Meal replacement shakes can come in the form of bars, a beverage, or even soup. It is intended to replace a meal of substantive value.
Now, these shakes do have a certain amount of calories, vitamins, and nutrients, intended to give you what you need for your body to survive. Most of the prescribed shakes do have the required amount of nutrients your body needs.
Is this a long-term solution?
Do they help you lose weight?
Well, they are intended as an on-the-go shake. They can (according to some) help you lose weight and control the cravings. However, you do need to pick one that does not have any artificial ingredients (yes, they do make those too).
They do offer convenience (which is what many like). The shakes are especially convenient for those who want to lose weight and dislike exercising. A lot of people want to lose weigh but they dislike the idea of spending an hour in the gym.
You also have to choose the shakes that have the right amount of proteins and fibers (calories generally should be between 200-400).
Avoiding Unhealthy Eating Habits
Many of us would like to eat a burger and fries everyday. However, that kind of diet is unhealthy and leads to excessive weight gain. A lot of people tend to eat unhealthy when they are in a rush (again, it is the convenience factor).
Remember that kind of diet is full of processed ingredients. A diet based on processed eating habits will lead to weight gain and major health issues later. That is why many are starting to gravitate to the replacement shakes.
Replacement shakes are (according to some) a healthier alternative (as long as you are choosing one that has the right vitamins and nutrients).
Will they provide nutrients that other meals do not have?
The shakes are meant to have all the healthy ingredients you might find in a nutritious meal. Some people do not have the time to do all that, That is why they diet. However, not all diets contain all the vitamins you need.
The main reason that many diet is due to calorie intake. They want to cut back. However, when you cut back on the calories, you often times miss out on the proper vitamins and minerals.
The right shake will have the vitamins, minerals, proper calorie intake, calcium fibers, proteins, irons, and potassium your body needs. You are able to get all that while cutting back on the calories.
Do they help you lose weight faster than the alternatives?
Here is the deal, one key factor in losing weight is to reduce the calories you consume.
Some people are good with a low-calorie diet. Others get hunger pangs soon after they eat. Their body is telling them they need a little more. Can you handle a replacement shake?
That is up to you to decide.
According to the International Journal of Obesity and PubMed Central, replacing one or two meals with a shake can help you lose weight faster. According to PubMed Central, their study finds that some lost more than 5 pounds in a few months(using the shake) compared to adhering to a healthy diet with reduced calories.
Several studies conducted by PubMed Central found that fewer people dropped out of studies and helped those genetically-challenged to lose weight. The final analysis is that the shakes do help.
Are there any issues with using the shakes?
As with anything in life, there are cons to going this route. Some of the shakes do contain things like chemical preservatives, corny syrups, and artificial flavors.
That is why we encourage you to find the replacement shakes that are 100% nutritious. Did you know the hydrogenated vegetable oils are bad for you? You need to use the 100% vegetable oil that contains no hydrogenation.
You also need to look at the protein levels. Some of the products are so good at marketing to where they have more sugar than protein inside. Look at the level. It is bad sign when the shake as more sugar than protein.
Another thing to look at are the words used. Any word that is not pronounceable is bad. That means the ingredient is artificial and could lead to weight gain.
The short answer is no. No shake can ever be a permanent replacement for a healthy meal of whole foods. You could end up losing more than you gain later.
Another aspect to consider is the social aspect. Most of our social interactions involve food of some kind. You could be isolating yourself from friends and family who want to go out to eat.
In other words, sustaining a life of a replacement shake is not a good long-term plan.
No study (that we are aware of) has stated that the shakes will help to reduce or eliminate unhealthy eating habits(as a whole).
The one thing you are encouraged to do is not change your eating habits. Some people want to get rid of their eating habits in favor of this strategy. This is what we call the "quick fix". It might be hidden under a new name, but is still the quick fix. Quick fixes never end well(for anyone).
The thing is you will most likely go back to your old eating habits after you stop doing the shakes. It is the same strategy others use when they want a quick diet fix. You will gain the weight back. All that work would have been for nothing.
That is why you should speak to your doctor before trying it. Let your doctor suggest a game plan for you(that may or may not include a replacement shake). The fact that some medical professionals have endorsed the shakes(to some degree) as a healthier alternative to other weight loss measures, is all the more reason why you should have those conversations beforehand.
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