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Program offers 12 weeks of meal replacement to help you lose weight.

QUICK FACTS Start the Diet Now Advertisement
  • Established: 1974
  • Founder: Novartis Medical Nutrition Corporation; now owned by Nestle HealthCare Nutrition
  • Stock Symbol: NSRGY
  • Headquarters: Florham Park, New Jersey
  • Accessibility: Online, weekly one-on-one counseling
  • Diet Type: Meal replacement, liquid
  • Gender: Male, female

The OPTIFAST plan has been considered the ace of liquid-based diets since 1974. The meal replacement drinks and bars are recommended by physicians for patients weighing more than 50 pounds over their ideal weight or with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. OPTIFAST is recommended to help obese individuals prepare for gastric bypass surgery as well. All participants have full access to professionals like doctors, dietitians and counselors.

The OPTIFAST program follows strict guidelines to ensure the health and safety of patients with three key areas of concentration - medical, behavior and nutrition. Patients have an initial medical exam to make sure they meet the program criteria.

Progress is monitored during weekly one-on-one and group counseling, to help encourage healthy lifestyle changes.

  • People will lose weight on the introductory phase
  • Your weight loss is monitored by their experts
  • Proven results with clinical studies and over 1 million participants
  • Program gives support and counseling along with weight loss
  • Medical monitoring while on the program
  • Offers decrease in cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels
  • Great tasting meal replacement shakes
  • Doubtful that most health care professionals would recommend being on a meal replacement plan for any extended period of time
  • Program consists of all liquid diet
  • May be cost prohibitive for some

To participate in Optifast, you must first complete a preliminary medical exam. You will be assessed to determine any risk factors and make sure you are a good fit for the program. After passing that exam, you are given a personalized weight loss plan that is based on your current weight and your goals. You are monitored throughout the entire process. Your meals will consist of the Optifast shakes and meal replacement bars.


You get a customized activity plan for your fitness level and schedule.


Maybe the OPTIFAST meal replacement is nutritionally sound, but there are plenty of other programs that have you making sound choices with real food. This program is also very expensive. This combination can only lead to the conclusion that there are other choices that would come before OPTIFAST.

Common Misspellings

optyfast, opti fast, optifast progarm

Related Diets: Juice Diet, Slim Fast 321, Slim-Fast, Medifast , VF Smoothie

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(Page 10 of 13, 255 total comments)


I have been on the program for 17 weeks. It should be medically supervised. Sandie, you might be having stomach problems because you need to take a potassium supplement. When you are on a fast such as Optifast, your potassium levels drop. One side affect is stomach problems, among others. For this reason and others, it should be medically supervised. It is also a complete weight loss program. When if done correctly, explores deeper topics such as food choices, body image, reasons and situations when one over eats, eating disorders, and many other topics. The weight loss part is just the begenning of the program.

I recommend it, but beware it is not easy to be on a liquid only diet with no food. Yet, the rewards are huge. I am a male and I am losing about 5-7 pounds per week. The first week was horrible. Afterward, I felt great. I play sports for about 2 hours now five times a week and feel great. I've lost 85 pounds and still have 50 to go. So, another thing to consider when trying to diecide if this diet is right for you is if you have a lot of weight to lose. I had over 100 pounds so this diet is good because it gives results fast. Remember though, you want to go beyond the quick results and change your eating habits and overall way of thinking if you want to maintain the weight off. That's why it is important to go through the entire program. Good luck to everyone!

posted Nov 7th, 2008 12:41 am


Hi everyone,I live in NZ and we can buy it over the counter here for $62.00. This is my 3rd day on it,only have 15kg to loose.I am finding that it is giving me diarehoea and was wondering if anyone else is having this problem.

posted Nov 4th, 2008 2:32 am


I need to loose weight, I cant take it anymore, my problem is not overeating I accutually dont it much, and im walking more than ever, I want to try optifast I heard its a good weight loss program , I am going for my 1st appt on tuesday but before I go can someone tell me how much does this cost? thanks

posted Oct 30th, 2008 11:15 am

Dr. Craig Primack

Optifast is only available under the care of a physician (via prescription) in the US. I cannot speak for other countries but believe it to be the same.

Many people starting Optifast believe in giving themselves a "break from food" As you add regular food back into your diet, it is controlled and usually only one meal at a time.

posted Oct 27th, 2008 1:20 pm


I am just beginning the program and it is tough. I am learning how "hooked" I am on using food for everything. I have been "using" for my whole life, to celebrate, to soothe, to love, to be angry, frustrated, sad, lonely...all these emotions tied to my eating. I had a miserable first week....felt like a junkie cleaning out. This second week is just a bit better, but today I have been preoccupied with "wanting to eat". I realized the same thing someone else said that I needed to quit "cold turkey" just like people quit smoking. When I get to the point of starting to build better habits I worry that I might fail to be successful. I am just now realizing how strong my urges are to over eat for emotions. Good luck to all of you...and thanks for listening

posted Oct 22nd, 2008 6:22 pm


I am confused by some of the posts here. The program is medically monitored, and all questions about liquids and lack of weight loss should be directed to the physician running your program. It is not designed to be used like Slim-Fast, at least during the first four months. The program I am beginning is just Optifast products for the first 16 weeks - 6 per day, no other food except no-calorie beverages. That equates to eating every 2.5 to 3 hours for me, which is about what my body craves anyway.

Are optifast products sold over-the-counter in other countries? They can only be obtained through a physician here in the US, so I am also confused about the "shipping charges" some people have mentioned. I pick mine up at my weekly doctor's appointments.

posted Oct 21st, 2008 2:12 pm


I went with this program. I learned alot about myself, my choices and a new way to discipline myself with food.
I lost 55 lbs. Feel amazing!

posted Oct 17th, 2008 5:02 pm

Dr. Primack

Optifast as a program is best administered under the care of a physician. The doctor (often a bariatrician) can use techniques other than just meal replacements to assist in your weight loss. If your weight loss is slow, you are hungry, have multiple medical conditions or any other problems with your program, please discuss this with your physician. It is one of the best parts to the Optifast program.

posted Oct 15th, 2008 10:33 am


II just turned 65 and starting my third week of this diet and only lost 2#. I take two shakes a day and eat a healthy meal for dinner. I also have been exerising. Can't understand why I haven't lost more. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG. SOMEBODY HELP

posted Oct 5th, 2008 11:19 am


Two weeks of Optifast in preparation for (roux en y )bariatric surgery.I've finished my first week and dont have any cravings.If you truly want to lose weight,then you must defeat the desire for the food that is not good for you.My starting weight was nearly 400 lbs,and I'm down to 384 in one week! I have a strong desire for this to work,so I know that I will not sabotage myself by not following the directions. Optifast doesn't have the greatest flavor,but it does have results!

posted Sep 30th, 2008 9:20 am


I am on my third day of the Optifast program. I am still really hungry and I feel a little light headed. My understanding is that this will start to subside after a the first few days. Will some of you please share how long it took for you to have the hunger and lightheadedness subside? Also, I know that the cravings for food should go away eventually. When?? On the bright side, I'm only on my 3rd day and I woke up 6 pounds less than I did two days ago. I know this is mostly water weight, but it's still encouraging!

posted Sep 28th, 2008 9:51 am


Hello, it's me again, I'm writing to thank the person who mentioned that they take an additional dose of chromium!! You saved me!!! I was having an increase of feelings of hunger; in remembering what was mentioned of the chromium, which is in Optifast. I decided to look it up, some meds will decrease the effect of chromium; like the generic Zantac that I take. When I asked my pharmacist about it today, he recommended continuing the Zantac but, taking Chromium Picolinate once a day. Moments after taking it my stomache felt relieved and the feelings of hunger subsided immensely!!!!!! THANK YOU ANDREW!!!!!

posted Sep 24th, 2008 8:45 am


Mikus!!! Thank you for posting!!! You have really helped me!!!!! I started Optifast five days ago; I am hungry ~ it is so tempting but you're right, it's going to change our quality of life!!! We've got no excuses; how can we let the food or anything else have all of the power over our own life?! This program is a good start at regaining the power over our own future!!! There are no good excuses!!!! Thanks again Mikus and the best of all that is good in life is being wished for you!!!! I started at 303lbs. and I just weighed in at 295lbs. at the end of the fifth day!!!! My advice for the exercise is: change it up, just keep moving. Stand when you can instead of sitting. If you watch TV, pick up two of something and start moving your arms with the items in your hands. Get on the floor and do some crunches. I do some exercise while I'm in bed because it's softer for my back. I'm in upstate New York and I have a PPO insurance plan; I get billed for my portion of the doctor visits, which I haven't received yet. I also pay $105. for a week of shakes. So far I have only purchased the premade drink boxes of strawberry, french vanilla, and chocolate. I like them all and they're convenient especially for taking out of the house for whatever reason. My husband and friends are very supportive; my daughters are young and with special needs, they don't quite get it. To me, it's more important for me to get healthy for myself and them, then it is for them to completely understand it. I will try to post again for an update. Happy health to all of you!!!!!!!!

posted Sep 23rd, 2008 9:14 am


I've read the comments about Optifast results and I have decided to use the program. I am to start tomorrow. In addition to the diet, what types and duration of excercises have any of you found to be helpful?

posted Sep 11th, 2008 6:18 pm


I lost 40lbs on the optifast diet in about 1 month. I found it easy to maintain my weight by drinking 2 shakes per day (breakfast, lunch ) and eating a healthy dinner most of the time. I do reward myself once per week with anything I want to eat.

posted Sep 11th, 2008 6:18 pm


Spouse convinced me to try Optifast after talking to her neighbors who have done well with it. I started at 6 feet tall, 305# and lost 11# in the first week. We shall see. I'm not that particular about food variety so eating/drinking the same thing all the time is actually kind of easy for me. My target is to get to 225# in 6-8 months but I expect I will be doing much of that "time" with my own portion control and exercise program. But this diet seems like a good jump start and motivator. The upfront costs (doctor, etc) were kind of high and the food supplements for a 1600 calorie daily is over $100 per week but I can afford it. There is no price too high for good health. I'm quite healthy otherwise for a 63 year old male so figured "why be obese and complicate things"... especially with all my new grandbabies wanting me around.

posted Sep 4th, 2008 8:23 am


Thanks Mikus. You are a great motivation. I emailed my doc today and he gave me the number of the clinic to call. Hopefully I will hear back from them after the Labor Day Holiday. I have over one hundred pounds to lose. I know the greens, beans, fruits and veggies are the way to go. But, I have found that I need a jump start through Optifast. I know it will cost a lot. I wish insurance covered it. If they can cover a gastric bypass at $25,000 I would think they would rather cover a program at under $5,000. But it is probably due to the gastric being permanent (although I have friends who have gained all their weight back after gastric bypass) and the optifast not. But, I think this is the ticket to my living longer and learning to eat healthier high nutrient dense foods. I can't wait to hear from the doc next week. I feel that I have put up with this weight for 14 plus years...and I don't want to add another year to this one. I gained all my weight having my kids...and I wouldn't change that for the world, what I would go back and change is taking care of Mom while taking care of the kids needs. I forgot me, and now I am paying the price because I thought I was being selfish for possibly putting myself first. No more...If I dont' think about myself first, then I can't serve my family or myself...friends or anyone for that matter...It's the pits feeling sick and being overweight and not being able to do things...not being able to move or tie my shoes and all that jazz. I'm looking forward to 2009 being my year of getting the weight off. Thanks so much for the post.

posted Sep 1st, 2008 8:32 am


6 weeks in and down 56#. Another week or 2 and I'll be under 400#. I have yet to feel actual, gnawing hunger. A bit of an issue with imagining real food, but less and less as each week passes. For those that say they can't imagine NOT being hungry, trust the doctors and track record. Your body knows what's right and when it knows you're finally treating it right, it'll treat you with increased energy, less joint pain and a more positive outlook. those who complain they cannot go without "real" food, isn't that the problem? You can't quit smoking by thinking you can't do without nicotine, it's doomed to failure from the beginning. If your issue has been a lifelong battle with food, quit "eating" for a while and break those bad habits. Then treat yourself right on the other end. Getting to eat healthier versions of junk food on those other diets isn't addressing your real issue, and if that's the case, you'll never maintain after you "complete" that program. Optifast breaks the bad habits and retrains you to eat right after that and includes support groups. Alchoholics know they need help from others to maintain their sobreity, no offense, but eating disorders are no less serious, or reliant on peer support. responsible food choices should not revolve around what other people "get" to eat. Every diet out there breaks down into 2 concepts, EAT LESS & EXCERCISE MORE. You can't do that on a "Eat all you want and still lose weight" type of diet. Take responsibility for what you toss down your own throat... No disrespect meant to anyone reading this, I'm reflecting on my own prior beliefs and attitudes... Mikus

posted Aug 27th, 2008 10:44 am


I have been on the program for just over 3 weeks and on the 3rd week weigh in I had lost a total of 36 lbs. Granted, I started at over 400#, so it's less dramatic than the number seems. My ultimate goal is to lose 250lbs+. I came out of boot camp at 225# in 1991 and got to double that before my health scared me into action. Those of you posting on here saying you don't know if you can get through it, go ahead and spend the next 18 years yoyo-ing up and down, always regaining more weight than you lost on the last "FAD" diet, then think about the OPTIFAST program having a 20 year track record of more than half keeping the weight off(much better odds). Keep making the excuses, like I did, and wonder, 1 year from your 40th, how your life might have been different if you just made the commitment "way back, when".Atkins, South Beach, those "magic pills" that claim to boost yoyur metabolism, none of them address the real issue, FOOD. I finally realized that "quitting eating" cold turkey, like I did for smoking last year, was the only solution. I'm breaking all my old habits by recognizing all the cravings and desires while I'm drinking these shakes, and realizing that whenever I think I'm hungry, it's really just my cravings WANTING to eat. When you clear that hurdle, ANY craving can be dismissed. At the other end, I'll learn how to eat right after all the bad habits are broken. GO TO THE MEETINGS. Expenseive? A bit, but when I add up what I used to spend on food, and my recent medical bills for the increasing health issues, saving my life has never been cheaper... If you need to lose a hundred or more pounds, THIS IS the life changing program(not diet) for you. 50-100 pounds? Its a good choice. Less than 50, it's a bit extreme, join Jenny or weight watchers and go to their support meetings, like you NEED to do for support in the OPTIFAST program. For those of you showing good results, keep it up, you'll be glad you did on the other end. Mikus

posted Aug 11th, 2008 11:36 am


I will start the Optifast program on August 21st and I am very nervous.... I have always struggle with my weight and I got to the point where I feel I need to make a drastic change in my life. I am tire of being overweight and I hope this program will help me. Reading all the positive comments was very encouraging thanks everyone for sharing :) Wish me luck!

posted Aug 7th, 2008 5:48 pm


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