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: Optavia.com
- 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
- Maketimeonline.com Rating: 55 out of 100
What is Optavia?
Optavia is an MLM company that promotes weight loss through starvation. Optavia’s diet programs are expensive, don’t work long-term, and can harm your health. Many have called it a “pyramid scheme” because they make their money off recruiting new members.
It’s one of many making money online programs centered around selling the company’s products or recruiting other people to join the company as a distributor so they can sell products or buy the products at a discount.
The Optavia diet is a low-calorie, reduced-carb program that combines packaged foods, homemade meals, and personalized coaching to encourage weight loss.
The program offers several plans, all of which involve a mixture of packaged Optavia Fuelings and homemade entrees known as Lean and Green meals.
For people not interested in cooking, the company also provides a line of premade low-carb meals called Flavors of Home as a replacement for Lean and Green meals.
Optavia describes itself as a “holistic health and wellness program” aimed at helping people achieve their goals through “healthy habit creation, clinically proven plans, and scientifically developed products, all reinforced by coaches who provide individualized support.” The program focuses on six key areas of health: Weight, eating and hydration, motion, sleep, mind, and surroundings.
Founded in 2002, Optavia is owned by parent company Medifast, popularly known for selling weight loss and health-related products, often through multilevel marketing.
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:
- Weight loss program
- Meal replacement products
- Health education
- 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.
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
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:
- Mac & Cheese
As you pay close attention to this page you will realise there are a lot of different products to try. They range 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 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 meal 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:
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 around $10:
- The China Study (loads of nutrition research from case studies)
- The Miracle Morning (implementing habits)
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (general life habits and health tips)
- High-Performance Habits (focussing on improving your body will help your mind)
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:
- 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.
AKA meal replacements!
Optavia’s fuelings are the bulk of every meal plan — they include bars, shakes, brownie and pancake mix, snack sticks, cereals, pasta, potatoes, soups, and pudding.
Each product is said to be high in vitamins and minerals, probiotics, and protein and doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. The meal plan you choose will determine how much fuel you’ll receive.
While not all fueling products are available in every meal plan, you can customize your fueling kit.
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
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:
- Health Coach Income – Income for selling products to other people
- Business Coach Income – Income for supporting coaches & building teams
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 or a scam.
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 and common Optavia complaints…
Just to be fully transparent with you, I have not purchased Prosperity of Life myself and I do not endorse it in any way so I will stop short of calling it an outright scam.
I have researched the website, testimonials, information on the Internet and watched the long (boring) sales videos, to get to the bottom of what this program genuinely does. This is because I have been burnt from programs just like this 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.
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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.
It’s also helpful for people that just don’t like the taste of a certain product as tastes are obviously subjective.
However, as you will see in the Optavia complaints section later in this Optavia review they may not always honour this guarantee.
#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.
It also has a focus on selling the products which means that Optavia is not a pyramid scheme.
#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.
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
- 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 quickly 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.
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. The more recent documentary “The Game Changers” has really started getting people talking.
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.
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 in line 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 Optavia 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:
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.
#6 Optavia Complaints
There are also over 170 Optavia complaints filed on the BBB.
Just check out a few examples below…
These Optavia complaints are not even cherry-picked by me.
Click on the BBB link above and you will see hundreds of people complaining about Optavia about the same kinds of issues as these.
If you are planning on earning a recurring commission from people that buy the products through you, then you would hope the customer service and return policy helped you out.
These customers will now never purchase anything from Optavia again and most of these issues are not to do with the coaches.
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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:
- Have you tried the products? (If you haven’t tested the products yourself, I don’t recommend joining the business system yet)
- 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)
- 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)
- Are you ready to commit for the long term? (If you want to become successful in any business, you need to give yourself time)
There is nothing that really makes this company stand out compared to other weight loss program, which is why I think so many people struggle to turn this into a full-time home business.
How I make money online
In September 2018 I had no idea how people made money online.
After finding the training and community that I still learn from, I have all the proof I needed to quit my full-time job at the end of 2019.
Some of my personal favourite parts to affiliate marketing are:
- No recruiting (great news for your friends and family!)
- Promote anything (you are not tied down to promoting one brand)
- Scalability (Reap all the rewards of your efforts and it’s possible to scale. Check out my chat with 2 guys who have Built a $240k/Month Business Using Affiliate Marketing in 3 years)
- Passive income (get paid for your work over and over again)
- Very low start-up costs (give it a try for free)
Working full time and travelling a lot meant Wealthy Affiliate was exactly what I was looking for.
I could work at my own pace and keep building the business by following the step by step training.
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.
I had no idea what affiliate marketing was in 2018.
But I went from a full time PE teacher to making a passive income online within one year…
If you want to discover how I did it then check out this special video I created which explains exactly how. You can also get your free 7-day bootcamp to get started.
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!
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.
Due to the high rate of scammy products that are available here on the net, making adequate researches before getting involved with any get rich quick program is the best thing we can do and thank you for exposing the various red flags associated with this program. I think it is much more better for anyone to stay clear this kind of program such as this optavia. Thanks
It’s definitely not a bad program and there are some good reasons as to why they are doing this.
However, the big concern for me is the fact there are the same products on the market for a fraction of the price. Many people don’t make any money from MLM programs and are sold on the dream lifestyle of working from home and only a few hours a week.
The people that are successful are those that truly believe in everything about the company and put in the time and effort to achieve the results.
What’s now as good as checking out good reviews to know if one can really make money on this platforms. I have personally not liked MLM schemes because they don’t have success potentials for distributors. Luckily though, we have people like you to help us tell which platform is wrong and which is ideal. Nice review. Thanks!
Glad it could help Henderson!
MLM programs are not for everyone (in fact, the stats show they aren’t for many people) but some people do very well from them. I think if you truly believe in the products then they can be a great way to help others, improve yourself and make money at the same time.
However, if you don’t truly believe in the products, it will be hard to sell or recruit anyone.
Wow thanks for making these things seem very easy, I’m glad at the way you used simple words to explain yoour point. So far i have heard quite alot about optavia, both good, bad and ugly and I’m glad to have come cross this post which have given me a better understanding of what it is about and making me understand what a pyramid scheme is. But to be become a coach in this business, what ate the requirements?
Glad it could help. All you need to do is find a “coach” and contact them. They will “recruit” you into their team, but there are no specific requirements to get started apart from that.
Thanks a lot for the very thorough and comprehensive review post.
Being an Affiliate Marketer I always look for new products and programs to promote and I came across Optavia and I always prefer to do some research before making my decision. Your review post is a greater help and saved my time.
The cons outweigh the pros and as you mentioned the success rate with MLM’s are very low. Also, the products price are quite expensive. To be honest, I am not sure whether its only me… I always find most of the MLM Companies compensation plan confusing. After reading your review, Optavia is a NO-NO for me.
I loved how easy the review makes it for readers and no additional research needed. You left no stone up-turned in explaining how it all works.
Thanks for your kind words Paul, I’m glad the review could help you.
Tell me about it!! Those compensation plans are always such a pickle! I recently read that often financial terms (and I guess compensation plans) use deliberately difficult terms to confuse people to make them feel like they can just jump into it, hoping it will turn out better than they thought.
The truth is, they are just marketing tactics used to force us into something we’re not sure about/ feel like we don’t understand. It would be refreshing to see an MLM with simple English and a clearly laid out compensation plan!
As you have shown. optavia is not a scam. I have been in MLM schemes that were not scams. They work if you can be consistent and can find the market for the products. Not only do you have to find the market, but also you have to find customers who will stick to purchasing. As most of us know, diet programs are generally not sustainable. The 2 programs I was a part of, didn’t work for me because, although i did a first round of sales, after a short while I couldn’t find new customers. Maybe the sales thing is not for me. I am just getting interested in affiliate marketing and hope it will work out.
Hey JJ, you have such a similar story to so many upcoming entrepreneurs! Most MLM companies do the same kind of thing and look great on paper. If you happen to join under a sponsor that has a great system and gives you the time you need to teach you they can work.
More and more marketing is moving online, so what better way to learn how to use online marketing than make some money from affiliate marketing at the same time?
Thanks for sharing the unbiased review of the Optavia System. Though the basic concept of food supplements and the coaching for the evolution of a healthy mindset is reasonable, I am not comfortable with anything associated with MLM business. In fact, I liked your suggestion to work upon your No.-1 recommendation for a long term healthy income.
Glad it could be useful! It’s certainly a great concept and any company that promotes a healthy lifestyle is a good idea in my eyes. However, as you point out the MLM opportunity is not the best.
There are far too many Optavia complaints and the products are crazy expensive to alternatives on the market. It’s certainly one to avoid if you are looking to make an online business… not bad for motivation if you are looking to lose weight.
I have heard of Optavia before. A friend of mine actually tried it, and he wasn’t too positive. It all starts with the pricing, which not everyone can afford. He told me he wasn’t really able to make sales. Like you said: the same products can be found way cheaper if you just take a look around at Google. Seeing that the coaches of this program actually are people that make sales isn’t a good sign, either. I’d rather have my coach be specialized in, well, coaching.
Yeah I think the point is, if you know people can buy the products at a much lower price and you still sell them the expensive ones, then you haven’t really got their best interests at heart. I think people can tell when that is the case!
Optavia sounds like a legit program with real products. Personally I am not so much into meal replacement plan though, so I don’t think this MLM scheme is well suited for me.
The idea that Health Coaches being simply anyone with some sort of ‘training ‘ sounds rather alarming to me. I won’t trust any healthy coaches whose main interest being selling me products. After research through some MLM companies, like yourself, I still prefer how affiliate marketing works. Don’t think I will be going into MLM anytime soon.
I’m glad it helped Grace. Yes, I can’t agree with you more, personally I think there is so much more potential from affiliate marketing and you own your own business rather than being a cog in the system of another business.
You’re right about the health coaches too. They’re unlikely to be the best people to get your information from!
Hey Mike, great post.
There are so many Health and Nutrition programs in today’s marketplace that it’s refreshing to come across a post like yours.
Your attention to detail, and the better price comparisons that can be had on places such as Amazon, make the post a real winner for me.
An excellent review on a very popular market.
Thanks Paul, I’m glad it helped
Another excellent, thorough and unbiased review. I became involved in a similar product many years ago. Like you point out, it is possible to make money but the chances are slim. Again, like to your findings, the products might be good but are generally overpriced. One of the issues is that you feel as though you have to use only those products recommended. Once you’re on it then you have no choice but to continue. I know it may sound tongue in cheek but isn’t the magic formula, exercise more and eat less?
Anyway, one way that this might work better for some, would be to use their own success ‘story’ to sell enough to their friends and family, so that they earn enough for their own products. Never going to make a fortune but it may well serve a purpose and a good one if you manage to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestlye.
I love the point you make at the end… if you want to lose weight, then use the products and use your own “success story” to market the products. There’s no better way to market anything!
MLMs usually do have the “PV” that recruiters have to hit, so like you say once you’re inside you will likely have to keep buying products to stay “active”. This is generally how MLM companies make money (by having their distributors buy their products!)
Any MLM company with overpriced products is a big red flag for this reason
Good and comprehensive post for the review. I also like the results of your review regarding nevetica.
So, do you think Optavia, it’s not a very good product to sell? I think 18 – 31% commission is a good number.
And oh yeah, just now I checked your recommendations for making money online with the Wealthy Affiliate program. Is the program legit? I really want to get out of this rat race (work 9 to 5). If I need 2500 USD per month to get out, how long will it take for me to be there? (actually, I am planning to resign)
Thanks, I’m glad it could help! If you want to start an affiliate marketing website, it’s possible to achieve those results by choosing a good niche (not too competitive, but people buy things from the niche) and writing 2 good articles/ reviews a week for a year.
Before venturing in an opportunity to make money online or offline, I consider reviews first. This review of Optavia is very detailed and comprehensive with a lot of valuable information. I believe this post will help make a well informed decision. From what I have seen so far, Optavia is one of the direction to look when it comes to making a healthy lifestyle and living but when it comes to making money, an MLM is not an advisable way to look because the success rate is extremely low and it is very expensive too. Not suitable for a beginner at all.
But an MLM could be a great way to make money if the procedures, process and the skills are properly learnt coupled with hardwork, diligence, patience and consistency. However, it is not easy to master at all. What pains me most is the recruiting part of it.
Yep I couldn’t say it better myself! It is possible to do well from an MLM company but the chances are pretty small. Like many businesses it only works for people that put a lot of time and effort into it. But if you’re planning on doing that it may be better to do it in a business that you Completely own such as an affiliate marketing business.
Hey Mike, Thanks for writing on Optavia a Pyramid Scheme or a Legit Money Opportunity Review. While searching about Optavia review I reach on your post. You have done very well and provide each detail in unique format. Thanks for finding that Optavia is not a scam in any way. If we don’t believe on over product than it become very hard for us to get success. successful people love their product and share it with anyone interested. They don’t hesitate to talk about their product and become successful. Thank you.
Spot on Parveen! If people do love the products then it’s much easier for them to succeed. There really is no point in starting this until you test out the products yourself.
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