The Slim Fast Diet is based around the Slim Fast brand of shakes and bars. For many years they used the phrase "a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, then a sensible dinner" as description of their diet. That still applies, but in 2009 it introduced it’s "3-2-1" diet plan, which added in 3 snacks.
The Slim Fast Diet works primarily by controlling your portions using their meal replacement products. Controlling portions results in controlling calories which results in weight loss. Their web site says ten percent of your body weight in the first six months.
To help things along they recommend 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, while suggesting a reasonable goal of 1-2 pounds a week of weight loss. Also offered is online support in the form of message boards, chats, testimonials, and a “Ask the Dietitian” forum.
What Do You Eat? The Slim Fast 3-2-1 diet plan consists of three 100-calorie snacks, two 200-calorie meal replacements (shakes or meal bars) and one 500 calorie dinner.
Snacks 3 nourishing 100 calorie snacks a day. Slim Fast offers 100-calorie snack bars in five different flavors. You can also choose your own snacks consisting of nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts. High fiber fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and broccoli are recommended. The snacks should be mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and after dinner.
Meal Replacements 2 meal replacements for breakfast and lunch consisting of a shake or a meal bar. It’s your choice. Both are 200 calories and provide 20% or more of the recommended daily intake for most essential vitamins and minerals, along with 5 grams of dietary fiber.
Single Meal You are allowed one 500-calorie balanced meal per day. Slim Fast recommends filling your plate with 1/2 veggies, 1/4 with lean protein (such as chicken or turkey without the skin, fish or lean beef) and 1/4 with starch (preferably whole grain). They provide a variety of recipes designed for 500-calorie delicious-tasting meals that you can enjoy at home for dinner.
Reviews Consumer Reports (June 2011) rated the Slim Fast Diet #2 in it’s latest diet ratings. It was second only to Jenny Craig, but ahead of Weight Watchers, The Zone, Ornish, Atkins, and Nutrisystem.
Bottom Line The Slim Fast Diet is effective because it is a low calorie diet as a result of portion control. It’s easy to follow and relatively affordable compared to many other diet plans.
On the downside, you’re not going to eat shakes and meal bars forever. The diet fails the “Would you eat like this for the rest of your life?” test. It doesn’t teach you how to eat healthy and low calorie in any situation. You’re also dependent on the Slim Fast products. If you lose the taste for them after following the diet for a while, you’re not going to stick with it.
The Slim Fast diet can work for you for in the short term, but it’s not a good long term eating plan for most people.