The Optifast Diet

The Optifast diet is a liquid diet that dates back to the 1970s. It is a diet meant for the morbidly obese to lose weight quickly when their health is at risk.

The Premise

The Optifast diet is a diet divided into several sections. It is meant in the beginning to replace meals with specially designed shakes to provide you with all the necessary nutrients your body needs while you lose weight. Once the weight has been lost, it transitions you back into eating solid foods until you have transformed your eating habits into healthier ones.

The Diet

The Optifast diet is broken up into several phases: screening, weight loss, transition and maintenance. In the screening phase you are looked over by a doctor to determine if Optifast is the right diet for you. Ideal candidates for the Optifast diet are between ages 20 and 50, more than 50 pounds overweight and healthy enough to withstand the strain a liquid diet will have on the body.

The weight loss is the liquid portion of the diet. You replace your 3 meals and 2 snacks a day with Optifast diet shakes. You eat nothing else during this time. The calorie content of the shakes is around 800 calories a day.

In the transition phase, you are slowly reintroduced back into solid foods. You eat mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The foods you eat will consist mostly of low fat, simple carbohydrates. You will be under the supervision of a doctor to determine the best menu for you during this period.

The maintenance phase leads you into healthier eating habits to help you keep off the weight you have lost and keep your body healthy and happy.

What to Get Excited Over

You have the full support and observation of a medical staff during the entire Optifast diet. You also meet with other dieters to support each other in your goals. The Optifast diet can help you lose 10 to 20 pounds a month, which has a positive psychological impact. Seeing rapid results can be encouraging to you if you have trouble losing weight on your own.

Things to Consider

The Optifast diet is expensive. It requires around $550 for the program and $100 a week for shake meal replacements. As a low calorie diet, you run the risk of regaining back the weight that was lost once you are off the program. These types of diets damage your metabolism to the point where it is easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. In addition, 800 calories a day is not enough fuel for the body to operate on a regular day’s work. You may feel lightheaded and lethargic due to lack of adequate energy.

The Verdict

The Optifast diet is an extreme diet that should only be considered in the more dire circumstances. It is not a healthy means of losing weight, but unlike many extreme diets, it does take place under the watchful eyes of medical professionals. While this diet is not recommended for most, it can be helpful to those who need it.

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Posts By Sequoia
  • Kristi

    There are not 2 snacks on the optifast diet. You drink 5 shakes a day totaling 800 calories.

  • LeAnn

    The number of meals per day is based on your BMI. The lowest is 5 per day (at 160-170 calories per meal), but can go up to 7 or more. In addition to shakes, there are bars and soups available. I’m on my last week in the active phase (week 12), and have found it surprisingly easy to stick to the plan. The most amazing thing is that I haven’t felt hungry as long asI follow directions and eat every 3 hours. The best part – 47 lbs and counting.

  • Pam

    I consider the five Optifast products as three meals and two snacks although there is really nothing to differentiate a meal from a snack except, perhaps, the time of day it’s consumed. The journal breaks it down as meals and snacks as well. I, too, have found it surprising easy to follow, but I tend to do better when I have fewer options. The weekly support helps to keep me on track. I spent more money before Optifast since my husband and I ate out a lot, at about $50 a pop.

  • margaret

    It clearly states 3 shakes …not 4 or 5 0r 6…..so is this the same optifast as australia