The Optavia Diet deviates from health and nutrition guidelines encouraged by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in several areas. Although Optavia’s 5 & 1 plan is intended for weight loss, the 800–1,000 calorie count per day is an extreme reduction from the USDA’s recommendation.2
One area where Optavia deviates from USDA recommendations is in terms of macronutrients—specifically, carbohydrates. Optavia’s plans reportedly provide 80–100 grams of carbohydrates per day.
In other words, about 40% of the diet’s daily calories come from carbs, whereas the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that is 45–65% carbohydrates.2 The USDA also emphasizes that a healthy eating plan includes grains and dairy products, which are not represented in Optavia’s 5 & 1 plan.
Extreme calorie restriction can cause fatigue, brain fog, headaches, or menstrual changes.3 As such, the 5 & 1 option should not be used long-term. However, the 3 & 3 and 4 & 2 & 1 plans typically supply between 1,100–2,500 calories per day and can be appropriate to use for a longer period.
The 5 & 1 plan limits calories to as low as 800–1,000 per day, so it’s not suitable for people who are pregnant or engage in vigorous exercise.
The Optavia Diet is not without controversy. Critics have called the plan a pyramid scheme because of its multi-level structure, and the sales and promotions aspect of the program can be a turnoff for potential customers.
Users who complete Optavia’s program are encouraged to become coaches, sell the company’s products, and recruit new sales representatives.
Optavia’s program might be a good fit for you if you want a diet plan that is clear and easy to follow, that will help you lose weight quickly, and offers built-in social support.
Packaged Products Offer Convenience
Optavia’s shakes, soups, and all other meal replacement products are delivered directly to your door—a level of convenience that many other diets do not offer.
Although you will need to shop for your own ingredients for “lean and green” meals, the home delivery option for Optavia’s “fuelings” saves time and energy. Once the products arrive, they’re easy to prepare and make excellent grab-and-go meals.
Achieves Rapid Weight Loss
Most healthy people require around 1,600–3,000 calories per day to maintain their weight. Restricting that number to as low as 800 essentially guarantees weight loss for most people.
Optavia’s 5 & 1 plan is designed for quick weight loss, making it a solid option for someone with a medical reason to shed pounds fast.
Some people find that the hardest part of dieting is the mental effort required to figure out what to eat each day—or even at each meal. Optavia alleviates the stress of meal planning and “decision fatigue” by offering users clear-cut approved foods with “fuelings” and guidelines for “lean and green” meals.