SlimFast Diet Review – Forbes Health – Forbes

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SlimFast is a diet program designed to help with weight loss through the use of meal replacements, shakes, smoothies and bars. The plan replaces two of your meals each day with SlimFast food products. This may not be the right fit for everyone, due to the fact that the products may not feel satisfying or satiating, and some users may prefer less restriction around food choices. Read on to learn more about the SlimFast Diet and what to consider before trying the plan.
SlimFast is a diet and weight loss company that offers pre-packaged meals and weight loss plans to subscribing customers. By providing customers with ready-to-eat and -drink meals, shakes and snacks, as well as a series of meal plans, the company aims to help customers lose weight fast, claiming noticeable results appear in as little as one week.
Founded in 1976 by S. Daniel Abraham, SlimFast is owned by Kainos Capital, a Texas private equity firm. The company rebranded in 2013 with new shake bottles, new packaging and a number of additional, updated materials.
The SlimFast weight loss program is built on the concept of meal plans and SlimFast meal replacements. Users are able to choose from five SlimFast plans, each of which is created to fit a different lifestyle. These plan options include the Favorite Foods Plan, Keto Plan, High Protein/Low Carb Plan, Original Plan and the Intermittent Fasting Plan. The plans themselves are free, however customers must purchase SlimFast meal replacement products. There is no set timeframe for the SlimFast diet, as it’s intended to be customizable for each user’s specific weight loss goals and needs.
Meal replacements include smoothies and shakes, as well as snacks, such as SlimFast Snack Bar Minis and SlimFast Keto Fat Bombs. Additionally, customers are able to use the SlimFast Together app to further personalize their experience and find support in the SlimFast community.
SlimFast promotes itself as a weight loss plan consisting of three easy steps. Step one is eating one “sensible” meal per day, according to the company, though what qualifies as sensible is not not clearly defined on the SlimFast website and the definition can depend on the type of diet you choose to follow (keto, diabetes, low carb). Recipes for this meal are provided on the SlimFast website and app. The website specifies that you can enjoy your favorite foods and that no foods are off limits, meaning you can indulge in healthy portions of any food you choose for this meal.
Step two consists of replacing two meals a day with SlimFast products including shakes, smoothies and bars. Step three is enjoying three snacks per day in between meals, including SlimFast snacks or any low-calorie snack of choice.
The company website provides plan-approved recipes for users to try, such as French vanilla blackberry pancakes for breakfast, a chicken vegetable teriyaki bowl for lunch or a salmon nicoise salad for dinner. Each recipe lists the number of servings per recipe. The plan assumes you eat one serving per prepared meal. Which meal you choose to make and which meals you choose to replace with SlimFast meal replacements is for you to decide. For example, you can choose to replace lunch and dinner and make plan-approved pancakes for breakfast or opt to replace breakfast and dinner and make a plan-approved chicken vegetable teriyaki bowl for dinner.
The SlimFast Together app is free and allows customers to personalize their weight loss journey by providing meal planning tools that allow customers to customize menus according to their food preferences. Smoothies, shakes and snacks for the two daily meal replacements and three daily snacks can be purchased via the SlimFast website or app. The app also provides tools to track progress, which include the ability to measure water intake, activity, body measurements, sleep quality and stress levels.
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The SlimFast app and website are free to users, however customers must pay for the SlimFast smoothies, shakes and snacks used as meal replacements. Fourteen-day starter kits for each plan are available and cost between $79.99 to $96.99. Kits include shakes, powder to make smoothies, and bars. A “Together” starter kit can be used with a friend or partner and ranges from $169.99 to $234.99. Once you have completed your starter kit, you continue to purchase SlimFast products until you reach your goal weight.
There is no specific time frame listed for the SlimFast plan, meaning customers may use the plan the amount of time suitable for their weight loss goals. The SlimFast Plan follows guidelines for healthy and safe weight loss, which include losing an average of 1 to 2 pounds per week over the total duration of your weight loss journey. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a safe rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week for a period of six months. However, there is no specific time frame listed for the SlimFast plan, meaning customers may use the plan the amount of time suitable for their weight loss goals.
SlimFast meal replacement shakes come in several flavors for each of the plans. The Original Shakes are available in Creamy Milk Chocolate, French Vanilla, Cappuccino Delight, Rich Chocolate Royale and Strawberries and Cream. Shakes are sold in packs of four, eight and 15, and can be purchased in bulk. Currently available ready to drink shakes include:
SlimFast smoothie mixes are powders designed to fit various diets and food preferences. Smoothie mix options include:
Directions for how to properly prepare smoothie mixes are available on the SlimFast website.
Meal replacement bars are also available in specialized varieties for those following the keto diet, intermittent fasting and for people with diabetes. Bars range between 180 to 200 calories, depending on the type.
Sweet or savory snacks can also be purchased via the SlimFast website or app. Sweet snacks include SlimFast Keto Fat Bomb Snack Cups, SlimFast Double Chocolate Mint Crunch Mini Snack Bar and Peanut Butter Cups. Savory snacks include SlimFast Keto Fat Bomb Cheddar Cheese Crisps and SlimFast Keto Fat Bomb Snack Mixes.
Though meal replacements may be effective for some users, experts caution the use of restrictive diets. “When someone restricts their intake by replacing meals with shakes or bars, it can increase their chances of binge eating once they get off this diet,” says Katy Zanville, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and nutrition therapist at Katy Zanville Nutrition in Los Angeles, California.
“Calorie-restriction causes bodies to slow down by decreasing metabolic rates, decreasing thyroid activity, decreasing fullness hormones and increasing hunger hormones (so they aren’t able to detect when they are comfortably full), and increasing cravings for carbohydrates and calorie-dense foods,” she adds. “This can lead to a restrict-binge cycle, which can leave someone feeling chaotic or out of control around food once the diet is over.”
In addition, Zanville notes that a liquid diet or using smoothies and shakes to replace meals can often leave out the element of satisfaction in nourishment, which is crucial. “If someone isn’t satisfied with the meals and snacks they are eating, it can cause them to ‘scavenge’ later on and possibly eat past comfortable fullness,” she says. “While everyone’s preferences are different, chewing food with different textures can be an important part of an enjoyable eating experience.”
In some cases, meal replacements can be combined with other foods to create a balanced meal, however, when eaten on their own, they don’t provide enough nutrition for adults, adds Zanville. Additionally, she notes diets like SlimFast may increase disordered eating behaviors, disrupt hunger and fullness cues and cause weight cycling (radical increases and decreases in weight over time).
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As a registered dietitian, it was very difficult for me to look at my SlimFast shake, smoothie or bar and want to eat it after seeing the balanced meals my kids were eating each day. I felt as if I was taking medicine instead of food. I tried the Peanut Butter Crunch Bar and after eating a few bites, my stomach hurt (though I am sensitive to bars in general, especially when they are so dense). The bar wasn’t particularly tasty and the texture was crunchy.
The Vanilla Cream Shake tasted like pudding, and was very sweet, but had a thin consistency. And, while the smoothie mixes allowed me to create some fun combinations from recipes on the website, they still left me feeling unsatisfied.
Overall, the lower calorie SlimFast meal replacements left me feeling hungry, and when it came time for me to eat my meal replacement, I felt disappointed and annoyed about not being able to eat real food. I craved real food and being restricted to the meal replacements made me feel depressed over time. I tried the plan for two weeks, but couldn’t stick to it and opted to eat real food and meals instead. In my opinion, the SlimFast foods were not satisfying or tasty. Instead, I would recommend a healthy, balanced dietary pattern that includes fruits, vegetables, dairy, starches, protein and healthy fats.
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Toby Amidor is a registered dietitian, nutrition expert, food safety consultant, instructor, speaker and author in New York City. Through Toby Amidor Nutrition, PC, she provides nutrition and food safety consulting services for individuals, restaurants and food brands. For over 12 years, Amidor has served as a nutrition expert for and is a founding contributor to the website’s Healthy Eats blog. She has also written Today’s Dietitian magazine’s “Ask the Expert” column for the past eight years. She is an adjunct professor at CUNY Hunter School of Public Urban Health in New York City where she teaches food service management. Amidor is also the author of eight cookbooks, one of which is a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Jessica is a writer, editor and media professional who has spent her career working with some of the most influential names in media. Prior to joining Forbes Health, Jessica was the manager of creative communications at Hearst, where she specialized in high-level production and project management. As a freelance writer, Jessica has written across a range of topics, including entertainment, travel and career. Her work can be found in Variety, Paste Magazine, The Muse and on her personal website (


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