Meal replacement shakes have become essential products for wellness. They can be used to maintain or support weight loss. Even though these products are found everywhere in the market, most consumers are still not aware of their pros and cons. Besides that, some of them still cannot tell the difference between a meal replacement and a protein shake. To help you understand all this, below is an overview of meal replacement shakes.
What Is A Meal Replacement Shake?
It is a powder, liquid, or a bar that acts as a food substitute. Meal replacement shakes are supplements which dieters use to replace solid foods. Consumers usually serve them in calorie-controlled portions. Dieters are required to take meal replacement twice or once per day.
Difference between Meal Replacement and Protein Shake
Protein shakes and meal replacement shakes are dietary supplements which are almost similar. They are unique formulas which help dieters attain their fitness goals, which could be either shedding excess pounds, enhancing the development of lean muscles, or maintaining a healthy weight. Outlined below are some of the key differences between protein and meal replacement shakes.
- Contain high amounts of proteins per serving. Most protein-rich supplements have 20-25g of protein for each serving.
- Dieters mostly use them as sources of fuel, especially during intense workouts. They help to build, tone and repair worn out muscles.
- Most of them have few minerals and vitamins compared to meal replacement shakes. However, they have high amounts of calcium.
Meal Replacement Shakes
- Acts as substitute to regular meals.
- Contain more carbs, fat, and calories compared to protein shakes.
- Have low amounts of protein content and are rich in minerals and vitamins.
How to Choose Best Meal Replacement Shake
If you are looking for products that can help you supplement your meals, then you need to use meal replacement shakes. They are usually low-calorie products which supply the body with macro- and micronutrients which the body needs for growth and development. But how can you pick the best meal replacement shake?
Read the Label
A good meal replacement shake should have a few calories. Note that the main reason why people use shakes is to consume fewer calories without experiencing hunger pangs. The label contains details such as the type of ingredients found in the supplement and their content.
Make sure that the meal replacement shake is able to mix with a variety of liquids including water, milk, smoothies, or juice. A shake that sticks on the side of the blender or shaker bottle reduces your full intake per serving.
Minerals and Vitamins
The best meal replacement shakes in the market have high amounts of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C, iron, calcium, zinc, and the B-vitamins. Generally, a good shake should have at least 18 different minerals and vitamins in order for it to perform its functions efficiently.
Can They Really Promote Weight Loss?
Research shows that most people are able to lose weight if they reduce their daily calorie intake. So, meal replacement shakes can promote weight loss. They are products which contain fewer calories per serving than most meals. Additionally, they promote the feeling of satiety by reducing hunger pangs. Generally, this means that they supply your body with a few numbers of calories and reduce the consumer’s general food intake, thereby promoting weight loss.
Pros & Cons of Meal Replacement Shakes
The best meal replacement shakes contain ingredients that support weight loss and enhance wellness. These products are excellent sources of carbs and calories hence they are perfect for use by athletes.
Some of the benefits of using meal replacement shakes include:
Great Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acid
A consumer-friendly meal replacement shake not only contains vitamins and minerals but also fatty acids. The Omega-3 fatty acid is important in reducing cell inflammation, enhancing immunity, and improving mental health.
Treat Nutritional Deficiencies
The best meal replacement shakes are healthier than most people think. They contain essential minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, Vitamin B, E, and K all of which can help treat various types of nutritional deficiencies by supplying the body with all the necessary elements.
Great for Calorie Tracking
Managing weight, whether it’s losing or gaining, can be hectic. You need to constantly monitor the number of calories that you consume on a daily basis. Apart from that, you need to estimate how far or close you are from the target. Meal replacement shakes make it easier to track calories since each serving has already been measured.
Suitable for Athletes
Whether you need more carbs, calories, or proteins, there are various types of shakes that are designed to cater to the different needs of consumers. They are suitable for athletes as well as other physically active people who need nutrient-rich foods at cost-friendly prices.
However, taking a meal replacement shake isn’t all smooth. In other words, some of them contain harmful ingredients, low amount of calories, and nutrients hence the may cause allergic reactions and other health effects.
Some of the downsides of using meal replacement shakes include:
Too Much Phytochemicals
According to most manufacturers, meal replacement shakes are nutrient-rich products which contain micronutrients such as fat, carbs, and protein. In addition to those, they also contain calories and micronutrients like minerals and vitamins. However, most of them contain high amounts of phytochemicals i.e. plant-based chemicals which are can cause serious health issues.
Meal replacement shakes, especially those that promote weight loss contain fewer calories. A low-calorie supplement isn’t great for the consumer’s overall health since it mostly contains fewer nutrients and artificial fillers. Note that most of these shakes have less than 200 calories.
Low Protein Content
All dieters want different types of supplements to cater to their needs. Some want shakes with high amounts of carbs, high-fat content, fewer calories, etc. This means that it’s impossible for a company to produce a well-balanced blend of supplements. Unlike protein shakes, these products usually have low amounts of protein and may trigger nutritional deficiencies.
Meal replacement shakes are among the most effective products that support weight loss. They are manufactured by different brands; hence they have different amounts of protein, calories, and carb content. Generally, a meal replacement shake is a formula that consumers use to replace solid meals and it should be taken once or twice per day only.