General chatter - Tell me why Slim Fast is bad

View Full Version : Tell me why Slim Fast is bad

Aunty Jam
04-07-2011, 03:03 PM
I recently had coffee with an old friend... she hadn't seen me since I lost weight. I told her I lost weight with a healthy, well rounded diet, eating less, very limited junk and lots of exercise. Today she told me that she was inspired by my weight loss and decided to go on a diet. She started using Slim Fast and has "lost" 5 pounds since Monday, without exercising.

It is my belief that this stuff is BAD! If I remember correctly it's almost all carbs! I know she won't believe me without actual third party proof that Slim Fast is the wrong way to go.

I'm going to go check the food and diet areas of the forum after I'm done here... but can anyone give me any help? Do you know of any proof, scientific or study wise that could help me out?

04-07-2011, 03:13 PM
This article might be useful.

Honestly though I don't think telling her why slimfast is bad for her is the best approach. I think encouraging her to follow a more well rounded diet would get you better results if you truly want to help her.

Give her examples of healthier options that are also definitely more filling. You could suggest replacing slimfast with her own homemade protein shake. Which is not only cheaper in the long run, it's also a heck of a lot more filling and tasty.

04-07-2011, 03:13 PM
Why are you convinced that it's bad without having any information to indicate such? IMO, unless she asks for your advice you should really just let her lose weight by whichever method she sees fit. There is no plan that is going to work for everybody, and just because you personally don't agree with the Slim Fast method doesn't mean it isn't the best way for her.

04-07-2011, 03:15 PM
No food is inherently good or bad. Carbs are bad for you only if you're on a low-carb plan. Slimfast would be bad if you're on a whole foods plan. Personally i would never drink that stuff because it scares me...but i eat lots of "bad" things

04-07-2011, 03:17 PM
There is no proof that Slim Fast is bad for everyone. Just as there's no proof that low-carb is right for everyone (even though it's right for me).

I've read a lot of the diet research, and I can find just as much positive research findings for meal replacements like Slim Fast, as I can negative ones. Sorry, but the jury is still out on this one.

Not everyone is insulin resistant. Some people do seem to process carbs similarly to fat and protein. They lose as well and feel as well on a carby diet as on a low-carb one (the lucky S.O.B.s)

Like low-carb dieiting, it seems right for some people and wrong for others.

Also, Slim Fast has been significantly reformulated to be higher in protein, and lower in carbs than it was even 10 years ago (which is an improvement over what it was 20 years ago). Atkins has a lower carb liquid meal replacement, but the modern Slim Fast formula is fairly compatible. I wouldn't recommend that anyone use it to replace every meal, but the Slim Fast diet recommends at least one balanced meal anyway. Using it in moderation, or in the short term isn't any more dangerous than other less-than-perfect food plans (in other words, most of them).

Most people get bored with meal replacements long before they risk health effects. The challenge (as it is with all weight loss plans) is modifying the plan to be workable in the long term.

I knew a woman in my TOPS group in IL who lost nearly 300 lbs on Slim Fast and had maintained her loss for (at that time) more than 2 years. During the diet, and at maintenance she had four meals. In the beginning it was three SlimFast meals and one regular meal, and at maintenance it was three regular meals and one SlimFast.

Only your friend and her doctor can determine whether and what kind of meal replacements are appropriate, and for how long.

04-07-2011, 03:24 PM
I do not agree with the above posted article since it's primary point is slim fast only lets you eat 1200 calories and that will starve you. Ummm I eat between 1200-1600 calories daily and I am not starving and thus far I have maintained most of my muscle.

The real problem with Slimfast as I see it is 1. it does not teach you the skills/habits you need to keep the weight from coming back and 2. it's unsustainable in the long run. If the changes you make aren't something you can live with for the rest of your life then you will just put the weight back on so all the work is pointless.

Aunty Jam
04-07-2011, 03:26 PM
Dimples - Thanks for the article and the suggestion. I agree that it's probably better a better route to take.

Anyone who argues that it's not bad should take a look at the article Dimples posted, it's not just all about how it "starves" you. There are several other valid points.

04-07-2011, 03:32 PM
How about: It made me constipated! :D

It's not filling. :no:

I most agree that it is ineffective as a for-life plan and doesn't teach you how to eat properly. It's a quick fix and the only reason it's successful is because it's a measured portion of calories.

I prefer my protein drinks for snacks, personally. :dunno: But not slim fast. And my protein drinks don't make me constipated.

04-07-2011, 03:36 PM
The linked article is on a user-contributed content site. It offers the opinions of the author only, and her opinions are neither more or less valid than anyone else's opinions here. I snooped to find the author's website, and she hawks her own diet plan. So, take the article at face value, but again, it's someone's opinion, and not from an authoritative source.

I don't use Slimfast personally, but unless a friend asked me what I thought about their plan, I would keep my opinions to myself---whatever the plan may be.

04-07-2011, 03:48 PM
I probably should have mentioned that I don't necessarily think SlimFast can't work for some people. I KNOW it didn't work for me, and I don't know anyone personally who it did work for and I've known quite a few people who have used it.

If a friend told me they were doing Slim Fast I would wish them luck, but also share my experience with them. I'd put other ideas in their head of how they could achieve weightloss with more healthy options that would fill them up so much more and save them money. I would want to help them succeed and I'd have doubts that they could with a plan I know from experience is hard and easy to give up on.

There is nothing wrong with trying to help someone, but it really does matter how you approach them.

AZ Sunrises
04-07-2011, 03:52 PM
Encourage her. Let her know how well she's doing. Then ask her if she's considered making smoothies instead of the Slim Fast - citing the cost difference. When I'm not pinching pennies, I sometimes do smoothies in lieu of a meal (usually dinner)...and it works.

04-07-2011, 04:14 PM
I think if it helps her to lose weight then she should stick with it for now. I strongly doubt anyone would want to eat/drink Slimfast for the rest of their lives, so I'm sure she would transition onto healthier meals. This is where you could suggest some ideas to her.

04-07-2011, 04:55 PM
slim fast is not inherently bad, have you read the labels? Im guessing not. Ive been using slim fast my entire journey. I started a year ago and have lost 65 pounds, even with 2 maintenance breaks.

Yes they tend to be carby but they have low carb options. They are fortified with vitamins and minerals and the main ingrediant on the shakes is milk. The plan recommends 3 snacks of fruits veggies or nuts and a balanced dinner. So yes, if you are following recommendations you still learn about serving sizes.

In the beginning i followed the plan everyday now i use the meal bar for lunch during the week because i was never good at packing a lunch and drink the low carb shake every morning. On the weekends i make myself a higher calorie lunch and skip two of my snacks.

I did try the route of protien shakes instead of slimfast and found it too complicated for my morning routine as i am little more then a zombie then. It was also more expensive for the protien powderr and milk for 8 oz a day then my 11 oz slim fast shake with similar calorie and protien counts.

Just because some people follow the plan badly and their health suffers doesnt make the plan bad. My aunt followed atkins improperly and died of complications of liver failure but i dont say atkins is bad dont follow that.

Btw im not trying to say any of you that said it didnt work for you or had bad results followed it wrong, i do understandnot all people have the same results to all plans.

If shes found something she can sustain then good for her! You should support her and encourage her to make healthy choices for snacks and dinners. Depending on her weight i may also encourage more then the 1200 cal that they have as a minimum. At bw im eating 1400-1700 depending on the day.

04-07-2011, 06:28 PM
The reason SlimFast would not work for me is that I like to eat. I've been on my current plan for 20 months. There is no way I could have stuck that long to a plan that requires me to replace 2/3 of my beloved, precious food with canned or powdered shakes. Ew! I can't imagine sticking to that for a week, much less 20 months or the 2+ years it's going to take me to lose all the weight I need to lose, when all is said and done.

Not to mention that I wouldn't have a clue how to avoid gaining all the weight back once I was done with it.

I don't have any idea whether Slim Fast is unhealthy. I doubt most people can stick to it long enough to suffer any truly deleterious health effects! So instead of trying to talk your friend out of it, I suggest you just carry on doing what you do - eat your real actual food and keep losing weight. In a month or so, when your friend realizes that replacing food with shakes is a stupid and unsustainable idea and gives it up, maybe she'll naturally take more of an interest in doing the kind of hard work you are doing.

04-07-2011, 06:51 PM
They are definitely bad... only because it tastes like cardboard.

I have done slim fast in the past, I don't see it as unhealthy if used according to plan! I still now use a shake (not always slim fast) as an occasionally meal substitute (maybe 5 meals out of 21), (tends to be a time thing, as I would prefer a shake to having no breakfast, and mornings and time are a big issue with me). Nutritionally I think they are OK for a short/middle time period, I would not suggest someone being on them indefinitely. Sometimes people us slimfast to start the weight loss journey and once the weight starts coming off they move to a more sustainable diet.

As for learning new food habits I agree shake diets don't really teach you much, but I do know a lot of people who start on shake diets , start losing weight, that then have the motivation to look at their diets and learn better habits, sometimes it takes results to get the motivation. Shake diets are good for that with quick results from the beginning. I had a friend who went from a shake diet to now running in all the local fun runs, once the weight started coming off she felt that great that she caught the running bug!

What right does anyone have to judge someone elses choices? why do you need to change her decision on this? There is a difference between offering opinion or offering real advise and then trying to force her to change her mind, why do you need more proof to shove in her face? If a friend approached me like that I would soon walk away. Sometimes we just need our frineds suppport NO matter what path we take.

04-07-2011, 06:52 PM
If she asked you to critique her diet and help her, I would point this out to her. However, let her figure it out on her own. She will not die drinking slimfast shakes. They are not heroin. If she doesn't lose on them, she will find it out pretty soon!

04-07-2011, 07:19 PM
Are you trying to help your friend or just trying to win the argument?

There is nothing "bad" about Slimfast just as there is nothing "bad" about a protein shake just as there is nothing "bad" about a cheeseburger. The only "bad" things are those which are toxic. Having said that using Slimfast as a means to lose weight is a pretty poor choice ... one might even call it a "bad" choice. :D

The real problem with Slimfast as I see it is 1. it does not teach you the skills/habits you need to keep the weight from coming back and 2. it's unsustainable in the long run. If the changes you make aren't something you can live with for the rest of your life then you will just put the weight back on so all the work is pointless.


04-07-2011, 08:53 PM
I love the slimfast shakes. I do not follow the 3-2-1 plan but use it as a morning meal replacement. I don't really like to eat in the morning and that is a quick fix. I drink it on the way to work and it fills me up enough until my mid morning break. It's high in protein and vitamins. I think if that method is working for her than be happy for her.

04-07-2011, 09:29 PM
I actually really like slimfast. I think the shakes taste really good. I'll have one as a breakfast or lunch on the go if I'm absolutely starving and need to get something in me fast. I do prefer to save my calories for stuff I can actually chew, but a meal in a can is good for the days I don't have time to eat, or don't really have an appetite.

04-07-2011, 11:06 PM
Agreed with everyone else that a) not best to give unsolicited diet advice. If people want it, they'll ask. It's not my place to foist upon them my diet regimen just as it isn't my place to push my political beliefs, etc and b) Slim Fast is not inherently bad, due to points already outlined above.

Another point: it's useful to do well-rounded research before coming to a decision on health and diet. I googled "Is Slim Fast bad" and it was the first article to pop up. I then googled "slim fast health benefits" and a bunch of different sites came up lauding Slim Fast's nutritional benefits. There are lots of sides the story so just looking at the first one or two articles on any subject may not yield the most well-rounded information.

I then clicked on the author of the article and it led me to some wonky "Fat Loss" page with seven or so products that the author said were "the only ways to lose fat." I couldn't find any further information on the author and the only other articles associated with her are ones titled similarly "Why Weight Watchers is Bad For You!" and "Why Jenny Craig Doesn't Work and Fat Loss 4 Idiots Truly Works!". They were all "published" on the same day. I would hardly take nutrition advice from an article not associated with a reputable, or credentialed nutritionist/diet expert, and certainly not one whose website is a gaudy page of advertising. Not that all the points in the article aren't always valid- Slim Fast does have a lot of sugar, for example- but just a reminder to check sources before we follow advice on the internet that anyone (or any company) can post.

04-07-2011, 11:20 PM
She'll figure it out for herself, meanwhile instead of being all "I told you so" I hope you are ready to support her with kindness and helpful tips.

04-08-2011, 01:28 AM
I would advise against the Optima Slim Fast and go for the high protien stuff as it kept me fuller longer. The Optima stuff has Malitol in it and even the smallest amount gives me the runs...tmi, I know, but it wasn't a pleasent surprise after eating 2 bars, and 2 snacks. lol

04-08-2011, 05:59 AM
I know that the weight I've lost so far was down to making mistakes and finding out what worked for me. I'd let her use the slim fast and if it doesn't work for her she can find what does. Finding out yourself what works is much more effective than other people telling me what should work.
I like my food too much to replace it with smoothies :D

04-08-2011, 07:05 AM
i actually love the taste of slimfast shakes, and when i used slimfast i lost quite a bit of weight, i don't know exactly how much but enough that people were making comments about my loss. but, as with every other 'diet' i've tried, i gained it all back. i think your friend needs to figure it out for herself, plenty of people told me not to do the apple diet but i did! and learned the hard way because i was so hungry and grumpy lol :)

04-08-2011, 10:05 AM
I really like slimfast and I have lost 24 pounds with it. I buy the powder and mix it with fat free milk. I like the Chocolate Royale for breakfast, then at lunch I use the French vanilla and also add a cup of strawberries in the blender. So Yummy!! Then for my dinner I have a balanced meal without having to make something different for me than I do for my hubby. This works for me. I also have a couple snacks during the day either more fruit and/or nuts.

AZ Sunrises
04-13-2011, 12:49 AM
I hadn't tasted Slim Fast since my mom had used it in the late 80s, so I decided to see what had changed in the past 20 years.

I bought the high protein vanilla powder. I have to say that with added fruit and flax seed, it's not bad. It definitely tastes better than the protein powder I have in the cabinet. Then again, it does have more carbs, so if you're watching them, it's probably not the best option for you.

04-13-2011, 10:13 AM
I will be honest here and say I think Slim Fast is "bad". It has ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil and artificial flavors and a million other things. I do think some foods can be "bad" and slim fast is one of them. If it was used once a week it wouldn't be such a problem but that isn't how it works.

That being said, it's not your place to tell your friend what to put into her body. You can be a good example but the rest is her business.

04-13-2011, 10:46 AM
I love the slimfast shakes. I do not follow the 3-2-1 plan but use it as a morning meal replacement. I don't really like to eat in the morning and that is a quick fix. I drink it on the way to work and it fills me up enough until my mid morning break. It's high in protein and vitamins. I think if that method is working for her than be happy for her.

Me too. I really just like them. Protein shakes are a little hard for me to handle without a gallbladder but I have definitely used them as a tool to get weight off in the past. I didn't rebound gain or anything either. I think just like everything else, they can be a good tool for the right person.