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This article is from the WebMD Feature Archive

The Slimming World diet

An assessment of The Slimming World system
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

The Slimming World diet: What is it?

The Slimming World diet is run by a Derbyshire based weight loss company set up in 1969 by founder Margaret Miles-Bramwell.

The firm claims that the diet works by a combination of a technique known as 'Food Optimising', an increase in physical activity through its 'Body Magic' programme and a group support system called 'IMAGE therapy'.

Slimming World operates as a slimming club and says it has as many as 9,500 weekly support groups and more than 250,000 members attending each week.

It costs £10 to join Slimming World, followed by payments of £4.95 each week. Different fees apply to those who want to follow a diet online without attending group sessions.

The Slimming World diet: What you can eat

The centrepiece of the diet is a strategy called "Food Optimising" which attempts to be a permissive rather than restrictive way to shed the pounds.

Members can choose from a list of 'free foods' which are selected for being healthy and making people feel full faster and for longer. These include fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, eggs, lean meat and fish.

Free foods can be eaten in unlimited quantities.

As well as free foods, members can select measured amounts of foods known as "'Healthy Extras". These are foods that are rich in fibre, such as wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread and crackers. Alternatively, you can choose foods that are calcium rich such as milk, cheese and yogurt as well as nuts and healthy oils.

Within free food selection it is possible to follow three eating plans: 'Extra Easy', 'Green Days' and 'Original Days'. These can be followed on different days, or dieters can stick to just one plan.

Extra Easy: Members can eat unlimited amounts of Free Foods at meal times and can fill a third of their plate with fruit and vegetables (known as 'Superfree foods')

Green Days: Eat unlimited amounts of Superfree foods as well as potatoes, pulses, starchy vegetables, rice, pasta and grains (plus measured amounts of all other foods, including lean protein foods and dairy

Original Days: Members can eat unlimited amounts of 'Superfree foods' as well as lean meat, poultry, fish and seafood( plus measured amounts of all other foods, including complex carbohydrates and dairy.

No foods are banned, but there is a controlled intake of more 'energy dense' foods, including chocolate and alcohol, which are called 'syns', which followers of other diets might recognise as treats. These are foods such as cakes, biscuits, sweets and also alcohol.

The company estimates that slimmers who have five to 15 syns a day can expect an average steady weight loss of 1-2lbs each week.

The Slimming World diet: How does it work?

The 'Food Optimising' eating plan aims to help people lose weight while still feeling their appetite has been satisfied.

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