Frequently Asked Questions

Below are common questions about the OptiJourney programme and app.

I've seen the advert online for a Type 2 Diabetes weight management programme. What is it?

OptiJourney™ is a medically-supervised weight management programme that aims to support people with Type 2 Diabetes or prediabetes to lose weight, and work towards healthier diet and lifestyle choices. The programme involves replacing all your food with specially formulated Optifast® products for 8 weeks in order to restrict your calorie intake and help you to lose weight. After this, food is gradually reintroduced over a period of four weeks, and support is provided to help you maintain a new lower body weight. Throughout the programme you will receive regular monitoring and support from your local Tesco pharmacist, and personalised coaching is provided through our OptiJourney mobile app.

How can I access the programme?

If you'd like to register your interest, please visit our sign-up page. We will ask you a few questions to check if you're eligible for the programme, and if you meet these criteria we will contact you via email to invite you for a screening appointment.

Can anyone access the programme?

This programme is specifically designed for people with Type 2 Diabetes or prediabetes whose health may benefit from significant weight loss. Total Diet Replacement programmes like OptiJourney are not suitable for everyone, and we will need to ask you a few questions about your medical history and health status to check if OptiJourney is right for you. If you would like to register your interest, please visit our sign-up page where you will be asked to answer a few questions. If you meet our initial criteria, you will be invited to attend a screening appointment at your local Tesco pharmacy.

How much does it cost?

The cost of Optifast products is £8.80 per day during phase 1 and this will replace all your daily meals, replacing your usual daily food bills. Please speak to your pharmacist for more information and a full breakdown.

Can I achieve remission from type 2 diabetes by doing this programme?

OptiJourney™ has been developed based on weight-loss approaches used in previous clinical studies. Recent research funded by Diabetes UK showed that with significant weight loss, some people are able to put their Type 2 Diabetes into remission. For more information about diabetes remission, we recommend visiting the Diabetes UK website, or speaking to your GP or diabetes nurse.

When will the programme be available until?

We will be launching in our first locations this June, and the enrolment period is likely to end in August 2019. If you are interested in taking part, we recommend that you visit our sign-up page as soon as you can, as we may close enrolment at any time depending on demand.

Where is the programme available?

This trial is being run in selected Tesco Pharmacies across England. The locations are: Tesco Fulbourn Cherry Hinton (Yarrow Rd, Cambridge, CB1 9BF), Tesco Northampton South Extra (Clannell Rd, Northampton, NN4 0JF), Tesco Cambridge Bar Hill (15-18 Viking Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8EL), Tesco Surrey Quays Extra (Surrey Quays Centre, Redriff Rd, London, SE16 7LL), Tesco Kettering Extra (Carina Rd, Kettering Business Park, Kettering, NN15 6XB) and Tesco Southwark Superstore (107 Dunton Rd, Southwark, London, SE1 5HG).

I've registered my interest. When will I be told if I can enrol?

You should receive a reply email from us immediately after registering your interest online. If you meet our initial eligibility criteria, you will be given further details to book your screening consultation. If you do not meet the criteria, we will also inform you of this.

By registering on myoptijourney.co.uk, am I obliged to enrol on the programme?

No, you are under no obligation to participate in the programme. Registering online simply means we can send you further information about the programme if you meet the initial eligibility criteria.

I registered my interest online but have not heard anything.

Please call our consumer services team on 00800 6887 4846 and they will be able to help you.

Should I take a vitamin and mineral supplement in conjunction with Optifast?

We recommend you speak with your GP or pharmacist about this. When used as a total diet replacement, Optifast products provide adequate amounts of all essential nutrients for the day, and we therefore don't usually recommend that people take extra supplements.

Do you recommend medical supervision whilst taking part in the programme?

Optifast® should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional such as a pharmacist, doctor, or dietitian. Medical conditions and medications must be taken into consideration prior to deciding if the programme is appropriate for you. As well as this, research has shown that having the support and guidance of a healthcare professional is important in helping you to stay on track.

What can I earn points for?

You can earn points for tracking, completing phases, setting up your app completely, and attending pharmacy check-ins.

Am I allowed to eat 'real food' on the programme?

For the first phase of the programe, all food is replaced with specially formulated Optifast® soups, shakes and bars. All your other drinks must be calorie free, which means no alcohol, sugar-containing drinks, and no milk in your tea and coffee. OptiJourney coaches can provide advice and support to help you stick to your plan, for example by sharing ways of varying the taste of your Optifast shakes and soups.

I take a nutritional supplement. Is this okay?

If you are taking prescribed supplements you should check with your GP about how appropriate they are during Phase One. Taking four Optifast ® products each day during phase one provides sufficient vitamins and minerals, therefore we do not usually advise taking additional supplements.

Can I still have coffee and tea during Phase 1?

Yes, including tea and coffee is fine, but during phase one remember not to have them with milk, sugar or syrups which will provide additional calories.

Can I still have alcohol during phase 1?

Alcohol is not recommended during phase one

How many calories am I getting in Phase 1?

Phase 1 of the OptiJourney programme has been designed to provide you with approximately 850 calories each day. This low calorie intake is to support you to lose weight. By taking four products from the Optifast® range each day, you will also receive all the vitamins and minerals you require. (We recommend only one Optifast® meal bar per day as part of this allowance).

What is Optifast?

Optifast® is a range of shakes, soups and bars designed to support medically supervised weight loss. You can choose from chocolate, strawberry, coffee or vanilla flavour shakes, vegetable flavour soup, and chocolate or berry flavour meal bars. During the first phase of the OptiJourney programme, you can choose four products each day from the Optifast range. This can include a maximum of one meal bar per day if desired. This plan will provide all the vitamins and minerals you require for the day, while allowing you to limit your daily energy intake to around 850 calories.

I am on the programme and have just been diagnosed with a new medical condition. Can I continue on the programme?

Please speak to your pharmacist or GP to check that it is still suitable for you to continue on the programme.

I am on the programme and have just been prescribed some new medication. Can I still continue?

Please speak to your pharmacist or GP to check that it is still suitable for you to continue on the programme.

How many calories / carbs / protein should I be eating in the maintenance phase?

Your dashboard in the OptiJourney app will show you your daily nutrient goals. If you have any questions about this, the best person to speak to is your OptiJourney coach, who can explain how your goals have been calculated.

What allergens are present in Optifast products?

We always recommend you check the label of the product for this information. All major allergens are underlined in the ingredients list. If you have specific questions about the ingredients in Optifast, please call our consumer services team on 00800 6887 4846, or 0800000030.

I'm having difficulty with the app.

For support using the OptiJourney app, please contact the app customer support team at: support@optijourneysupport.com

Why do I need to attend my pharmacy appointments?

Your pharmacy appointments are extremely important. They not only give you an opportunity to check your progress, they also mean your pharmacist can monitor for any side effects and support you to stay well while you're on the programme. Recent studies indicate that regular support (e.g. from a healthcare professional or coach) is very important in combination with a low energy diet. Certain pharmacy appointments during the OptiJourney programme are mandatory- your pharmacist will make you aware of these. If you do not attend these mandatory appointments, unfortunately you will no longer be eligible to continue on the programme. If you can't attend your planned pharmacy appointment, please call your pharmacist to arrange a new time.

Could I experience side effects or tolerance problems related to Optifast?

If your new diet contains a very different amount of fibre compared to what you are used to, it is possible to experience some digestive changes such as a change in bowel habit, bloating, or flatulence. Some people may find that they feel bloated because they are drinking more fluid than usual. As your body adjusts to the total diet replacement plan this should settle down, so do keep progressing with the programme. If you have specific queries relating to the ingredients in Optifast, you can contact the consumer services team at Nestlé Health Science on 00800 6887 4846, or 0800000030. Lastly, always make sure you discuss anything that concerns you with your pharmacist or GP.

Could I experience any side effects while on a total diet replacement programme?

When taking a total diet replacement, your energy intake is reduced to a much lower level than usual. For some people this can be accompanied by some symptoms, which tend to gradually improve over a few days. These symptoms might include headaches, fatigue, constipation, or feeling dizzy or light-headed. Your OptiJourney coach and pharmacist can give you some helpful tips to feel better if these occur. We always recommend to discuss anything that concerns you with your GP or pharmacist.

What is a total diet replacement?

Total diet replacement products, such as Optifast, are specially formulated to provide all your daily essential nutrients while keeping your calorie intake to a low level. The first stage of a total diet replacement programme involves replacing all of your daily meals with these products.

Should I notify my GP before starting the programme?

We always recommend discussing with your GP before starting this programme.