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Brandaid: Slim-Fast Pulls a Fast One

Posted Aug 24 2008 3:39pm
Have you heard of the website brandaid.com? 'A grocery guide to healthy brands'. It's incredibly helpful and a great resource if you really want to see some of your foods dissected. I get emails from them about once a week with findings and this one really gave me the shivers as they say in the article. It just goes along with my 'healthy' companies selling unhealthy / poisonous products. I had to post it!







Slim-Fast Pulls a Fast One



At first, the Slim-Fast weight loss program only gave us the shakes. But now that we’re label-savvy and aware of the scary junk ingredients that go into the Slim-Fast products, we also get the shivers!



The strategy behind the ever-popular Slim-Fast weight loss plan is easy and convenient. According to their website all you have to do is:



“Substitute two meals a day with Slim-Fast Shakes (or bars) and make sure you eat a sensible third meal. When you get hungry between meals, go ahead and enjoy a snack such as fruit or vegetables with any calorie-free beverage. Remember also to exercise and drink plenty of water daily.”



Okay, we love the sensible dinner, the healthy snacks, and the exercising part – these are no brainers for being healthy and slim. But what about their meal options? Has Slim-Fast performed magic and transformed an ordinary milkshake from a sugary high-fat treat into a healthy meal?



Well, according to their website, more than 30 clinical studies have been conducted proving that their products are a healthy and effective way to lose weight. They say that their meals contain lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals, making healthy eating convenient and tasty!



Hmmmm. We’ll let OUR food sleuths be the judge! Take a look.




Slim-Fast Optima Meal-On-The-Go Shakes Rich Chocolate Royale



Nutrition facts: per serving, 190 cals, 6g fat, 200mg sodium, 5g fiber, 18g sugar, 10g protein



INGREDIENTS: Fat Free Milk, Sugar, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Canola Oil, Fructose, Calcium Caseinate, Gum Arabic, Cellulose Gel, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Mono and Diglycerides, Potassium Phosphate, Soybean Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Isolated Soy Protein, Artificial Flavor, Maltodextrin, Sucralose and Acesulfame (Nonnutritive Sweeteners), Dextrose, Potassium Carrageenan, Citric Acid and Sodium Citrate . Vitamins and Minerals: Magnesium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide, Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1), Sodium Selenite, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12) and Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3).






Decoding the Fine Print



After a quick-scan of the ingredients list, we can assure you that this stuff ain’t magic! It’s just fancy experiments performed in a laboratory. Here’s what we found:



This Slim-Fast shake contains only four real ingredients (nonfat milk, sugar, cocoa and canola oil); coupled with a whopping 19 chemical additives. Plus, an additional 19 added vitamins and minerals (i.e., their nutrition blend). So, that’s a staggering total of 42 items padding out the ingredients list. Where’s the healthy part?



Here’s the breakdown of the goods:

  • Sugar is listed as the second and fourth ingredient – and that’s never a good sign.
  • Trans fats in the form of hydrogenated soybean oil. Eek!
  • There’s one refined sweetener (maltodextrin) and two artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame). Yikes!
  • And there are a slew of random additives that are hard to pronounce: calcium caseinate, cellulose gel, mono and diglycerides, potassium phosphate, soybean lecithin, cellulose gum, carrageenan, isolated soy protein, artificial flavor, potassium carrageenan, and sodium citrate.


The stink of false advertising is sending chills down our spines! Sure, there might be some added vitamins and minerals in these slimming diet products, but Slim-Fast has really skimped on the “healthy” part.






Reality Check



So will drinking a Slim-Fast shake every morning really help you lose weight. Call us cynical, but we doubt it. Plus, there’s nothing healthy about their shakes; they’re sugary, soupy milk drinks with added vitamins to make up for a lack of nutrients and taste.



Here’s a novel idea: Forget about replacing breakfast and lunch with Slim-Fast’s overly processed foods and eat three sensible meals, munch on healthy snacks, and find time for exercise. You’ll get slimmer faster without the added junk ingredients.



Now that’s a diet plan that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
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