Is Slim-Fast Gluten-Free?

Can You Use Slim-Fast To Lose Weight When You're Gluten-Free?

Slim Fast chocolate shakes packaged on shelf
© Jane M. Anderson

Question: Is Slim-Fast gluten-free?

Answer: Some Slim-Fast products are gluten-free, while others contain gluten ingredients or are subject to gluten cross-contamination in processing.

Slim-Fast is a popular nutritional shake-based weight-loss system that relies on significantly reduced calories to generate results. Those following the program generally drink two Slim-Fast shakes per day and then eat a 500-calorie meal at night.

They also can incorporate packaged snack bars produced by the company. Slim-Fast is marketed by Unilever Inc., a company that has a policy of disclosing any gluten-containing ingredients on product labels.

Gluten-Free Slim-Fast Products

Slim-Fast's Advanced shake products — including pre-mixed shakes and powdered smoothie mixes — are considered to be gluten-free by the company, and are prominently labeled gluten-free (look on the front label panel, to the left of the flavor, for a yellow-banner stating "gluten-free").

Slim-Fast Advanced pre-mixed shakes are available in four flavors: Creamy Chocolate, Strawberries & Cream, Vanilla Cream, and Caramel Latte. All four flavors are labeled "gluten-free," and also are lactose-free. Slim-Fast Advanced shakes are higher in protein and lower in sugar than Slim-Fast Original pre-mixed shakes.

Slim-Fast Advanced meal-replacement powdered smoothie mixes also are labeled gluten-free.

These smoothie mixes are available in Creamy Chocolate and Vanilla Cream. Both flavors contain lactose.

Meanwhile, Slim-Fast Original pre-mixed shakes and Original Meal Replacement Shake Mixes are not labeled gluten-free, so you should steer clear of those.

All the Slim-Fast shake products contain soy, which can represent problems for some people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Other Slim-Fast Products NOT Gluten-Free

Slim-Fast also markets a variety of snack bars and meal replacement protein bars meant to supplement its main program of nutritional shakes.

Slim-Fast meal replacement bars — which come with catchy names like Caramel Almond Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew — contain either wheat flour or oats (not gluten-free oats), and therefore are not considered gluten-free. In addition, even the meal replacement bars that don't contain gluten ingredients are manufactured in a facility that also processes Slim-Fast wheat-containing products, which is unsafe for anyone with an above-average sensitivity to trace gluten.

Slim-Fast also offers 100-calorie snack packs containing chips, cookies or candy. The Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps, S'Mores Drizzled Crisps, Peanut Butter Chocolate Snack Bites and the Mesquite & BBQ Baked Crisps contain no gluten ingredients, but are made on the same equipment as the gluten-containing Cinnamon Bun Swirl Baked Crisps.

None of these Slim-Fast products is labeled gluten-free.

Will Slim-Fast Work for Gluten-Free Weight Loss?

If you stick only with the Advanced line of Slim-Fast shake products, you can use the Slim-Fast diet even if you have to be gluten-free due to celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. You'll need to avoid the Original shake line and the snack products, but the system itself may work for you.

On the other hand, if you're gluten-free simply for weight loss, not because of a health condition, then you can cobble together a more extensive Slim-Fast program for yourself by sticking with the gluten-free shakes and the few no-gluten-ingredient snack and meal-replacement bars (you'd have to make sure that your one meal per day was gluten-free, too, if you wanted to stay gluten-free).

And the program may work for you: Slim-Fast, when done correctly, reduces your calories to about 1,200 per day, and it gets fairly good reviews as a quick weight-loss diet.

However, there are diet programs out there that are better-suited to gluten-free weight loss, and you might be better off trying one of those if you're committed to eating gluten-free.

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