I was a little hesitant about doing a review of a product that was in the weight-loss category – as a general rule, for this column, I don’t normally do capsules or pills (which is what I thought I would be getting). However, after receiving the product and the literature I was a little more at ease and realized that what I was reviewing was more for weight-loss support and was a Meal Replacement, not in fact capsules or pills. The product is from a company called Natural Factors (http://www.naturalfactors.com/ ), based in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.
Natural Factors’ SlimStyles (http://www.slimstyles.com/) was launched last year to both the U.S. and Canadian marketplaces. SlimStyles is a meal replacement drink containing PGX™ (PolyGlycopleX™). I had no idea what PGX™ was so I’ll bore you a little bit with what I picked up regarding PGX™ before we get to the “what I like – don’t like part”.
The principal component of PGX is glucomannan – a polysaccharide obtained from the tuber root. Essentially it is one of the highest gelling dietary soluble fibers around. There is also some interesting research that has been done with PGX™ at the University of Toronto with regards to the hot topic of Glycemic Index, Cholesterol and Insulin. The research indicates that products that contain or are made with PGX™ (biscuits for instance) have an extremely low glycemic index. Another interesting property of PGX™ is the effect on insulin regulation and appetite suppression.
PGX™ controls the appetite by expanding in the digestive tract and can absorb up to 600 times its weight in water (so drink lots of water – it’s recommended that you drink at east 8 cups of water while on the suggested meal plan). SlimStyles is available in 8 different flavors; Orange Cream; Very Strawberry; Double Chocolate; French Vanilla; Rich Mocha; Mango/Peach; Tropical Pina Colada; Black Cherry Cream.
I mixed each of the flavors – starting with French Vanilla - according to the instructions, using 2 scoops and 350ml of water. It took me a bit of shaking to get the clumps out (subsequently I used a little hand blender which worked a lot better than shaking.) On the container it suggested having the mix as a pudding, so I did that, as well, by placing the mixed powder into the fridge to let it settle and firm up (about an hour).
I found the drinks good, at least from a taste perspective. The underlying flavors were very subtle and not overpowering. I also found it very sweet. The product is sweetened with Xylitol (http://www.xylitol.org/) and Stevia (http://www.stevia.net/ ). The product is very thick when made into a drink, similar to a milkshake and slightly gritty. The grittiness is not bad and wholly expected in a fiber based mix. As a pudding I’d say pretty much the same about it. It does gel nicely and is an interesting alternative to the drink. (Remember though, if you have the pudding, still drink lots of water).
As a meal replacement it does make you feel satiated and check out the nutrition panel - Whey protein, amino acids and a slew of vitamins and minerals.
What I did like about the product was the fact that it has a neat little insert that gives you a week long plan to follow for the best results. The Plan tells you what to eat each day, when to have your SlimStyles, and even throws in some tasty recipes.
The Website also has some supporting information to assist the SlimStyles consumer.
SlimStyles Weight Loss Program (this is the insert that I mentioned)
The product comes in a 1 lb 12 oz jug and provides for roughly 14 servings (about a week’s worth if you follow the SlimStyles plan). It’s available at many health food stores (The Natural Factors website - http://www.naturalfactors.com/ - has one of the better store locators that I have seen so far on any manufacturers’ website.) Its suggested retail is around $43 US, but as usual I’ve seen it for less from many online stores. Ask your local health food store if they carry it. It’s a little pricey but if your goal is to get your weight down to manage your health then it is well worth it.
Overall this product seems to be on the right track and with obesity on the rise it’s a convenient alternative to the morning donut or muffin for breakfast and a trip to the fast food court for lunch.
That’s the bite of it.
P.S. I would suggest a coffee flavor ;-)