Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

[Slimming World] Always double check your Syn Values!

chocolate-cake-cup-by-roreMy slimming world mojo has been at an all-time low lately, and I took to Pinterest to look for some ideas and inspiration. Searching just “slimming world” gives you hundreds of results – links to recipes off the official website, charts showing syn values for snacks most often eaten, inspirational quotes, and recipes that other people have come up with. In fact, many of my own recipes I blog wind up on Pinterest, repinned by many. One thing I always leave in my disclaimer is that my Syn values are accurate at the time of posting, based on my exact ingredients and using the online Syn calculator, and I always encourage my readers to double check the syn values for themselves.

While scrolling through the results on Pinterest, I came across a link to 5 under 5 Syns Chocolate Treats. Now, I’m not a huge chocolate eater, but I do like the occasional chocolate treat, so I decided to check out the suggestions/recipes on that page. To my surprise, the last recipe was for a one syn chocolate cake in a mug.

The Slimming World website has a feature on meals in a mug, and one of theirs is a low-syn chocolate mug cake using an Options hot chocolate. I assumed this would be the same recipe, but to my surprise, it wasn’t. Her recipe uses a chopped apple and 2 TBS raw cacao powder (I won’t retype her entire recipe, as it’s hers. You can find it on her site I linked to above). I was interested, but curious as to the syn value as I know you need to syn cooked apple and I had never heard of raw cacao powder. I did some digging, and it turns out her 1 syn desert is actually a whopping NINE syns. 3.5 of them come from the hidden syns in the cooked apple and 5.5 come from the 2 TBS of raw cacao. I left her the following comment:

Hello, I always double check the syns when I find an online recipe (and encourage people who view my recipes to check for themselves, too) and I have a question for you……How is the chocolage mug cake only one syn? I can’t find raw cacao powder in the online syn database, but I found raw cacao nibs, which come in at 4.5 for 25g. I looked up nutritional information for The Raw Chocolate Co. Cacao Powder and ran it through the online Syn calculator, and it gives me 5.5 syns for 30g (2 TBS). You also would need to syn the apple, as it’s being cooked. 100g of an eating apple is 2.5 syns and 100g of a cooking apple is 1.5 syn. I just weighed a braeburn apple out of out a bag from Tesco, and it came in at 134g, so it would be slightly more than 2.5 syns (3.3 to be exact, I’d round it to 3.5, whicn nicely covers the dash of almond milk). Unsweetened almond milk is .5 syn for 100ml, although a dash is probably only around 50ml. So….. 5.5 + 3.5 = 9 Syns for your chocolate mug cup, not counting the chocolate yogurt on top. It’s a bit misleading to people to show this as only being 1 Syn.

I am sincerely hoping this was just a mistake on her part or a miscalculation online. But it just highlights the importance of double checking the syn value for recipes that other people are blogging. Obviously, the recipes that are on the Slimming World website, Slimming World cookbooks, and the Slimming World magazine will be accurate….but take anything else posted with a grain of salt. Including my own recipes, because I make mistakes, too.

[update 14/03/17]
Since I’m still getting comments on this both on my blog and on the original post, I thought I would add in a screenshot of Cacao powder from the Slimming World online syns database. You can clearly see that the lowest syn values found for cacao powder is 2.5 syns per TBS if you buy that specific brand. Other brands are listed as 1 syn per teaspoon, and there are 3 teaspoons in the UK Tablespoon (4 in a US one). The recipe calls for 2 TABLESPOONS of Cacao powder, so you’re still looking at 5-6 Syns for the Cacao, plus syns for the cooked apple (again, 3.5 for your average apple based on weight). Even if we overlook the almond milk or the dash comes from your HEA allowance, we’re still looking at almost 10 syns for this “low syn” dessert option.


Chocolate cake in a mug picture from

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Nicola January 26th, 2017 21:50

    Just for your info Cocao powder isn’t Cocoa powder. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). It’s a super food with lots of healthy benefits.

    Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value. Is not a super food and has no healthy benefits.

    So 30g which is 1 tablespoon is actually 0.5 syns

  2. Rebecca March 14th, 2017 10:23

    I appreciate your comment, but nowhere in my post did I state that it was cocoa powder or that I thought it was. In fact, if you look things up on the Syn Calculator this morning, as I did to edit my post with current info, you can see they now have several varieties of Cacao powder listed, and no where would 30g be only .5 syns. In fact, 25g is coming in at 4 syns!

    Scrrenshot of cacao powder on the Slimming World website:

    But if you can provide me with screen shots (including URL showing it’s from Slimming World direct) to prove otherwise, I’d be happy to retract my statement that this desert is 9 syns. However you also still need to count the cooked apple as syns so regardless, this cake never will be only 1 syn.

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