Optavia diet long term side effects
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Are There Long-Term Side Effects Of Optavia Diet? Explained

Everyone is praising the Optavia 5 and 1 Diet program these days. But if you’re considering this diet, you’ll probably want to know about the short-term and long-term side effects of Optavia, which range from mild, and tolerable to severe.

Obviously, the people or individuals who follow these diets can experience the Optavia side effects resulting in terms of the physical, and physiological effects in their body.

The Optavia diet requires you to adhere to a low-calorie, reduced-carb plan that incorporates a combination of packaged foods, and homemade meals to personalize coaching for effective weight loss.

In a recent study, the Optavia diet has been found to cause the most commonly reported physical side effect because some expert suggests that it can cause changes to the gastrointestinal system.

The side effects can arise due to certain downsides such as its very low calories, and fiber content, incompatibility with other eating patterns, sensitivity to ingredients, feeling of deprivation, and relying heavily on packaged food items and many more.

However, several common questions come to our mind before planning to take the Optavia program and this article explores the long-term side effects of Optavia, who should avoid this diet program, and whether it is safe for you or not.

Without any further ado, let’s get started. 

What Is Optavia Diet Plan?

Optavia Diet is a diet brand that is marketed as a weight-loss or maintenance plan that works by consuming a combination of bought, processed food from a firm called “Fueling” – and handmade entrees made up of lean & green meals.

Products sold by Optavia are usually low carb, high protein, and have added probiotics. It can be beneficial for boosting the health of your gut.

The idea behind Optavia Fuelings is that you can choose more than 60 options, everything from bars, shakes, cookies to biscuits, soups to puddings, and cereals to pasta.

Additionally, their plan suggests you engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily.

Regardless of their Optavia diet plan they also offer you options or guidance from health coaches or staff who are not health professionals to be clear.

If you’re looking for a diabetic-friendly plan, Optavia has recently expanded its offerings to include a variety of new programs for people over 65 and those with diabetes. 

These plans are separated from the Opatvia signature 5 &1 plan may be due to their being more customizable with input from your doctor.

Notably, if each of their weight loss diet plans is successfully met and still lose weight the brand provides a secondary plan for weight loss maintenance that users can subscribe to.  

Long-Term Side Effects Of Optavia

Despite many anecdotal claims by the Optavia diet program, there are several long-term adverse side effects of the Optavia diet & plan.

1. High muscle loss

For most people, this overly calorie-restrictive diet leaves little room for flexibility — socially, economically, and culturally which could experience you higher muscle loss in the long term.

Plus, other factors which include a lack of physical exercise guidelines and not eating enough proteins may lead to negative muscle loss. Experiencing the side effects from the diet means your muscle tissue decreases at a faster rate than normal. It’s like the muscles are shrinking rapidly.

However how long the muscle loss lasts can vary from person to person depending on their own body responses such as your metabolism, the amount of activity they do, and how well you follow their food or diet plan.

Additionally, the severity of muscle loss caused by the Optavia diet can range from mild to moderate. The outcome of the side effects also depends upon factors like how long you’ve long on the diet, whether you do additional exercise or engage in resistance training or not, and as well as your body composition.

So if you want to avoid these effects then you should take proper steps to preserve your muscle mass by improving on those factors related to muscle loss discussed above.

2. Can lower your metabolism

Regularly consuming too few calories than what your body needs can lower your metabolism or cause it to slow down.

A low-calorie diet, for example, may result in a 23% reduction in the number of calories used by the body, according to numerous studies (3,4,5).

In fact, as previously stated, low-calorie diets may cause muscle loss by slowing your energy or metabolism. These side effects can last for a long time after you cease your low-calorie diet (6).

Muscle loss is a known side effect of Optaivia, and it is more likely to happen when the calorie-restrictive diet prescribed by any diet is low in protein. And this is true in the case of the Optavia diet.

More than 80% of people gain weight when they stop following calorie-restricted diets Unfortunately, this is because of slower metabolism.

3. May lead to nutrient deficiencies and cause fatigue

Avoidance of iron, folate, or vitamin B12 in a Calorie restrictive diet may increase your risk of developing a deficiency in certain nutrients which can lead to extreme fatigue and anemia (7,8,9).

As previously stated, the Optavia diet has a reduced carbohydrate content, which may cause fatigue in certain people (10,11,12). People who follow this diet may be lacking in fiber, which is essential for managing weight, a healthy stomach, heart health, and stable blood sugar levels.

These could cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues, such as bloating, constipation, gas, and changes in bowel movements.

A calorie-restricted diet may also limit people from receiving other nutrients like protein, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, biotin, and thiamine. However, The Optavia diet does, however, include processed foods sold under the “Fuelings” brand, and the side effects are discussed further below.

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Optavia Benefits: The Positive Side Effects

Its long-term side effects aside, you may be wondering about studies showing the benefits of the Optavia diet and whether it can help to lose weight or not. 

Although weight loss is the main goal of the Opataiva diet there are some other potential benefits that some people may be drawn to including being easy to follow and improving blood pressure levels.  

May promote weight loss

In a randomized controlled trial conducted in 2018 and funded by Medifast, it was found that reducing calorie intake while following the Optavia 5 & 1 plan with telephone coaching was more effective than following the self-directed and guided Medifast 4&2&1 plan.

So, very low-calorie diets may aid in quick and short-term weight loss, but there isn’t much evidence to support their long-term efficacy. 

A 16-week research on the Medifast and Optavia diet showed that the participants had a significant impact on their overall body weight, abdominal fat mass, and circumference of hips and waist in comparison with self-guide and staying on low-calories.

These measurements were taken after participants followed one of the three diets for 16 weeks. 

While it’s noteworthy that Medifast funded both pieces of research, there may be a risk that the findings are biased in some way.

Diet plans like Optavia that encourage rapid weight loss may have some short-term benefits, but they may not be as effective as those that encourage gradual weight loss (1).

Furthermore, there is very little or no study has been conducted or available on Optavia’s long-term weight loss benefits. Plus, the studies that see how well low-calorie, low-carb diets perform for long-term weight loss don’t look beyond one year after the diet completion.

This causes the studies on those participants to put on weight again.

Other alternatives to Optavia diets that promote weight loss compared to quick weight loss regimens, gradual weight loss promoted more pronounced decreases in fat mass and body fat percentage while maintaining resting metabolic rate.

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May improve blood pressure

The Optavia diet program focuses on weight loss and limited sodium intake which may improve your blood pressure.

Optivia meal plan usually is designed in such a way that you are consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium in a day. But you also get an option to select low-sodium meals and have more lean & green meals.

This may be explained by the fact that many medical organizations, such as the American Heart Association, Institute of Medicine, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, advise consuming fewer than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (2).

However, considering their 5 &1 diet currently no evidence shows the effectiveness for improving your blood pressure.

Easy to follow

Optaivai’s diet program relies mostly on packaged foods and processed fuelings, so you’re limited to coking only one meal per day on the Optimal Weight 5&1. 

The meal plan from Optavia comes with a nice arrangement of meal plans and logs that make it easier to track your progress.

After enrolling in the program, you are recommended to prepare 1 to 3 servings of lean and green meals every day. Depending on your plan, they are easy to prepare, and their program also contains a list of food options and specific recipes.

Others who aren’t interested in cooking can buy their packaged meals to replace the Lean and Greens meals.

Is Optavia Safe For You?

The Optavia program as a diet option is likely to be safe for most healthy adults.

Pregnant, breastfeeding women and individuals under the age of 13 should steer clear of the Optavia diet as it is not recommended for these groups of people.

Optavia diet has been designed keeping in mind the age group between 13 and 17. Also, it is not recommended or allowed for this group to follow the Optimal Weight 5&1 plan.

The Optimal Weight 5&1 plan is also not recommended for other groups of people such as those aged 65 and above, people identified with gout, breastfeeding moms, and people with diabetes who not exercise for more than 45 minutes a day.

And, these groups of people may be a better fit for other Optavia programs.

The Optavia website discusses a medical disclaimer that states that there are chances that you will be experiencing symptoms from rapid weight loss such as Dizziness, hair thinning, headaches, gallstones, gallbladder illness, and gastrointestinal signs & symptoms.

Therefore, if you experience severe/serious symptoms like numbness or tingling, confusion, muscle cramps, and rapid or irregular heartbeat, seek or get immediate medical attention.

As you are aware the Optavia diet provides a lower calorie intake diet and there are various associated side effects of low-calorie diets including fatigue, hormone imbalance, gallstones, and depression.

Thus, the consequences of these effects could be due to a drastic shift in your calorie intake which can be serious in some cases.

Specifically, it is best to speak or talk with your doctor before starting a diet like Optavia to ensure it’s safe for you.

So, before beginning any Optavia program, people should consult with their doctor if they are taking any prescription drugs or nutritional supplements, have a history of serious illnesses, or disorders that may be affected by weight, or require medical treatment.

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Optavia Side Effects: Should It Worry You?

Who doesn’t want to look fit and in the best shape of life? Of course, everybody. Optavia’s diet plan has foods and workouts that can help achieve your weight loss goals.

Optavia is a low-calorie diet that can reduce your overall calorie intake throughout the day. However, the reduced calories can be a reason for the long-term side effects of Optavia.

A diet very low in calories might come with certain risks such as slowing down your metabolism, impacting digestive health, and risk of muscle loss. These are the potential side effects associated with the long-term use of Optavia.

While the Optavia diet can show promising results in achieving your short-term weight loss goals, it might have sustainability issues. 

So, fad diets such as Optavia are highly unlikely to give you the desired results, and more importantly, they aren’t sustainable in the long term.

Weight loss doesn’t only depend on your diet but can have several other underlying reasons such as genetics, stress, lack of sleep, or some other causes. 

So always take time to assess yourself before putting your precious dollars into any expensive program having little to no use. 

To sum up, the Optavia diet can have some long-term side effects or consequences thus not making it optimal for everyone. It is best to consult a dietitian before attempting to try any of these.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27136388/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404923/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673773/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673773/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673773/
  6. https://www.nap.edu/read/11537/chapter/37/
  7. https://www.nap.edu/read/11537/chapter/26/
  8. https://www.nap.edu/read/11537/chapter/19/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25178568/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17904939/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15148063/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25178568/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30820327/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32576318/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5673777/

About the Author

Purushottam is the founder and content writer at Health On Planet, a place where regular health enthusiasts visit to get honest reviews about the supplement. He has been reviewing popular dietary supplements with his years of expertise in the wellness industry. You can always trust his expertise on supplements to help you make informed choices.

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