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General Diet Plans and Questions General diet questions, support for various diet plans other than those listed below.

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Old 01-15-2003, 10:14 AM   #1
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Question Slimfast Question

Help please. I am not on slimfast but want to incorporate one into my day. My biggest problem meal is dinner don't have the time to make something nutritious, and no I can't make the time either but what would work for me is one for dinner on the way home from work. Does anyone use the meal replacement for dinner????

I eat a very healthy breaky and lunch but dinners get me everytime.

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Old 01-15-2003, 11:44 AM   #2
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Well...my personal opinion on SlimFast (or as I call it, SlimFat) is that as far as nutrition goes, you might as well be drinking a glass of Ovaltine. Check the label - there is a TON of sugar in there (35 grams of sugar in the Chocolate ready-to-drink - more than HALF of the calories in the can are from sugar...the powder has 17g sugar, but adding milk - which has a lot of milk sugar - increases that quite a bit). What little protein there is, is of low quality. As far as the bars - you might as well eat a Snickers bar rather than those sugar bombs.

Any nutritionist can tell you that eating sugar will not satisfy any cravings - instead it will INCREASE your cravings for more sugar. SlimFast is a cheap product that has been brilliantly marketed - sugar (in different forms) is the primary ingredient and very cheap. Of course, the manufacturers could make a higher-protein, low-sugar version but why should they spend the money when they're making it hand over fist?

Now, I'm not saying that meal replacement powders *aren't* a good option - I use them myself. Sure, the GOOD ones cost a little more, but there's a reason for that - they're higher quality, contain more protein and little or no sugar. I'd highly recommend staying away from any ready-to-drink meal replacement though - here's a segment from an article called "The Protein Insider" that you might find interesting:


T: What's the deal with the ready-to-drink protein drinks? High quality or low? Are they any better than Slimfast?

PI: They're slightly better than Slimfast.

T: Why are they bad?

PI: You have to literally cook them. The FDA requires that you pasteurize ready-to-drink products, and you end up just destroying these glycomacropeptides they're gone. What you end up drinking is just a basic, bare minimum protein supplement, a very expensive one at that.

Because these products use so much water, and consequently weigh a lot, the shipping costs end up being considerable. That's primarily why they cost so much. You're paying dearly to have someone shake your shake for you. And, unfortunately, the technology that exists today has not improved since they first started doing RTDs [ready to drinks] and so you get a basic protein supplement, nothing exotic, nothing interesting, and usually rotten tasting.
Now, I do have some recommendations as far as MRPs (Meal replacement powders) that are well balanced, taste good and are low in sugar. Here ya go:

Myoplex Lite (I highly recommend the Cappuchino Ice - tastes like a Starbucks Frappuchino)
Biotest Classic GROW! (comes in Vanilla and Chocolate) - BTW most women can reduce the serving size to two scoops from 3 and add, say, 1/2 a banana or a handful of frozen berries to the mix)
Labrada Lean Body for Her Drink Mix (comes in Vanilla and Chocolate)

I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones I've tried personally...OH and I also recommend the purchase of a Braun Hand Blender or something similar - makes it easier to whip up one of these shakes without having a big mess.

One more thing...don't buy these at the local GNC as the prices are sky-high - there are quite a few cheap places on the Web that you can purchase MRPs - I know there are a couple of Canadian ones - I've heard supplementscanada.com has good prices (hopefully some Canada folk will chime in with ideas).

Just my two cents - take care!
Mrs. Jim
Highest weight: 265 pounds, size 24/26 (May 1990)
May 1991: 174 pounds (-91 lbs)
September 1996: 155 pounds (-110 lbs)
*LIVING at: 145-149 pounds, size 4/6 (-116/120 lbs)

*Maintenance = LIVING.
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet.

Wanna know how I lost the weight and have kept it off for over 16 years? Click here!
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Old 01-16-2003, 06:36 AM   #3
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How about a frozen dinner? I'm assuming you are not going low-carb, but are low-fat? I know how hard it is to find time to cook, and the frozen diet dinners are really good. They are much smaller than they used to be, though, and most aren't sufficient on their own. Supplement with a side salad or other side dish, or increase your healthy snacks to make up for it.

I personally would rather have a Lean Cuisine than a slim fast. SlimFast doesn't contain anything which helps in weight loss, it's just a portion controlled and calorie controlled meal. For the same fat and calories, I can have a frozen dinner that I can chew and feel satisfied with, and it just takes 5 minutes to heat in the microwave. But like MrsJim pointed out, SlimFast contains a lot of sugar which we don't need.

I don't know what the current stats are today, but last year I read that Slim Fast had the highest failure rate of all diet programs. Probably because it is so hard to stick to, and you feel deprived without solid food. Liquid meal replacements are probably best for people that only need to lose about 5 pounds and can follow it on a short term basis only.
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Old 01-16-2003, 09:48 AM   #4
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I am with Suzanne and MrsJim here,
I am a mother of two young children, and have to use meal replacements and frozen dinners for many reasons-too busy with the kids to cook at times, and I have to pack meal replacements a lot to take with me to my mother in laws-who is a country style cook who loads everything with butter, shortening, and sugar.
As far as meal replacement bars, I prefer Promax bars or Balance Gold over Slim-Fast bars-less sugar and more protein. I like a lot of the same liquid meal shakes that MrsJim recommended-and agree with her that GNC should be avoided-you can get them cheaper online. You can get the bars I mentioned for a decent price at Wal-Mart, though.
I totally like a frozen meal like Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine better than a meal replacement for dinner though. They are usually around 250-350 calories, so for a meal I usually add a sald or serving of vegetables with it. There are a lot of them that are really good, and the Healthy Choice brand are low in sodium as well. Some other quick meals I like when I am short on time is having prepackaged salad with the prepackages chicken strips they have out now-for a quick chicken salad, or one of the frozen Lean Cuisine one skillet meals in the bags in the frozen section. All you do is pour it into a pan and sautee it for about 10 minutes. They are really good, and have a lot of vegetables.
I hope all of our suggestions have helped!

Start weight after baby #3: 233.9
Current weight: 143
90 pounds lost!
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Old 01-16-2003, 12:40 PM   #5
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I actually stay away from the meal replacement bars, since the protein in them is marginal at best - and the bar manufacturers are really playing fast and loose with the 'net carbs' gimmick...

Another excerpt from the above article follows...
T: You've also mentioned in previous conversations that the protein bar market has, shall we say, it's own share of problems, too.

PI: Sure. The bars are, for the most part, more deceptive than the protein powders or RTD's.

T: What specifically is the current problem with the bar market?

PI: First of all, Atkins and Balance came out with this position that low-carb bars are possible. They play fakery with the glycerin they say it's not a carbohydrate when in reality it is, and everybody latched on to that. Glycerin is sweet and it contains calories, so why aren't they considering it a carbohydrate? According to the FDA, it is a carbohydrate. So what if it's metabolized slightly differently? Eat enough of it and you'll get fat.

Anyhow, everyone, including the big guys, are watching Balance and until Balance drops the "low-carb" claims from their labels, it doesn't seem like anybody else is going to be in compliance with the FDA regulations. It's mind-boggling to have what is about a 3 or 4 billion-dollar a year industry lying en masse about carbohydrates.

Listen, there's no such thing as a bar that doesn't contain at least 30 to 40% carbohydrates. I don't care what they say, if you can chew it, it's got 30 to 40 percent carbohydrates. It's not possible not to. If you think your bar of choice is low in carbs, you're deluding yourself....What companies often did, and still do, is consider gelatin as part of the protein they claim on the label, and as you probably know, the biological value of gelatin is zero, and so, for example, one of the major protein bars had 40% of its protein coming from gelatin. If they claimed 30 grams of protein, all they really had in there that was worth anything was 18 grams. The other 12 grams aren't worth anything from a bodybuilding standpoint.

T: And these guys aren't in jail?

PI: Ha! And you would never know you were being shorted on protein. If you're eating adequate calories, it's not going to dawn on you that you're shortchanging yourself of protein. What's that feel like if you're eating enough calories and not enough protein? Your brain isn't going to tell you that. So if you're eating two bars a day and you're being short-changed 24 total grams of protein, you're not going to know it, but it might affect your physique or athletic goals over the long term. You'd literally be short one protein meal a day.

So with the protein bar business, no one has come up to us and said, "Make me the best bar you can make, and spare no expense." Usually, they say, "I need a bar that costs this much money," and they don't pay that much attention to all the intangibles that would make a good bar. There's no attention paid to the quality of the proteins, or telling the people the truth. In fact, it's like, "Make anything you want and quick as you can, and we'll take care of any shortcomings through spin and hype in the advertising." And that's no exaggeration.
And from another article: http://www.fitren.com/res3art.cfm?compid=18&artid=35
The Truth About Protein Bars: Performance Nutrition or Candy in Disguise?

Meal replacement (MRP) bars, protein bars and energy bars range in quality and nutritional value from fair to horrible. Some bars are a decent way to get 30 grams of quality protein when you're in a hurry, while others are nothing more than candy bars in disguise. None of them are great because they are all processed foods. As a general rule, you should always choose whole natural foods over shakes and bars when given a choice. The powdered (MRP) drink mixes (such as Met-RX, Myoplex, or Rx-fuel) are better than the bars because they are very low in fat and they are sweetened with Aspartame (no calories) instead of refined sugar (lots of empty calories). MRP powders are also high in protein, with 37-50 grams per serving. If a bar is all you can manage because you are at work or on the run, then you should scrutinize the labels carefully and make the best choice possible.

There are a few things you should look out for in an MRP bar. First and foremost, check the sugar content. The problem with virtually all of the bars is that they can't manufacture one that tastes good without using a lot of refined sugars. Don't just look at the "Nutrition Facts" panel; the sugar listing can be deceiving. The grams of sugar doesn't distinguish between sugars that are naturally occurring and those that are refined. Looking at the ingredient list is more informative. FDA labeling laws require that all ingredients be listed in order of the quantity used. If refined sugars are the first or second ingredient, it is not a good choice. The refined sugars, Sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup and chocolate are frequently found high on the list. A typical bar might list protein powder (such as whey isolate) as the first ingredient and corn syrup as the second ingredient. Don't be surprised if some so-called "nutrition bars" list sugar or corn syrup as the first ingredient. Many bars are nothing more than ordinary candy bars with protein powder added in. You might as well have a Snickers!

Another ingredient to be on the lookout for is saturated fat. Many bars have moderate amounts of fat, (4-8 grams per bar). The total fat grams, however, is not as important as the type of fat used. Some bars derive their fat from peanut butter, which is fine in small amounts. Unfortunately, others use hydrogenated oils and tropical oils such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil. These are the "bad fats" that have been implicated in heart disease and cancer. Watch out for those 40-30-30 bars - they are notorious for this. There is nothing magical about the 40-30-30 ratios just because a best-selling book says so. One popular brand of 40-30-30 bars lists soy protein as the first ingredient, corn syrup as the second and fractionated palm kernel oil as the third. These companies are really taking advantage of the public's naivete by calling these "health food" or "nutrition bars." If you think you're eating some magical combination of nutrients, think again - what you're really eating is empty sugar calories and saturated, artery-clogging fat!

When choosing a bar you should also look at the total calories and the carb to protein ratio. There are several different types of bars available, including energy bars, protein bars and meal replacement bars. The ratio of nutrients in each type can vary greatly. Your best bet is to choose one with a substantial amount of protein (30 grams of protein, preferably whey, is good for a bar). A meal replacement bar is usually around 300 calories with a ratio of one part protein to two parts carbs. If you're on a fat reducing program, then you may want to choose a protein bar with the opposite ratio: Two parts protein to one part carbs. Other bars are marketed as "energy bars" because they are primarily carbohydrates.

An example of a meal replacement bar is the original Met-Rx "Food bar." They contain 320 calories, 48 grams of carbs and 27 grams of protein (a pretty good ratio for a meal replacement). But let's examine where the carbs come from: On the ingredients list, Metamyosin (Met-Rx's proprietary whey, milk and egg protein blend) is the first ingredient. So far, so good. But look at the second ingredient: Corn syrup (sugar!) What's the third ingredient? High fructose corn syrup (read: more sugar!) So the second and third ingredients are refined sugar. Not exactly diet food is it?

Protein bars such as "Pure Protein" by Worldwide Nutrition are immensely popular these days because so many people are on low carb or reduced carb diets. The bad thing about the "Pure Protein" bars is that most are coated with real chocolate (yes, the same stuff a Hershey's bar is made of). Others are coated with Yogurt (a slight improvement.) The good thing about "Pure Protein" is that with 280 calories, 31 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat, the calories and ratios of nutrients are good for a fat loss program. And the total carbs and sugars are low. Also, it's a convenient way to get 31 grams of whey protein.

Power bars are energy bars that were designed with endurance athletes in mind. Power bars contain about 80% of the calories from carbs, 20% from protein and minimal fat. An endurance athlete's diet is very high in carbs, as much as 60% or more of total calories. That makes the Power Bar a decent energy food for endurance athletes in intense training. Unfortunately, the Power Bar has the same problem as many other bars - it's mostly sugar. Maltodextrin, an excellent source of Complex carbohydrate, is the second ingredient, but the first ingredient is - you guessed it - high fructose corn syrup. You'll probably burn all those carbs up if you're extremely active, but these are not the greatest for a fat reducing program and they're skimpy on the protein. If you need the carbs, why not just have a piece of fruit instead?

Some of the newest brands of MRP and protein bars have gotten around the refined sugar and saturated fat problem by using fake fats such as Salatrim and artificial sweeteners such as Acesulfame Potassium. When most of the refined sugars and saturated fats are removed, using fake fats and artificial sweeteners is the only way left to make the bars palatable. There is an ongoing debate about the safety of artificial sweeteners and fake fats. The Center for Science in the Public Interest rates Acesulfame Potassium as one of the top ten worst food additives, because tests showed that it caused cancer in animals. It is important to note however, that these tests involved giving laboratory rats hundreds of times the amount that humans would normally ingest in a day. Furthermore, the Food & Drug administration (FDA) categorizes it as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), a classification for all food additives that are considered harmless. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) also approves of fake fats and artificial sweeteners including Aspartame and Acesulfame K. The ADA's position statement on "fake" fats says "Fat replacers may offer a safe, feasible and effective means to maintain the palatability of diets with controlled amounts of fat and/or energy." The ADA's position statement on artificial sweeteners says, "It is the position of the ADA that consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners when consumed in moderation and within the context of a diet consistent with the Dietary guidelines for Americans." Probably the best advice is to just do like the ADA (and your mother) told you and partake of all things, including artificial sweeteners, in moderation.

All things considered, if you are concerned with staying lean and muscular, then you're better off with bars that use artificial sweeteners and fat replacers than ones loaded with corn sweetener (refined sugar) and palm kernel oil (saturated fat). No bars are "excellent" nutrition-wise, but some are definitely better than others. My advice is to read the labels carefully and choose one that is low in calories and refined sugars, uses no saturated fats and has a good protein to carb ratio. Always stick with whole foods whenever possible and make the powdered MRP shakes your second choice. Don't make it a habit to eat bars regularly - use them for convenience only. But remember, you have to eat something every 3 or 4 hours for a muscle-building or fat reducing diet to work, so if you have no other alternative, a bar might be the only way to get your fill of protein in a pinch.
Right now my favorite protein snack is fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese, blended smooth with Splenda and vanilla extract added (sometimes I'll put a spoonful of dry sugar-free instant pudding mix in there as well). I make a lot of this up, so it's always in the fridge when I need it - it's tasty, a snap to prepare (I love my Braun Hand Blender!), inexpensive, and very healthy - which is more than I can say for meal replacement bars.

As far as frozen dinners - I really can't tolerate them...never could. Besides for me, it's easier just to make a potato-eggwhite-spinach omelette - it takes just as much time as nuking a frozen meal, is more filling and tastier, and I know what's in it
Mrs. Jim
Highest weight: 265 pounds, size 24/26 (May 1990)
May 1991: 174 pounds (-91 lbs)
September 1996: 155 pounds (-110 lbs)
*LIVING at: 145-149 pounds, size 4/6 (-116/120 lbs)

*Maintenance = LIVING.
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet.

Wanna know how I lost the weight and have kept it off for over 16 years? Click here!
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