If you want to lose weight but just cannot fast for life, a meal replacement shake might be your ideal solution. A meal replacement shake is a great alternative to healthy eating and still losing weight. However, it’s a temporary weight loss solution and should be treated as one.
Meal replacement shakes can be done until your weight loss goals have been achieved. This is usually two to three months. Moreover, it’s advised you don’t do just shakes during this strict dieting period. Combine them with an evening snack or two to mix up things and/or keep food interesting.
Keep reading to learn how a meal replacement shake can be used to lose and maintain your weight.
Meal Replacement Shakes: Why People Use Them
A meal replacement or diet shake is a solid way to kick-start your weight loss journey. It’s an easy and quick way to consume nutrient-rich food.
Unlike low-calorie entrees or meal replacement bars, diet shakes help you manage your calorie intake a lot more efficiently. When trying to lose weight or cut back on your calorie intake, there could be nutritional gaps. Meal replacement shakes fill up these gaps while keeping the calories in check.
Meal replacement shakes usually come ready to serve in a bottle or can, while others are available as powders to be mixed with water or milk.
These meal replacement shakes usually or should contain 200 to 400 calories of fiber, protein, and several essential minerals and vitamins that even your regular diet may be missing.
However, the shake’s nutrition profile could vary considerably. Therefore, check the label before buying it.
While you’re at it, make sure there are no unhealthy ingredients in it. Meal replacement shakes are usually packed with wholesome ingredients.
However, some shakes may contain unhealthy ingredients such as corn syrup, sugars, artificial flavors, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and chemical preservatives. Even shakes intended to help you lose weight may contain more sugar than protein. Therefore, always have your detective hat on.
Who Is a Meal Replacement Shake For?
Generally, meal replacement shakes are promoted as a weight loss drink/supplement. They are ideal for people who easily put on weight even if they go slightly above their daily calorie quota.
Diet shakes are a godsend for people who don’t have the time or lack the drive to shop for groceries and prepare healthy food at home.
The biggest hurdle to losing weight is perhaps not having the time to make healthy meals, which meal replacement shakes address. These meal replacements also help when you just don’t want to stress over what weight loss meal to prepare or eat.
Besides packing in the necessary nutrients, meal replacement shakes also help you steer clear of unhealthy processed foods since it cuts out the stress attached to preparing food or when you don’t have much time to finish your meals.
When you are not stressed, you are unlikely to devour fast food. A meal replacement shake is an easy to grab, healthier alternative to processed foods.
However, if you don’t consciously make the effort to avoid junk food or stop stuffing your fridge with cokes and chips or having them in plain sight all times, you could easily break your clean, healthy eating habits.
Remember, a meal replacement shake doesn’t turn your dietary neurotransmitters against unprocessed food or doesn’t actively prevent you from gorging on things you shouldn’t be consuming in the first place.
Besides helping with obesity, meal replacement shakes could also be used for a variety of other health and nutrition purposes or special medical conditions.
Some shakes are purpose-designed for people who cannot ingest solid foods. They could be bedridden or elderly patients. Some of them could be individuals inflicted with pain or just don’t want to eat regular food.
How Effective Are Meal Replacement Shakes at Helping You Lose Weight?
To lose weight, calorie intake reduction is imperative. However, when the reduced calorie consumption leads to hunger pangs, the process of losing weight becomes quite strenuous.
Meal replacement shakes ensure you consume fewer calories, and they also don’t leave you starving.
According to studies, replacing a traditional meal or two with a meal replacement shake can accelerate the weight loss process. Most people are also likely to lose more weight on a meal replacement shake than when on a reduced-calorie, food-based diet.
Also, being on a meal replacement shake for weight loss is easier than being on food-based diets, which means greater chances of success.
Having said that, the results could vary across individuals. For instance, some may not report significantly more weight loss with a meal replacement shake than a regular diet.
Is the Weight Loss Achieved With Meal Replacement Shakes Permanent?
After losing a healthy amount of weight on meal replacement shakes, the next challenge is maintaining that weight.
The good news is that weight loss achieved with meal replacement shakes is healthy and, therefore, quite possible to maintain. However, there’s a catch.
If you eat irresponsibly after the active meal replacement shake dieting phase, you can easily undo the past good work.
In other words, do not completely cut out meal replacement shakes even if you’ve achieved your desired weight – at least, not right away. And there are reasons why.
First and foremost, meal replacement shakes offer a definite number of calories. You can easily discern how much calories you’re taking in with a meal replacement shake.
With solid foods, keeping a tab on calories can be quite complex. Another big reason is meals in shake form eliminate the sensory experience attached to eating. This means you are unlikely to overeat.
Long story short, do not stop meal replacement shakes cold turkey. If the prospect of making a meal replacement shake is a permanent aspect of your life doesn’t sound very “appetizing,” try to phase it out.
You may start by replacing a shake or two with a regular meal. Drink at least one shake in place of an actual meal, preferably dinner, since eating light late in the evening can help with digestion and weight maintenance.
Make sure you eat healthily for breakfast and lunch. You can have a cheat day once every month or even every few weeks but do that in moderation. Once you’ve gotten used to healthy eating and are actually liking it, you may completely get rid of meal replacement shakes.
If you are happy with meal replacement shakes being a permanent part of your life, make sure you don’t depend on commercial meal replacement shakes as they are likely to be infested with sugar, processed ingredients, and poor protein sources.
Make the shakes yourself so that you could be sure that your shakes are high in protein, fats, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
If you’d like to learn how to make your own meal replacement shakes, watch this video:
A meal replacement shake will not magically burn off those excess pounds or make your belly and love handles disappear overnight.
However, they do work if you know what to expect of them and how to incorporate them into your everyday routine. These shakes are designed to help you lose weight healthily while not missing out on those essential nutrients.
But do not do these shakes indefinitely or continually for longer periods as they just cannot fully replace or compete with a wholesome, solid food diet.
And if you have lost a significant amount of weight or more weight than you originally wanted to, it’s strongly advised you switch to solid food that’s rich in protein, healthy fats, and good carbs.
Just to be on the safer side, talk to your doctor before you make the switch to shakes or go off them.
If you’re looking for a nutrient dense meal replacement shake made from superfoods, then check out the Beachbody Shakeology shake. Click here for a full review
Shakeology offers more nutrients than the average meal replacement shake. The Shakeology ingredients include: Protein, Superfruits & Antioxidants, Prebiotics & Probiotics, Adaptogens, Supergreens & Phytonutrients, and Vitamins & Minerals.
If you’re serious about improving your health, then make sure to look into Shakeology.
Our Top Recommended Meal Replacement Shakes
|Shakeology is our most recommended meal replacement shake because it's a nutrient dense shake that includes:
Thus, making it perfect for weight loss, increased energy, digestive health, reduced cravings, and overall better health.
Plus, Shakeology has stood the test of time as it has been around since 2009 without compromising its whole food ingredients. Instead, Shakeology has improved their flavors in taste and potency, and has even added vegan and gluten free options.
|Ample Meal is an interesting meal replacement as it focuses more on healthy fats. Ample Meal includes:
With Ample Meal, you can get a nice fulling 400 calorie meal with 2 scoops or do a single scoop of 200 calories if your goal is weight loss. Similar to Shakeology, it’s free of all the artificial junk that most meal replacement shakes have today.
|MacroMeal is another interesting meal replacement shake as it contains a blend of fast, medium, and slow digesting protein that delivers sustained energy. MacoMeal also includes the following core ingredients:
Although not technically a meal replacement as it’s low in carbohydrates, people have found it to be filling because of the MCT oils and slow digesting proteins.