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The Slim-Fast diet plan is a commercial, multifaceted diet program. Slim-Fast states that it is a meal replacement strategy for weight management that helps people reduce their calorie intake by providing portion control along with good nutrition. The plan features two daily Slim-Fast meals that come in the form of nutritionally-balanced shakes or meal bars, according to Slim-Fast. The program also includes one meal that includes about 500 calories and snacks, such as fruit. About 25% of meals should come from lean protein such as lean meats, chicken or fish; 25% from starch such as whole grain pasta or brown rice; and 50% from vegetables. The plan promotes a lifestyle approach to weight management that includes regular physical activity and offers free online behavioral tools for tracking success along with advice and support from registered dietitians and weight loss advisors. There is also a free individualized online meal planner as well. Slim-Fast claims that its shakes and meal bars can control hunger for up to 4 hours and help reduce the temptation to overeat between meals. Slim-Fast also states that its Meals On-The-Go products provide 8-15 grams of protein in a balanced formula that also provides 1/3 of the recommended daily intake for most essential vitamins and minerals. Slim-Fast states that it can help improve the health risks associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis.
When considering Slim-Fast, it is important to remember that rapid weight loss is not recommended and that the most effective and safe weight loss diet plans include enough calories to allow dieters to lose about one to two pounds per week. Diets that severely restrict calories and/or carbohydrates can also lead to rebound weight gain. This is due to the fact that severe calorie restriction results in the body going into "starvation" mode, which leads to a lower metabolism, the body's way to try to prevent complete starvation. This often leads to gaining even more weight than was lost after the diet plan has been discontinued. This encourages "yo-yo" dieting patterns that are unhealthy and do not result in effective long-term weight control. Severe calorie and nutrient restriction can also lead to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), low blood pressure, dizziness, and weakness. They can also result in ketoacidosis, a condition in which severe restriction of calories or carbohydrates leads to dangerously high levels of acids called ketones build up in the blood and can poison the body in some people. The American Dietetic Association cautions that many diet replacement products may lack fiber and phytochemicals, plant compounds that aid in disease prevention.
Good, effective weight loss plans also encourage the consumption of a wide variety of fresh foods from all the foods groups that are low in saturated fats and trans fats and added sugars. These include fresh fruit, vegetables, lean sources of protein, low fat-dairy products, whole grain carbohydrates, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. Good diet plans also advocate for an overall healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and provides support services to help people stay on track, which the Slim-Fast does do. Any diet may have the potential to be harmful to some people, so consultation with a health care provider before starting Slim-Fast or any diet plan and exercise program is recommended.
Other diets similar to Slim-Fast include:
Conditions associated with Slim-Fast include:
The following foods may be restricted or excluded from Slim-Fast:
The following foods may be focused on as part of Slim-Fast:
The following are potential risks or complications of the diet (Slim-Fast):
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