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When our members first join Slimming World and learn about Food Optimising, one thing we hear a lot is: “How can I eat all that and still lose weight?!” And when they start following the plan, many members are even more amazed to find that they’re eating more than ever, they never feel hungry, and yet they’re still losing weight. This is down to the power of Free Food!

You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.

What is Slimming World Free Food?

Free Foods help fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied for longer, while being relatively low in calories for their weight (so they’re known as lower energy dense foods). This means that you can eat them freely, until you feel full, without worrying about it affecting your weight loss.


The fact that Free Food is unlimited takes away that fear of having to restrict or limit what we eat to lose weight. It means never feeling hungry, guilty or deprived, and never feeling like we want to rebel by reaching for those high-fat, high-sugar foods which, without moderation, can derail our weight loss progress.

MORE ON THE BLOG: Discover your 5 favourite Free Food recipes

The list of Slimming World Free Foods often really surprises our members, as it includes much more than you might expect to see on a typical weight loss plan. Before coming to Slimming World, many people who want to lose weight are told to avoid carbs – yet we know that carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and pasta are high on the list of foods with great filling power. This is why they’re on our Free Food list!


Slimming World Free Foods include:

  • lean meat (and meat replacements)
  • fish
  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • rice
  • pasta
  • potatoes
  • beans and lentils
  • vegetables
  • fruit

You’ll notice that this list includes all the staples of a healthy, balanced diet – with a wide variety of ingredients to base your meals on. These can be used to make endless Free dishes, meaning you’ll never run out of ideas for hassle-free meals that will help you lose weight. 

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Slimming World members have access to an online collection of over 1,500 recipes, including more than 700 that are completely Free


What about foods that aren’t Free? 

No food is off the menu at Slimming World! Anything that’s not on the Free Food list will fall into the category of being either a Healthy Extra or it will have a Syn value. These foods need to be measured to protect our weight loss. Healthy Extras provide essential nutrients, particularly calcium and fibre, and foods with a Syn value allow members to enjoy the things that may be banned on a typical eating plan – such as chocolate, crisps or alcohol – in moderation. The three elements of Food Optimising work together perfectly to help ensure that you’re enjoying a healthy balanced diet, without ever feeling restricted. 

MORE ON THE BLOG: Find out more about the science behind Food Optimising, including Free Food, Healthy Extras and Syns, here


Slimming World’s head of research and scientific affairs, Dr Jacquie Lavin, tells us more about the science behind Slimming World Free Foods…

“Food Optimising has always been based on science: not just the physiological science of weight loss but also the psychology – how we think about (and our emotional reactions to) food, our weight and the process of losing weight.

To lose weight, we need to consume fewer calories than we use. This creates an energy deficit and the body then starts to use its energy reserves, most of which are stored as body fat. At Slimming World, we want to help people lose weight and to maintain this weight loss in the long term.

Our approach, allowing members to eat an unlimited amount of low energy dense, filling Free Foods, has been shown to be a highly effective way to lose weight while still feeling satisfied. A study led by the University of Leeds and published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating low energy dense foods (based on Food Optimising) left participants feeling less hungry and more full, while consuming fewer calories. 

The study also compared people following traditional calorie-counting, portion-controlled diets with slimmers following Food Optimising. The Food Optimising group reported feeling more in control of their food choices and more motivated to continue losing weight – and lost nearly twice as much weight over 14 weeks.”

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