Optavia: Authentic Transformation or Just Another “Miracle” Diet MLM? [Review]

optavia logoThe mission is attractive: Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time.

After all, who doesn’t want to be transformed?

Add to that Optavia’s own transformation: from Take Shape for Life to a new, modern brand name in 2016, and from analog to completely digital. Today, coaches share their personal stories of transformation through social media. Meetings, support calls, coach support calls, business calls — they’re all done through Webinars.

Which all adds up to an attractive MLM that may be a valid business opportunity.

Optavia is a popular health and wellness MLM company that offers products backed by science. Eat less, exercise more. Come on people, this weight loss thing isn’t rocket science. Or is it?

Optavia, with its “roots in scientific rigor,” claims that weight loss can actually be a very scientific thing, and they’ve got some medical and corporate backing.


1. What does Optavia sell? Optavia sells a line of food products called “Fuelings,” available in kits or as individual items, ranging from full meals to light snacks. The full line is separated into two categories: Essential and Select. Their claim to fame is 37 years of experience, products used by more than 1 million clients, and recommendations from more than 20,000 doctors since its founding.

2. What are Optavia’s most popular products? The Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan is based on eating six small, 800- to 1,000-calorie meals per day to put your body into a gentle but efficient fat burning state while maintaining lean muscle mass. The idea is to make healthy eating become second nature.

3. How much does it cost to join Optavia? Optavia products are sold through coaches. To become a coach, you’ll need to buy an Optavia Business Kit, which costs $199 and contains tools, plan information, and 12 months of free access to your personalized Optavia website.

4. Is Optavia a scam? No. Optavia is a brand under a publicly traded company, Medifast. It was ranked #56 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100. And it’s expanding around the world

5. What is Optavia’s BBB rating? A+

6. How long has Optavia been in business? Since 2002

7. What is Optavia’s revenue? The company rarely shares Optavia-specific financials, but publicly traded Medifast (the parent company) reports strong earnings that are growing consistently. The second quarter of 2018 marked the largest revenue and profit quarter in the history of Optavia, hitting $117.3 million.

8. How many Optavia distributors are there? 19,700

9. What lawsuits have been filed? In 2013, a class-action suit was filed against Medifast for not being forthright about revenues to deceive investors. It was dismissed. [1] In 2012, a subsidiary of Medifast, Jason Pharmaceuticals, who creates their Fuelings meals, paid $3.7 million settlement over deceptive ads. The Federal Trade Commission said it violated a 1992 FTC settlement agreement by making unsupported claims to its weight-loss program. [2, 3] In 2011, Medifast sued Sequence for $270 million, alleging defamation, criminal conspiracy, unfair business practices, and market manipulation. The case was dismissed. [4]

10. Comparable companies: Isagenix, IDLife

So should you get involved?

I’m not going to say you won’t make money with Optavia, but there are certainly better options out there…

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Either way, here’s the full review on Optavia.


This company is confusing to evaluate because you see a lot of different names. Here’s how it works…

Medifast is the parent company. It’s been recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980. [5] Optavia is a subsidiary and is the MLM part of the company. Prior to 2016, it was known as Take Shape for Life.

They were founded by the perfect duo – Bradley MacDonald (who has since passed), Chairman of the Board of Directors for Medifast and big business expert, and Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, a major critical care physician.

Their Medifast products are backed by doctors and clinical studies, while the healthy lifestyle program is created by Dr. Andersen. They’ve also got a personal component thrown in there in the form of their distributors, or “Health Coaches.”

So they’ve got some science and research to back them up. Although, to be honest, there’s not a shred of evidence that suggests their supplements and shakes work any better than any other brand.

In 1992, Medifast did get themselves tangled up in a lawsuit regarding their weight loss claims (saying people were losing 5 pounds a week), and the Federal Trade Commission ended up ruling against them.

However, that was a good while ago, and they seem to have shaped up.

Medifast, a publicly traded company. Revenue has been trending upward for at least 3 years and hit $117.3 million, an increase of 54.9% year-over year in 2018. Their Optavia branch specifically is doing even better, up 54.9% in year-over-year revenue at a whopping $117.3 million in the second quarter of 2018. [6]


Optavia sells all kinds of diet foods, shakes, bars, and smoothies galore through their website, and they’ve got a few different lines of product.

  • OPTAVIA “Fuelings” are diet food products that have bold flavors and specialty ingredients from around the world, and come in 30-day kits with samplings. They sound pretty tasty, to be honest — they’ve got a chia bliss smoothie, an aged cheddar chipotle mac and cheese, and a cinnamon cream cheese swirl cake, to name a few.
  • Optimal Weight and Optimal Health Meal Replacement products include bars, shakes, smoothies, and drinks on the light end and hearty choices, soups, breakfasts, and desserts on the heavier end.
  • Lean & Green Meals are healthy meals, such as chicken and rice with vegetables or beef stew, that include a lean protein and a vegetable. They come pre-packaged in boxes of six servings.
  • Snacks include crisps, popcorn, and crackers.
  • Flavor Infusers are nutritional flavor packets for water, in everything from Raspberry Acai to Mixed Berry. They are free of artificial flavors and colors, have no preservatives, and provide additional B vitamins.
  • Supplements include various herbal supplements for digestive health, heart health, and melatonin.

Their individual products aren’t cheap but they aren’t terribly priced. A 7-serving box of their chocolate peanut butter shake is $18.95. A 6-serving box of chicken cacciatore is $29.70. At $4.95 a serving, it’s still way cheaper (and healthier) than eating out.

But their real money makers are their Optimal Health Programs, weight loss programs and kits that get you to buy bulk amounts of their food and snacks on a regular basis, along with a “free” Health Coach…

  • The Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan is for people looking to drop significant amounts of weight, and consists of 5 Optimal Weight Meal Replacements (for example, a soup, a meal, a bar, a smoothie, and a dessert) and 1 Lean & Green Meal each day. Meal replacements are consumed once every 2-3 hours and the Lean & Green Meal is for whenever you feel like you need it.
  • The Optimal Health 3&3 Plan is for people who have already achieved their weight loss goals and want to make sure they’re maintained. The program includes 3 Optimal Health Meal Replacements (for example, one bar, one shake, and one smoothie), and then you prepare 3 balanced meals yourself each day.

The meals and snacks can be vegetarian-friendly. They are kosher. Many are gluten-free. And they contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

A big problem with weight loss is lack of support and motivation, so it’s awesome that that’s also built into the program. It really sets them apart from other weight loss and nutrition MLMs (like Herbalife, Isagenix, or Vasayo). When you buy into one of their programs, your distributor becomes your Health Coach and you get to join a community of other people on the program. [7]

The program also includes Dr. A’s Habits of a Healthy System, which really helps you make a lifestyle out of healthy eating. [8]

I like that these are clearly not starvation diets, and they’re focused on helping you lose weight in a healthy way rather than all at once. The average weight loss for clients who follow the program is 20 pounds. [9]

However, this stuff ain’t cheap.

It costs $300+ for a 30-day BeSlim kit, and that includes only a sampling of the shakes, bars, and meals, you would eat throughout the month.

  • French Vanilla Shake
  • Dutch Chocolate Shake
  • Peanut Butter Crunch Bar
  • Chocolate Mint Crunch Bar
  • Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Cereal Crunch
  • Original Pancakes
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Parmesan Cheese Puffs
  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Strawberry Shake
  • Orange Cream Shake
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chewy Bar
  • Caramel Crunch Bar
  • Brownie Soft Bake
  • Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
  • Hearty Vegetarian Sloppy Joe
  • Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks
  • FREE TSFL Blender Bottle*
  • 5 FREE Client Choices*

Considering that the 5&1 weight loss program requires you to consume 6 products a day, this kit isn’t enough to provide even half your consumption for the month.

But, depending on how much you normally spend on food each month, this program might be worth the expense.

Compensation Plan

Their compensation plan is very different, and it’s not fully clear either.

Rather than giving their Health Coaches a wholesale discount and allowing them to make retail profit, Health Coaches and regular customers pay the same exact amount for products. In fact, new customers just order product directly from the company.

Health Coaches, then, don’t get discounts on personal orders either.

Health Coaches also aren’t compensated for recruiting new distributors. [10]

On top of all that, if you want to become a Health Coach, you have to buy a Health Coach Business Kit (training and marketing materials) for $199. [11]

So wait…

How the heck do you make any money?

Well, compensation is paid off as a percentage of the retail dollar amount of commissionable goods in an order by one of their customers.

You get a commission from your clients because they actually have to pay for your coaching and support in addition to buying their food products.

There are also bonuses for team growth and leadership, just no direct commission for recruitment. [12]

What’s more, there are no long-term rank advancements. Your pay is based only on your current monthly performance.

A little weird, but hey, I kind of like the straightforwardness. More like a real business opportunity.


So their compensation plan is a little more honest and a little less pyramid-y than your typically MLM.

And their weight loss program is healthier and more effective than a lot of weight loss programs.

That’s all great, but does that mean you’ll be making any money?

You might get some good side cash if you build a strong client-base, but you’re definitely not getting rich.

Look, I’ve been involved with network marketing for over ten years so I know what to look for when you consider a new opportunity.

After reviewing 200+ business opportunities and systems out there, here is the one I would recommend:

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Meet the Author


JP teaches network marketers how to build a real business. Far from a hater, he still LOLs at 3-way calls and building "downlines". If you like Monday morning conversations with your kids by the pool, you might like this.

8 comments… add one
  • Kat Jun 2, 2017, 2:01 pm

    I’m a health coach with TSFL and just wanted to make a couple corrections on this otherwise not-too-bad review:

    1. It’s not a sampling kit if the products for over $300, it’s actually a full month’s supply of meal replacements, or fuelings. (And it’s more like $385 and also includes the curriculum we teach.) Five a day and the client prepares one meal of lean protein and low starch veggies for themselves.
    2. The clients don’t have to pay for the health coach’s services. Thus, your mention of “free health coach.” The company pays us to coach our clients.
    3. There are big opportunities with this company, my husband and I do very well, we make six figures- and while we don’t consider ourselves “rich” there are many who are getting rich and helping people get healthy. It is the spirit of service rather than the spirit of recruiting. We teach coaches how to find new clients, and how to train them. It’s a pretty rare, but cool mentor/apprentice model. Just like any opportunity tho, it’s not magic, work is required! ?

    • Jeremy Page Jun 14, 2017, 7:22 pm

      Thanks Kat for your feedback

    • David Jul 22, 2017, 4:20 am

      I am interested in becoming a coach but am looking for clarification on the following:

      1. How much % of revenue directly generated by my sales/ coaching do I get to keep?

      2. If i train another health coach and they make a sale, how much % of that sale do I get?

      3. If train a health coach and then they train a health coach , how much % of that sale do i get?

      Can you help me answer these questions? I am interested in helping others and changing lives but i am still uncertain about the specifics of the compensation model.


    • Debbie Gonzalez Sep 28, 2017, 8:25 pm

      My sentiments exactly! LOVE this company!

  • SHERRY HENSLEY Jul 16, 2017, 1:06 am

    Great information. I just bought the business kit and was completely disappointed about no discounts until I realized how much I love this business model!!!!

    Not going to make this company rich by garaging products!

    Love it!

  • Chris Aug 14, 2017, 11:00 pm

    I was a little weary of doing this program at first with all the Transamerica BS MLM schemes. But the fact that I’m actually losing weight and feeling better with this stuff goes against my prejudice towards MLM companies. I am paying a product and I’m seeing the results so definitely not a scam to me.

    • JP Oct 7, 2017, 9:54 am

      Thats good to hear.

  • Stacie Aug 29, 2017, 3:21 am

    I love being a health coach. Its all about wanting to help people get healthy. It becomes a passion, not “just” a business.
    This is a company based on faith and respect. I’ve done MLM (cooking stuff) before, but this is different.
    This company has ❤.

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