Medifast and Optavia were both well-known diets that could help you lose weight in a relatively short amount of time. They both focused on low-calorie eating plans and meal replacements and had, in general, more similarities than differences.
But these two brands recently became one when the newly refreshed Optavia replaced older and better-known Medifast completely. Not sure what to think about this change? This comparative review will help you understand what to expect from this rebranded diet.
- 1 Main Differences Between Medifast vs Optavia
- 2 First Up: Medifast
- 3 Program Alternatives
- 4 Medifast Claims
- 5 Next Up: Optavia
- 6 Main Ingredients
- 7 Program Alternatives
- 8 Final Verdict: Optavia vs Medifast
Main Differences Between
Before the two diets became one, the main differences between Medifast vs Optavia were:
- The Medifast weight loss program was designed to put you in a ketosis phase, leading to unpleasant side effects, whereas Optavia diet meal replacements didn’t have the best taste.
- The Medifast diet program offered more snack choices, whereas the Optavia program was preparing you to incorporate the tips without relying on the program.
- The Medifast meal plan was highly backed by physicians, whereas the Optavia diet plan was easier to follow.
How did the diet change since these two brands merged into one? We’ll compare the old Medifast and new Optavia in detail shortly.
First Up: Medifast
Medifast was a popular weight-loss program dating back to the 1980s. It was both clinically proven and nutritionally balanced. Moreover, it helped dieters lose those extra pounds quicker than many other traditional eating plans.
All Medifast meals were calorie-counted, individually-portioned, and carbohydrate-controlled. They contained over 24 different minerals and vitamins. The main focus of the Medifast diet was to help you lose weight while also maintaining your general health.
- Proteins, high-quality fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates – soy protein isolate, egg whites, milk protein isolate, wheat flour, fructose, inulin, etc.;
- Minerals, vitamins, and flavorings – there are plenty of minerals and vitamins in Medifast products that are great for your health. Still, their meal replacements also contain some artificial flavorings which might raise some questions about how good these supplements really are;
- Functional ingredients – antioxidants, blueberry powder, quercetin, glucosamine, Echinacea, caffeine, etc. Some of these ingredients support healthy joints and immunity while others can boost energy and metabolism.
The Go plan comprises five meal replacements:
- For breakfast, you had Medifast pancakes
- Mid-morning, you drank a Medifast Strawberry Shake (1 Box/7 Servings);
- For lunch, you had a Medifast soup;
- As a mid-afternoon snack, there was a crunch bar included in the program;
- As for dinner, you were supposed to prepare a lean and green meal on your own that should be made from lean protein and vegetables (e.g. salmon and asparagus);
If you didn’t feel like cooking your own meals, you could always order them from Medifast.
The Flex plan consisted of four meal replacements:
- A Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal (1 Box/7 Servings) portion for breakfast;
- One of Medifast’s hot drinks as a mid-morning treat;
- For lunch and dinner, you were required to prepare healthy meals on your own (protein and vegetables: chicken, fish, salad, broccoli, spinach, etc.);
- As a mid-afternoon snack, you had a fruit drink;
- In the evening, you could indulge in a Medifast pudding prepared with skim milk.
This plan involved more cooking because it was supposed to help you lose even more weight. But don’t worry because all the meals can also be ordered from the company.
According to the manufacturer, the Medifast diet used to work by encouraging one’s organism to initiate a powerful fat-burning mode. This could be achieved by eating Medifast meal replacements as well as other foods approved by the company. You could opt for some pre-cooked meals but you also had to prepare your own healthy foods so it could be a bit time-consuming. Still, if you followed the plan to the letter, studies showed that you would most likely lose weight.
Medifast Hearty Choices (Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes) followed and applied basic yet effective weight-loss principles. You have consumed a calorie-restricted diet that was also nutritionally balanced. It included a lot of lean proteins, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy fats.
The company claimed that their shakes and bars were interchangeable because these items had similar nutritional profiles. However, some people suspected this was only a smart marketing move because the company’s representatives were well aware that dieters might get bored of always drinking protein shakes and they might need a well-deserved change now and then.
All these claims and recommendations were great but they didn’t really work as a lifetime weight-loss solution. The main problem was that people often gained weight after they completed such a strict weight-loss diet.
- It was convenient and easy to use;
- You were able to save a lot of time by not counting your calories anymore;
- It was a low-calorie diet that could help you lose weight fast without always feeling hungry;
- When we discussed Medifast, we were talking about a clinically proven program that was backed by more than 20,000 physicians;
- Medifast provided a wide range of meals and snack choices.
- Speaking of the company’s meal selection, when a dieter was allergic to several foods, Medifast’s variety could become a bit thin and the selection could be seen as limited;
- Being a low-calorie diet made this program hard to follow, especially when we think about our body’s adjustment time;
- Probably the biggest drawback of this diet was its cost. A dieter must have paid a minimum of $300 per month to follow this eating plan and this cost didn’t even cover the lean and green daily meal;
- The Medifast Macaroni and Cheese (1 Box = 7 Meals) diet has induced your body’s ketosis phase which can lead to certain unpleasant side effects such as an unpleasant breath.
It was always quite difficult to say the exact price of each Medifast eating plan because it varied according to the program you decided to buy. The average monthly cost was, however, around $300-$400. If you wanted to purchase meal replacement separately, you had to pay $17 for a 7-pack bar, smoothie, or shake. The company offered a 30-day money-back guarantee if you were not pleased with their products.
Medifast was a pretty safe program. Still, certain specialists warn us that long-term low-calorie diets might lead to gallstones and hair loss in some cases.
Next Up: Optavia
Have you used Medifast in the past? Wondering if it is still worth trying now when the diet was rebranded to Optavia?
Medifast representatives claim that the older and new diets are perfectly interchangeable and even their products could be replaced one by the other since they contain the same balance of nutrients. But will it really work just as well in practice? Let’s check Optavia diet in detail and focus on all the updates and differences between the two.
Both Fuelings and other Optavia supplements contain the following main ingredients:
This carbohydrate is found in plant-based food items. Both fruits and vegetables have it and this compound is easily digested by our body. There can be soluble and insoluble types of fiber but the first ones help lower your cholesterol level and eliminate fat. Fiber is used a lot in weight-loss diets due to the fact that it prevents overeating while also lowering blood pressure.
It is used as a healthier and more natural sugar replacement. One interesting fact about this fruit is its level of sweetness. According to some people, it can be up to 300 times sweeter than regular sugar. Many times, these fruits are added to herbal teas and it seems they have anti-fatigue effects.
If you’re following a weight-management diet plan or if you are a fan of protein supplements, there’s no way you haven’t heard about whey protein. It helps you burn fat without losing muscle mass. In fact, it is scientifically-proven that whey protein delivers positive results in many cases of obesity.
An excellent choice of arginine, pea protein is needed if you want to build lean muscle mass. Furthermore, this compound comes in handy in the case of several health conditions as well as stressful situations. Pea protein is rich in amino acids which have a lot of health benefits that you might want to take advantage of.
This is nothing else than a hydrolyzed starch sourced from different plants. It can be extracted from rice, tapioca, and even corn. Dextrin works great when it comes to improving your immunity and lowering your cholesterol. You will find this ingredient in a lot of fiber supplements.
This probiotic is actually lactic acid sourced from bacterial species. It is added to many probiotic products to enhance their health benefits potency. Also, one could use this ingredient in cases of respiratory infections, diarrhea, or even as a cancer prevention method. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and it is known to reduce arthritis symptoms.
If you choose to follow this Optavia plan, you will have to consume six different meals each day. This plan was specially created to help you ease your way into a fat-burning state without losing muscle mass. Once you sign up to become a member of this diet, you will be able to choose from over 60 different Fueling options which will represent no less than 5 small meal per day.
The material provided by the company will also teach you the proper way to prepare Optavia’s famous Lean and Green meals which must be consumed at dinner time. The best part about the Lean and Green meal is the fact that you can eat it together with your family and end every day in a positive and familiar manner.
This second plan will work for you if you want a more flexible meal system with the possibility of eating small portions from all food groups without exception. However, although more permissive, it is also effective when it comes to reaching a healthy weight and maintaining a slimmer body. You will have four main meals per day which consist of Optavia Fuelings. Then, you’ll have to cook two Lean and Green meals and eat one healthy snack each day.
The third Optavia plan is designed for those of you who have already achieved their optimal weight goals but desire to maintain their current weight and health. Each order consists of healthy and nutritious shakes, smoothies, and protein bars. During this meal plan, you will consume three Fuelings per day. The other three meals will be prepared by you according to your preferences.
The program claims to help your body achieve a fat-burning state which will lead to an effective yet balanced weight loss. Meanwhile, Optavia is supposed to help you reach your fitness goals while also preserving muscle tissue. According to the manufacturer, their products, including Fuelings, have great flavors and they contain ingredients from all around the globe. These meal replacements usually come with a 30-day weight-loss kit together with samplings.
Now, I don’t think that this updated version of the Medifast diet is a perfect eating plan, and opinions on whether Optavia works or not are divided among consumers. Many people have a favorable opinion. Still, there are some other individuals who claim that Optavia did not work for them.
Although the company says their products have a pleasant taste, plenty of clients don’t feel the same way. They state that Optavia meals are too pricey (yes, the diet is now even pricier than before!) and they don’t deliver the flavor and results they claim to offer.
- This program is ridiculously simple. The meal replacements are very convenient, especially for busy people who live their lives on the go;
- It will save you a lot of time because you won’t have to control your portions any longer;
- It is an effective weight-loss program and most dieters achieve important results in just a couple of weeks. This is encouraging and it will motivate you to complete the entire diet;
- Subscribers also receive a comprehensive book which is called “Habits of Health.” In it, you will discover useful facts about energy, metabolism, sleep, calorie intake, stress, and blood sugar;
- Optavia community is very supportive and full of kind and humble people. They will make you feel like you don’t have to face all these challenges alone;
- Besides other products, Optavia also provides the so-called Fuelings which are special meal replacements that are full of fiber, protein, and other nutritious compounds.
- It is a multi-level-marketing of MLM company and this might stir plenty of controversies and raise a lot of questions regarding the company’s level of trust;
- Like in the case of the Medifast diet, Optavia’s cost also represents the main disadvantage. This program is significantly more expensive compared to other traditional diets, a gym membership, or even other similar systems like Weight Watchers;
- It is a tough program to follow and some people might cave into cravings;
- Optavia’s meal replacements don’t have a perfect taste. You might want to take some time to adjust to these new flavors. After all, no one is expecting you to like them from the start, especially considering that these foods are low in fat and sugar.
Prices vary depending on the meal plan you choose to purchase. Nevertheless, on average, the program is now visibly more expensive than when it was called Medifast.
The average monthly price is approximately $400 which can seem quite a lot. For example, the Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan costs around $400 to $450 depending on the content while the Essential Optimal Kit (5&1 Plan) costs around $414.60.
Although Optavia claims to be just as safe as its predecessor, users sometimes claim to encounter some of the following unpleasant side effects:
- Diarrhea or constipation;
- Cramps and gas;
Final Verdict: Optavia vs Medifast
Medifast and Optavia are supposed to be two perfectly interchangeable diets that work on the same basis and principles, target the same type of customers, and bring very similar results. As we’ve discussed in this article, it is not entirely true.
The newer version of Medifast brings completely new types of plans, introduces some new ingredients and weight-loss mechanisms (which can cause some unprecedented reactions to certain types of customers), and is also even more expensive than its predecessor.
Still, if you were previously satisfied with Medifast and now you struggle to find a decent replacement, I would suggest giving Optavia a go. The plans it offers are genuinely thoughtful, the support is just as user-friendly and reliable as it used to be, and you might even like the taste of some of the upgraded products more.
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Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.