Can meal Replacement Really Help With Weight Loss?
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past couple years you will have noticed that there is a huge trend emerging in the weight loss and fitness industry.
No, we’re not talking about diet pills – these have been around for a long time. Actually, we are here to discuss a meal replacement shake. Although they have been around for a while (even president Kennedy loved them), they more or less fell off the radar over the past decade, but they have made a heroic return with the help of new ingredients.
Meal replacement shakes have some pretty huge promises. I’ve even seen some that say they will help you to gain muscle and boost fat loss – pretty amazing for a meal replacement. In this article we are going to break down the in’s and out’s of a meal replacement shake to help you understand if they are right for you.
What is A Meal Replacement Shake?
Before we get into the actual nitty gritty stuff regarding meal replacement shakes it can be important to define what they actually are. I mean, is milk considered a meal replacement? What do they mean by “meal replacement”?
In most definitions, a meal replacement shake is a powdered product that contains much of the same ingredients you would get in a typical meal – but with limited fat and sugar – and it is generally quick to consume.
Most meal replacement shakes will come in the same format as a protein shake. In this sense, they contain a moderate dose of protein and the only other active ingredients are vitamins and minerals. Sometimes they will contain a fibre-type supplement to help keep you regular and help you to feel full – but this is rare.
Okay, now that we have a brief understanding of what a meal replacement shake is, let’s go through the good and bad of this type of weight loss solution.
Why Meal Replacement Shakes Are Good
You must think that since companies are marketing these shakes as super healthy that they must be good for you, right? Well, in some cases you would be correct, and in some cases, you might not be. To start, here are some of the reasons why meal replacement shakes are good – especially when we look at weight loss.
Great for Managing Calories
Most people do not struggle to eat the right food. Most people have a difficulty consuming the correct quantity of food. That is, most people eat too much. Using a meal replacement shake helps you out of this situation.
In fact, most of these shakes actually contain most of the calories you need for a meal. I’d personally recommend pairing these with something like fruit or oats, but even then you are really managing your calories well.
For those who struggle to keep their consumption amount in account – meal replacement shakes like EvoShake could be the best.
Easy and Taste Great
Let’s be honest, most of us are not really the best cooks. Using a meal replacement shake not only takes far less time than cooking but generally, they have a very nice taste.
This means you can spend more time exercising, researching good foods or working and not worrying about cooking your next meal from scratch.
My personal favourite is the strawberry flavour shake as its perfect for smoothies with fresh berries and bananas.
Okay, looking at the actual price of the bottle you might think that they are expensive. Yet, if you took the time to actually calculate the cost of each shake, versus the cost of cooking the food you would need to get the same amount of calories and nutrients, meal replacement shakes are super cheap.
The average meal will cost $2-4 when cooked at home – not even mentioning the cost of going out, while a meal replacement shake is usually $1-2/serving.
Why Meal Replacements May Not Be Recommended
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the meal replacement shake. Before we answer the big question – can they really help with weight loss, here are some things to consider and why they may not be recommended.
Nothing Substitutes Chewing
Aside from the fact that actually chewing your food is awesome and many people like the taste of real food, chewing actually helps to suppress appetite. There are anatomical mechanisms at work that tell your body to produce saliva and other chemicals to help you feel satisfied after chewing and swallowing for a long time.
It’s Not A Complete Source of Food
Meal replacement shakes generally contain a moderate dose of protein and some vitamins and minerals. This is decent, but when we look at food from the perspective of full macronutrients you are missing carbohydrates and fat (yes, they’re essential).
This means that, in most cases, even the best products like EvoShake are not complete sources of nutrition. However, like we said before, all of this can be changed by adding it with some oats, fruit or other food in smaller portions.
Can meal Replacement Really Help With Weight Loss?
The big question – are they effective.
Well, yes – they are, and here’s why.
Above everything that we said about how they can be good or bad, meal replacement shakes will help you to manage your calories and consume a very clean source of protein with vitamins and minerals (that you could be missing).
This, in turn, could not only help to balance your hormones, but the protein content can help to repair soft tissue like muscles and ligaments from exercise, as well as boosting your metabolism and keeping you regular.
It is, however, important to understand that just because they are called “meal replacements” does not mean they are a full replacement for eating a complete diet.
In my opinion, even the best products like EvoShake are a short-term fix for a long-term lifestyle choice. Yes, meal replacements are great for getting started off, but you’re not going to drink these forever, right?
If you’re new to the game of exercise and weight loss, a meal replacement shake can be the perfect product to get you started off on the right food. When you combine them with a balanced diet and an even better workout program you have a recipe for success.
Gabriello is a writer and strength expert best known for his science-based and practical approach to Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Strength. After serving in a directors position for The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Gabriello moved towards writing to help more people understand the importance of living a healthy life. Gabriello’s writings have been published in several languages on some of the largest health and fitness websites helping people learn, grow and understand the complex components of optimizing human performance in a simplistic way.
Gabriello also takes on specialized, high-performance athletes who are in need of strength, mobility and conditioning programming to optimize their fitness through his Earned Fitness program.
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