Optavia Bars: Nutrition Facts, Ingredients, and Safety

photo of my favorite optavia bars - cranberry honey nut granola

Optavia Bars, also known as Optavia Fuelings, refers to protein bars offered by Medifast, Inc., a nutrition and weight loss company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Optavia Bars are designed to be a part of the Optavia weight loss program, which emphasizes portion-controlled eating and a balanced intake of five Fueling per day. Optavia Bars are primarily sold through a direct-to-consumer marketing approach known as multi-level marketing (MLM).

The main ingredients found in the Optavia bars are soy protein isolate, soluble corn fiber, and brown rice syrup, which are used to provide a combination of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates in Optavia Fuelings.

This article covers topics such as the detailed ingredients in Optavia bars, Optavia bars’ nutrition facts, as well as common questions such as whether Optavia bars are healthy, how many carbs are in Optavia bars, how much they cost, and where you can buy Optavia bars.

What Are Optavia Bars?

Optavia Bars are food products offered by Optavia, which are pre-packaged meal replacements that come in various types and flavors and are formulated to provide a specific combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals.

These bars are intended to be a convenient and portion-controlled option for individuals following the Optavia program, particularly during the 5 and 1 weight loss phase.

According to the Optavia website, Optavia bars are packed with energy-producing, nutrient-dense ingredients to keep your metabolism in a fat-burning state. For me, although most of the bars share similar texture and calories, their nutritional facts, and list of ingredients may vary.

What Are The Different Types of Optavia Bars?

The different types of Optavia bars are listed below.

  • Optavia Essential Bars. Optavia Essential Bars include 12 bars, which are specifically designed to support individuals following the Optimal Weight 5 and 1 plan, formulated to provide the balance of calories and macronutrients.
  • Optavia Optimal Health Bars. These are a type of Optavia Fueling products tailored for the weight maintenance phase during the Optavia 3 and 3 plan. The Optavia Dark Chocolate Dream Bar and Strawberry Yogurt Bar are the two variants available in this line of Optimal Health Bars.

What Are The Different Flavors of The Optavia Bars?

Optavia bars offer a variety of 14 flavors, including cranberry honey, chocolate mint cookie, and peanut butter. Here is the complete list of Optavia bars and their respective flavors.

  • Cranberry Honey Nut Granola Bar
  • Chocolate Mint Cookie Crisp Bar
  • Creamy Double Peanut Butter Crisp Bar
  • Drizzled Chocolate Fudge Crisp Bar
  • Drizzled Berry Crisp Bar
  • Caramel Delight Crisp Bar
  • Campfire S’mores Crisp Bar
  • Frosted Cookie Dough Bar
  • Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Bar
  • Frosted Cinnamon Spice Crisp Bar
  • Raisin Oat Cinnamon Crisp Bar
  • Zesty Lemon Crisp Bar

Here’s what the Optavia Essential bar looks like.

photo of optavia essential fuelings bar

I also tried the additional bars (Strawberry Yogurt Bar, Dark, and Dark Chocolate Dream Bar), which are part of the Optimal Health 3 and 3 plan.

Here’s the photo of the Optavia Dark Chocolate Dream Bar.

photo of optavia bar from optimal health 3 and 3 plan

These bars have 180 calories per serving, 22 grams of carbohydrates, and 15 grams of proteins.

What Are The Ingredients In The Optavia Bars?

The ingredients in the Optavia bars include proteins, sweeteners, fibers, fats, binders, flavors, grains, salts, minerals, vitamins, and Probiotics. Although not every Optavia bar is the same, below you can find the list of ingredients that most of them share:

  • Proteins: Optavia bars make use of two types of protein sources: milk protein isolate and soy protein isolate. Although the amount and type may vary between Optavia fuelings, all of the bars have the same protein type.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates come from whole grain sources such as oats, rice starch, polydextrose, and soluble corn fiber which help provide extra satiety.
  • Fats: According to Optavia’s nutrition label, their bars contain fats in the form of fractionated palm kernel oil, butter, hydrogenated palm oil, or high oleic sunflower oil. This kind of fat not only helps to balance out meals but also adds texture and flavor.
  • Fiber: All bars are fortified with soluble corn fiber to make the bar more satisfying and filling.
  • Vitamins and minerals: These bars is that they provide a variety of 24 vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamins A, C, and E, which are all essential for any balanced diet.
  • Flavors and other ingredients: Optavia bars also contain a variety of other ingredients to enhance their flavor and texture, such as chocolate, peanuts, dried fruits, or other flavorings.
  • Sweeteners: These help to enhance the taste of the bar.

This table shows the ingredient list found in the Optavia bars.

ProteinSoy protein isolate, milk protein isolate
SweetenersSugar, powdered sugar, allulose syrup, erythritol, Steviol glycosides
FibersSoluble corn fiber, polydextrose, rice starch, gum arabic
FatsFractionated palm and palm kernel oil, palm oil
BindersGlycerine, maltodextrin, guar gum
FlavorsNatural flavor, cocoa, soy lecithin
GrainsRolled oats, rice flour, brown rice syrup
Other CarbohydratesBrown sugar, nonfat milk, dextrose
Salt and MineralsSalt, potassium lactate, calcium carbonate, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, chromium chloride, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, sodium molybdate
VitaminsAscorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E acetate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, phytonadione (vitamin K1), cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), biotin, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
ProbioticBacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086

Here’s the photo of the nutritional label of one of my favorite Optavia bars – Raisin Oat Cinnamon Crisp Bar.

photo of the optavia bar nutrition label

What Are The Probiotics In The Optavia Bars?

The Optavia bars contain a probiotic called Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 (BC30). A 2015 study by Edna P Nyangale from The University of Reading found that BC30 consumption in adults aged 65-80 increased populations of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii by 0.1 log10 cells/mL compared to the placebo.

BC30 consumption also resulted in a 0.2 ng/mL increase in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 after 28 days. This suggests that BC30 has potential benefits in improving gut dysbiosis and enhancing the production of anti-inflammatory compounds in older individuals.

What Are Optavia Bars Sweetened with?

The sweeteners used in Optavia bars are a blend of various options, including allulose syrup, maltitol syrup, erythritol, and steviol glycosides. While some of these sweeteners are derived from natural sources and can be considered healthier alternatives, such as honey, cane sugar, and brown rice syrup, Optavia utilizes a different combination for their bars.

  • Allulose Syrup. Allulose is a low-calorie sweetener that is naturally found in small quantities in some fruits. It has a similar taste to sugar but with fewer calories.
  • Maltitol Syrup. Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute. It provides sweetness but with fewer calories and a lower glycemic index than regular sugar.
  • Erythritol. Erythritol is another sugar alcohol that is naturally present in certain fruits. It has a sweet taste but doesn’t contribute many calories to the diet. Erythritol is known for being well-tolerated by most people and does not have a significant impact on blood sugar levels.
  • Steviol Glycosides. Steviol glycosides are extracted from the stevia plant, which is a natural sweetener. They are highly sweet and have zero calories. Stevia-based sweeteners are considered a healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame.

It’s worth noting that Optavia bars do not include sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and have recently reduced levels of fructose in some of their Fuelings, as stated on the Optavia Coach Answers website. These are artificial sweeteners or high-fructose sweeteners that some individuals may prefer to avoid.

Here’s the photo of the Optavia Zesty Lemon Crisp Bar with the list of ingredients and sweeteners.

photo of optavia bar list of ingredients

So it’s important to consider the ingredient list and overall nutritional profile before you choose.

What Are The Optavia Bar Nutrition Facts?

This table shows Optavia Bar’s nutrition facts that include serving size, calorie breakdown, and macronutrient profile.

Nutrition FactsValue
Serving size1 bar (32 grams)
Total fat 3 grams
Saturated fat0.5 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium170 mg
Total Carbohydrate13 grams
Dietary fiber4 grams
Total sugars3 grams
Proteins11 grams

Are Optavia Bars Healthy?

According to a 2019 study conducted by Linda M. Arterburn from the Department of Scientific and Clinical Affairs at Medifast, Inc., and published in Obesity Science & Practice, Optavia bars were generally well-tolerated, with similar numbers of mild or moderate adverse events reported across the groups.

The study found that participants following the Optavia program experienced a mean weight loss of 11.6% of their initial body weight after 12 weeks. Additionally, improvements were observed in markers such as waist circumference, blood pressure, and lipid profile.

However, to determine whether Optavia bars are healthy, it is important to note that individual results may vary, and it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any weight loss or dietary program.

Optavia bars offer decent amounts of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. However, they are not suitable for a keto diet due to their high content of added sugars, sweeteners, and additives.

The impact of low-calorie sweeteners on chronic conditions and risk factors remains uncertain, as different studies provide conflicting results. According to a 2021 study by Lesley Andrade from the University of Waterloo, published in the Nutrition Reviews Journal, “the evidence is not clear on whether low-calorie sweeteners are linked to chronic conditions and risk factors.”

“There might be a positive association, but other studies suggest that there is no association or even a negative association,” states the journal.

Additionally, Optavia bars may not provide the same level of satisfaction and nutrient density as whole foods.

What Are The Health Benefits of Optavia Bars?

According to a 2023 study published in Cerebrovascular Diseases Journal by Jennifer Dearborn Tomazos, the benefits of Optavia, specifically the Optimal Weight 4 & 2 & 1 Plan, include feasibility, weight loss, and safety.

  • Feasibility. The study found that implementing a partial meal replacement (PMR) intervention using the Optavia Optimal Weight 4 & 2 & 1 Plan was feasible in the target population of patients with recent ischemic stroke.
  • Weight Loss. Participants following the Optavia diet achieved significant weight loss. At the end of the 12-week intervention, 52.9% of patients in the PMR group achieved a weight loss of ≥5% compared to only 11.9% in the standard care group. The mean percent weight change in the PMR group was -3.0%.
  • Safety. The study found that the Optavia diet was safe for patients with recent ischemic stroke. No adverse events were attributed to study participation.

It’s important to note that these benefits were observed specifically in the context of the trial conducted on patients with recent ischemic stroke. The Optavia program may have additional benefits or considerations for other populations or health conditions that were not specifically addressed in this study.

What Are The Drawbacks of The Optavia Bars?

Optavia bars have several drawbacks, including their high carbohydrate content, the use of soy protein isolate which may cause mild side effects and allergic reactions, the presence of added sugars, and their relatively high price. Let’s explore each drawback in detail:

  1. High carbohydrate content. Optavia bars contain 15 grams of carbohydrates per bar. This may be considered high for individuals following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, as it can impact their ability to maintain a state of ketosis or adhere to specific carbohydrate targets.
  2. Soy protein isolate. Optavia bars utilize soy protein isolate as a key ingredient. While soy protein isolate is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as bloating, gas, or digestive discomfort. Moreover, individuals with soy allergies need to be cautious as soy protein isolate can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.
  3. Added sugars. Optavia bars contain 5 grams of added sugars per bar. Regular consumption of foods high in added sugars can have adverse effects on health, including weight gain, increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and negative impacts on blood sugar control.
  4. High price. Optavia products, including their bars, are known to be relatively expensive compared to similar products on the market. This higher price point may make them less affordable for individuals seeking budget-friendly options or considering long-term usage.

Are Optavia Bars Highly Processed?

I get that Optavia bars may be convenient, but it’s important to understand that they are far from natural.

These bars are carefully crafted by combining various ingredients and processing them into a form that is easier to eat.

Some Optavia bar alternatives use less processed ingredients such as nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

Those from the Optavia range have more highly processed elements – protein powders, sweeteners, and synthetic binders such as maltodextrin.

According to the 2019 study published in the Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal, “people who eat the food additive maltodextrin may be more likely to get inflammatory bowel disease.”

“Maltodextrin may also cause chronic low-grade intestinal inflammation leading to metabolic abnormalities in the general population,” states the study.

Are Optavia Bars Gluten Free?

When it comes to gluten, many of us are aware that not all of the Optavia bars are gluten-free.

While most bars do not contain any ingredients derived from wheat, barley, or rye, there is still a risk of cross-contamination.

According to the Optavia website, manufacturers produce their bars in facilities that are not dedicated to wheat-free production.

This means that the same equipment is used to make both wheat-containing and wheat-free products, which poses a risk for those with dietary restrictions.

I went down the list on all Optavia bar labels and keep an eye out for anything that might suggest a risk of wheat processing in the facility.

Here is the list of Optavia gluten-free bars:

  • Caramel Delight Crisp
  • Chocolate Cherry Ganache
  • Chocolate Mint Cookie Crisp
  • Creamy Double Peanut Butter Crisp
  • Dark Chocolate Coconut Curry
  • Drizzled Chocolate Fudge Crisp
  • Honey Chili Cranberry Nut
  • Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip

What Is The Cost Of Optavia Bars?

The cost of Optavia bars can vary depending on the specific program you are on. On average, when purchasing Optavia bars from the list of Essential Fuelings, the price per bar is approximately $3.32, with a box of 7 bars costing $23.25 (excluding shipping and taxes).

When considering the cost of the Optavia diet outside of the official website, it is crucial to acknowledge that pricing discrepancies may arise on third-party websites. You can compare prices and read reviews before making a purchase decision to ensure you are obtaining the best possible price.

Where To Buy Optavia Bars?

Technically, you can only order Optavia bars directly from their website, and you have to be assigned to one of the independent Optavia coaches.

However, there are also many social media marketplaces and third-party websites like eBay where you can find great deals from people who sell Optavia fuelings.

Some options include:

  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Poshmark
  • Amazon, but only if you shop for Optavia fueling alternatives

The reason why I love to shop for Optavia on other websites is becasue I can get a much better deal and I can buy multiple bars, including expired bars.

What Are The Alternatives To Optavia Bars?

Quest bars and Atkins bars are excellent alternatives to Optavia bars, offering similar nutritional value at a relatively lower price point. Additionally, creating homemade protein bars is another fantastic alternative to Optavia bars, allowing you to customize the ingredients according to your preferences.

Although Optavia bars are a convenient and nutritious snack, I often find myself wanting something different every now and then.

With this in mind, there are plenty of alternatives that you can consider if you’re looking to switch things up.

1. Quest bars

Quest’s protein bars come from the same company that makes protein powders, shakes, and protein chips.

Although there are some similarities between Optavia bars and Quest bars, the biggest difference lies in the calories and macros.

Here’s the photo of the Quest bar nutrition label.

photo of optavia bar alternative quest bar

Here you can see one bar has 200 calories and 18 grams of proteins.

Although this is twice more calories as Optavia, one Quest bar helps me reach my daily protein goals, and they taste good.

I’ll eat them for breakfast if I’m on the go, before a workout for some quick fuel, or as a snack if I’m craving something different.

2. Atkins bars

Atkins bars are low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

I often find them a convenient option for lunch on the go or as a quick snack between meals, especially when I run out of the Fuelings.

In terms of value for money and taste, the range of Atkins bars offers a better price than Optavia bars but is higher in calories.

3. DIY Optavia bars

You can make Optavia bars at home with your own ingredients.

You can choose what goes into them and what they taste like.

Some things you might use are nuts, seeds, protein powder, and dried fruit.

Are Optavia Bars Good For You?

Yes and no. I like Optavia bars becasue it’s convenient, but I understand I cannot live on them forever.

For those looking for a quick grab-and-go snack, I think these bars provide an easy and effective solution. However, I don’t think you should just choose Optavia bars without doing your own research.

Before you start the Optavia diet, you should talk to a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.

They can help make a plan that is good for your health and makes sure you get all the nutrition you need.

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