Optifast 800 Shakes

Posted: May 27 in Optifast, Weight loss by

Meal replacement programs are an effective tool to help people safely lose weight and keep it off. I am commonly asked about the Optifast Program. Optifast is made by Nestle, and each Optifast 800 Shake, Soup or Bar contains an ideal combination of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, along with proper vitamins and minerals to help people with weight control. Probably the two most common questions I get about Optifast are: Does it work? And, how is Optifast different from over-the-counter protein drinks and bars?

Does Optifast Work for Weight Loss

I recently ran reports on patients at Clinical Nutrition Center looking back at our medical weight loss patients for 5 years. I looked at weight loss by food plan, and also by medication. The results were consistent both with what we have seen in our prior data, but also in medical studies. Optifast works very well, and outperforms our food plans done with mostly “real” food.

Food plan comparison individualized, advanced, modified fast, meal replacement (optifast)

You can see in this graph that over a 2 year period, we got the highest weight loss with Optifast programs (15%), followed by Modified Fast (12%), Advanced (10%) and then Individualized (8%).

How is Optifast different from over-the-counter protein drinks?

The second question revolves around how is Optifast different from protein drinks and bars you buy over the counter? Optifast is designed from the ground up for medical weight loss. When used as a full meal replacement, we can satisfy all of the body’s macro and micronutrient needs with as little as 800 calories per day. This has been developed by food scientists to ensure high-quality protein is used so that we get a good fat loss and not a lot of lean body weight loss. It is marketed by Nestle’s food science division.

Over the counter protein drinks and bars are not intended for this purpose. They are not intended to treat the disease of obesity. They have not been studied and refined over the years to provide safe and effective weight loss. For a person just wanting a snack once a day, I am not concerned. But for a person with obesity trying to do a 960 calorie full meal replacement, it is unlikely that the over the counter option would be safe and effective. Dr. Angela Fitch, director of the Massachusetts General Weight Management Center, gave an excellent lecture on this topic at the Spring Obesity Medicine Association 2022 Conference.

Another interesting data point in our patients was around the use of weight loss medication (anti-obesity medication / AOM). We saw little difference for patients during the first few months of treatment regarding the percentage weight loss. However, from 6 months to 2 years, weight loss was dramatically improved with the use of AOM:

weight loss after optifast meal replacement is sustained better  if use anti-obesity medication

So, what is the take home message?

  1. Meal replacements like Optifast are highly effective tools to lose weight and keep it off.
  2. Anti-obesity pharmacotherapy improves the odds of sustaining the weight loss induced by a food plan like Optifast.

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