The Optifast Diet was developed in 1974 by Novartis Medical Nutrition Corporation, and was specifically designed for those individuals who were 50 pounds or more overweight or those with Body Mass Index greater than 30. Optifast Diet is a liquid- based diet considered as the first of its kind, with documented success stories of more than a million people. It is currently available at hundreds of hospitals in the United States and Canada and some other parts of the world, with the primary goal of treating obesity.
Optifast Diet is usually a 26 week- program, utilizing a Weight Management Learning System curriculum to achieve the dieter’s weight loss goals. Participants of the Optifast Diet should first take a preliminary exam, determine any risk factors, and after passing the criteria, it would be followed by counseling in preparation for the major lifestyle and nutrition changes. The dieters would undergo a calorie controlled, liquid formula diet for 12 weeks, with continuous monitoring by medical experts. Gradually, the participants would then shift to a solid food diet for 6 weeks, then to a regular diet that should be maintained from then on.
Participants of the Optifast Diet should be monitored closely and weekly visits are required, then about 20 weeks of continuous nutrition and lifestyle counseling is implemented. There is also a customized exercise program in the Optifast Diet that is highly recommended.
On the introductory phase of the Optifast Diet, participants will immediately lose weight, which might be a good thing to encourage them to go on. The meal replacements are tasty, and the diet could also help lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels, as well as blood pressure. While on the Optifast Diet, participants are monitored by physicians and dieticians, and over 1 million people who have undergone the program have been proven successful.
However, some medical professionals might not approve of a prolonged meal replacement program, and considering this is an all liquid diet, it might not be sustainable for some. The program is also very costly, and being on a low calorie plan might not be suitable for physically active individuals. It will also take a great deal of patience to survive the challenges of the Optifast Diet. Some who had entered the program weren’t able to finish, and there were some who achieved their weight loss goals who were unsuccessful in maintaining it.
Although Optifast Diet has high success rates, it might not be a first option for individuals who are searching for an affordable, non- restrictive way of losing weight.