Optavia (Medifast) Popular Diets after Bariatric Surgery

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

July 13, 2022

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Optavia (Medifast)

Optavia is a subsidiary of Medifast and I am covering it here in our Popular diets after Bariatric Surgery blog series. The program is focused on habit change coaching and utilizes “fuelings.” It could work for some bariatric patients looking to get a jump start back to good habits, but with some consideration of long-term habit change that can be sustained.


Read the recap blog for the Popular Diets after Bariatric Surgery Series here including a full comparison chart!


The backstory on Optavia (a subsidiary of Medifast)

Optavia is a subsidiary of Medifast, Inc which is a public nutrition and weight loss company based in Baltimore, founded in 1980. Optavia was started in 2017.

You may be familiar with Medifast products while you were on a pre-op eating plan. Medifast products are sometimes incorporated in pre-surgical diet for bariatric patients.

Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen is the Co-Founder and Medical Director of Optavia. He is the New York Times best-selling author of “Discover Your Optimal Health: The Guide to Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Vitality, Your Life.”

Dr. Anderson focuses on mindset and states the key areas of wellbeing include physical health, mental health and financial health and that optimal health is reached with the balance of all three.

The company also employs a scientific advisory board of physicians, nutritionist and scientists.

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What does Optavia advise?

As I researched the Optavia website, it seems their offering is entitled “Transformation through Holistic Wellness” and utilizes coaching, community and Dr. Andersons “Habits of Health®” Transformational System.

In particular with food, they commonly use the “Optimal Weight 5 in 1 Plan®” which includes 5 daily meals from Optavia “fuelings.”

One would select from their list of options and eat every 2-3 hours plus learn to make a ‘lean and green’ meal. The products are developed by doctors and dietitians.

To summarize the plan:


Optavia weight loss program offerings in a blog about popular diets after bariatric surgery




Is there research on Optavia after Bariatric Surgery?

The Optavia website includes a link to a 48 page Clinical Studies Overview document citing their research specific to their meals and eating plans, diabetes and PCOS. 

There is no research specific to bariatric surgery.

It takes some digging to find nutrition information on the fuelings. The label shown here is for a Rustic Tomato Herb Penne.

nutrition label Optavia fueling tomato herb penne
They have several fueling options including bars, shakes and meals. The 5-in-1 is just one of their suggested eating programs and they also offer a “Optimal Weight” and “Optimal Health” options they differ on how many fuelings a day.


Is Optavia after Bariatric Surgery okay to try?

This program would be a patient to patient, clinical judgement decision. It may fit within your goals but it’s also worth asking if this is the right choice for your long-term goals. 

Is it worthwhile to invest more money and eat prepackaged foods for the long-term management of obesity? It might help someone lose regained weight though what is the transition plan in the long term? The micro-habits program may help to build that transition for later, I’m not familiar enough to know. 

Are all of the products appropriate? Are you prepared to go through all the nutrition information? That can be tedious to read through all the labels plus identify what you’d like.  

Is eating 2-3 hours ideal for the patient when they need to focus on hydration in between meals? We see better weight management results with a structured meal pattern of 3 meals a day and one snack if you need so you can focus on hydration in between meals and avoid grazing habits. 

The coaching on habit change seems very helpful. It may be worthwhile to review Dr. Anderson’s book before investing in the full Optavia program.

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In Summary

Optavia has some cool habit change coaching behind the program. I’ve listened to a presentation from a licensed counselor who worked for Optavia on habit change and it was fantastic.

The fuelings seem expensive and questionable if it’s the right choice long-term. Reading all the labels, finding what you like and investing more money is the most likely reason why a post-op might shy away from the program in it’s entirety.

Eating 2-3 hours isn’t ideal for post-ops as we see more success with structured meals and not grazing. For more on that, the blog on Macros showcases a research study with common habits of highly successful patients 5 years out. Hydrating in between meals is essential and not drinking with meals would cut into water drinking time! Here is a blog on the common question about Small Frequent Meals.



Don’t forget! If you are looking for group chats, live coaching and other nutrition resources more specific to bariatric surgery, Premier Access Membership to Bariatric Food Coach offers all those things!

Members can email me anytime with their questions. If you are a member and have more questions about this post, click here! 

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More in the Popular Diets Series

the bariatric diet blog on the series popular diets after bariatric surgeryblog on bariatric plate method blog image popular diets after bariatric surgery weight watchersoptavia after bariatric surgerybright line eating after bariatric surgery blog series popular diets after weight loss surgery




Website Bio for Steph Wagner dietitian on Bariatric Food Coach



Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, September 11). Medifast. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medifast

Website, O. (n.d.). U.S. client answers. What clinical studies support the OPTAVIA Program? | U.S. CLIENT ANSWERS. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://answers.optavia.com/help/what-clinical-studies-support-the-optavia-program



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