings and two Lean and Green meals.
- Optavia 3 and 3 Active Plan: Ideal for weight maintenance or transitioning off a stricter Optavia diet, this plan features three Optavia Fuelings, three Lean and Green meals, Optavia essential amino acids (EAA), and Optavia whey protein.
How does the Optavia diet work?
The Optavia diet encourages weight loss through a combination of one-on-one coaching, a few simple home-cooked meals, and low-calorie packaged products. It minimizes caloric intake, aiming for a daily caloric intake ranging from 800 to 1,000 calories, which creates a calorie deficit (meaning you use more calories for energy than you consume) to promote weight loss. The program also includes online coaching with an Independent Optavia coach, who provides support through weekly meetings, either via phone calls or in-person sessions.
While a 2023 study published in the Cerebrovascular Diseases journal found the Optavia diet to be a feasible and safe option for weight loss in overweight or obese individuals, user reviews are mixed. Some report significant weight loss and positive transformations, while others express concerns about the program’s costs, potential health risks, and negative consequences, including claims that it ruined their lives.
What are the health benefits of the Optavia diet?
The Optavia diet aims for weight loss while providing extra perks like improved metabolism, better blood sugar control, a healthier heart, more energy, and a lower chance of chronic diseases.
- Weight Loss: The Optavia diet plan primarily focuses on calorie restriction to promote weight loss.
- Improved Metabolic Function: The 5&1 diet is formulated to enhance metabolic rates, aiding faster calorie burn.
- Better Blood Sugar Control: Optavia-approved meals may help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Enhanced Cardiovascular Health: Low-fat and nutrient-rich Optavia Fuelings can contribute to better heart health.
- Increased Energy Levels: Balanced Optavia snacks aim to provide sustained energy throughout the day.
- Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: The Optimal Weight 5 and 1 diet emphasizes nutrition and portion control may lower the risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
What are the health risks of the Optavia diet?
The Optavia diet may lead to long-term side effects like nutrient deficiencies, digestive problems, potential harm to kidney function, a higher chance of developing gallstones, and an unsustainable approach to losing weight.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: The restrictive nature of the Optavia weight loss program may lead to inadequate intake of essential nutrients.
- Gastrointestinal Issues: The sudden shift to low-calorie, high-fiber Optavia products can cause digestive problems like bloating and constipation.
- Kidney Function: The 5&1 diet’s high protein content could put extra strain on kidneys, particularly in those with pre-existing kidney issues.
- Gallstones: Rapid weight loss associated with the Optavia program may increase the risk of developing gallstones.
- Unsustainable Weight Loss: Optavia’s 5 and 1 plan strict regimen may be hard to sustain long-term, leading to potential weight regain.
What foods can you eat on the Optavia Diet?
On the Optavia Diet, you can consume a variety of foods across different categories:
- Proteins: Chicken breast, turkey, tofu, salmon, eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and lean beef.
- Low-Carb Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, spinach, kale, zucchini, asparagus, bell peppers.
- Healthy Fats: Avocado, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, sunflower seeds.
- Condiments: Mustard, salsa, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and garlic powder.
What foods should you avoid on the Optavia Diet?
On the Optavia Diet, certain food categories are generally advised to be limited or avoided:
- Fruits: Bananas, grapes, mangoes, pineapple, cherries, apples, oranges, and pears.
- Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, peanuts, and soybeans.
- Starches: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, yams, squash, peas, plantains, and cassava.
- Grains: Rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye, quinoa, and millet.
How to do Optavia On Your Own?
To do Optavia on your own, opt for similar shakes and cheaper Fueling options, find bar substitutes, eat 5 small daily meals, skip extra condiments, join the online community, cut back on carbs, make your own bars, opt for lean meats, and incorporate strength training.
The main benefit of doing Optavia on your own is cost savings, as you can find alternative meal replacements and more affordable options. However, a drawback is the need for careful research and monitoring to ensure your DIY approach meets the nutritional requirements of the Optavia plan and your individual needs. Additionally, it may require more effort in sourcing and preparing suitable substitutes.
Optavia Diet and Weight Loss Fundamentals
Our article reviews on the Optavia diet plan are based on firsthand experience and a thorough knowledge of nutrition, tailoring recommendations based on specific lifestyle choices and dietary preferences.
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