Slim-Fast Diet®


The Slim-Fast® diet is an eating plan that aims to help people lose weight. The diet is based on consuming Slim-Fast® portion- and calorie-controlled prepared foods while the individual learns the principles of healthy food selection and portion control. Slim-Fast® diet products are integral to this eating plan, and they include shakes, nutrition bars, packaged meals, and other dietary supplements.
Slim-Fast® products are sold in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, and the Netherlands. The United States headquarters of Slim-Fast® is in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Slim-Fast® has promoted its product line and diet using a variety of celebrities.
Slim-Fast® was founded in 1977 as a part of the Thompson Medical Group. The founder made the company private in 1987, and it was acquired by the Anglo-Dutch corporation Unilever® in 2000. Soon after, Slim-Fast® experienced severe profit losses due to the surge of popularity in low-carbohydrate diets, also known as low-carb diets. Slim-Fast® was originally created to assist individuals in losing weight without focusing on adopting a healthy lifestyle. To expand its market appeal, however, Slim-Fast® has recently diversified its product lines and approaches to dieting. Slim-Fast® now offers diets that are designed for individuals whose primary motivation in losing weight may be for health-related reasons. For instance, people may choose to lose weight to lower their chances of developing diabetes or having a heart attack.
Though Slim-Fast® used to advocate consuming two of its shakes and a "sensible dinner" every day, the diet is now less rigid, and offers more personalized eating recommendations that may allow for more options than the original meal plan. Today, there are five types of Slim-Fast® products available for purchase. These include Original, Optima, Low-Carb, High Protein, and Easy-to-Digest. These Slim-Fast products are known as "meal replacements," because they provide a fair amount of nutritional value while remaining low in calories.
The Slim-Fast® Corporation cites more than 35 published clinical studies, which it claims provide strong evidence that the diet will help individuals lose weight. Although many of the trials used prepared drinks called meal replacements, none of the studies used Slim-Fast® brand products. Also, the quality of these studies varies. Furthermore, some of the studies have focused on the reduction of a person's likelihood of developing a disease, rather than weight loss. The use of meal replacements has been studied as a tool in examining the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis, heart disease, and type two diabetes. The American Dietetic Association endorses the consumption of one or two meal replacements, which it defines as pre-packaged meals, liquid meals, and low-calorie bars for individuals who may have difficulty selecting healthy foods or exercising portion control. The American Diabetes Association endorses meal replacements as a potential resource for weight loss. However, neither of these organizations exclusively endorses Slim-Fast® products as the meal replacement used for these purposes. Meal replacements similar to the ones marketed by Slim-Fast® are available from a variety of companies. Most major clinical trials have found that a person's ability to follow a diet plan, regardless of its meal structure, over the long term is the most important factor in determining the likelihood of a patient's dieting success.
Slim-Fast® products have recently been marketed in conjunction to the Best Life Diet. "The Best Life Diet" is a book published in 2006 by exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer Bob Greene. The book instructs readers on a weight loss method devised by Greene that focuses on eating rituals and the modification of eating behavior over time. The diet does not purport to offer an immediate solution to the eating patterns of readers; rather, Greene encourages readers to examine their motivations for eating and gradually change their lifestyle in three phases. The popular television celebrity Oprah used this diet to lose weight and wrote the introduction to Greene's book. Before actually beginning the diet, individuals analyze their psychological associations with food, eating, and weight loss. This analysis hopes to address the emotional reasons underlying an individual's perceived weight problem, the motivation to lose weight, and the reasons why the individual has not been able to maintain weight loss in the past. The author contends that readers who are not fully aware of their motivations for and associations with eating will most likely not succeed in the diet because unexamined emotions may alter the effects of the diet.

Related Terms

Diet, eating plan, liquid meal replacements, meal replacements.


The foundation of the Slim-Fast® Diet is the use of its products as meal replacements. Bars, shakes from powders, and pre-mixed drinks are some of the products available to consume in lieu of a more conventional meal.
Slim-Fast® products are sometimes consumed as snacks or as part of a meal. For example, a 200 calorie Slim-Fast® protein bar may be eaten between meals. In other instances, a Slim-Fast® product may be consumed with an additional 200 calories as a meal, such as a Slim-Fast® bar eaten with a mini pizza containing fewer than 15 grams of fat for lunch, or a Slim-Fast® shake eaten with half of a turkey sandwich for dinner.
The Slim-Fast® diet encourages a regimen of what it called the "Sensible Meal Guide." This guide is used for meals that are not made up of Slim-Fast® products. In general, half of a plate should be filled with vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, spinach, peas, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, or squash. This is usually about half a cup of cooked vegetables, or one cup of uncooked vegetables. One fourth of the plate should be filled with protein, such as lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, low fat dairy products, tofu, and meat replacements (such as soy meat). The protein portion should be about the size of a deck of cards. The final fourth of the plate should be comprised of starches, such as potatoes, corn, pasta, noodles, rice, or whole wheat bread. One small baked potato, half a cup of whole wheat pasta, one third cup of brown rice, one slice of whole wheat bread, or one small multigrain roll are examples of portion sizes. A side dish of one cup of a tossed salad or a dish of fruit along with a calorie free beverage is also acceptable.
The Slim-Fast® diet provides emotional support to individuals in the form of phone trees, webpages, and customer representatives. The company also retains a staff of dieticians should consumers require a consultation.
The Slim-Fast® diet makes a variety of online resources available to its customers to assist in achieving weight loss. These resources discuss determining portion sizes, reading food labels, understanding liquid calories, coping with food cravings, creating shopping lists, tracking weight changes, and spicing foods. The website also features guides for dining out, finding healthy convenience store foods, and making healthier selections at fast food restaurants. Recipes that follow the Slim-Fast® diet regimen are also available on the site.
Regardless of how online tools are used or foods are consumed, the Slim-Fast® diet suggests that people eat the equivalent of two of its products as meal replacements every day over an extended period of time to achieve weight loss.
Slim-Fast® products are available in five dieting style varieties: Original, Low-Carb, High Protein, Optima, and Easy-to-Digest. For each of these varieties, Slim-Fast® sells a variety of canned drinks, powdered drinks, meal bars, and snack bar foods.
The Original Slim-Fast® products are designed for those without special dietary needs. The Low-Carb products contain fewer carbohydrates than the Original variety, and are designed for individuals who plan to reduce their consumption of carbohydrates in order to lose weight. The High Protein products supposedly boost the metabolism, and may be appropriate for athletes. The Optima products contain added protein and vegetable fat to help an individual retain a greater feeling of fullness than the Original products. Finally, the Easy-to-Digest products are lactose- and gluten-free, and designed for individuals who experience gastrointestinal upset after consuming these substances.