British Nutrition Foundation review of weight loss approach shows that slimmers eat more healthily than the average British woman

A recent review published by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) reveals that Slimming World members are following a diet that more closely meets UK dietary guidelines than that enjoyed by the average woman.

  • Nutritional analysis by the British Nutrition Foundation(1) of Slimming World’s Food Optimising® eating plan, resources, 7-day menu plans, and member’s actual food intake from diaries, found the overall approach meets most current healthy eating recommendations
  • Analysing member’s nutrient intake from food diaries showed on average they were meeting the dietary recommendations for fat, saturated fat, calcium and salt intake and, on average, meeting the recommended intake of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, which was encouraged by allowing members to eat them freely
  • The report also highlighted the common practice of cooking and preparing meals from scratch using easily accessible Slimming World recipes was likely to encourage higher vegetable consumption.

A recent report published by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has revealed that whilst achieving a reduction in energy intake (necessary for weight loss), Slimming World members are receiving advice that reflects the majority of current healthy eating recommendations, and are consuming a diet that more closely meets UK dietary guidelines than the average UK female population.

The BNF reviewed whether the Slimming World weight management programme is consistent with current nutrient and food-based recommendations, and if members following the programme are then choosing foods which constitute a diet that meets these recommendations.

The review examined Slimming World’s dietary approach including the Food Optimising book which all members receive as a guide to help them succeed when following the weight-loss programme, a nutritional analysis of example 7-day meal plans, and dietary analysis of 40 7-day weighed food diaries completed by adult female Slimming World members.

The investigation found that the Slimming World dietary approach reflects many of the main messages in the UK’s Eatwell Guide(2) and generally accepted healthy eating advice. It highlighted that the average intake of fruit and vegetables met recommendations of at least 5 portions a day and was higher than the UK adult female average intake. Slimming World members eat around 6.2 portions per day, compared to 4.2 portions for the average woman. The report commented that Slimming World’s encouragement of members to cook and prepare meals from scratch was likely to inspire a higher vegetable consumption. This was further reinforced through the organisations easily accessible recipes, available to members in recipe books and online.

In its report the BNF also highlighted that total and saturated fat intakes met recommendations and were lower than the average intakes amongst UK adult females. Salt intakes also met recommendations of below 6g/day and were below the average intake amongst UK adult females. Calcium intake also met recommendations.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition & Research
We’re extremely pleased with the conclusions of the BNF review. 
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition & Research

"The Slimming World Food Optimising plan is based on energy density and satiety; encouraging members to enjoy filling, lower energy dense foods (those foods which have fewer calories per gram). It enables slimmers to consume a larger volume of food and avoid hunger while reducing their overall calorie intake – not feeling deprived or restricted is important to the psychology of anyone trying to lose weight.

“However, when you’re having less calories to successfully lose weight, it can be harder to get all the nutrients you need. We want to ensure we support our members in not only losing weight, but maintaining their weight loss for life, so it’s important that our approach enables them to have a balanced diet for long-term health. Food Optimising allows flexibility of choice over what a member eats – it’s the choices members make that impact on whether they meet current nutritional recommendations, and the plan gives members the freedom to select a diet that is consistent with UK guidance.”

The BNF review found that the members providing details of their food intake for this study were, on average, not quite meeting the recommendations for fibre, free sugars and oily fish consumption – however, their intakes were closer to the recommendations than that of an average female adult in the UK. Following the review, Slimming World has revised its guidance and is now further encouraging higher fibre intake and highlighting wholegrain versions of starchy carbohydrates, a greater consumption of oily fish through menu plans and recipe ideas. Changes have also been made to the Food Optimising plan to support members to further reduce their free sugar intake.

Slimming World is also encouraging its members to reduce the amount of red and processed meat consumed by promoting a variety of protein sources, including plant-based, in member materials and resources such as recipe books and the Slimming World Magazine. Visual representations throughout Slimming World materials have been considered so that photographic representations better support guidelines, for example pictures further portray balanced meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables, emphasise wholegrain and higher-fibre options, and show more moderate portions of red and processed meat.

Dr Lavin continues: ““We are constantly monitoring and reviewing dietary advice and guidance, and have this year updated our advice available to members to encourage them to better meet guidelines in specific areas.

“Helping people achieve and sustain their weight-loss goals is at the heart of everything we do, and we want people to do this in the healthiest way possible. We will continue to work closely with organisations such as the BNF to make sure our eating plan meets guidelines and that we are providing our members with the most up-to-date information on what constitutes a healthy diet and helping them to adopt new habits to ensure long term success in maintaining a healthy weight.”

Table of Recommended Daily Allowances compared to intake by average UK females and average female Slimming World members(3)


UK Recommended Daily Allowance

Average UK female

Average female Slimming World Member


Less than 6g








≤33% dietary energy

33% dietary energy

26.9% dietary energy

Saturated Fat

≤10% dietary energy

12.3% dietary energy

9.5% dietary energy





Fruit & Vegetables

5 portions

4.1 portions

6.2 portions

Free Sugars

≤5% dietary energy

11.3% dietary energy

7.1% dietary energy

Oily Fish

1 portion (140g) per week




Notes to Editors

(1) Nutrition Bulletin: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nbu.12400

(2) The Eatwell Guide: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/

(3) All figures taken from Nutrition Bulletin: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nbu.12400


About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969 and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. There are now more than 19,000 weekly groups supporting 900,000 members across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 5,500 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating, encouraging and empowering members to make changes in a supportive, warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000. Follow Slimming World on Twitter at www.twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slimmingworld 

For the Press Office please email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk