Optavia vs Weight Watchers: Differences, Benefits, and Price

ww vs optavia
Optavia vs Weight Watchers

I’ve tried both Optavia and Weight Watchers, two popular weight loss programs, and they differ in several ways. Optavia offers meal plans with pre-packaged meal replacements, saving you time on cooking and grocery shopping. On the other hand, WW uses a points system, with daily and weekly allowances that correspond to the foods you can eat.

In my opinion, both programs are effective for weight loss, but they have their own pros and cons, which I’ll discuss shortly. In this comparison of Optavia vs. Weight Watchers, I’ll cover aspects like pricing, meal plans, recipes, taste, product availability, online reviews, and more, providing a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed choice. Feel free to try every fad diet and weight loss product under the sun, but if I were you, I would rather choose a tested (and simple) solution.

Overview: Optavia and Weight Watchers

Optavia DietWeight Watchers
Ease of UseReady-to-eat; no cooking.No preparation is needed.
Weight Loss ApproachRapid weight loss potential.Gradual weight loss; focuses on habit change.
Meal PreparationNo preparation needed.Meal preparation is essential.
Long-Term EffectivenessLong-term effectiveness is uncertain.Supports long-term healthy lifestyle.
Type of FoodsMainly processed; may contain allergens.Emphasis on fresh, whole foods.
Price RangeFrom $471.85 monthly.Starting at $23 monthly.
Dietary PhilosophyFocuses on convenience.Promotes balanced eating and physical activity.

What is the Optavia Diet?

Optavia is a user-friendly weight loss program centered around convenient meal replacement shakes and bars. It offers three main plans, with the Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan being the most popular. This plan suggests consuming five Fuelings along with one homemade “Lean and Green” meal daily. There’s also the 3&3 Plan for maintenance, involving three lean and green meals and three Fuelings daily. In our rankings, Optavia scores 4.3 EPRS points, while Forbes once recognized it as a top small company in America back in 2010.

In a 2022 study funded by Medifast Inc. and conducted by Christopher Coleman, published in Current Developments in Nutrition, successful Optavia coaches employed seven key strategies for long-term weight management. These strategies encompassed self-monitoring, regular exercise, and the adoption of healthy habits learned from the program. Furthermore, the study noted that coaching not only contributed to accountability but also brought a sense of fulfillment through assisting others.

What is the Weight Watchers?

WW diet, also known as Weight Watchers, is a weight loss program that has been around since the 1960s. It doesn’t rely on counting calories, but instead, it focuses on teaching members how to create healthy meal plans and eating habits. WW received the #2 position in our top Optavia alternatives ranking, and 4.5 EPRS points for best overall plan. You can think of WW as a membership to use their mobile app. It’s an all-in-one platform that “unlocks” over 12,000 healthy recipes, weight and activity trackers, and a members-only digital community. In the app, you also get coach-led workshops that you can attend in-person or virtually and in-person support from other members.

In a 2016 study by Kimberly A. Gudzune from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, it was shown that Weight Watchers participants consistently lose more weight than control/education participants, which they sustain beyond 12 months. They discovered that Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig can help people lose weight and keep it off.

Weight Watchers vs Optavia: What’s the difference?

The Optavia diet offers easy portion control and minimal shopping, but it’s pricey and lacks variety, which might affect its long-term appeal. Weight Watchers, with its user-friendly app and flexible dieting, encourages lasting weight loss but demands more meal prep and may cost more if you opt for meal delivery. Key differences between the two are also in their program structure, product range, pricing, meal plans, recipes, and online weight loss reputation.

Program structure

Weight Watchers (WW) and Optavia offer distinct approaches to weight loss. WW employs a “SmartPoints” system, assigning values to foods based on nutrients and calories, with 50 calories per point, allowing a varied diet including all food groups. They also offer ready-to-eat meal replacements. Optavia focuses on prepackaged meals and snacks for calorie control, similar to the Take Shape For Life plan.


Optavia products include simple, low-calorie “Fuelings” like bars, shakes, and snacks, plus one self-prepared or pre-ordered “Lean & Green” meal daily. Its items range from 100-110 calories, similar to diets like Skinny Box or Ideal Protein. Conversely, Weight Watchers takes a broader approach, providing weight loss apps, meal delivery, and an array of kitchen essentials such as cookware, scales, and storage solutions. Top Weight Watchers products for weight loss similar to Optavia’s offerings include their Nacho Tortilla Chips, Chocolate Marshmallow Puffs, and Fudge Brownie Mug Cake.


Choosing between Optavia and Weight Watchers also means considering your budget and lifestyle. Weight Watchers starts at a lower $10 per month for its Core plan, covering app membership but not meals and snacks. On the other hand, Optavia’s plans, like the Optimal Weight 5&1 at $471.85 monthly, include most meals but require additional grocery purchases for ‘lean and green’ meals. While Optavia offers a more inclusive meal package, it might not fit everyone’s wallet. Think about what aligns best with your financial comfort and weight loss goals.

Where to buy

With Optavia, you’re limited to ordering directly from their website; you won’t find their products in common stores like Amazon, Walmart, or GNC. There’s an option to hunt for their ‘Fuelings’ on sites like eBay, but watch out for expiration dates. On the flip side, Weight Watchers offers more flexibility (they’re everywhere!) Their meals and products are readily available in popular grocery stores such as Walmart, Aldi, Costco, Target, and Trader Joe’s. They even collaborate with food delivery services like Blue Apron, making it easier to stick to your diet with WW-approved meals.

What to eat

Weight Watchers have a more “down-to-earth” approach. Although they suggest mostly using whole foods, there are no “bad foods” and there are no “restrictions”. You only get foods that have more or fewer points. WW meals include things like pasta, grains, and fruits. Plus, you can enjoy ZeroPoint foods like non-starchy veggies, fruits, and 99% fat-free dairy products.

Optavia is different as they recommend you only use lean proteins, low-carb vegetables, and fats (mostly from fish and nuts). Optavia doesn’t allow any high-carbohydrate vegetables, including potatoes, rice, chickpeas, beans, carrots, corn, and grains. While both programs restrict or prohibit the consumption of alcohol, the Optavia 3 and 3 plan allows having an occasional glass of wine as a part of your free choice snacks.

Calorie intake

When comparing Weight Watchers and Optavia in terms of calorie intake, WW customizes its plan to your specific needs, typically providing 1,200-1,500 calories per day based on factors like weight and goals. This approach results in a steady weekly weight loss of about 0.5 to 1.0 kg (approximately 1 to 2 pounds), aligning with recommendations from the National Institutes of Health and other reputable sources.

In contrast, Optavia’s Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan sets a standard 800-1,000 calorie intake daily for all, regardless of personal differences. Some Optavia users report over 7 pounds loss in the first week, though expert opinions on this approach vary. George Thom’s 2017 study from the University of Glasgow, published in the Gastroenterology Journal, suggests meal replacements can be effective for weight loss by simplifying dietary choices and minimizing cooking.


When it comes to food ingredients, WW pre-packaged meals use fresh foods, whereas Optavia uses “bioengineered food ingredients” (big difference.) According to the Weight Watchers website, their meals are designed and freshly prepared by a qualified team of chefs and nutritionists.

They don’t use artificial flavors or ingredients. Even WW snacks like crisps, chocolate bars, and desserts don’t contain any artificial ingredients. On the other hand, Optavia Fuelings are made with GMO food ingredients such as soy proteins, and fructose syrup, but don’t include artificial sweeteners like aspartame.


Taste is a BIG factor for me. Weight Watchers uses pre-packaged meals made with fresh ingredients, and you can taste the difference. Plus, the meals are ready to eat and have a long shelf life, so no worries about spoilage. I’ve never had any problems with the taste of Weight Watchers meals – they’re not bland.

On the other hand, Optavia fuelings can get a bit boring. You have to mix the powder with water, and after a few weeks, it can feel repetitive. If you’re someone who values taste, Optavia might not be the best choice for you. However, if you’re more focused on shedding those pounds, Optavia could still be a good option despite the lack of variety in taste.

Serving size

WW and Optavia have different approaches to serving sizes when it comes to their products. Both diets don’t involve calorie counting. Optavia Fuelings contain around 100-110 calories per serving. In contrast, WW uses SmartPoints to determine serving sizes, factoring in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and protein. This provides a holistic evaluation of a product’s nutritional value. For example, a single Optavia bar may equal four Weight Watchers points, but the nutritional value of the bar may vary depending on its ingredients and nutritional content. Meanwhile, a WW bar may have a different serving size and point value based on its nutritional composition.

Customer reviews

Many customers have had different experiences with Weight Watchers. Some have had success with the program and appreciate the support it provides, while others have had negative experiences with customer service and canceling their subscription. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) score for Weight Watchers is low (1.07 out of 5), indicating that some customers have filed complaints.

According to BBB, one customer’s nutritionist advised them not to use the program, but they were unable to cancel their subscription without being charged for the entire six-month commitment.

“Upon calling weight watchers I was told I missed the deadline by two days and I would have to pay for the six month commitment. I advised that my medical team did not want me to use the program but I was not allowed to cancel.”

Better Business Bureau

The other customer signed up for WW based on their “cancel anytime” advertisement, but when they tried to cancel after 1.5 months, they were told they would still be billed until 10 months later. Optavia has a BBB score of 1.52/5, which is higher than Weight Watchers’ score of 1.07/5. In these customer reviews, there are clear examples of frustrating experiences with Optavia’s customer service and business practices. One person reported not receiving a product that they had paid for and being unable to reach a representative who could help them without providing their credit card information.

“There is no reason why they need my credit card for zero transactions. There is no way to reach an American from Optavia (American-owned comp from what I was told)? Poor Optavia customer service, ripping off their customers by charging for the merchandise but refusing to send it..”

Better Business Bureau

This raises serious ethical concerns and potential fraud. The second reviewer had an issue with being charged a higher amount than they were quoted and having difficulty canceling their order. Despite canceling the order, the customer was still charged and received no confirmation of cancellation. While every company will have some negative reviews, the patterns that arise from multiple reviews can provide valuable insights.

Who wins Weight Watchers versus Optavia?

For me, WW shines with its daily points system, making meal management easy and flexible, including zero-point snacks. In my opinion, it’s more than a diet; it’s a lifestyle shift, emphasizing activity and offering health coaching. The WW app’s range of exercises is great, though tracking everything can feel like a chore.

In contrast, Optavia offers simplicity: no meal planning, just ready-to-eat ‘Fuelings.’ It’s effective for quick weight loss, but the MLM aspect raises eyebrows. The “coaching” often feels more sales-oriented than personal guidance. So, if a friend asked me? Start with Optavia for a kickstart, then transition to WW for sustainable, long-term health.

What are other meal plans like Optavia and Weight Watchers?

Exploring alternative options beyond Optavia and Weight Watchers? If you prefer a fully done-for-you plan with meal replacements, consider Skinny Box or Ideal Protein. For a mix of meal replacements and regular food, SlimFast and Wonderslim are good choices. However, the Mayo Clinic Diet is a top choice, offering a balanced and easy-to-follow meal plan similar to Optavia, if a holistic approach with steady results appeals to you,

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