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Optifast Review: Does it Work?

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

Top Rated Diet Shakes of 2017
What is it?

Optifast is a meal replacement shake offering 100% of 24 vitamins and minerals. It’s claimed to be an easy to mix formula, and they also offer a ready to drink liquid shake.

Their powdered shake has a combination of dry milk and calcium caseinate that equals 14 grams of protein. They currently offer three flavors in Strawberry, Chocolate, and French Vanilla. These shakes are meant to be drunk alongside the other meal replacement foods offered by the company. On their own, they’re said to be a nutritionally healthy choice. So are these shakes truly effective for weight loss? What kinds of ingredients are added, and are they wholesome? This Optifast review will help you discover the truth about this meal replacement.  To discover which meal replacements made it to the top 10 list, click here.

Do You Know the Best Diet Shakes of 2018?

Optifast Ingredients and Side Effects

Nonfat Dry Milk


Calcium Caseinate

Canola Oil (BHA/BHT)


Potassium Phosphate

Magnesium Oxide

Mono and Diglycerides

Choline Bitartrate

Potassium Chloride

Ascorbic Acid

Natural and Artificial Flavor

Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate

Ferrous Sulfate

Zinc Sulfate

Vitamin A Palminate


Copper Gluconate

Calcium Pantothenate

Manganese Sulfate

Vitamin D3

Color (Beta Carotene, Turmeric Oleoresin)

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

Thiamine Hydrochloride


Chromium Chloride

Folic Acid


Potassium Iodide

Sodium Molybdate

Sodium Selenite

Vitamin K1

Vitamin B12



Nonfat Dry Milk: Dehydrated milk that is added to foods due to its naturally long preservation. 

This ingredient is often imported in from difference countries. There’s controversy over its use, due to a 2008 scandal where 300,000 people were contaminated from this ingredient.

It was found to be contaminated with melamine, which is added to help increase the protein content. This could also lead to kidney stones and renal failure.

A recall began in China after several people had debilitating illnesses.

Fructose: Fruit sugar that is absorbed directly into the bloodstream when digested.

It’s considered one of the worst sweeteners that can cause metabolism disorders, as well as raise the risk for obesity. The University of California, Davis performed a clinical study showing:

“increased consumption of fructose may be detrimental in terms of body weight and adiposity and the metabolic indexes”

“shown to induce visceral obesity, insulin-resistant diabetes, and hyperlipidemia”

This means it can cause issues with raising blood sugar, and it can increase the risk for weight gain. These kinds of effects have also shown a rise in obesity related illnesses.

Fructose when it’s extracted from fruits has been shown in many other clinical studies to be harmful to overall health.

Calcium Caseinate: Protein taken from the casein found in milk. It’s a cheap protein source often added to increase the amount of protein in foods.

Though it can lead to a sense of fullness, this ingredient is cheap to make, and isn’t as potent in amino acids as other protein sources.

The manufactures also fail to list the total amino acid profile. So it’s impossible to determine whether it has enough amino acids to help the body’s performance. When replacing meals it’s important to determine how much amino acids are provided, instead of solely looking at the total protein content.

You can discover the best shake brands for weight loss by clicking here.

Canola Oil (BHA/BHT): Oils made from the processed seeds of rapeseed. BHA and BHT are preservatives added to help fats from going rancid. Live Science has mentioned there are possible side effects. They listed studies in which this ingredient lead to:

“cancer in rats, mice and hamsters”

In California this ingredient has also been listed as a carcinogen.

Artificial Flavor: Man made synthetic ingredient used to help make food taste a particular way. It’s often added to help substitute natural flavors that would be harder to keep fresh.

It can be extracted from many different common allergens including soy, wheat, and corn. Though it’s not required for the company to list how they sourced this ingredient from. This could potentially lead to unwanted side effects.

Optifast Quality of Ingredients

Optifast has a total of 18 grams of sugar that comes from fructose, which is considered one of the worst sweeteners available. Multiple studies have shown it to potentially raise the risk for obesity. 18 grams of sugar is a significant amount as well, this can make weight loss harder.

Also, there are preservatives that have shown to potentially be carcinogenic.  Both BHA and BHT have been found in some studies to have a damaging effect that leads to cancer.

There is a high amount of protein at 14 grams, but it comes from cheap sources such as nonfat dry milk and calcium caseinate. Both of these can be purchased for much cheaper, though they’re not the best protein sources. The company also fails to list the total amino acid score, so it’s impossible to determine if the protein provided is well rounded enough.

There’s far too much calories as well at 160 per serving. The combination of high sugar, calories, and no fiber make this a very poor meal replacement shake. It can all make weight gain easier, instead of helping support a weight loss diet plan.  For your convenience, the top 10 meal replacements are available here.

EDITOR’S TIP: Combine this supplement with a proven meal replacement such as 18Shake for better results.

The Price and Quality of Optifast

The company fails to mention how much these shakes cost. They only offer sales for people who visit their clinics, and then they try to recruit people into their centers.

It’s important to be able to know how fairly this is priced. Though due to the high amounts of sugar, low quality protein, no explanation as to the amino acid content, and the 0 grams of fiber, this shake isn’t a well-rounded enough meal replacement. It’s unlikely to help people with appetite suppression.

Web MD advises to find a meal replacement that offers the following:

“3-5 grams of fiber per serving”

Without this, you aren’t getting enough fiber to help promote healthy digestion and appetite suppression. Since you aren’t getting enough fiber from this shake, it does not qualify as a proper meal replacement. You’d have to supplement with additional fiber sources to make up for the lack of quality.

Before considering any shake, it’s important to know exactly how much it costs. Since this meal replacement has poor ingredients, it shouldn’t be priced too high.

Business of Optifast

The Nestlé Health Science company makes this brand. They can be found via the following customer support information:

Phone Number: (800) 662-2540

Address: 445 State Street

                   Fremont, Michigan 49412

They fail to mention whether or not they offer money back return. There’s also a problem with controversies.

The company has also had to recall their products in the past due to contaminations.

The New York Times added that

“The Food and Drug Administration … was investigating and working with Nestle to pinpoint the source of the latest E.coli contamination”

This outbreak ended up harming several people, who had to be hospitalized. It’s unknown how this problem was handled to ensure it wouldn’t contaminate any future batches of their foods.

EDITOR’S TIP: For the best results with meal replacement shakes diet our experts recommend to use it at least 5 months. Save your money buying a few bags of meal replacement product.

Customer Opinions of Optifast

There aren’t many reviews on the shakes themselves. Here are a few of the limited customer reviews online:

“found I was always hungry”

“first three days were awful”

“struggling a bit”

There was the common opinion that this meal replacement failed to suppress people’s appetite. For many, it was shown to cause extreme hunger and many continued to have constant thoughts about food.

The company also fails to provide any testimonials or studies to show why this shake would be a proper meal replacement. Without much information available, it’s unknown if this is priced fairly, or if customers found it useful for weight loss.

The few reviews have all been negative towards the overall quality of these shakes.  The highest ranking meal replacements are available in this top 10 list.

Conclusion - Does Optifast Work?

When considering a proper meal replacement, it’s important to make sure there’s enough fiber with low amounts of sugar. Optifast has too much sugar added that’s from a sweetener shown in studies to potentially cause weight gain. Better options are available that have no preservatives, high quality protein, and all natural ingredients. Its customers have also reviewed this shake poorly.

When searching for a proper meal replacement, it’s important that customers reviewed it highly, and that it has a well-rounded nutritional profile. There’s simply not enough support for this meal replacement to rank it as one of the best.

The very best shake out of 2016 that offers all the mentioned benefits is 18Shake. There’s 5 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and just 90 calories added to this all-natural formula. Customers mention it’s great for reducing appetite, and that people have lost significant amounts of weight. Best of all, it’s made only with natural ingredients, and no fillers of any kind.

This meal replacement has many customer testimonials showing just how effective it truly is. People rave about its easy mix formula, its ability to suppress appetite, and how effective it is for weight loss. They also mention that it tastes great, which is important when using a meal replacement so you don’t lose track of your diet.

18Shake is supported by a great 30-day money back guarantee, which you can learn more about by clicking here. So you can use this shake with the knowledge that there’s no risk in giving it a try.  

How Does OPTIFAST Compare?
  • Product Name
  • User Rating
  • Has Good Appetite Suppressant
  • Has Only Natural Components
  • Good Taste
  • 39 /100
  • .

> Leave Feedback

User Feedback

(Page 11 of 14, 272 total comments)

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


There is no way on Gods green earth that I could stick to this diet. No one can convince me that by drinking 5 shakes a day (that?s 5 shakes PERIOD) that I won?t be hungry. I went to an Optifast meeting to learn about the diet and also found out that the 16 week plan costs $3200.00. That includes 12 wks of "food" + 4 wks of weaning + weekly counseling & health monitoring. Thanks but I?ll pass. I chose the Medifast plan instead. Much more doable.

posted Jul 31st, 2008 1:01 pm


Week 5 I am down 24lbs, and am happy with that, but I know it could be more. With the summer season here, and all my camping trips etc, I have been cheating, but try to do it with healthy low cal foods. Had a few bad weekends...beer, burgers, etc, which slowed my weight loss down, but didn't stop it. Going to try and keep to the diet, but it isn't easy. I did find however, that I could eat a spinach and tomato salad with a very small amount of low cal dressing, and still lose 6 lbs in a week. I also found that a half cup of frozen mixed fruit in the vanilla shakes, makes it taste much better...it's cheating a little bit, but only about 60 calories per shake, twice a day, and it's worth it to have a second flavour added to my diet. The vanilla by itself is terrible. Berry metamucil works too, but not as tasty. Anyway, this diet does work if you keep at it, but I think you really have to change your lifestyle to maintain the loss, but that's what we needed to do in the first place. I will report back as things progress.

posted Jul 24th, 2008 10:13 am


Just finished my first month. How exciting, 14lbs. 18.5 inches. I had no idea how much an extra 10lbs. make you feel. I have never been more comitted. Can not wait for last 16lbs to come off.

posted Jul 15th, 2008 10:09 pm


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QUICK FACTSQUICK 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

Do You Know the Best Diet Shakes of 2017?


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 MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

optyfast, opti fast, optifast progarm

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