Is Optavia a Pyramid Scheme or a Legit Money Opportunity? [Honest Review]

In the spirit of full transparency, know that this review revealing “is Optavia a pyramid scheme?” contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

is Optavia a pyramid scheme

You probably agree that finding ways to make a passive income is essential to be able to retire early.

Optavia suggests that it can provide you with an opportunity to take control of your financial future whilst helping others to live a healthier lifestyle. However the question still remains, is Optavia a pyramid scheme?

This honest and unbiased Optavia review [with videos] will expose the good and bad parts of the program so that you can make an informed decision on what to do next. 

Optavia Review- The Overview and Rankings

  • Name: Optavia
  • Owners: Dr. Wayne S. Andersen & Bradley T. Macdonald (80 out of 100)
  • Website URL:
  • Type: Meal replacements & Weight loss Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) company
  • Success Stories: 30 out of 100
  • Price: $199 to start, $99 per year and $100’s for each program
  • Rating: 55 out of 100

What is Optavia?

Optavia’s mission is to change the course of health in the USA and the world!!

Personally… as a former PE teacher for 10 years… I love that!

It comprises of:

  1. Weight loss program
  2. Meal replacement products
  3. Health education  
  4. Coaching service

All of these things are a great way to help them achieve their mission statement. But there are a lot of unanswered questions that are hidden in plain sight. 

As you absorb the information in this Optavia review you will discover that it is also a Multi-Level-Marketing program. You will also find out the answer to the question “is Optavia a pyramid scheme?”


Optavia was founded in 2016/2017 by Dr. Anderson (Dr. A) and Bradley Macdonald. 

is Optavia a pyramid scheme
Dr. A

However, it was rebranded from another company called “Take Shape for Life”, which was founded in 2002/2003.

Both of these companies are part of Medifast, which typically has a good reputation as a weight loss company founded in 1980. But as you will soon find out there are starting to become more question marks over the effectiveness of this organisation. 

Optavia Products & Services

Meal Replacements

The core product of Optavia is meal replacements.

These are different processed foods that provide the nutrients your body needs but help control your calorie intake.

Some examples of meal replacements provided by Optavia include:

  • Shakes
  • Bars
  • Brownies
  • Pancakes
  • Mac & Cheese
is Optavia a pyramid scheme

As you pay close attention to this page you will realise there are a lot of different products to try ranging in price from around $15- $435 but you can find out more in their shop.

Coaching & Education

The main service that Optavia offers is the coaching community and education.

Just think about it… what is the hardest part of forming a new habit?

Consistency and accountability. This is something your coach can help you with during the healthy change. 

However, as you keep reading this review the more you wonder who your “coach” with Optavia may actually is. 

4 Main Components of Optavia

1. Health Coach

Optavia’s coaches are certified through the “Center of Obesity Prevention & Education (COPE) through Villanova University”. They are trained to coach healthy habits and lifestyle through this training. 

Coaches, as well as clients, are on a healthy eating plan with different goals. 

However, I would advise you to be “picky” here and do your research into your coach. 

Check out YouTube (like the above video) because finding different coaches is a great way to see if you think you could build a report with this coach and also see who is doing well with their online presence. This could help you if you are interested in the MLM program.

At the end of the day, all the coaches are just like you or me but have been through the “training”. 

The extra research, motivation and communication skills they possess will completely vary. Your job is to research them!

2. Habits of Health System

This is a guide created by the founder, Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson.

This $29.95 guide will take you through information on: 

  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

There is some really good information about general health here. However, this kind of information can be found elsewhere and quite often for free or in a book for below $10.

Other related book recommendations under $10:

Click the above links to buy the books for a discount on Amazon

Are you beginning to notice that a great way to improve your habits is to learn more about it i.e. reading, watching videos, talking about it and taking action?

3. Optavia Community

When you are trying a new venture or trying to form a new habit the hardest part is always consistency.

Having a community around you to seek out support and immerse yourself into is a great way to keep yourself accountable and see better results. 

Optavia has different ways to keep you on track and stay part of a community: 

  • Meetings
  • Live events
  • Phone calls 
  • Text messages
  • Skype calls

There are so many communities available today with the help of social media. However, the most effective communities are those that you truly immerse yourself into.

4. Fuelings

AKA meal replacements!

Optavia fuelings (meal replacements) have the following benefits:

  • High in Fiber (Good for Digestion)
  • Low in Sugar & Carbohydrates
  • High-Quality Proteins to Maintain Your Muscle Mass
  • Daily Vitamins and Important Minerals
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-Free

Whilst this can be a great way to lose weight fast it is also not sustainable. Even Dr. A acknowledges this himself and the role of the coach should be to help people realise this. However, this next section can cause some coaches to have conflicting interests for their clients…

How Can You Make Money With Optavia?

There are 3 mains ways you can make money with Optavia:

  1. Health Coach Income – Income for selling products to other people 
  2. Business Coach Income – Income for supporting coaches & building teams
  3. Business Leader Income – Income for building & leading an organisation

Check out their compensation plan here (it is very confusing so I’ll try to explain it in simpler terms below!)

1. Health Coach Income

You earn a commission based on the number of products you sell to other people.

Optavia commission

As you can see you can earn anything from 18-31% of all sales you make.

You can also earn startup/ consistency bonuses if you make a certain amount of sales. 

Note- these are quite challenging for new members i.e. you need to recruit 5 members to your team within 30 days to get the startup $100 bonus!

2. Business Coach Income

As your downline and revenue grow, you can advance in ranks.

Optavia payout

And as you advance in the ranks you can earn a higher commission from your “downline” (people you recruit for the program) for all of the products and services they sell too. 

This is where the income can start to become passive!

3. Business Leader Income

Business Leader Income is earned when you have achieved the rank of “Regional Director” and you’ve helped your downline to achieve the rank of “Executive Director”.

This is where it starts to get very confusing and there are numbers and people coming from all over the place.

is Optavia a pyramid scheme

Fair play to Optavia’s system that tracks all of this!

The more you read this the more you will realise that the only way you can make BIG money with Optavia is if you recruit a lot of people in your “downline”.

Now I can almost hear your mind screaming…

Is Optavia a Pyramid Scheme or a Scam?

First of all let’s define what a Multi-Level-Marketing (same as network marketing, pyramid selling or referral marketing) program actually is. Wikipedia’s definition of MLM is…

A non-salaried workforce where your earnings come from a pyramid-shaped commission system.

Simply put: 

You earn money from commissions of sales you make and a percentage of the sales the people you recruit make. The people you recruit are in your so-called “downline” so if you help them to sell better it will help you make more money!

A pyramid scheme is defined as:

A business model that pays its members when they recruit others rather than supplying products or services. 

MLM programs can be legitimate, but pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal. 

As you can see from this Optavia review, there are plenty of products that are being sold. 

Therefore, Optavia is NOT a pyramid scheme. 


However, are you going to be able to quit your job and live off of passive income forever by becoming a coach? Continue reading to reveal the truth…

Just to be fully transparent with you, I have not purchased this program myself and I do not endorse it in any way.

I have researched the website, testimonials and information on the Internet to get to the bottom of what this program genuinely does. This is because I have been burnt from similar programs in the past and I want to prevent others from making the same mistakes. If you’d like to learn more “Ways to Spot an Online Marketing Scam” then click the highlighted text.

Related content:

Optavia Review: The Good

#1 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

The return policy is a great way to tell if a company genuinely believes in their products. If there is no option for this then this is a HUGE red flag that the company may be suspicious or offer garbage. 

Optavia return policy

It’s also helpful for people that just don’t like the taste of a certain product as tastes are obviously subjective. 

#2 Compensation Plan Encourages Good Support

You will need your “downline” to get promoted to higher “ranks” for you to progress. This means that every coach is encouraged and motivated to help their downline succeed. 

For example, if your coach has found some great little tricks and tips to recruit and sell then it’s in their interest to help you. 

#3 Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle (Not Just a Diet)

Personal mini rant here:

I HATE diets!

They cause so much confusion around food and nutrition as so many diets contradict the others. 

The biggest positive about this whole program is that it is focused on education and people living a healthy lifestyle… NOT just losing weight quick through some fad. 

is Optavia a pyramid scheme

The last 30 seconds of the video shows that Dr A is very aware that meal replacements are not a long term solution but help people see results to get into “teachable mode”.

Optavia Review: The Bad

#1 Expensive Products

Most people do seem to enjoy the products (take this with a pinch of salt though as they are likely trying to sell them too!) However, when you compare them to very similar products by shopping around (Googling it) you can find much cheaper options…

Here are some examples:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

protein shake
Optavia protein shake
  • Optavia= $2.70 per serving, protein 14g, 100 calories
  • Amazon = $0.87 per serving, protein 14g, 200 calories
  • Optavia= $2.70 per serving, protein 15g, 180 calories
  • Amazon = $1.81 per serving, protein 14g, 200 calories

I could go on with their products but I think you get the point.

Shop around amigo!

#2 Meal Replacements are Not Sustainable

It just so happens that nutrition is one of the things I have researched quite a lot myself. My dissertation in my Sports Science degree was even based on the glycemic index (how fast food releases energy).

Processed (man-made) food is not good.


The China Study is an amazing book reporting the findings from in-depth studies (mainly comparing the diets of people in rural China to the Western world). The book and documentary Forks Over Knives also backs up this research.

China Study
Click the Book to Buy on Amazon

The message is that eating a WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED (WFPB) wins 100% of the time and can reduce the risk of so many diseases and is BETTER than medicine. If you can find any evidence suggesting otherwise then please let me know!

The controversial documentary “What The Health” is an easy watch and a great way to grasp some of this knowledge if you are interested in nutrition.

Yes, Dr. A knows that the meal replacements are a short term fix to get people more interested by seeing quick results. However, coaches may not promote a healthy WFPB diet ever because…

#3 Who are the “Coaches”?

Here’s the truth…

The coaches get paid by selling products to people. 

So their interests are becoming a bit skewed rather than advising the best thing for people.

Yes, I like Dr A and I can tell he’s a knowledgable guy who’s trying to good for the world. But the coaches are everyday people (not many people research nutrition in their spare time!) and chances are they have had poor eating habits themselves for most of their life if they have found Optavia. 

When the coaches are left to their own devices without Dr A, they may not recommend the best lifestyle for people. 

#4 The Truth Behind MLM Programs 

PR Newswire shows that 73% of all people involved in MLM companies lose money or make no money.

I would like to point out that some people do extremely well from MLM programs. But as you can see in the article above the majority do not. 

The main reason for this is that people give up. At the end of the day, any business will require perseverance but you cannot argue with the facts. 

is Optavia a pyramid scheme

Check out Optavia’s Income Disclosure Statement 2017.

  • Only 10% of all coaches earn more than $2,500 a year.
  • Over 70% of coaches earn less than $1,000 a year which seems to be inline with PR Newswire’s study when you take into account the starting costs and the costs for each product etc. 
  • 30% of coaches earnt $0 in 2017!

If you do well from this MLM program you will be in the small minority.

#5 Recent Pattern of Complaints Around Medifast

Do you remember reading that Medifast typically has a good reputation and was founded in 1980?

But when researching the company it’s clear to see it maybe wasn’t what it once was. The Better Business Bureau shows that there has been a pattern of complaints:

Optavia review

The complaint seems to be around the lack of communication or people being able to contact the company.

Not a good sign for a company promoting coaching and support.

My Final Opinion- Is Optavia Worth it?

There’s a one-word answer for me… no!

The weight loss program can work for people but just like any fad diet, it’s not sustainable. There are also many better-priced products on the market.

Optavia’s MLM program obviously does work for some people and it may well suit you.

But here are some questions that you should ask yourself before diving into using the program:

  1. Have you tried the products? (If you haven’t tested the products yourself, I don’t recommend joining the business system yet)
  2. Is it possible to get these products or service elsewhere, without spending hundreds of dollars? (Do your own research about the competition, if you can’t find anything better then you will be more confident when selling)
  3. Do you like recruiting people & selling? (You will receive some help in this but it WILL require a lot of selling if you want to be successful with it)
  4. Are you ready to commit for the long term? (If you want to become successful in any business, you need to give yourself time)

Personally, I believe there are a lot more benefits to starting an affiliate marketing business. For example:

Related content:

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Optavia Review: The “MakeTimeOnline” Final Word

Is Optavia a pyramid scheme?


It is a legit way to improve your health and a legitimate business model.

However, it’s proven that a lot of people do not make any money from MLM programs. Plus there are alternative ways to start a business for small upfront costs. 

If you are looking to make money online to free up your time and you would rather not be encouraged to sell to your friends and your family then there are thousands of people over the world that make money from affiliate marketing. 

Like any business, it will require time and effort before you see results. But it is one of the best ways to create the lifestyle that you want to live and create passive income.

If you have any questions and I mean any questions about Optavia, please leave them below. If you have used or currently are a member please also add your opinions below.

Keep changing for the better,


P.S. If you are interested in making money online to free up your time, check out this 1-minute video to see more information about my #1 recommended program

Wealthy Affiliate Short Video

2 Responses to “Is Optavia a Pyramid Scheme or a Legit Money Opportunity? [Honest Review]

  • Excellent read with a lot of valuable information. In a world with so many people trying to sell their own get rich quick schemes online, a little clarity like that which this article provides is infinitely useful! I agree with what you said about it being important to be consistent when trying new things, and appreciate that you tell us exactly what to expect from this program. Cheers!

    • Thanks Chris,

      I hope it helps. Optavia is certainly not a scam but I think it’s only fair people get involved with it with their eyes open.

      Let me know if you have any other questions about it.

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