British Nutrition Foundation review of weight loss approach shows that slimmers eat more healthily than the average British woman

“The Slimming World Food Optimising plan is based on energy density and satiety; encouraging members to enjoy filling, lower energy dense foods (those foods which have fewer calories per gram). It enables slimmers to consume a larger volume of food and avoid hunger while reducing their overall calorie intake – not feeling deprived or restricted is important to the psychology of anyone trying to lose weight.

“However, when you’re having less calories to successfully lose weight, it can be harder to get all the nutrients you need. We want to ensure we support our members in not only losing weight, but maintaining their weight loss for life, so it’s important that our approach enables them to have a balanced diet for long-term health. Food Optimising allows flexibility of choice over what a member eats – it’s the choices members make that impact on whether they meet current nutritional recommendations, and the plan gives members the freedom to select a diet that is consistent with UK guidance.”

The BNF review found that the members providing details of their food intake for this study were, on average, not quite meeting the recommendations for fibre, free sugars and oily fish consumption – however, their intakes were closer to the recommendations than that of an average female adult in the UK. Following the review, Slimming World has revised its guidance and is now further encouraging higher fibre intake and highlighting wholegrain versions of starchy carbohydrates, a greater consumption of oily fish through menu plans and recipe ideas. Changes have also been made to the Food Optimising plan to support members to further reduce their free sugar intake.

Slimming World is also encouraging its members to reduce the amount of red and processed meat consumed by promoting a variety of protein sources, including plant-based, in member materials and resources such as recipe books and the Slimming World Magazine. Visual representations throughout Slimming World materials have been considered so that photographic representations better support guidelines, for example pictures further portray balanced meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables, emphasise wholegrain and higher-fibre options, and show more moderate portions of red and processed meat.

Dr Lavin continues: ““We are constantly monitoring and reviewing dietary advice and guidance, and have this year updated our advice available to members to encourage them to better meet guidelines in specific areas.

“Helping people achieve and sustain their weight-loss goals is at the heart of everything we do, and we want people to do this in the healthiest way possible. We will continue to work closely with organisations such as the BNF to make sure our eating plan meets guidelines and that we are providing our members with the most up-to-date information on what constitutes a healthy diet and helping them to adopt new habits to ensure long term success in maintaining a healthy weight.”

Table of Recommended Daily Allowances compared to intake by average UK females and average female Slimming World members(3)

Intake

UK Recommended Daily Allowance

Average UK female

Average female Slimming World Member

Salt

Less than 6g

6.8g

5.1g

Fibre

30g

17.2g

22.4g

Fat

≤33% dietary energy

33% dietary energy

26.9% dietary energy

Saturated Fat

≤10% dietary energy

12.3% dietary energy

9.5% dietary energy

Calcium

700mg

743mg

716mg

Fruit & Vegetables

5 portions

4.1 portions

6.2 portions

Free Sugars

≤5% dietary energy

11.3% dietary energy

7.1% dietary energy

Oily Fish

1 portion (140g) per week

56g

71g

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