IF the thought of calorie counting leaves you feeling confused, there could be other options.

The SlimFast diet, which has helped stars like Alexandra Burke, provides dieters with low-calorie replacement items that take away the guess work.

What is the SlimFast diet, how does it work, is it safe and are there any success stories?

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SlimFast aims to help dieters shed one or two pounds a weekCredit: Alamy

What is the SlimFast diet?

The SlimFast diet is a low-calorie meal replacement plan for individuals with a BMI of 25 and over.

The plan aims to help dieters shed one or two pounds a week choosing from the programme's meals, bars and snacks.

SlimFast can be consumed for as long as you wish according to the NHS website.

Once you’ve reached your target weight, the programme advises you to consume a single meal replacement shake each day, no more than two low-fat snacks and two healthy meals.

The plan is convenient, as the products take the guesswork out of portion control and calorie counting.

What is the SlimFast diet, how does it work, is it safe and are there any success stories?

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The plan recommends dieters consuming three snacks a day from an extensive list of its own productsCredit: Slim Fast

How does the SlimFast diet work?

The plan recommends dieters consuming three snacks a day from an extensive list of its own products, including crisps and chocolate.

It also has a list of two meal replacement shakes or bars, and one regular meal taken from a bank of recipes on its website.

No foods are forbidden, although you are encouraged to eat lean protein, fruit and vegetables.

What is the SlimFast diet, how does it work, is it safe and are there any success stories?

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SlimFast offer alternative replacement meal products to help people lose weightCredit: Slim Fast

Is the SlimFast diet safe?

The SlimFast plan can be useful to help start the pound-shredding process, but it’s important that you take advantage of the online support to educate yourself about the principles of healthy eating.

On their own, meal replacement diets don't to educate people about their eating habits and change their behaviour.

There’s a risk of putting the weight back on again once you stop using the products.

You may also find it hard to get your daily five portions of fruit and vegetables without prior planning.

What is the SlimFast diet, how does it work, is it safe and are there any success stories?

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X Factor winner Alexandra Burke lost three dress sizes while on the dietCredit: SlimFast

Are there any SlimFast success stories?

X Factor winner Alexandra Burke was named the new ambassador of SlimFast after shedding an impressive 18lb and three dress sizes.

She joined fellow West End star Kimberley Walsh as a face of the weight loss aid.

Alexandra recently showed off her enviable figure as she strut her stuff on a night out in London.

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IF the thought of calorie counting leaves you feeling confused, there could be other options.