We took a look at SureSlim to find out: Is it right for you?
Common sense says that any logical strategy will work if you stay with it for long enough, but you can only stick with a programme if it suits your psychology and lifestyle. Is SureSlim right for you?
SureSlim: What they say
It seems that behind every major weight-loss organisation is a woman who wanted to lose weight, and SureSlim is no different. Petro Tulloch's own 40kg weight-loss inspired her to create the SureSlim franchise, which now has more than 150 clinics around the world.
A quick tour
SureSlim sits between Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, in the sense that it tells you what to eat, but you are responsible for buying and preparing the food yourself. Of the three programmes, it's the most 'medically' inclined.
- SureSlim starts with a series of blood tests – liver, kidney, thyroid, glucose, cholesterol, uric acid and iron. If the tests suggest any undiagnosed medical conditions, you're referred to your doctor. After SureSlim's doctor has screened the blood tests, the programme compilers develop your individual eating programme. Factors such as medical history, food preferences, medications and allergies are taken into account. Adjustments are made for medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, candidiasis, coeliac disease, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and liver disease.
- Your programme is explained to you during a 40 minute meeting, or over the phone if you don't live near a clinic.
- On a SureSlim eating programme you'll eat three times a day. The program includes low GI carbohydrates (whole grains and fibre), reduced intake of fats and simple sugars, and gentle exercise. You are allowed to break the rules from time to time, following special guidelines.
- You meet your consultant weekly for a weigh-in and coaching. This is done over the phone if you live some distance from a clinic.
- When your goal weight is reached, you move to the 'lifestyle' phase of the programme, which is all about maintaining your desired weight.
- Your doctor is informed about your progress, and regular doctor visits are a requirement, so that medication can be adjusted as your health improves.
Sample day on SureSlim
(Based on a female client between 171-195cm tall with no abnormalities in blood results and no food allergies. This day menu is not suitable for a person with diverticulitus, IBS, candidiasis or Crohn's disease.)
Breakfast: Baked eggs and baby spinach pots
- 120g baby spinach leaves
- 2 shallots, white part, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon Italian spice blend
- 1 tablespoon chilli sauce
- 2 eggs
- olive oil spray
Lunch: Moroccan vegetable burgers
- 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
- 20g leeks, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 60g zucchini grated
- 1 teaspoon Moroccan spice blend
- 70g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon fresh coriander, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chilli sauce
- mixed lettuce leaves
- 2-3 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 40g avocado, sliced (optional)
- 2 slices soy and linseed bread, toasted
- 1/4 lemon
Dinner: Salmon in sesame crust
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- salmon fillet
- 150g baby bok choy or English spinach
- 2 tablespoons Asian marinade
- 2 tablespoons chilli sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Thai spice
- salt and pepper to season
It's all about insulin
SureSlim focuses heavily on the production of insulin and its relation to impaired glucose tolerance and metabolic syndrome, which is also known as insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome X. The eating programmes aim to correct insulin imbalances.
SureSlim claim that if you follow their instructions, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides return to normal, blood pressure returns to normal, blood sugar stabilises and excess stored body fat is lost.
Our nutritionist comments
"SureSlim take a very medical approach to weight-loss. While reading their information pack, the cynic in me couldn't help wondering if their explanation of the hormones involved in digestion is really aimed to help people understand digestion and weight control, or whether it's about trying to baffle people with science.
Having said that, I realise some people may actually feel reassured by this, and feel they need a more medical approach to their weight issues.
SureSlim do specifically cater for people with a wide range of health problems and dietary needs, not just people with insulin resistance. Not all people who are overweight will have developed insulin resistance – impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) – although it is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and is becoming more prevalent.
While SureSlim specifically talk about improving cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure etc, it's worth remembering that if you have high readings of these and you're overweight and sedentary, most people will improve these through exercise and weight-loss, by whatever means, not just the SureSlim method.
Don't take any notice of their prediction of higher weight-loss than the others. While weight-loss will vary, it's generally accepted that 500g to 1kg a week is ideal for long-term weight-loss. More radical losses indicate a loss of water, which is not helpful.
While my own tendency is to favour the more down-to-earth approach of the other programmes, at the end of the day, sticking to this program will succeed for the same reason that other programmes succeed: consuming less kilojoules than you're using during the weight-loss phase; and continued sensible eating once you're ready to maintain weight. It's really about what is going to work for you."