Are you loving the idea of losing weight with meal replacement shakes but don’t know whether or not they actually work? There’s nothing better than the sound of a quick fix solution that is easy to make, and can be taken with you, wherever you go.
Here, we will answer some common question about meal replacement shakes and why they have become such a popular weight loss solution. We will also look at benefits of these healthy alternatives, along with studies and research to back them all up.
Points We Will Be Covering
- What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
- How Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?
- How much weight can you lose with meal replacement shakes?
- When Should You Drink Your Meal Replacement Shake?
- Is It Healthy To Drink Meal Replacement Shakes Every Day?
- What Meal Replacement Shakes Are Best For Losing Weight?
- Do Meal Replacement Work For Weight Loss?
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are simply alternatives to meals. They can be a very convenient and quick way to get your necessary nutrients when you are on the go, at work, or have limited time that restricts you when trying to prepare a full meal.
Pre-formulated shakes can be purchased, and typically come in powder form which can be blended with water or your choice of milk. Different brands use different ingredients and can vary in terms of nutrition value, which is why it is important to look at what goes inside your shake, carefully.
Meal replacement shakes can also be made at home. However, this takes much more time to prepare, as well as resources. Making your own shake can also cost more money depending on the number of ingredients necessary, whereas purchasing one already has the ingredients blended together.
At the end of the day, it is up to you which route you want to go. If you have less time and are looking for a convenient way to get all your nutrients, then purchasing a shake is a great idea. But if you have time, resources, and love to experiment, then you can make your own meal shake or smoothie by simply mixing in your favorite ingredients in a blender.
How Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?
Most shakes today are formulated to help you lose weight. To better understand how you can benefit from them, we need to look at what qualities meal replacement shakes can offer to accomplish weight loss results.
They Serve As An Alternative To Unhealthy Meals
If you are like me and are always hungry or are in a hurry, then you probably understand how challenging it can be to resist food temptation when on the go. This can make weight loss way more challenging, and can even prevent you from staying healthy when stressed.
Unfortunately, being in a hurry and not having enough time to prepare a healthy meal will corner you into only the realm of poor dietary choices, luring you into the world of junk food and fast food. Most of these quick and accessible foods are high in sugar, saturated fats, and contain large amounts of calories which will only compromise your weight loss goals.
Choosing the right meal replacement shake will not only help you lose weight but can improve your overall health. They are also just as quick to consume than snacks, and may even help you suppress cravings quicker since liquids reach your digestive system faster.
They Fill Your Nutritional Gaps
Many people think that because they eat healthier foods, they are getting all the nutrition their body needs. But unless you are supplementing with vitamins, you will most likely have one or more nutritional gaps in your diet. It is also much harder to get all the necessary nutrients when cutting back on calories since higher-calorie foods contain values that cannot be found in lower-calorie options.
Weight loss meal replacement shakes are formulated to provide all the essential nutrients that you would get from eating a well-balanced diet, without high amounts of calories and sugar.
Most Contain High Amounts Of Protein
Choosing a meal replacement shake with sufficient amounts of protein can help you lose weight more effectively.
According Healthline, proteins can help change hormones in your body that help regulate your weight. They say that replacing fat and carbs with protein, helps to reduce your hunger hormone, and boosts satiety hormones, therefore helping you lose weight more effectively.
They Can Help Suppress Your Appetite
Research has shown that protein can help you eat fewer calories throughout the day. This can help control your appetite and stop patterns that sabotage weight loss, such as late night snacking and overindulging.
The most effective way to use weight loss shakes is to drink them between meals. This is the period where most people end up snacking on food containing high calories and sugar. Drinking your shake during those times will serve as a much healthier alternative than snacks, while keeping you full throughout the day.
How much weight can you lose with meal replacement shakes?
There is no simple answer to how much weight you can lose drinking meal replacement shakes.
Many variables and factors are linked to how much weight you can potentially lose when drinking meal replacement shakes.
These can include:
- your day to day level of physical activity
- your diet
- your quality of sleep
- medical conditions
- how much water you consume
- and your bodies metabolic rate…
Although the amount of weight you lose is relevant to your lifestyle and health factors, there have been studies supporting meal replacement shakes as a highly effective way to lose weight.
One study that was conducted involved 90 obese adults who were assigned to a weight loss program for a duration of 16 weeks, while consuming meal replacements. After the 16 week trial, those who had taken meal replacements lost 12.3% v 6.9% o body weight, comparing to those who just consumed whole foods.
When Should You Drink Your Meal Replacement Shake?
Meal replacement shakes can be consumed at any time of the day. You can slam back your shake before breakfast when you are in a hurry, or take them between meals if you find yourself getting hungry too often.
I would recommend that you drink your meal replacement for whichever meal you struggle with most.
For example; if you don’t eat a healthy breakfast in the morning, you can drink your shake as a replacement in order to get your necessary nutrients. If you find yourself snacking on junk food between meals, then a meal replacement shake will help you lose weight by helping you avoid high calorie and sugary foods.
You can also win the battle of late-night snacking and cravings by drinking your shake a few hours before bedtime. At the end of the day, its all relevant to your routine, diet, and schedule.
The key point here is to use meal replacement shake as your backup plan and weapon against unhealthy urges. Think of it as a defense tactic that can help you make smarter and wiser dietary choices when times of temptation tries to win you over.
Is It Healthy To Drink Meal Replacement Shakes Every Day?
Meal replacements shakes are healthy to drink every day. However, this doesn’t mean you should disregard meals and whole foods as part of your diet plan. You will find that many meal replacement shakes get almost half of their calories from sugars, so I would recommend drinking no more than two a day.
Not eating meals can sometimes result in nutritional deficiency, and can cause side effects such as digestive distress, headaches, bloating and fatigue.
It is also important that you take into account the fact that meal replacement shakes still contain calories and fats, so make sure you only consume them when necessary.
What Meal Replacement Shakes Are Best For Losing Weight? (What To Look For)
As amazing as these meal alternatices are, its not as easy as just going with any shake.
Below, we listed 3 key factors that you should consider before choosing the the best meal replacement shake for weight loss.
When you are burning more calories than you consume, then you are well on your way to losing weight. This is why making sure you get as few calories possible when choosing your meal replacement shake.
A healthy meal will typically average around 400 to 700 calories depending on the portion and what you are eating. A good low-calorie meal replacement shake can offer half of that, if not less.
I would recommend aiming for anything less than 200 calories. You will get the full benefits of a nutritious meal while eliminating more than half the calories in most cases.
A study that involved over 30,000 people showed the majority who consumed 17% to 21% of calories from added sugar had over a 35% greater risk of death by heart disease.
Sugar is one of the greatest opposing enemies when it comes to weight loss. Aside from weight gain, consuming high amounts of sugar in your diet can lead to many life-threatening diseases in your later years, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
You can often end up with a meal replacement shake that contains a lot of sugar if you are not careful. To avoid crashing and to support weight loss more effectively, aim for less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.
Low Carb Count
According to healthline, the dietary guidelines for losing and weight should be 50 to 150 grams of carbs, daily. These low carb diets can help slow down your appetite and help you eat fewer calories during the day.
Luckily, you can find many great low carb meal replacement shakes that contain less than 20 grams of carbs. This will allow you to consume them twice a day while still staying under the recommended amount for weight loss.
Avoid anything above 40g of carbs and aim for 30 or less for best results.
So...Do Meal Replacement Work For Weight Loss?
Yes, according to multiple studies and research, meal replacement shakes have proven to be an effective way of losing weight IF paired with a healthy lifestyle, including dieting and exercise.
Replacing snacks and other temptations with these healthy alternatives will help you save time and manage your appetite while providing the nutrition your body needs to perform at its best.
They can be your best defense against foods that compromise your weight loss goals and can be consumed at any given moment with little to no effort.
Daniel has a dedicated history and passion for health and wellness. His journey began when he served in the Canadian Forces while pursuing bodybuilding for a hobby. Through several years he learned about what it takes to achieve a healthy lifestyle holistically and now desires to help others get on track.