Slim-Fast may want to start marketing itself as Slim-Forever, according to the results of a study by a Harvard Medical School (HMS) researcher.
A new study by Abraham Associate Professor of Nutrition George Blackburn suggests that replacing meals with the diet drink helps people lose weight—and keep it off for a decade.
In the study, Blackburn, a trustee of the Slim-Fast Nutritional Institute, had his participants substitute Slim-Fast shakes for two meals a day, followed by a “sensible dinner.”
He began the study in 1992 in a rural township in Wisconsin that had the highest rate of obesity in the nation. In the first follow-up, Blackburn said that openly-recruited participants lost a mean of 15 pounds after a standard 12-week period.
According to Blackburn, this 15 pound loss was significant because it is the average result of what a medical weight-loss treatment program would produce.
The participants’ progress was charted at five-year intervals, and Blackburn said he found that after a decade people weighed less than they did at the beginning of the study and—unlike what usually occurs with long-term diets—the participants did not regain any weight.
In fact, Blackburn said that his dieters kept off an average of seven pounds while the control group gained half a pound.
Sponsored by Slim-Fast, the experiment was only the third study on long-term weight loss and the only one of its kind since the 1970s, according to Blackburn.
The results of Blackburn’s investigation were presented at last weekend’s meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity.
Blackburn recommended the program for anyone over the age of 18 who is gaining weight as an adult. He called the Slim-Fast plan “a scientific, safe approach to weight control therapy.”
“This study proves that, yes, we can avoid gaining weight. The epidemic doesn’t have to overtake us,” he said.
Blackburn—who said he himself has been on the plan for the past 20 years—endorsed the plan as something that should be turned into a routine for life.
Blackburn said the participants of the study are still on the plan, and that those formerly in the control group are now joining the study as well.
“We now have a proven 10 year approach to weight control,” said Blackburn, repeating the mantra he developed: “Shake, shake, meal. Shake, shake, meal.”