Diet Direct Vs. Optavia: Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

When it comes to popular diet programs, Diet Direct and Optavia are two big names that often come up. Both offer pre-packaged meals, snacks, and shakes to help you lose weight.

But there are some key differences between these two programs.

A Brief Comparison Table

AspectsDiet DirectOptavia
Meal DeliveryProvides fully prepared mealsMainly uses nutritionally balanced fuelings (shakes, bars, snacks) you supplement with one home-cooked “lean and green” meal per day
Cost$19-$24 per day plus optional dietitian fees$12-$15 per day for fuelings plus membership fees, coaching fees, and required supplement purchases (~$300+ per month total)
Food ChoicesChoose from a variety of diet-friendly, calorie-controlled mealsEat pre-selected fuelings plus one meal you prepare yourself
SupportOptional dietitian consults availableMatched with a personal Optavia coach for accountability and support
ExerciseRecommends getting moderate activity each dayEmphasizes developing “10 healthy habits” including physical activity
CustomizationAbility to tailor meals weekly around your tastes and preferencesLimited ability to customize fueling flavors; more flexibility with lean & green meal
Weight LossTypical loss around 1-3 lbs per weekRapid loss in early weeks around 2-5 lbs per week but can be harder to sustain long-term

Overview Of Diet Direct

Diet Direct is one of the older diet delivery plans, having been around since 1997. It provides low-calorie prepared meals that are delivered to your door. With Diet Direct, you can choose from various structured meal plans designed around eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day.

Diet Direct
Diet Direct

Some of the most popular Diet Direct meal plans include:

  • Basic Plan – Pre-selected meals with a variety of nutrition profiles.
  • Vegetarian Plan – All vegetarian meals with a focus on plant-based protein.
  • Low-Carb Plan – Emphasizes high protein, low glycemic index foods.
  • Low-Fat Plan – Focus on lean meats and heart-healthy fats.
  • Diabetic Plan – Regulates carbohydrate intake and features smaller meals.

On all plans, you’ll eat 5 Diet Direct meals per day, plus add in your own fruits, vegetables and dairy. The meals are shelf-stable, which allows for flexible delivery options.

Diet Direct offers consultations with registered dietitians as an add-on service. It does not require you to purchase supplemental snacks or shakes. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Overview Of Optavia

Optavia was rebranded from Take Shape for Life in 2017 and is owned by Medifast. It takes more of a health coaching approach to weight loss.

When you join Optavia, you’re assigned a personal health coach who provides support and accountability. You’ll work with your coach to set weight loss goals and choose an appropriate meal plan.

Optavia offers three core weight loss plans:

  • Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan – Eat 5 Optavia fuelings + 1 lean and green meal per day.
  • Optimal Weight 4 & 2 & 1 Plan – Eat 4 Optavia fuelings + 2 lean and green meals per day.
  • Optimal Health 3 & 3 Plan – Eat 3 Optavia fuelings + 3 lean and green meals per day.

Fuelings are Optavia’s pre-packaged shakes, bars, soups, oatmels, and desserts designed to promote weight loss. They range from 60 to 100 calories each.

Lean and green meals are food you prepare yourself following guidelines – lean protein + vegetables + healthy fats.

In addition to food, Optavia offers its own brand of supplements and personalized coaching support. You’re encouraged to join Optavia’s community of members for added accountability.

Main Differences Between The Two Programs

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Diet Direct and Optavia, let’s compare some of the key differences between the two:

  • Meal Delivery – Diet Direct provides full pre-made meals while Optavia mainly relies on you to prepare one meal a day yourself.
  • Support – Optavia assigns coaches while Diet Direct has optional dietitian consults.
  • Food Options – Diet Direct gives you more flexibility to choose meals you like, whereas Optavia fuelings are pre-selected.
  • Cost – Optavia tends to cost more due to built-in coaching fees and required supplement purchases.
  • Exercise – Diet Direct assumes you’ll work activity into your routine, while Optavia emphasizes “healthy habits” but doesn’t require exercise.
  • Community – Optavia promotes a community component while Diet Direct does not have an emphasis on peer support.

Now let’s take a deeper look at how these differences may factor into choosing one plan versus the other.

Comparing Meal Delivery Approaches

Diet Direct sends you complete prepared meals for the full day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The exception is you add in your own fruits, vegetables, and dairy like milk or yogurt.

Because all your main dishes are handled, this takes a lot of the meal planning and preparation work off your plate, especially if you choose the basic plan. However, the downside is you don’t have as much control over which meals you receive. While you can exclude ingredients you dislike, choices are still limited.

With Optavia, you’re eating pre-packaged fuelings for most of your food but have to prepare one “lean and green” meal yourself each day. This requires more time and effort spent grocery shopping, meal prepping and cooking. But an advantage is you can pick lean proteins and vegetables you enjoy eating.

If you don’t have time to cook, Diet Direct would likely be more convenient. But if you prefer more flexibility in customizing meals, Optavia may be a better match.

Support Systems Compared

Diet Direct focuses mainly on providing prepared meals tailored to different diet styles and calorie levels. While you can pay extra for dietitian coaching, this is not a core part of their program. The emphasis is on providing portion and calorie controlled meals versus counseling.

In contrast, personal coaching is the cornerstone of Optavia’s system. When you sign up, you’re matched with an Optavia coach who provides daily support, goal-setting, and accountability. Your coach communicates with you through your first months on the Optavia plan to help troubleshoot challenges and keep you motivated.

If having a personal coach makes it more likely you’ll stick to a diet, Optavia has a major edge. But if you don’t want to pay for coaching and support, Diet Direct allows you to follow the program solo or just check in with an R.D. periodically.

Also Read: Comparison Between Golo And Calibrate.

Food Selection And Quality

When it comes to taste and food quality, experiences can vary quite a bit from person to person with both Diet Direct and Optavia. However, here are some generalities:

Diet Direct offers a wide range of traditional diet meals focused on calories and nutrition. Menu items include classics like chicken breast, turkey meatloaf, vegetable stir fries, stuffed peppers, and more regular entrees and sides. Reviews of taste tend to be mixed, with some people finding meals enjoyable and others underwhelmed.

Optavia fuelings include bars, shakes, soups, oatmels, and desserts. These are meant to be easy grab-and-go options. Flavors and textures are designed to satisfy cravings but may be unfamiliar. Some people struggle to stick with the daily sweet treats and shakes, while others find the fuelings enjoyable. Quality seems comparable to other supplements and diet shake brands.

When it comes to taste, Diet Direct provides more standard diet fare you may be used to, while Optavia aims for crave-worthy options made with proprietary recipes and ingredients.

Cost Comparison Of The Two Plans

One of the biggest differences between Diet Direct and Optavia is the overall cost. Let’s break down what you can expect to spend on each:

Diet Direct

  • Food costs range from about $19 – $24 per day depending on your plan.
  • No signup fees or required supplements.
  • Optional dietitian support starts at $30 per week.


  • Food costs about $12 – $15 per day for 3 fuelings plus lean & greens meals.
  • Required monthly purchase of supplements (about $85 – $110).
  • $199 startup fee plus monthly membership fees for coaching (around $120 on average but depends on your coach’s rate).

As you can see, Optavia includes more add-on costs through supplements, coaching fees, and club membership. The base food costs are lower than Diet Direct but not by much once you factor in everything. Overall, Optavia tends to cost about $300+ more per month.

If budget is a top concern, Diet Direct is likely the more affordable option. But those who see value in Optavia’s coaching model may feel the higher cost delivers enough benefits to be worthwhile.

Activity Recommendations

Diet Direct isn’t as prescriptive when it comes to exercise but generally recommends getting in 30 minutes of activity most days. This is pretty standard diet advice – staying moderately active supports weight loss but no specific workout regimen is required.

Optavia emphasizes developing “10 healthy habits” including not just nutrition but also physical activity, hydration and sleep. Your coach may provide tips for being more active but this isn’t presented as mandatory. The focus is more heavily on Optavia fuelings being key to weight loss versus exercise.

Most experts agree combining healthy eating with increased physical activity provides the best results. But neither of these programs makes exercise an essential component. Diet Direct lightly encourages it while Optavia leaves it more open-ended. Also watch the video!

Community Support Aspect

A unique aspect of Optavia is its emphasis on community. When you join Optavia, you gain access to an online member community for social support and inspiration from others following the Optavia plan. They also hold in-person events and conferences.

Diet Direct does not have the same built-in social feature – your main interactions would be checking in periodically with a dietitian if you use that add-on service.

If you get motivated by sharing your journey and bonding over similar experiences, Optavia’s community focus offers another layer of support. But more independent types may prefer Diet Direct’s solo approach.

Also Read: Comparison Between Proti-Thin and Ideal Protein

Which Program Typically Leads To More Weight Loss?

Studies directly comparing the weight loss outcomes of Diet Direct and Optavia are lacking. However, we can look at typical results users report with each:

  • Diet Direct customers generally report losing around 1-3 lbs per week following their meal plans.
  • Optavia users often lose 2-5 lbs per week, especially in the initial 8-12 weeks. Losing 5+ lbs weekly is not unusual with their very low calorie fuelings.

Generalizing, people seem to lose weight a bit faster on Optavia but both programs lead to significant weight loss if followed consistently.

Beyond just numbers on the scale, Optavia may lead to faster initial drop-off thanks to its very low calorie fuelings. However, Diet Direct may be easier to sustain long-term due to offering more whole food meals.

So Optavia could be a good option for quicker weight loss, while Diet Direct may better support maintaining losses over months or years.

Which Program Is More Affordable?

As discussed earlier when comparing costs, Diet Direct is clearly the more budget-friendly choice between these two diet programs.

Optavia costs about $300 more per month on average after factoring in coaching fees, required supplements, and club membership costs.

Diet Direct keeps things simple by focusing just on providing meals tailored to your plan and calorie needs. No extras are required beyond the basic meal delivery you choose.

Someone on a tight budget or looking to save money would likely find Diet Direct fits better. However, those who can afford the higher price tag and value Optavia’s coaching model may feel the investment is justified.

Which Offers More Flexibility And Choices?

Diet Direct wins when it comes to offering more flexibility and personalization in meal choices.

With each new order, you can custom tailor your menu from a selection of over 100 diet-friendly meals on Diet Direct. While choices are still limited, there’s enough variety that most people can find options they enjoy.

Optavia fuelings involve less personalization. Your only real flexibility comes in preparing your one lean and green meal each day. The rest of your fuelings are pre-selected by Optavia. There is some ability to exclude foods you dislike, but overall choices are restricted.

For those who value having more control over flavors and ingredients, Diet Direct is likely the better fit. But Optavia devotees would argue limiting food decisions removes temptation and distraction from weight loss goals.

Which Program Provides More Support Services?

Hands-down, Optavia offers significantly more support services through their coaching model and community focus.

Optavia clients have daily one-on-one interactions with a personal coach who provides accountability, goal-setting, and troubleshooting. You also gain access to an online member community for mutual support.

Apart from optional dietitian consults, Diet Direct does not provide coaching or peer support elements. You may receive email tips and guidance, but interactions are limited.

If having in-depth support is important, Optavia would be the winner here. But those comfortable with a more self-guided program may prefer Diet Direct’s simpler approach.

Which Offers More Customization For Food Preferences?

Diet Direct is better in terms of accommodating personal food preferences and intolerances. Since you choose your meals weekly, you can work around allergenic foods and build a rotation based on what you most enjoy.

Optavia is not as customizable since fuelings are pre-selected. While you can reject certain flavors you dislike, you don’t have total control over the lineup. There are some alternative fuelings for vegan and gluten-free diets, but not a huge amount of variation.

If you have a lot of dietary restrictions or are a picky eater, Diet Direct likely allows for more personalization in meal choices. Optavia does better at standardizing food for simplicity but is less customizable overall.

Pros And Cons Of Diet Direct And Optavia

Diet Direct


  • Allows for gradual sustainable weight loss through portion control
  • No restrictive food groups – you can still eat lean meats, carbs, etc.
  • Provides fully prepared meals for convenience
  • More affordable cost structure
  • Wide range of traditional diet food choices
  • Can accommodate many dietary needs and restrictions
  • Minimal supplements required
  • Flexible delivery options


  • Flavor and food quality varies based on your tastes
  • Less support and coaching than some other plans
  • Need to add in some grocery items like fruits and veggies
  • Requires cooking a lean & green meal daily
  • Less sense of community than some competitors



  • Promotes very rapid weight loss in first weeks
  • Prepared fuelings are fast and convenient
  • Personalized support through coaching
  • Online community provides inspiration and accountability
  • Simplified food choices remove decision fatigue
  • Appetite suppressing foods for easier calorie restriction


  • Very restrictive fueling choices – shakes, bars, desserts
  • High monthly costs for membership and supplements
  • May be overly calorie restrictive for some clients
  • Rapid results can diminish once off fuelings
  • Less emphasis on long-term sustainable nutrition
  • Social pressure and rigid rules not for everyone

Also Read: Comparison Between ProLon And OPTAVIA.

Which Program Is Best For You?

Determining whether Diet Direct or Optavia is a better fit requires looking at your personal needs and preferences:

  • If you want simple prepared meals delivered to your door, Diet Direct is likely the better choice.
  • If you value having daily coaching and peer support, Optavia has a clear advantage.
  • If you need to accommodate dietary restrictions or want more customization, Diet Direct is more flexible.
  • If you want to kickstart weight loss with very low calories, Optavia promotes faster initial drops.
  • If budget is a top concern, Diet Direct is the more affordable program overall.

Take an honest personal inventory of your eating habits, lifestyle, budget, and preferences. This will make it easier to determine if the structure of Diet Direct or Optavia seems like the better match.

You may also want to trial each for a month to decide which feels more sustainable. While rapid weight loss can happen with Optavia, lasting success requires making a plan you can stick with long-term.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What program is better than Optavia?

No program is necessarily “better” than Optavia overall. The best program depends on someone’s individual needs and preferences. Some top competitors to consider beyond Optavia include:
WW (Weight Watchers) – More flexibility in food choices and group support.
Noom – Centered around cognitive behavioral lessons versus meal delivery.
Medifast – For meal delivery, this is Optavia’s sister brand but with lower coaching costs.
Diet Direct – Less costly and more customizable meal delivery.

Is Optavia and WonderSlim the same thing?

No, Optavia and WonderSlim are completely different diet programs. WonderSlim is a lower-cost prepared meal delivery service similar to Diet Direct. Optavia is focused on special fuelings and personal coaching.

What is comparable to Optavia Fuelings?

Some alternatives that are nutritionally similar to Optavia Fuelings include:
SlimFast shakes and bars
Atkins frozen meals and shakes
GNC Lean Shakes
ZonePerfect ready-to-drink shakes
Nature Fuel meal replacement bars
In terms of calorie density and macronutrients like protein, fiber and sugar, these products make good Optavia alternatives.

Why did Medifast change to Optavia?

In 2017, Medifast rebranded to Optavia to signify a new approach focused as much on health coaching as meals. Optavia appeals to clients wanting counseling and community support as part of their program. Medifast still offers more traditional diet meal delivery for a lower cost.

What are the top differences between Diet Direct and Optavia?

The biggest differences between Diet Direct and Optavia include:
Diet Direct provides full prepared meals while Optavia relies more on its fuelings.
Optavia assigns personal coaches while Diet Direct offers optional dietitian support.
Diet Direct gives you more customization but Optavia simplifies food choices.
Optavia costs considerably more due to fees for coaching and supplements.
Optavia also has a stronger emphasis on community support.
So Diet Direct is simpler and more affordable, but Optavia provides more hand-holding. Choosing what suits your needs and preferences is key.

Also Read: Comparison Among Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig And Medifast.

The Bottom Line

When comparing Diet Direct and Optavia overall, there are pros and cons to both diet programs depending on someone’s needs and preferences. Key points to consider:

  • Diet Direct is simpler and significantly more affordable but offers less coaching support. It allows more flexibility and customization in meal choices.
  • Optavia promotes faster initial weight loss through its very low calorie fuelings but costs much more due to built-in coaching and supplements. Food choices are more restricted.

Optavia’s personal coaching, online community, and pre-made fuelings provide convenience but aren’t right for everyone. Diet Direct has fewer frills but is easy to follow for motivated self-starters.

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