You're ready to lose weight and are interested in trying a meal replacement shake to get you there.
Life is busy, and convenience is key.
You’ve heard about replacing meals with shakes to lose weight but don't want to get into unhealthy eating habits.
Are meal replacement shakes safe?
When should you take them?
Are they a short-term or long-term fix?
Find out how to replace regular meals with meal replacement shakes to lose weight - starting right now.
Why Would You Take Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are a popular option for those looking to lose weight for several reasons.
They are simple, easy to carry, pre-formulated for optimum nutrition and contain a set number of calories. Essentially, they are pre-made meals without any cooking, shopping or fuss.
Cost-wise, they are pretty affordable, particularly when you look at the cost of buying quality ingredients individually.
They are, at least short term, the complete package. An entry point into losing weight and the starter point to a new you.
What is Typically In Meal Replacement Shakes?
If you are looking to use meal replacement shakes, take a look at the ingredients first, particularly if you have any food sensitivities or allergies.
If you're concerned about a change of diet, always discuss it first with your healthcare provider.
Typically meal replacement shakes provide all the necessary parts of a balanced meal cue the term “meal replacement”.
These usually involve:
It may be whey protein, pea protein, soy protein or a combination of different proteins. This helps the body with satiety and muscle repair.
Carbs can come from any grains, rice or oats. They exist in the shakes to create energy and to get that full feeling.
Healthy fats are important ingredients in meal replacement shakes because they provide satiety and also help our bodies absorb certain vitamins. These can come in the form of nuts, oils or seeds.
Vitamins and Minerals
To ensure balanced nutrition shakes are often fortified with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, D, and E and vitamins iron, zinc, and calcium.
Sweeteners and Flavorings
So the drink tastes good, and flavorings like vanilla or cocoa as well as natural or artificial sweetners are added.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition While Trying to Lose Weight
Before we look at meal replacement shakes, it’s important to understand why proper nutrition is important during your weight loss journey.
You may think that consuming fewer calories and replacing some daily meals with a shake will mean cutting out on proper nutrition. But this shouldn't be the case at all.
Inadequate nutrition can lead to bad skin, thin hair, brittle nails, dark under eyes and many other even more serious conditions. And, Ultimately you aren’t going to feel good, which is the exact opposite reason you are on this weight loss journey to begin with.
Cutting out entire food groups, skipping meals and trying to operate with a large calorie deficit are all dangerous ways to pursue weight loss and are not recommended.
Here's why proper nutrition is key:
Consuming the right amount of calories and getting the right amount of energy is so important for proper nutrition. You need to have enough calories to fuel your body whilst avoiding consuming more calories than your body needs.
It's a fine balance but one to get right ultimately.
Not eating enough calories means a tired body and mind that can't exercise or perform to its best. It may even lead to comfort eating as a way of recouping what your mind and body feel are lost.
The right amount means you have the energy to make great, healthy choices.
It's important to focus on nutrient-dense foods when your aim is weight loss and fat loss.
Foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants get you to optimal health and your ideal weight.
Take a look at these fat-burning foods to include in your healthy diet to promote weight loss.
Satiation and hunger management
Feeling fuller for longer periods and reducing the risk of overeating are key factors in weight loss.
Foods rich in protein, such as lean meats, seafood, legumes, and dairy products, are particularly effective in promoting satiety.
By eating like this alongside meal replacement shakes you'll be well on your way to breaking old habits and forming healthier ones.
It also means that when you stop your meal replacement diet, you'll have the know-how to cook and prepare healthy meals for the new you.
Metabolism and muscle preservation
Don't forget preserving muscle mass is essential when losing weight. After all, did you know that muscle mass plays a crucial role in maintaining metabolic rate?
Consuming the right amount of protein can help to preserve and maintain muscle mass and promote metabolic health so you can keep strong and burn calories the right way.
Proper nutrition is not only essential for weight loss but also for overall health.
A well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It can also boost immunity and improve mental well-being.
Now we know why eating well is key when it comes to weight loss, let's look at all why meal replacement shakes are a great approach to weight loss.
The Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes
There are many benefits to choosing meal replacement shakes as a weight loss method. And the good news is that many healthy meal replacement shakes are out there as options.
The key thing to bear in mind is that they are a great tool to help you lose weight, but they are no replacement for whole foods and healthy eating long term.
Nutritious and Low-calorie
Meal replacement shakes are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and are specifically formulated to include vitamins and minerals to provide the necessary nutrition to nourish the body in the way a full and balanced meal would.
This is really appealing to the health-conscious individual as shakes can tick all the nutritional boxes without overstepping on portion size or calories - a safe meal replacement choice as you know exactly how many calories you are getting.
Convenience is at the top of the agenda as people looking to lose weight also lead busy lives with limited time.
Ready-to-mix options and read-to-drink liquid meal replacements ensure grab-and-go accessibility and portability.
No cooking, no need for multiple ingredients. Just one ready-to-go product that, once finished, comes with no washing up.
Those who struggle with portion sizes can guarantee the amount of calories and portion size of each shake with a clear start and finish.
No need to measure, weigh or calorie count and no overeating.
The pre-measured liquid portions can support weight loss because it reduces overall calorie intake when combined with a balanced diet of healthy solid food too.
Designed to Satisfy
Not only are shakes designed to taste great, but they usually include a good source of protein which results in increased satiety and a reduction in hunger.
It also means that whilst weight loss occurs, you are still maintaining lean muscle through protein consumption.
The Side Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes
Of course, there are some drawbacks to having meal replacement shakes, and it’s always worth consulting your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet.
Unfortunately, some people experience digestive problems like gas, diarrhea and bloating when consuming shakes.
This can be down to a number of reasons, such as personal sensitivities but can also be due to the high fiber contents or the artificial sweeter included.
While shakes provide essential nutrients.Often, they frequently lack the wide variety of nutrients you only get in whole foods.
If you only rely on shakes for an extended period of time rather than healthy meals, you may experience nutrient deficiencies which themselves can lead to more complex health issues.
Blood Sugar Spikes
It's best to avoid shakes if you have diabetes. Certain ingredients in them can cause a spike in sugar levels, so definitely check in with your dietician or a healthcare provider before you try them out.
Unsustainable Weight Loss
Sometimes shakes are a really great short-term weight loss aid.
But once you stop taking them, without all the other pieces of a successful weight loss approach in place, like a healthy diet, exercise and rest, weight can quickly be put back on.
Weakness and Fatigue
Shakes, if taken regularly, can, over time, lead to weakness and fatigue as they contain a lot of essential vitamins and minerals - but not all.
A varied diet is the only way to hit your nutritional checklist.
Lack of Solids
When we think about what we love about different foods, it comes down to textures and consistencies, smells, tastes and all the visual stimuli that draw us in.
Just consuming liquid foods doesn't bring us the same satisfaction we get from chewing and consuming solid food. Because those sensory needs aren't being satisfied, shakes just aren't going to hit the mark long-term.
Do Shakes Help with Weight Maintenance?
Yes, they do.
In terms of weight management, specifically high protein shakes are a great and tasty way to keep you full for longer.
A reduction in hunger and calorie intake all in one.
And there is a bunch of research to back it, too.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2019 examined the effects of a meal replacement shake on weight loss. The review included 23 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1,267 participants.
The findings showed that meal replacement interventions were associated with significantly greater weight loss compared to other dietary interventions - a real plus for meal replacement shakes.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition 2007 investigated the effects of a partial meal replacement plan on weight loss and maintenance. The study involved 314 overweight and obese individuals who followed a partial meal replacement plan for one year.
The results showed that the participants experienced significant body weight loss during the weight loss phase, and those who continued with meal replacements during the weight maintenance phase were able to sustain their weight loss better than those who did not use meal replacements.
Shakes can help those who struggle with portion control and snacking too. Some even have a shake before a meal in order to fill themselves up and prevent snacking after.
How to replace your regular meals with shakes…
So, you know why you might want to take them, but how do you actually take them?
Is it a case of replacing all your meals with shakes, or can you still eat normal meals along side them?
When would you take meal replacement shakes?
Let's talk about timings.
Your lifestyle is the key thing to look at first so you can pinpoint when you want to take your meal replacement shake.
Maybe you're an early bird who wants to replace your usual large breakfast with a healthy meal replacement shake.
Perhaps you snack more than you'd like and want to take a shake before your meal to ensure you don't eat more than you need, or even have it as a dessert to ensure you are full.
The frequency of consuming meal replacement shakes depends on your weight loss and health goals.
(Some people take their shakes after an intense workout. Currently, the body needs a combination of protein and carbs to repair and replenish muscle tissue.)
What is the Meal to Replace with a Shake?
There aren't really any hard and fast rules about how to take meal replacement shakes; it's more about consistency in exercise and diet outside of this approach too. The shake is just part of the plan.
You can substitute one or two meals daily with shakes. You cannot replace all your meals with shakes and you should still aim to consume at least one healthy meal alongside the plan.
When you take your shake, ensure that you drink plenty of water, as the shakes usually have a really high protein content to fill you up and promote lean muscle growth.
But they can lead to dehydration too, so coupled with plenty of water is key.
How Many Calories Are in a Shake?
Generally, meal replacement products such as shakes have a fixed number of calories in each serving.
The calorie content is usually around 200-400 calories per serving per meal replacement shake.
Of course, this will vary from brand to brand and is something you should check before deciding which one to take.
You’ll need to balance the calorie needs against the nutritional value (as well as the taste) of your meal replacement shake. For example, some that are very low in calories might not be providing you all the nutrients that you need to make it a true meal replacement and you’ll find yourself struggling to remain satiated and to keep energy levels up.
What Healthy Meal Replacement Shake Can I Try?
So, it seems that meal replacement shakes are a simple, convenient solution that can be integrated into your existing lifestyle and help you curb your appetite and drop some body weight (or whatever your goal is).
But what meal replacement shake is going to be right for you and your weight loss journey?
If vanilla ice cream, strawberries and cream and chocolate sound good to you, why not try a dessert protein shake from PhenQ? It allows you to enjoy the taste of your favorite deserts while still shifting those stubborn pounds.
Bursting with all of the tasty goodness and none of the badness (sugar-free, non-goo, gluten-free), each shake gives you 13 key vitamins and minerals and a huge 16 grams of protein to keep you satisfied for longer.
Its special formula actually encourages active fat burn, making it the superior choice to assist your weight loss efforts.