Syn calculation

On top of all the free foods you can eat on Slimming World you’re allowed between 5 and 15 syns per day (and men get more!) to use on whatever you like – be that non-free ingredients in recipes, or treats such as chocolate.

Your Slimming World book lists the syn values for lots of different foods. However it’s not exhaustive, so the Slimming World website has an official Syns Online database of foods, where they have pre-calculated the syn values of loads of different brands.

If you can’t find a suitable listing in the database, then they also have a syns calculator where you can enter the nutritional information from the food label (calories, protein, fat, and carbs) and specify your portion size, and it’ll tell you the syn value.

Nutrition information for a packet of cooked rice

Slimming World also offer a service whereby you can send them photos of food packaging from the UK or Ireland, and they will calculate the syn value and add it to their Syns Online database – normally within a day or two.

Approximate calculation

If you don’t have the time or means to look up the exact syn values in your book or online, and you want an idea of the approximate number of syns in something, then the general rule of thumb is that 20 calories = 1 syn.

So, for example, my favourite can of Hufi beer is 140 calories – so that would equate to 7 syns.

This approximate calculation pretty good for non-free foods that don’t have much nutritional benefit (such as chocolate or alcohol). If you’re eating foods that have an amount of fibre or protein, for example, then the syn values will vary from this formula.

The demon drink

When I fall off the wagon, there’s often an alcoholic drink involved!

Most of the time I avoid drinking any alcohol at all, because it’s high calorie, and those calories provide little or no nutrition. Alcohol doesn’t fill me up, so in effect they’re just empty calories. And I’d rather use my calories (or syns) for food!

Having said that, on occasion I’ve been known to indulge in a small tipple, and when I do it can either go one of two ways. I either stay “good” and stay within my syns for the day, but feel like I’ve missed out on having a really good night. Or I go “bad” and go way beyond my syns (often not even counting them), and have a good night, but end up feeling regretful the next day. So either way, I end up feeling bad.

There’s also the problem that drink often lowers my resolve to make healthy eating decisions. So in addition to all those empty calories, I will often eat all the wrong types of food – and not just when drunk on a night out – but also the next day when I’m hung over.

So it’s best for me not to drink at all. At least that’s what I tell myself – often just before I reach for the wine bottle!