In March, Nestle will release an updated version of OPTIFAST. While we haven’t had a chance to taste “OPTIFAST New and Improved,” we have had a chance to evaluate the new food line, which is available only by prescription and under the care of a physician. As doctors who have been using OPTIFAST for over a decade, we have a lot of experience with meal replacements. OPTIFAST is a great tasting full meal replacement. You can get ALL of your nutrients by having 5 or more meals per day, but only under the care of a doctor. This is not your do-it-yourself diet. Eating a full meal replacement diet without medical monitoring can be dangerous without physician oversight. We are pleased with many of the changes, in keeping with updates in the science of weight loss, and the public perception of harm from ingredients high fructose corn syrup. So here is our review:
No longer contains HFCS.
We have known for years of the dangers of high carbohydrate intake, and the removal of the high fructose corn syrup is a move in the right direction. This sugar in high quantities can lead to fatty liver disease. In our experience, the markedly reduced sugar content in OPTIFAST compared the normal American diet leads to loss of liver fat, as well as reduction in all measures of diabetes: lower HgA1c, a decrease in insulin and a decrease in need for diabetes medication(s). Having said this, we are pleased to see the sugar content decrease, and the change to maltodextrin rather than fructose or HFCS.
The new OPTIFAST line has increased protein from 14 to 16 grams. We see this as a big benefit. We have always liked OPTIFAST HP, the 26 gram protein version, so the higher protein is welcome. Protein is responsible for maintaining muscle mass, increasing metabolism, keeping patients full and stabilizing blood sugar. This new and improved version should offer greater satiety (fullness).
Constipation may be a problem on full meal replacement programs due to the lack of fiber. As a result, we have always recommended adding a water soluble fiber power such as Benefiber® to keep normal bowel function. The new formulation adds 15 grams of fiber per day to supply half a person’s needs. Those who are constipated will still need to add some fiber, but not as much. Fiber also slows the sugar absorption and decreases hunger.
OPTIFAST chocolate, vanilla and strawberry powders have had moderate amounts of lactose, sometimes leading to gas and diarrhea in patients with lactose intolerance. We have often had to advise our patients to take lactaid when using these products to reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance. We are thrilled to see all of the new line of OPTIFAST is lactose free. The HP line remains unchanged, and is still very low in lactose.
OPTIFAST is introducing a new Apple Cinnamon Bar and retiring the Berry bar. Many of our patients won’t miss the old berry bar, so we welcome the change to Apple Cinnamon this summer. Nestle has awesome food flavor scientists, so we are excited to taste what they have in store. The other bars, we are told, taste as good or better. Nestle has also added a new vegetable soup, and the old Garden Vegetable soup is now called Tomato. This more honestly labels the flavor, as people told us it tasted like Tomato flavor anyway.
We feel the new and improved OPTIFAST 800 line is a great step in the right direction. Nestle has dropped the sugar content, removed high fructose corn syrup, increased the protein and added fiber. We anticipate the new line will continue to deliver the quicker healthier way to a leaner you at any of our 4 Scottsdale Weight Loss Center locations in Scottsdale, Glendale, Phoenix and Chandler.
Scottsdale Weight Loss Center (SWLC) is a medical weight management center providing comprehensive weight loss programs to the residents of the Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Tempe, Phoenix, Glendale, Gilbert and the rest of central Arizona. Founded by Robert Ziltzer, M.D and Craig Primack, M.D., SWLC provides direct physician-supervised weight loss programs which include custom diets, meal replacements, strong support and education to promote lifelong solutions for managing your weight. Since 2006, SWLC has helped clients lose nearly 190,000 pounds. For more information, visit www.scottsdaleweightloss.com.