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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 2017?

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
  • .

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User Feedback

(Page 8 of 14, 272 total comments)



I forgot to mention my first week weigh in I lost 11.5 lbs. Can't complain about that :0)

posted Sep 16th, 2009 7:04 am


Went for my second weigh in and lost 1 lb. Consultant said my yo yo dieting is coming back to haunt me,which makes sense. My body is waiting for the next binge. She said give it another week and I will start losing quickly....I agree. Im going to really focus on getting in a lot of excercise this week.

posted Sep 16th, 2009 7:03 am


I started the program 11 days ago and I lost 11 pounds. I hope to complete the entire program. Good luck to all of us.

posted Sep 15th, 2009 5:15 pm



I went into the office for a consultation on Tuesday, August 20th and my dr appt, ekg and bloodwork was on Thursday, August 28th. I then had a follow up with the dr on September 1 and started on September 2. Today is my first weigh in and group meeting.

posted Sep 8th, 2009 6:15 am



I went into the office for a consultation on Tuesday, August 20th and my dr appt, ekg and bloodwork was on Thursday, August 28th. I then had a follow up with the dr on September 1 and started on September 2. It's been one week, I go in for my first weigh in and group meeting today.

posted Sep 8th, 2009 6:12 am

Kelly Agler Meador

How soon after your initial consultation do you have bloodwork done and when do you actually start the program. I have my consult on sept.14 and very anxious to get going. Is there anything i can do to help prepare?

posted Sep 4th, 2009 8:17 pm



I'm on day 1, had my first supplement...vanilla mixed with coffee, very good. I have 120 lbs to lose, I pray this works. The only thing left is surgery.

posted Sep 2nd, 2009 6:34 am


Kaiser does not pay for the plan. You have to pay the full cost yourself.

posted Aug 25th, 2009 7:06 pm


Jerri, how did you get Kiser to pay for it all.

posted Aug 24th, 2009 11:34 am



I started optifast on August 14, 2009 and i have lost 7pounds! Of course, this was the first week and I broke down a few times in the middle of the night with twix bars, milky ways, pancakes, anything sweet. I will not do that next week and maybe more weight will come off.

posted Aug 23rd, 2009 10:55 pm


What is the SALT content of OPTIFAST??

posted Aug 12th, 2009 10:38 pm


Can anyone tell me what happens after you have lost the weight? Are you able to go back to eating regular meals? Are you able to eat regular food while on the diet? I am just asking because it would be impossible to drink shakes forever & just want to see how it is working for people coming off the diet. Thanks!!

posted Aug 11th, 2009 11:45 am


I just started Optifast 3 days ago. I weigh 165 but would like to get to a normal weight of 125. These last few days have been so hard. I find I get hungry more in the evening and start craving (a normal dinner). I actually "cheated" already and ate a very small, low calorie dinner in substitute for a shake. I'm so glad to see that so many of you have lost so much weight. I'm hoping I can do the same. Thanks for the motivation.

posted Aug 2nd, 2009 9:59 pm

Jeri Simpson

Sarah, If you are exercising for 1 hour every day, drinking 64 oz. of water, and sticking to the Optifast religiously, you will lose the weight. Also, only weigh yourself at the end of each week--not everyday. The speed in which you lose the weight also has to do with how much weight you have to lose. I had to lose 86 pounds. The first 10 weeks I averaged a 3 pound loss each week. The last 10 weeks I averaged a 2 pound loss each week. I am in my 25th week and am still averaging about 2 lbs lost per week and I have 26 pounds to go.

posted Jul 5th, 2009 5:18 pm


I have been on Optifast for 2 weeks now. During my 1200 calorie 'introductory' week prior to starting phase 1, I was able to lost 5 pounds on my own. I was disappointed that, even though I stuck to the diet, the 1st week on supplements, I only lost 1.8 pounds. I am nearing the end of the 2nd week on supplements and I have barely lost 1 pound.

I am doing EVERYTHING right. I just don't understand... I'm getting upset that I'm working so hard and not losing weight.

Thank you.

posted Jul 1st, 2009 2:05 pm



Help? I have been drinking optifast shakes for 30 days now. I have been on this before & only have enough for 3 more weeks. I don't have the food-transition information anymore (this time I was not medically supervised). If you have the info-please contact me...I know I'm getting close! I am on the "Optifast 70" 400 calories a day. Thank you-thank you!!!

posted Jun 27th, 2009 8:33 pm

Jeri Simpson


It is June 26, 2009. I started my weight loss and fitness journey on January 12, 2009 when I started the Optifast Program at Kaiser. On that date I weighed a whopping 201.2 pounds. Down only 7 pounds from my maximum weight of 208 (when I started Jenny Craig in January 2006). I had gotten down to a low of 168 in December 2006, went up to 172 and sustained that weight through August 2007. I quit Jenny Craig and slowing gain all of the weight back in 1 ½ years time.
I started Optifast with the intention that 2009 would be my year to lose the weight and then I??d slowing regain the weight in 2010. This has been my mentality for all diets that I??ve been on. But, for some reason, I changed my attitude rather quickly. I think it had everything to do with the Optifast Program and my instructor, Linda Roberts. All of a sudden something clicked inside my brain (finally). When I first started the program, I would get hungry by the end of the day. I??m sure it was because I was going from eating an average of 2900 calories a day down to a mere 800 calories a day. It took my body some adjusting. I went to bed hungry (and early) on several nights. But lo and behold about 4 weeks into the program, my body started adjusting to it. I am so glad I was committed to not cheating those first few weeks. 95% of the people in my Optifast class cheated and the class slowly devolved into just a few of us who stayed true by the end of the 20 week program. By giving myself the opportunity to ??detox? from food, I was truly able to finally forget about it. I never thought I??d see the day?
At the end of my first month on Optifast, I looked back at my food and fitness journal and saw another pattern that was typical for me: although I stayed true to the food plan, I was only exercising intermittently (even though I had an elliptical trainer plopped right in front of my new HD TV). I made a decision. If I was strong enough to consume only 5 shakes and 64 ounces of water a day, I was determined enough to exercise every day too. So there it began. I started doing 20 minutes a day, then 30, then 40, then 50, then 60 minutes a day. The only day I would take off was the day I had my Optifast class. So from February to the first of June 2009, I faithfully got on that elliptical and spent an hour on it. Wow. I??m so proud of myself.
By the end of the 20 week Optifast program, I had lost 50 pounds. My weight was 152.2. I went from a size 18 to a size 10!
I started Phase 2 of the Optifast program on June 9, 2009. It??s the same as the 20 week program only in 8 week increments until I lose the rest of the weight. I changed up my exercise program for Phase 2. I reduced the elliptical trainer workout to 30 minutes, 6 days a week, and added 10 minutes of stretching and 15 minutes of weight training in its place. So, now I work out 55 minutes, 6 days a week: cardio, stretching, strength training. Again, wow!
It is June 26, 2009. I am now down to 143 pounds having lost 7 pounds since starting on Phase 2. My goal is 115 (my old Weight Watchers goal weight that I??d achieved at one time). I??ve been consistently losing about 2 pounds per week for a few months now so I figure I??ll be down to my goal weight by the end of September (just in time for my trip to England).

So, what am I doing differently now that I??ve never done before? I??m planning for my maintenance phase. In my dieting history, I would lose the weight and then spend my ??maintenance? time gaining it back: ??I??m thin now therefore I can eat anything I want and I don??t even have to exercise.? That was my motto. Not anymore. Now I know that I must plan for my maintenance. I??ve purchased a whole slew of books: Eat This, Not That ?? Supermarket Survival Guide (great book, learned a lot), Eat This, Not That ?? The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution, Small Changes, Big Results, Volumetrics Eating Plan, Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook, and Cooking Light Complete Cookbook. I??m working my way through each book. I??ve also downloaded a ??Meal Plan? template to my computer. My plan is to plan out all of my meals one week in advance using shopping tips and recipes found in these books. Planning my meals way in advance will be my key to maintaining control over what I eat. I know I??m not the kind of person who can make smart decisions at the spur of the moment. I need a plan. The other thing I am planning on doing is attending maintenance support classes once I??ve lost all of my weight. I??ve had to admit to myself that I have behaved like a food addict most of my life. Therefore, I need to do what addicts do. I know I need support.
I made the decision to change my lifestyle so that I could feel healthy again. In 2008 I was diagnosed with a fatty liver (couldn??t they think of a better term to use when they came up with that?), gallstones, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I drive a cute little Mercedes SLK350 and I was having trouble getting in and out of the car without my body getting stuck between the seat and the steering wheel. When I traveled my butt just barely fit the seat and I had to hold my arms in so as not to infringe on my seatmate. My walk was turning into a waddle. I needed to make significant changes. When I signed up for Optifast last December, a 20 week program seemed so long. Now here it??s been over 24 weeks and the time has flown by.
When I started this journey it had nothing to do with how I looked. But, boy, is it great to look fabulous. I threw out all of my old clothes and bought brand new size 10??s on ebay (I didn??t want to spend a ton of money since I??m planning to continue to go down in size). I feel great. I am committed to eating healthy and exercising for the rest of my life. I will be 85 and will still be able to move!!!

posted Jun 26th, 2009 4:00 pm



I love this diet ! I have lost 25lb.'s since April 1st. I am losing slow so I will not regain ! I buy off ebay & I did get a check up 1st . I am doing this on my own & feel better than I have in 20 yr.'s ! I wore a 18W & they were so tight & now I am wearing an 14 misses & they are getting baggy so in about 2 weeks I will go for a 12 . My point try it ! You will love it ! I start my morning with a optifast choc. meal bar & one cup of BLACK coffee . Also I got the powder & the R2Drink shakes when I first started . Get the powder & get a shaker at GNC it has a sping in it 2 shake it . It works great & it is fast ! It tast better & you get more 4 your money ( 84 ) pk.'s & I put 10 0z. of cold water(bottled) & I drink a shake every 3.5 - 4 hours & I stay full & I may take an Nexium 1 time or less per week & B-4 2 per day & that did not help sometimes ! Also make sure you drink bottle water or fillter ! I drink the 20 oz an I drink around 6-8 per day . I hope this helps those of you who want 2 know how many oz..'s you get in the R2Drink ( get the powder) & ebay is where I get mine & check the date & ask if they do not say ! I will get my blood work done again the end of the month & I am sure it is going 2 be great !! I am doing this 4 me & 2 drop 50-55 lb.'s but most of all 4 me & I feel great ! People ask me all the time how much do you want 2 loss & I say 1 lb. at a time ,cause it is 2 much pressure on someone 2 say a big # when you just say 1 lb. at a time ! Good luck 2 all of you ! I hope you all have a bess day !

posted Jun 12th, 2009 12:21 am



I have been on Optifast since 2/5/09 I started at 241 lbs, I am now at 168 lbs. I love the program, I have never cheated and I exercise at least 4 days a week. It's the easiest diet I've ever done and I've done a lot, I plan to make this my last diet.

posted Jun 2nd, 2009 10:24 pm


There's 8 oz. per container.

posted Jun 2nd, 2009 8:38 am


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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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