A gastric band in a GLASS? Three women swear by new soluble diet pill designed to quench appetite in an instant
- Health journalist Hannah Ebelthite lost 5lb in ten days with Slim-Fizz
- She asked two other busy, middle-aged women to try it
- They also reported good results after using the product
- The tablets cost £19.95 for ten days supply
- Manufacturers claim you’ll lose 'a few pounds' in ten days
The large round pill looks like a fizzy vitamin C tablet and, when dissolved in water, tastes like orange squash.
But its effects are extraordinary. Thirty minutes later, when you come to eat, you feel quickly full. Towards the end of the meal, you find yourself thinking ‘I’ve had enough’ and you put down your fork and stop.
Pudding? You can take it or leave it. You probably get to the next mealtime still feeling sated, never having reached for a snack.
Newfound confidence: Drina Rakovic, 41, (above) gave the dissovable Slim Fizz pill a go - she’s found her habits and shape have changed
I can say this for certain, having tried this new pill, Slim-Fizz, which has been billed as a ‘gastric band in a glass’.
As a long-serving health writer, I’m as sceptical as anyone about diet products. I’ve seen - and tried - hundreds, from so-called ‘fat burning’ pills to meal-replacement shakes. And I’ve been damning in my criticism of most: the truth is that at best they’re costly gimmicks; at worst, dangerous.
So when I lost 5lb in ten days after trying Slim-Fizz, I couldn’t believe it. Assuming it was a fluke, I then asked two other busy, middle-aged women to try it, and was amazed when they got equally good results.
Now I’ve looked into the science behind the pill, I’m convinced. Slim-Fizz is designed to aid the control of hunger and cravings to help you lose weight, rather than speed the metabolism or block fat absorption as most diet pills do. As a bonus, it also helps reduce cholesterol.
Slimmed down: At 15st 11lb, Drina was hiding under size 22 clothes (left) but today (right) she's a size 16-18
‘After 20 days, I’d lost in total 11lb and people started to notice the difference. I haven’t been this slim for 13 years,' Drina said
Its active ingredient is the soluble fibre glucomannan, derived from the root of the konjac plant. Widely used as a thickener in the Far East, konjac is found in Asian foods such as konjac noodles and yam cake.
‘Glucomannan is a natural fibre that’s water-absorbing and bulking,’ says athlete James Greenwell, managing director of Proto-col, who launched Slim-Fizz. ‘When you ingest it mixed with water, it turns into a gel and forms a thick barrier in the stomach and intestinal tract that lasts for four or five hours.’
The effect is to make you feel full. While a few other weight-loss products also use this fibre - mostly alongside other ingredients - Slim-Fizz has the highest concentration and quality on the European market.
Research into the efficacy of glucomannan published in the British Journal of Nutrition found those taking it lost up to 10 lb in 16 weeks compared with 1.7 lb in a taking placebo pills group. Other studies have echoed this with an average of 5.5 lb lost over eight weeks.
‘What’s impressive is glucomannan doesn’t just leave you feeling full, but absorbs starches, sugars and cholesterol as well as water,’ says Greenwell.
‘The water is reabsorbed lower down your gut, as the gel passes through, so it doesn’t leave you dehydrated, but it does transport the sugars and cholesterol out of your body.’
Glucomannan is approved by the European Food Standards Agency as both a weight-loss and a cholesterol-lowering supplement, if 3g or more a day is consumed (the daily dose of three Slim-Fizz tablets would give you more than 4.5g).
Svelte: Helen Gray, 39, a company director from Cheam, in Surrey, used Slim Fizz for 20 days and lost 8lbs (left, before she took the product and right, after)
Dropping a dress size: Within three days Helen said she felt slimmer - by day ten, people started to comment. ‘One mum stopped her car to ask what my secret was,’ she says
You dissolve a tablet in 200ml of water and drink it immediately, before it goes gloopy, 30 minutes before each meal. It’s recommended that you eat a balanced, healthy diet alongside to speed up weight loss.
But you don’t have to calorie-count. The supplement helps you naturally keep your calorie intake down.
The tablets cost £19.95 (from proto-col.com, Amazon and health food shops) for ten days’ supply and the manufacturers claim you’ll lose ‘a few pounds’ in ten days, 5lb in 30 days and up to 15 lb in 90 days.
There are, however, downsides. Konjac substances - not, it should be noted, Slim-Fizz - have received a bad press in the past. Because they swell on contact with water, some have proved a choking risk and deaths have been reported in the U.S.
It has in the past been made into a jelly snack, which was banned in the EU because it didn’t disintegrate easily and posed a choking hazard.
Greenwell doesn’t dispute this, but says it’s all about method of delivery.
‘The choking cases have all been recorded with tablets or gel sweets,’ he says. ‘That’s why we’ve put our glucomannan in soluble form, so it’s delivered straight to your stomach, where it forms the gel. There’s no risk if you take it this way.’
It has also been suggested glucomannan can cause digestive problems such as diarrhoea. Greenwell says Slim-Fizz uses only the purest grade of glucomannan. ‘We’ve had no known cases of digestive discomfort,’ he says.
So what do experts think? ‘The clinical trials to support the use of glucomannan were quite small - I’d want to see larger ones,’ says Priya Tew, of the British Dietetic Association.
‘But by filling you up it could help someone trying to get into new habits, control portion sizes and tune into hunger signals. But it shouldn’t ever replace the idea of healthy eating.’
My experience of Slim-Fizz was positive. I didn’t experience the usual mild heartburn or energy slumps I get. Of course, it may be that the 5lb I lost was fluid. It’s normal for weight loss to be faster at the start of diets, for this reason. But a couple of months on, I haven’t regained those 5lb.
Putting it to the test: Helen said Slim Fizz tasted like 'a pleasant orange drink'
Quenching her appetite: After she took it, the mother-of-two said she noticed feeling full straight away
I believe it was Slim-Fizz - not self-control - that corrected my bad habits. Yet as a health journalist, I knew my experience alone was in no way conclusive. So I asked Helen Gray, 39, a company director from Cheam, in Surrey, who is married to Daren, a management consultant, and has two children, Charlotte, seven, and Samuel, five, to put it to the test as well.
‘I’ve never managed to shift the stone I put on when I had my children,’ says Helen. ‘I’ve done Weight Watchers, Diet Chef and juicing fasts. None seemed sustainable. I’m healthy, but portion size is an issue. I can easily put away the same amounts as my husband.
‘All these factors combined to make me 11st 7lb in January. As I’m 5ft 5in this put me in the overweight category, with a BMI of nearly 27 and a dress size of 12-14. I managed to shift half a stone on my own, but my weight stopped at 11st.
‘I’ve got two holidays coming up and I’m determined to feel comfortable in a bikini. So while I didn’t think it would work, I agreed to give Slim-Fizz a try.’
While Greenwell says you’d lose weight without changing what you eat thanks to Slim-Fizz’s filling effects, he recommends following the Challenge Diet that comes with it. Helen did and found it simple.
As well as advising against alcohol, sugary drinks and treats, it suggests you start the day with more protein, base each meal around vegetables and protein, minimise carbs and snack on fruit and nuts.
A typical day’s food might be smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast for breakfast, a tuna nicoise salad for lunch and chilli con carne for dinner. The difference is this sort of diet can be hard for most people to stick to (if it wasn’t, we’d all be healthy). But do it in conjunction with Slim-Fizz and it feels possible.
Helen says it was easy to get started. ‘It tasted like a pleasant orange drink. The first time I had one I felt nauseous, but I’ve been fine since. I noticed the feeling of fullness straight away. You still need the willpower to listen to that fullness and not overeat.’
Greenwell admits if someone’s determined to defy what their body is telling them, they can.
‘It is a natural product, not a medical device,’ he says. ‘You can force food, if you want to. It just won’t feel nice,’ he says. But Helen wasn’t tempted. ‘I kept my portions in check,’ she says. ‘The biggest change for me was I didn’t feel the need to snack. I felt satisfied and happy.’
She found a routine is essential. ‘There wasn’t time to fit in the drink and breakfast before the school run, so I had to eat when I got back,’ she says. ‘On the odd days when I was out, I’d take the tube of tablets with me and keep a bottle of water, a beaker and a fork (for stirring) in the car.’
Within three days she felt slimmer. By day ten, people started to comment. ‘One mum stopped her car to ask what my secret was,’ she says.
Slim-Fizz costs £20 for a ten-day supply
‘The only time over the 20 days that I lapsed was at the school parents’ ball. But I let myself have the night off because I’d fitted into a dress that I couldn’t do up in January.
‘After 20 days I’d lost 8lb. I’ve lost another two since, I’m now 10st 4lb, a healthy BMI and I’ve dropped a dress size. I’m going to carry on using it until my holiday as I’d like to get to 9st 13lb. Then I’ll stop, but I’d try it again if the weight crept back.’
But Priya Tew is not convinced the product is anything groundbreaking. ‘Any diet that’s high in fibre can help you lose weight, because you’ll feel fuller,’ she says. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if simply following a diet that’s higher in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains could have a similar effect.’
It would certainly be cheaper than Slim-Fizz’s £20 for a ten-day supply. Nutrition therapist Ian Marber says: ‘There’s no reason for it to be so expensive. You can buy konjac noodles and pasta at Asian supermarkets, and they’re not pricey.’
I also asked Drina Rakovic, 41, to give the supplement a go. She’s found her habits - and shape - have changed.
‘Eating for me is social,’ says the receptionist, who lives in Derby with husband Vlad, 41, an IT professional, son Tomi, ten, and daughter Maia, nine. ‘We’ll have family to visit and all sit around a big table of food.
‘At 15st 11lb, I was hiding under size 22 clothes and getting out of breath climbing the stairs. I needed to stop mindless eating.’
On her first day of taking Slim-Fizz, Drina had instant results. ‘After dinner, there was no late-night snacking or sneaking leftovers.’
Drina says it’s worked wonders on her digestion. ‘After a few days my stomach was flatter,’ she says. ‘The bloating, gassiness and water retention I used to suffer had gone.’
She’d lost 7lb in ten days and felt fabulous. ‘Seeing the weight loss on the scales spurred me on,’ she says. ‘After 20 days, I’d lost in total 11lb and people started to notice the difference.
‘I’ve continued to lose it and now I weigh 14st 80lb. I haven’t been this slim for 13 years. I’m a size 16-18 now.’
Neither Helen nor Drina experienced stomach problems.
And me? I would use it again. Not on a permanent basis - I haven’t got £60 a month, or the patience, to spare. But if I want a weight-loss boost, I’ll be hitting the Fizz.
I would recommend it to anyone who struggles with snacking, portion size or a sweet tooth. I think it provides quicker-than-usual weight loss that keeps you motivated. And anything that is safe and promotes healthy eating has to be a good thing.
Do you have a slimming secret that really works? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org