The truth about... the Slimming World Diet

Slimming World pundits refer to their diet system as the "food optimising" system, but really, like Weight Watchers, it's a glorified low-fat calorie-controlled diet. You attend a weekly Slimming World meeting with other dieters where your dieting progress is recorded, and you have the opportunity to discuss any problems or issues with the Slimming World group leader.

Slimming World

The theory

On the Slimming World diet, every day is either a "green day" or an "original day" (often referred to as a "red" day), and you get to decide which route you'd rather go down each day. On a green day, you can choose from a whole number of "free" foods including pasta, potatoes, fruit, veg, beans and pulses. You can also add two extras from a list including a measured portion of chicken, meat or cheese. On red days, the protein-based foods are free and you can add measured extras from a list of carbohydrate-based foods. Other foods like wine, biscuits etc are given a "syn" rating and you can have between 10 and 15 syns a day.

The upside

Attending a weekly meeting and sharing your highs and lows with other slimmers really helps to keep your motivation up. Carb-lovers who hate the idea of the Atkins diet will love this approach, as there's plenty to fill up on. There is hardly any weighing up of portions going on so unlike Weight Watchers, you won't be tied to the scales. You also won't be forced to exercise unless you really want to.

The downside

Eating out can be a bit tricky as you have to watch your food combinations. You can be tempted to fill up on "free" foods like processed ham, for example, without worrying about the salt content. Also, referring to restricted foods as "syns" can serve to worsen an already obsessive fear of "bad" foods in some slimmers.

Does it work?

Like Weight Watchers, the Slimming World "food optimising system" is really a glorified low-fat calorie-controlled diet. Which means, like Weight Watchers again, it's also a safe, healthy (if boring) way to lose weight.