What Are the Ingredients in Slim Fast?

SlimFast can be a handy on-the-go meal replacement, but it shouldn't be a dietary mainstay.
Image Credit: Phill Thornton/iStock/GettyImages

SlimFast provides relatively low-calorie, nutritional meal replacement products in the form of milkshakes. They come in four different flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cappuccino.

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Each serving contains between 180 and 190 calories and provides about one-third of your daily recommended intake for many vitamins and minerals. For short-term use and convenience, they can help you with your weight-loss goals.

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But just like with anything else you eat or drink, it's important to know what's in your food and beverages. Here's a breakdown of the ingredients in SlimFast.

  • Fat-free milk
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Canola oil
  • Fructose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Milk protein concentrate
  • Cellulose gel
  • Cellulose gum
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Potassium phosphate
  • Soy lecithin
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Gellan gum
  • Carrageenan
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Vitamins and minerals: magnesium phosphate, calcium phosphate, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, zinc gluconate, sodium selenite, D-alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), ferric orthoposphate, folic acid, potassium iodide, niacinamide, phytonadione (vitamin K1), vitamin A palmitate, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), manganese sulfate, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), calcium D-pantothenate, sodium molybdate, chromium chloride, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin
  • Sweetened with nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners

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Dairy Ingredients

The protein in SlimFast milkshake drinks come from dairy products; specifically fat-free milk and milk protein concentrate, or MPCs, reconstituted in water. Calcium and dairy protein consumption is associated with reduced body fat and decreased blood pressure.

MPCs are derived from ultra-filtration of milk, a process that removes the milk sugar, lactose, producing a low-carbohydrate milk concentrate.

Vitamins

To provide approximately one-third of the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs, particularly while dieting when nutrition is sometimes compromised by low caloric intake, SlimFast milk shakes are fortified with several vitamins.

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These include a variety of B vitamins, which help your body make or get energy from the foods you eat. SlimFast also supplements its shakes with vitamin D3, which helps your body absorb calcium; vitamin K1, which helps blood clotting; and vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants that help repair cellular damage.

Minerals

Similar to vitamin supplementation, SlimFast shakes are also fortified with 10 different minerals. These include magnesium, a mineral involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body and manganese, a co-enzyme involved in bone formation and thyroid function.

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Other mineral supplements include:

  • Calcium added for bone health
  • Zinc which helps your body's immune system
  • Iron which is essential for oxygen transport in your blood
  • Chromium which enhances the action of insulin, a hormone involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism
  • Molybdate an essential co-factor for enzymes in your body critical for metabolism
  • Iodide, a deficiency of which can lead to thyroid problems
  • Sodium selenite, a source of selenium, a mineral important in many antioxidant enzymes
  • Phosphate, an important mineral for your body, particularly in bone formation

Sugars

SlimFast shakes are sweetened with a variety of sugars, including regular table sugar, maltodextrin, fructose and high fructose corn syrup. The shakes also contain the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

Flavors

SlimFast milkshakes come in four different flavors. The nutritional label indicates that these flavors are derived from both artificial and natural sources, but are not more specific. The chocolate and cappuccino flavored shakes both contain cocoa, processed with alkali, which decreases its natural acidity.

Fats

SlimFast shakes contain fat in the form of canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil. Canola oil is low in saturated fats and has a high proportion of monounsaturated fats, the "good" fats.

Unfortunately, nutritionists recommend minimizing the amount of hydrogenated soybean oil, as this is a form of saturated fat that also has potential negative effects on your body due to the trans fatty acids they produce.

Emulsifiers and Stabilizers

SlimFast shakes contain mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, gum arabic, cellulose gel and soy lecithin. Mono- and diglycerides are fats made from plant-based oils such as soybean, cottonseed, sunflower or palm oil. They help provide SlimFast shakes with a consistent texture by acting as emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers are compounds that help blend ingredients that do not normally blend together, such as oil- and water-based ingredients, and help keep them blended. Similarly, cellulose gum, gum arabic, cellulose gel and soy lecithin act as emulsifiers and stabilizers, providing the "mouth feel" of higher fat products.

Preservatives

SlimFast shakes also contain preservatives, such as citric acid and sodium citrate and other ingredients, to keep the product at an appropriate pH level for your body, including sodium bicarbonate.

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