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SlimFast logo.png
Product type Dietary supplement foods
Owner Kainos Capital
Country United States
Introduced 1977; 40 years ago (1977)
Markets U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Latin America
Previous owners Thompson Medical Company, Unilever
Website Website

SlimFast is a brand of shakes, bars, snacks, packaged meals, and other dietary supplement foods sold in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland and Latin America. SlimFast promotes diets and weight loss plans featuring its food products. Its U.S. headquarters is in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The benefits of SlimFast for weight loss are unclear.[1]


SlimFast was started in 1977 as a product line of the Thompson Medical Company, founded in the 1940s by S. Daniel Abraham. Thompson Medical also sold the controversial weight loss dietary supplement Dexatrim.[2][3] In 1987, Abraham took the brand private, and it was acquired by Unilever in 2000.[4] In 2014, Unilever sold SlimFast to Kainos Capital.[5] After the sale, KSF Acquisition invested with Kainos Capital in order to take responsibility for the SlimFast brand in the UK, Ireland and Germany.[6]

SlimFast used the phrase "a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, then a sensible dinner" for many years to describe the use of the products within the SlimFast plan. With the addition of snacks and an approach that allows for different calorie plans, the brand currently advocates a more flexible system.


SlimFast's product line existed in three distinctive eras. There was the original product line (shakes only), the low-carb product line which were made in response to the low-carb diet craze initiated by the Atkins diet and South Beach Diet, and the simplified "3-2-1" product line introduced in late 2009.

Original (1987–2004)[edit]

SlimFast was originally just a diet shake product line. It consisted of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes meant to replace breakfast and lunch. They would then suggest a low-calorie dinner. Usually, dieters would often pick a low-calorie frozen dinner brand such as Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, etc. as the SlimFast diet itself was a convenience diet and it offered none of its own dinner products. Later in the mid-1990s, SlimFast offered meal bars that could also be used as meal replacements.

Low-Carb Era (2004–2009)[edit]

SlimFast struggled, as did many diet foods in 2002, with the rise of low-carbohydrate diets, with a drop in sales during one year of 21 percent. The brand responded in 2004 with a line of low-carb items that were designed to capture this market and also introduced SlimFast Optima products which were lower in sugar than the standard SlimFast products.

Between 2004 and 2009, there were five types of SlimFast products available: Original, Optima, Low carb, High protein, and Easy-to-Digest.[7] Optima was the flagship brand and eventually replaced "original recipe" shakes. In addition to having less sugar than the original, SlimFast Optima shakes also contain a protein and vegetable fat blend that is claimed to help with hunger control.[8] Optima was available in the same forms as the original products, including meal bars, shakes, snack bars, and powder.

Current (2009–Present)[edit]

In late 2009, SlimFast simplified its product line with the "3-2-1" diet plan. The plan emphasized three 100-calorie snacks, two 200-calorie meal replacements (shakes or meal bars) and one dinner. SlimFast's product line now only consists of 3-2-1 products and no longer sells the Optima, Original, Low-Carb, or Easy-to-Digest versions.

There are two categories of SlimFasts products, and two sub-categories each:

  • Shakes – Both can only be used as meal replacements (the "2" in the 3-2-1 plan means a dieter is allowed two a day).
    • Ready-to-drink Shakes come in plastic bottles. It is essentially the shake mix mixed with skim milk.
    • Shake mix powder can be mixed with milk, water, or anything the dieter chooses to mix it with, but 2% milk is what is recommended on the container.
  • Bars – Meal Replacements (item "2") and Snack Bars (item "3")
    • Meal Replacements are 200 calories and are meant to be used in place of shakes as the "2" in the 3-2-1 plan like the shakes. A dieter can have two shakes, two bars, or one bar and one shake, as long as they only have two "2" items a day. Meal bars are supplemented with vitamins and minerals as much as the shakes.
    • Snack Bars are 100-calories and meant to be the "3" in the 3-2-1 plan, as a dieter can have 3 a day. Snack bars are not supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

A dieter could eat two snack bars as their meal replacement, since two snack bars have the same number of calories as one meal bar, although the meal bars are also meant to be rich in vitamins and minerals whereas the snack bars are only measured by calorie count and not supplemented by vitamins.

SlimFast does not offer products in category "1", which is one "sensible" meal; the US site suggests it be 500 calories,[9] while the UK site suggests 600 calories.[10]

In a sense, the 3-2-1 is similar to the original plan ("two shakes and a sensible dinner") with the addition of three small snacks in between. As the low-carb diet craze has slowed down, SlimFast no longer offers specifically low-carb products, although they do offer low-carb vanilla and chocolate shakes but as flavors of the 3-2-1- brand (rather than a separate Low-Carb SlimFast brand as before).

2009 recall[edit]

On December 3, 2009, SlimFast recalled all of its canned products due to possible bacterial contamination.[11] The company stated that it halted production until the cause was discovered.[12] No further problems or issues were been noted and in 2011, SlimFast stop producing cans and since then uses plastic bottles.[13]


  1. ^ Gudzune, KA; Doshi, RS; Mehta, AK; Chaudhry, ZW; Jacobs, DK; Vakil, RM; Lee, CJ; Bleich, SN; Clark, JM (7 April 2015). "Efficacy of commercial weight-loss programs: an updated systematic review.". Annals of Internal Medicine. 162 (7): 501–12. doi:10.7326/m14-2238. PMID 25844997. 
  2. ^ "Slim·Fast". Our Brands: Foods. Unilever Canada. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  3. ^ "Slim-Fast Foods Company". Slim-Fast Foods Company. Funding Universe. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  4. ^ Branch, Shelly; Beck, Ernest (2000-04-13). "Unilever Buys Ben & Jerry's, SlimFast for Over $2.5 Billion". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-04-19. 
  5. ^ Stynes, Tess (2014-07-10). "Unilever Sells Slim-Fast Brand to Kainos Capital". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-04-19. 
  6. ^ "Commercial agreement signed with KSF Acquisition". Proactiveinvestors. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "Our Plan". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  8. ^ "Slim·Fast - Product Questions". Ask the Dietitian. Slim-Fast. Archived from the original on 2005-03-05. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  9. ^ HOW IT WORKS SlimFast
  10. ^ About the Plan
  11. ^
  12. ^ Associated Press (December 5, 2009). "Slim Fast canned drinks recalled by Unilever". 
  13. ^ "Slim-Fast loses cans in bottled makeover". 

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