When you’re desperate to lose weight, you’re willing to try anything, including replacing meals with shakes. You’ve seen the popular diet’s success stories that replace two meals with shakes, and you want those results for yourself. However, how much weight can you lose when you use meal replacement shakes?
With a meal replacement you could create a 500-calorie deficit a day, which means you can lose 1 lb a week. However, if you create a larger calorie deficit of 2,500 by replacing two meals a day with a meal replacement, eat a healthy meal, and include exercise; you can safely lose up to 5 lbs a week.
Weight loss depends on several factors, and meal replacement shakes are just one piece of the weight loss puzzle. To complete the puzzle, let’s keep going, shall we?
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes, ideally, contain all the nutrition you need, or would get in one meal for fewer calories than a full meal. It contains protein, healthy fats, fiber, and carbohydrates. It should also contains a third of the nutrition you need for the day, like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and several vitamins. A meal replacement shake should have no less than 200 calories, so it can keep you full for a few hours until the next mealtime.
A popular weight loss program uses meal replacement shakes and advises its participants to replace two meals a day and have a sensible dinner. The program can work if you don’t snack very often or at all. However, the problem with using these shakes constantly can cause you to have more cravings and experience more hunger than if you were to have regular meals.
For example, according to a study published in Current Developments in Nutrition, Shakeology (a meal replacement I highly recommend) helped participants reduce their desire to eat 58% more than when they tried similar products.
The Shakeology shake helped participants eat 185 calories fewer calories in their next meal. Additionally, Shakeology reduced hunger by 51% more than a calorie-matched shake.
So, if you’re always on the go and don’t have time to get a healthy meal, these shakes can provide adequate nutrition until you can sit down to a full meal. However, are meal replacement shakes good for weight loss? If you use them as intended and don’t eat additional food or snacks with the shakes, you have more of a chance to lose weight.
Why Do People Use Meal Replacement Shakes?
When used correctly, meal replacement shakes can help people avoid meals that aren’t healthy or cut calories and carbs from their daily caloric intake.
People also get busy and don’t have time to prepare a proper meal, so they reach for a meal replacement shake. While shakes are not always healthy, they can help people reach their goals.
For a complete explanation, keep reading.
To Avoid Unhealthy Meals
When you are at work and don’t take time to pack a lunch, it can be tempting to either grab something from the vending machine or go to the local fast food place. Either option can derail your progress and stall your weight loss journey.
Ready-to-drink meal replacement shakes are more convenient, as you can grab and go, but they aren’t always the healthiest shakes because they contain sugar or sugar derivatives, soy protein, and unhealthy oils. Instead, look for meal replacement shake powders that contain clean ingredients like whey protein, coconut oil powder, and stevia and monk fruit extracts.
Many keto meal replacement shakes have clean ingredients but are in powder form. These can be just as convenient if you get a shaker bottle and put a serving of powder inside it. Then, when you’re ready for your shake, add water or milk, and shake to mix.
To Cut Calories and Carbs
Meal replacement shakes can also cut calories and carbohydrates from a full meal, and at a caloric range of 200-400 per shake, it can help you manage your calories and lose weight. If you’re also cutting carbohydrates to lose weight, they can help with that as well, especially if you get a brand that uses stevia or monk fruit.
However, if you snack between meals, a meal replacement shake will not help cut calories or carbs. As everything that you eat adds up, snacking could put your calorie, and carb counts higher than what your body can burn at any one time.
To Save Time
With the way life goes today, many people have little time to prepare meals and eat healthily all the time. Meal replacement shakes, whether in ready-to-drink bottles or powder form, can save meal prep time when you’re too busy.
These shakes contain all the nutrients you need for one meal and the proper amount of protein, fats, and carbs to keep you satisfied for a few hours until your next meal.
While you might not want to rely solely on the shakes for all of your nutrition, one shake a day should be okay.
Can You Lose Weight With Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are normally used for weight loss, such as in the popular weight loss program where adherents replace two meals with shakes, then eat a “sensible dinner.” While on these programs, several people have lost significant weight and have maintained their weight loss for many years. Yet, can you lose weight, and how can it be done?
- Don’t snack between meals. If you have a meal replacement shake for breakfast, wait for at least three to four hours before eating lunch or having another shake. When you snack, you add extra calories that you don’t need, and you don’t allow your insulin to go low enough to burn fat.
- Don’t drink your calories at other times. Besides the shakes, you should try not to drink beverages that are high in sugar and calories, such as coffee drinks or sodas. These offer little to no nutrition, add significantly to your daily caloric intake, and slow your weight loss progress.
- Make sure the shakes don’t use sugar. Meal replacement shakes that use sugar or high fructose corn syrup defeats the purpose of replacing your meals with a shake. Look for shakes that use stevia or monk fruit in the ingredient list, as they offer a sweet flavor for zero calories and carbs and are completely natural. Here’s a list of the most Nutritious Meal Replacement Shakes
How Much Weight You Lose Depends on Your Eating Habits
If you use meal replacement shakes as a way to lose weight, yet you don’t change your other eating habits, such as snacking or eating highly processed foods, you won’t lose very much weight with the shakes alone.
However, when you choose to start meal replacement shakes, you may want to change the rest of your diet as well so that you can lose weight.
A Well-Balanced Diet Can Work Better for Weight Loss
Instead of relying on weight loss gimmicks, a well-balanced diet can work better for weight loss, and it can give you better health in the process.
A breakfast of eggs, oats, berries, and milk can give you a good start to the day and provide you with enough energy to be active all day long. Lunch could be a salad with grilled chicken, while supper might be meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
When you eat a balanced diet with proper nutrition in the proper portions, your body will readjust, and you will lose weight.
Meal replacement shakes are a great option to create a calorie deficit, which creates weight loss. However, it’s important to control your eating habits so that you can lose weight. You can safely replace two meals a day with meal replacements.
With meal replacements alone, you can lose up to one to two pounds a week. However, to lose more weight a week, you should consider adding a exercise routine and of course eating healthy meals that are within your calorie needs to lose weight.