The Truth About Slimming World

The Truth About Slimming World

Clients often come to us having tried a range of other diets and weight loss programmes in the past. One of the programmes we’re asked about regularly is Slimming World, a popular group-based diet that sees members following simple food rules and meeting up for a weekly weigh-in. But does Slimming World really work long term, and is it safe? Read our nutritionist’s take…

If you’d prefer a personalised, expert-led approach to overcoming your weight challenges, achieving your desired weight and maintaining it long term, we can help. Book your complimentary call today to find out more.


Slimming World is a weight loss programme that focuses on a flexible eating plan, increased physical activity, and group support. The plan promotes ‘Food Optimising’, which encourages consuming unlimited ‘Free Foods’ (fruits, vegetables, lean proteins) along with Healthy Extras (high-fibre, calcium-rich foods) and limited ‘Syns’ (treats and indulgences) of up to 15 per day. Slimming World claims that, if followed correctly, their approach will create a calorie deficit without feeling deprived.

In addition to dietary advice, Slimming World provide an activity programme. ‘Body Magic’ is designed to help members build up their physical activity in a way that fits their lifestyle. 

Additionally, members attend weekly meetings led by a Slimming World consultant who has lost weight themselves using the programme. Here, members can support each other and will also experience a weekly weigh in to see how much they’ve lost.


On Slimming World, you can eat unlimited ‘Free Foods’ like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and starches. You are also allocated a daily allowance of foods Slimming World considers ‘Healthy Extras’ like dairy and whole grains. A small number of ‘Syns’ allow for treats and indulgences. The focus is on eating a structured food plan without calorie counting. But does the nutrition stack up? 

On Slimming World there are a number of ‘free foods’ which, according to their website, include ‘grains, potatoes and pasta’. We know that starchy carbohydrate-rich foods like these are not supportive of weight loss. Quite the reverse. These foods break down into simple sugars. Unless these sugars are being used immediately for energy (eg. if you’re about to exercise), they’re likely to be stored for later use. How does the body store this extra sugar? One of the main storage methods is body fat. As nutritionists who specialise in weight loss, we advise against basing meals around starchy carbohydrates. Instead, meals focussed on optimal amounts of quality protein, a moderate amount of healthy fats and plenty of vegetables and / or salad are prefereable. You can read more about how we advise our clients to structure balanced meals for weight loss here.  

Foods that Slimming World considers to be ‘Healthy Extras’ include dairy products and gluten-containing whole grains. While we don’t put everybody on a completely gluten and dairy free diet, these foods can be problematic for many people and for some, they can compromise weight loss.


On Slimming World, members are allowed to eat treat foods that they refer to as ‘Syns’. ‘Syns’ include biscuits, cakes, chocolate, alcohol, and other higher-calorie, less nutrient-dense foods, with members typically allocated 5-15 Syns per day. But Syns are not only assigned to ultra processed foods that are better off kept to a minimum. A health fat and fibre rich avocado is reportedly 14 Syns.

Using a word that sounds exactly like ‘sin’ is entirely negative. This has the potential to promote feelings of guilt around certain foods, which is never a good thing.


‘Body Magic’ is Slimming World’s physical activity programme. It encourages members to gradually build up their activity levels at their own pace. Body Magic uses behaviour change principles to make activity an enjoyable, sustainable part of members’ daily routines. The focus is on increasing overall movement, flexibility, and moderate-intensity cardio.


There’s nothing particular about the Slimming World approach that makes it unsafe to follow in the short term, for most healthy people. That said, the dietary approach is definitely not one that we, as a team of qualified, experienced nutritionists, would recommend for effective weight loss or health optimisation. This weight loss method is not overseen by a qualified expert, meaning that potential health warning signs could be missed. Some Slimming World members also report being shamed when publicly weighed. Others have shared with us a far greater focus on weight over health, with comments like ‘why would you use your Syns for an avocado when you could use them for vodka’.



  • The accountability and support provided through regular meetings is helpful for many people. Accountability is one of the five pillars of our Intelligent Weight Loss Method and is the key to success for many of our clients. That said, people do report the sharing of problematic advice and potentially harmful perspectives amongst Slimming World members.
  • Slimming World promotes simple dietary strategies, which means these plans can be easier to follow compared with trying to work things out for yourself. Many people feel confused trying to find the best diet for them. A straightforward plan to follow with practical meal ideas helps to keep things simple. 
  • The Slimming World plan encourages exercise as part of the plan. Successful weight loss is about much more than simply what you are or aren’t eating.
  • Slimming World offers online programmes meaning that access is available for everyone, even those unable to physically attend meetings.


  • The plan offers a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. The simple rules don’t take into account individual health and lifestyle circumstances that can heavily impact weight loss.
  • If you have an underlying health issue causing weight loss resistance, such as underactive thyroid or hormonal changes around the menopause, you may still struggle to lose weight by following Slimming World. Those who have health conditions such as type 2 diabetes should seek specialist advice from a qualified health expert.
  • The meetings are run by individuals who, while trained by the companies themselves, generally have no recognised healthcare or nutrition training. It’s important to remember that their role is to guide you on following the diet plan laid out by Slimming World, rather than giving you tailored advice and support. If you have concerns about aspects of your health, always consult your doctor.
  • While Slimming World encourages a focus on healthy foods, in theory, you could use your points or ‘free foods’ largely on unhealthy ultra-processed foods that are neither supportive of weight loss or general health.


According to their website, Slimming World helps members lose around 4% of their body weight in 12 weeks and 8% in six months.

Whether or not Slimming World works depends on the individual. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all diet so while some people experience success with Slimming World, others do not. Some people are able to maintain the weight they lose while following the Slimming World approach, while others find themselves signing up time and time again when they regain the weight they lost.


At our clinic, we work with clients on an individual, one to one basis. This allows us to make tailored health, nutrition and lifestyle recommendations based on your unique needs. Many of the clients who come to see us are still struggling with their weight despite having tried other diets in the past, including approaches like Slimming World. We are all different and it’s important to find the right approach for you. For some, that may be Slimming World. If, however, you feel like you need a more bespoke solution to ensure you achieve and maintain your ideal weight long term, please do get in touch. We offer a complimentary weight loss strategy call to help you find the right solution for you.  


We are a team of qualified nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. If you’re ready to overcome your weight challenges, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term, we can help. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call today. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a member of our team and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.

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Sarah has worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade to help them live in a healthy body that they feel confident in.

Sarah spent a large part of her teens and 20’s as a professional dancer battling with orthorexia and an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. This created a desire to understand the human body more so she could finally cut through the confusion and end the cycle of yoyo dieting. This fuelled her passion to help other women do the same.


Sarah specialises in supporting women who are struggling to lose weight due to underlying health issues. She’s helped many women manage their weight during and after the menopause, as well as clients with thyroid disease and immune system dysfunction. Sarah loves food and sharing healthy recipes with her clients. Her aim is to ensure that clients don’t feel deprived and instead, achieve their weight loss and health goals in a positive and sustainable way.


To enquire about working with Sarah, please contact us.



Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.


Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.


Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.


To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.



Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.


Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.


A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.


Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.


Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.


To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.


Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.


Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.


Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!


To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.



Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.


After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.


Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 


To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.

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