Dangers of Slim Fast

Dieting with Slim-Fast meal replacements is just as effective as conventional weight loss plans, according to an article in the "Journal of Nutrition." That's good news for the many dieters who appreciate the simplicity of replacing two daily meals with Slim-Fast products. Unfortunately, Slim-Fast products may also pose some dangers. Talk to your physician for weight-loss advice.

Three small glasses of Slim-Fast. (Image: 5PH/iStock/Getty Images)

Sugar Alcohols

According to the manufacturers, a number of Slim-Fast products are formulated with sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are a type of food additive that some manufacturers use as a sweetener. Sugar alcohols are not easily absorbed by the small intestine. This can result in flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and a laxative effect in those who are susceptible or in those who consume excessive quantities.

Poor Glycemic Profile

In 2008, the American Dietetic Association published research showing that Slim-Fast and certain other meal replacement drinks do not have favorite glycemic profiles for diabetics. This means that these products release glucose rapidly into the blood stream. This can be dangerous for diabetics, but this news is also relevant for those without diabetes. Obesity plus elevated glucose levels are both risk factors for that disease. Additionally, when glucose levels are out of balance, the body stores fat tissue more readily, potentially thwarting the efforts of Slim-Fast dieters.

Too Much Sugar

Many Slim-Fast products are heavily laden with sugar. That may be an effective ways to tempt dieters into consuming the product, but sugar has detriments beyond that of supplying extra empty calories. According to Lick the Sugar Habit by Nancy Appleton, sugar can upset the mineral balance of the body, suppress the immune system, cause copper deficiencies, and even weaken the eyesight. Constant exposure to the concentrated taste of sugar also does nothing to train the taste buds to enjoy the more subtle sweet tastes of healthy snacks like apples and berries.

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