OPTIFAST Program Resulted in Weight Loss and Greater Improvement in Diabetes Control

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rothberg . 7/3/07 Headshots of Internal Medicine fellows for Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes.

Dr. Rothberg

Dr. Amy Rothberg MD PhD
Associate Professor, Endocrinology and Medicine
Michigan Medicine Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinic
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly outline the essentials of the Optifast plan?

Response: OPTIWIN is a year-long, multi-center, open-label, randomized, head-to-head study. It was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the medically-monitored, meal replacement OPTIFAST Program on weight loss and maintenance, in comparison with a standard-of-care, food-based diet among adults with a BMI higher than 30 kg/m2.

Nestlé Health Science’s OPTIFAST Program combines proven essential features of weight loss success ‒ medical monitoring, nutrition education, exercise guidance, in-person support, full meal replacement and behavior modification. With OPTIFAST meal replacement products, the program gives patients the prescribed amount of calories and micronutrients each day. It is a non-surgical option designed for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30, and is available in more than 400 weight loss clinics nationwide.

The Program is comprised of three core phases ‒ active weight loss (during which total diet replacement is used), transition to self-prepared ‘everyday’ meals and maintenance. Clinical supervision is a key component of the program as it helps assess progress towards better health and emotional well-being.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Compared with a standard-of-care, food-based diet at 26 and 52 weeks, the OPTIFAST Program resulted in twice the relative weight loss and twice the proportion of participants achieving clinically significant weight loss (≥10%).

Among participants with type 2 diabetes at baseline who had follow-up data at 26 and 52 weeks, a higher proportion in the OPTIFAST Program no longer met criteria for type 2 diabetes at 26 weeks compared to the comparator group. In the overall study population, the OPTIFAST Program group experienced greater improvements in HbA1c at 52 weeks and greater reductions in fasting blood glucose at 26 weeks. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Obesity continues to be one of the most challenging health issues. It can also be an underlying driver behind type 2 diabetes and other serious health conditions. While there is no one approach to treating obesity, experts agree successful weight loss requires a combination of behavioral lifestyle counseling, diet and exercise modifications, and sometimes weight loss drugs or surgery. The OPTIFAST Program is a non-surgical option that includes essential features of weight loss success ‒ medical monitoring, nutrition education, exercise guidance, in-person support, full meal replacement and behavior modification. It has been proven effective for four decades, and more than 80 peer-reviewed publications have documented its results. The OPTIWIN study further adds to this depth of science, and shows that clinicians should consider OPTIFAST as a valuable tool for patients looking to lose weight. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: It’s clear with the OPTIWIN study that weight loss with a meal replacement program can have a significant impact on HbA1c and fasting blood glucose levels. I’d be interested to explore the opportunity to use OPTIFAST in other populations, such as teens (the prevalence of childhood obesity is 17%), and studied for long-term weight maintenance beyond 1-2 years.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: I am an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and treat obesity and diabetes. To me, there is nothing more gratifying than helping someone with obesity manage their weight. I’ve seen OPTIFAST in action with my patients, and I’m pleased that the OPTIWIN study demonstrates improved outcomes for both weight loss and type 2 diabetes indicators.

I participated in the OPTIWIN study as an independent site investigator and, as such, I was compensated for my time by Nestlé Health Science. 


ADA June 2018 abstract:

Effect of Total Meal Replacement Program Compared with a Reduced-Energy Food-Based Diet Plan on Glycemic Status—Results from the OPTIWIN Study 

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