What is SlimFast ?
After successfully undergoing a weight loss program some people always worry about regaining weight in the future. People born in families that are genetically overweight or obese are also naturally at the risk of gaining excess unhealthy weight. Meal replacement shakes are formulated supplements that can be used to not only keep the extra weight off but to shed off a few pounds in some cases. Obesity being a public health disaster almost everywhere makes such products crucial. This is why there are dozens of these shakes in the market making it almost impossible to choose the right item. SlimFast is an example of such products.
Slim is advertised as a meal replacement shake formulated with clinically proven ingredients to help users keep weight off. Slimfast is manufactured in various flavors all of which are aimed at ensuring that the supplement is sweet and bearable to the users. This is a thoughtful thing because most meal replacement shakes used to have weird tastes in their initial raw flavor which makes it hard for users to take. The manufacturers hence offer SlimFast in caramel latte, vanilla cream, strawberries & cream and creamy chocolate flavors. They believe that all users can at least find one desirable flavor from the given options.
This shake is thought to be more than capable of controlling hunger for up to 4 hours! Just imagine the number of calories you will be able to avoid if you could control your hunger for this long! By controlling your hunger, therefore, it helps to control the amount of food you consume thus preventing weight gain. SlimFast is said to contain 20g of protein and 1g of sugars packed in a ready to take form. It is free of lactose and gluten. Here is how the shake works.
Slim Fast has an extensive formula with quite a lot of ingredients. Such huge formulas are always subject to potential adverse effects to a lot of users. Before using a shake with so many compounds, it is always advisable that you consult a physician first especially if you have a preexisting medical condition. According to the manufacturer, all of these ingredients are supported by clinical studies that prove their efficacy in controlling weight gain. However, when we took a look at a couple of ingredients used, we couldn’t help but notice how under-studied they are. In others, clinical studies showed that they don’t have any weight control properties while in other cases the compounds are not effective enough to deliver a significant impact. In a few others, scientists question their use because even though they might achieve the needed results, the potential side effects are a bit too serious to be disregarded. With such concerns, it becomes rather difficult to be convinced that this shake is as brilliant as advertised.
Here are some of the ingredients used anyway:
- Milk Protein Concentrate
This is milk protein that has been processed to lose its liquid and minerals. The milk is then treated and spray died making it an affordable and long-lasting option to regular milk. The milk has been used to help in curbing hunger with the manufacturer claiming that it is capable of keeping you off food for hours.
Milk Protein concentrate is, however, a hugely unregulated ingredient which poses serious health concerns. 70% of the MPC that is used in shakes is imported from countries with varying safety standards. It is, therefore, hard to tell where the one used in this shake comes from and how safe it is for usage. Food and Water Watch group has even been quoted saying “MPC’s are largely unregulated” which is a serious problem. Unregulated compounds can even be subject to pollution and other factors which can end up making not just the ingredient, but the entire shake harmful. Cases of melamine pollution do happen.
The FDA once proposed pasteurization of MPC but Food and Water Watch Group questioned that pasteurization alone isn’t enough to kill contaminants such as melamine. Moreover, MPC is considered harmful when swallowed and can result in skin irritation.
- Potassium Phosphate
Potassium Phosphate is used as medicine in balancing the amount of calcium in the body. When consumed, this compound results in a highly acidic urine which is believed to be useful in preventing kidney stones. It’s benefits in maintaining a healthy weight are not well studied and hence might not be as effective as the manufacturer claims. The compound is also linked with Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, dizziness, and headaches which could become severe in some people.
Sucralose is added in this formula to act as a sweetener. It is one of the chemicals that are responsible for the taste you get from taking this shake. It is a non-caloric sweetener that is believed to be 1000 times better than regular sucrose.
The compound could be exceptional in making the shake taste sweet but when you go through a report on the journal of toxicology and environmental health regarding a study done on rats you get the impression that it is harmful and extremely dangerous to consume. In this report, we are told that the usage of sucralose resulted in an increase in both the expression of P-gp and fecal pH. We are also told that sucralose led to the exertion of several side effects such as a decrease in beneficial microflora. How bad are these effects? Well, microflora is partly responsible for the maintenance of an effective immune system and in the prevention inflammations in the body. Damaging it will thus result in severe consequences which can affect your general health. P-gp, on the other hand, is supposed to protect cells from contaminants. This glycoprotein is found at the cell membrane and if affected by Sucralose more contaminants will find their way into your cells which will damage your tissues leading to organ failures.
Carrageenan is used as a binder and thickener in Slimfast . It is found from seaweed and has been linked to multiple health benefits. However, its use is not encouraged due to its potential carcinogenic traits. The Cancer Letters once published a clinical study saying that degraded carrageenan usage showed carcinogenic properties to the rat’s colorectum. They went ahead to explain that this experiment had utilized very little Carrageenan and hence bigger dosages could be even more fatal. For this reason, its experimentation on humans is greatly limited and hence there is no way of knowing just how useful it could be. It’s best if people stayed away from Carrageenan.
- Artificial Flavors
Artificial ingredients usually raise red flags whenever they are used in supplements. This is because they normally come with some harmful compounds that can react with our bodies. SlimFast has utilized synthetic flavors which the manufacturer promises are perfectly safe but fails to give out the source of the chemicals used. Synthetic flavors are normally cheaper and easier to get compared to real wholesome additives which will explain why it has been used in this shake. The related risks of using synthetic additives, however, are too high and this shake would have done better without them.
There are many other ingredients used in this supplement all of which make it contain close to 180 calories. This number is very high for someone who is genetically at the risk of becoming overweight or one who has just lost weight. They should have done better in keeping the number of calories in the shake as low as possible.
Potential Side effects of using SlimFast
SlimFast has utilized some highly questionable ingredients all of which are linked to adverse effects. In general, the use of this shake can cause headaches, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, poor body immunity etc. We also can’t ignore the carcinogenic properties of the Carrageenan used.
Where Can I buy SlimFast?
SlimFast is available in online stores like Amazon. Eight pack of the chocolate SlimFast shake sells at around $14.16. If you want a 32 day worth of supply when taking it twice daily this shake will cost you $113.28.
Verdict on Slimfast
SlimFast is manufactured using synthetic sweeteners and contains a large number of calories none of which are ideal when you are looking for the right meal replacement shake. Additionally, the shake has used some cheap protein sources and compounds like Carrageenan that expose you to unnecessary health dangers including the buildup of tumors. A significant number of customers also complained online about the inability of the shake to help them lose weight. Some even reported that they had gained a little weight while others were reporting enlarged stomach size and other issues. Honestly, there are better alternatives to this meal replacement shake which are made of potent natural ingredients that are much safer and effective than Slim Fast.
Alexa Bauer has a Master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Maryland and works as a full-time researcher at Swol Headquarters. Alexa Bauer spends her spare time blogging about cardiovascular health and nutrition. She’s specialized in weight loss.