There are a lot of nutritional supplement drinks on the market these days, however the most popular and most discussed would have to be Slim Fast. The Slim Fast plan initially – before the addition of the Slim Fast snacks and alternate shakes – consisted of a “healthy” shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and a healthy supper. A couple small snacks in between meals was also recommended. Some of you may ask, “Isn’t this a simple and healthy way to watch your weight?”. Well, the answer to that is, unfortunately, no.
The Slim Fast line now has snacks and different variations of the original shake, but for the sake of the argument, let’s use the original Slim Fast shake. And this shake, my friends, is not all that nutritious (unless your idea of nutrition is getting a salad with your three burgers instead of fries; only then would this would be a step up). In fact, the shake consists of 4 main ingredients: skin milk, sugar, fructose, and cocoa.
The Slim Fast shake also contains 12 grams of protein, which is lightly less than what you’d get from drinking the same amount of 1% low-fat milk. It has 38 grams of carbs (which is 20 grams more than the %1 milk), with the remaining carbohydrates coming straight from sugar. Considering the milk contains significant amounts of Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Zinc, vitamins A and D, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin B12, you would benefit more and would spend less money if you ditched the Slim Fast shakes and bought a quart of milk.
Other than the shakes being basically milk with added sugar and cocoa, there are some serious downfalls with the Slim Fast diet. The most concerning of which is the daily caloric limit. The amount of calories you are consuming per day on the Slim Fast diet is dangerously low. With two shakes, small snacks and a simple dinner of chicken breast, baked potato and veggies, you are looking at around 1000-1200 per day. This is not enough for most sedentary people – add in exercise and this becomes detrimental to long-term weight loss and your health.
While it’s true that cutting calories is the cornerstone of weight loss. If you fall under your recommended limit, your body won’t carry out its normal functions properly. Breathing, digesting, even blinking burns calories, and when those calories aren’t there, your body will look for them in all the wrong places.
A little less severe, but a drawback nonetheless, is your hunger. If you deny your body the proper calories from all sources, it will ask for them. One shake will most likely not last all morning until lunch, and sometimes not even until your snack. The shakes contains too little fiber to give you that ‘full’ feeling for more than an hour or two.
In the end, the Slim Fast diet is flawed. Too much sugar, too little protein and fiber, and the daily caloric limit is dangerously low – with you losing lean muscle mass as well as fat. The product has fancy commercials and celebrity endorsements, however, it is not much more than sugar-laden milk – at three times the cost. The idea of introducing a meal replacement supplement into your diet plan is a great one – but maybe not this particular supplement.