Nov 7, 2022
Reviewing the Effectiveness and Purpose of Meal Replacement Shakes
When people are looking for ways to speed up their meals or streamline their diets, they may turn to meal replacement shakes. A meal replacement shake is a drink designed to replace a specific meal — breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Additionally, the shake is usually lower in calories than a typical meal and high in protein.
On the surface, replacement shakes sound like a dream come true for the busy dieter, but you must remember what makes up a healthy diet. Most dieticians and nutritionists recommend an average man consumes 2,000 to 3,000 calories, and an average woman consumes between 1,500 and 2,400 calories. Of course, the specific caloric intake for individuals will depend on various factors. However, all experts agree a healthy diet should include:
- Fresh fruit
- Dairy products
- Whole grains
- Oils and Fats
In general, replacement shakes do not include grains, fruits, or vegetables. However, the drinks do contain many essential vitamins and nutrients. Still, are replacement shakes a healthy choice for your diet?
Understanding How Meal Replacement Shakes Work
Manufacturers formulate replacement shakes to meet essential nutritional guidelines, but all producers are not created equal. When looking for a meal replacement option, you will want to research your choices, including protein sources and fiber content.
Essentially, meal replacement beverages reduce meal calories and pump up or sustain the nutritional content. Studies do show the effectiveness of replacement shakes, but it is easy to overdo it or become too dependent on such drinks for your entire diet, which can be problematic, depending on the drink.
Key Advantages of Meal Replacement Shakes
The primary advantages of replacement shakes are the number and variety of nutrients and the low number of calories in each serving. Additional benefits of the shakes include:
- Added fiber
- Ease of use
- Flavor variety
Disadvantages of Meal Replacement Shakes
Some meal replacement options are too low in calories to be considered valid replacements. For instance, many popular brands are only between 150 and 200 calories per serving. Drinks below 200 calories are likely better as snacks and not meal replacements. Still, low calories are not always a bad thing, so it is a pro and con.
Additionally, many meal replacement shakes contain artificial ingredients because of the production process. Many meal replacement shakes can also contain added sugars or potential allergens.
Therefore, consumers must read labels carefully to ensure they get the most out of their meal replacement beverage. A quality meal replacement should contain at least three grams of fiber and more protein than carbohydrates.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Healthy?
Many meal replacement shakes are healthy in moderation and beneficial for losing or maintaining weight. However, the effectiveness of the beverage typically comes down to the way it is made and the nutrients it possesses.
As with any dietary supplement, you should discuss meal replacement options with your primary care physician before adding them to your diet. Your doctor can help you determine if a replacement shake is the best option for you.
Meal replacement shakes can help many people control their weight. However, whether the drinks are healthy has a lot to do with production and your personal health.