Are Meal Replacement Shakes Good for Weight Loss?

Reviewed on 9/16/2021
weight loss on shakes
Meal replacement and powder protein shakes can aid in weight loss, however, simply relying on them can result in significant nutritional deficiencies.

Meal replacement shakes mostly contain protein and fiber but may have a small percentage of vitamins, minerals, carbs, and fats. These shakes usually have fewer calories when compared to a whole meal, so substituting one meal per day with shakes decreases calorie intake and may help lose weight. The protein and fiber in the shakes make you feel fuller and help you avoid overeating. Fiber also improves digestion and bowel movements and prevents bloating.

How healthy are meal replacement shakes?

There are multiple options of powder protein shakes and meal replacement shakes available in the market. You may choose one according to your need. Individuals who do strenuous workouts opt for powder protein shakes, which provide them with high protein that builds up muscle. However, to decrease calorie intake, meal replacement shakes are a better option.

Skipping meals puts you in a deficit of essential nutrients along with calories. Though meal shakes may not provide the complete daily requirement of nutrients, they will fill in some deficit. They are a supplement, which means they add to meals and do not replace them. They can be useful for athletes who require a quick meal or snack.

Meal replacement shakes are safe because they are composed of healthy ingredients. Though they contain some essential nutrients, they do not have all the nutrients the body requires, such as enzymes and antioxidants. Replacing all meals or prolonged consumption of these shakes is dangerous. They may produce harmful effects because it deprives the body of all essential nutrients and enzymes.

Calories from regular meals are treated differently by the human body than calories from liquids. It is beneficial to the body to undergo physiological chewing and swallowing because it maintains the proper functioning of the complete digestive system. Meal replacement shakes can never match the dietary satisfaction that comes from eating whole foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Furthermore, they may contain allergens, artificial flavors, and sugars that may harm your health.

How effective are meal replacement shakes in losing weight?

Meal replacement shakes can help lose weight in the short term, but they are not a long-term answer. Keeping a healthy weight long-term involves dedication, calorie restriction, and physical activity.

It is recommended to consume nutritious shakes to obtain your nutrients when a meal is not accessible or when you are in between workouts so that you can absorb them fast and get back to playing. However, they should not be utilized as a meal substitute to cut calories by other people.

Meal replacement shakes are convenient to consume on the go and much healthier alternatives to fast foods. They may even help you resist eating unhealthy processed foods. One of the most significant hurdles to weight loss is a lack of time to prepare nutritious meals. Meal replacements make meal planning easier.

What are the downsides of commercial meal replacement shakes?

While having a proper balanced healthy diet, intake of meal replacement shakes surpasses your daily requirement of carbs, fats, and proteins. This lifestyle may impact the energy stores and change the dynamics of balanced nutrition in the body.

Commercial weight loss shakes are not always healthy like they are advertised. To improve the taste and make the shake palatable, they may add unnecessary sweeteners and hide them in the labels. This increases the daily recommended limit of sugar intake and adds more calories to the body. These lack essential nutrients, so solely depending on these drinks may put you in severe nutritional deficiency. Preparing homemade smoothies with fresh fruits and vegetables provides you with several antioxidants, which decrease oxidative stress in the body and the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and other diseases. You can customize your shake according to your requirement and taste.

It is always recommended to follow a nutritionally balanced diet along with meal replacement drinks to lose weight and stay healthy. The aim of taking meal replacement drinks should be to cut down calories and provide the body with basic nutrients. Meal replacement shakes and proper meals should always go hand in hand and never replace one another.

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References
Benhoff N. Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Gain. eNutritionAcademy. https://www.enutritionacademy.org/best-meal-replacement-shakes-for-weight-gain/

The Protein Works™. A Complete Meal Replacement New & Improved Diet Meal Replacement. https://www.theproteinworks.com/diet-meal-replacement

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