What’s the best method for weight loss? One option is the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss. In recent years, protein shakes have increased in popularity. They’re often used by athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders who want to boost their protein intake. It can help to achieve results like lean muscle mass. The body uses protein for different functions, like muscle building and repair. It’s also needed for other functions like healthy hair and skin. Another popular use of these replacement shakes is for weight loss. That’s because you can get all your daily nutrients from one nutritious and delicious shake.
What’s the big deal about meal replacement? The weight loss industry is big business throughout the world. One of the main issues when losing weight is to do it safely and healthily. For example, various fad diets can help you lose weight quickly. However, they’re often not based on scientific research and might take extreme approaches like starvation diets. Fun Fact: Health experts generally recommend losing 1-2 pounds/week since more could lead to muscle loss. If you lose weight gradually, you’ll also be more likely to keep the weight off. That’s less likely on extreme weight loss programs.
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
First, it’s important to talk about what meal replacement itself is all about. Today you can find various products on the market, including protein shakes and nutrition bars. These foods/supplements are used to replace regular meals, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Six decades ago, the first meal replacement product called “Metrecal” launched in 1959. Interestingly the diet products followed the “baby food diet” that still exists today. This product was introduced to meet the demand of people who wanted to lose weight.
One of the main criticisms of Metrecal was the taste/texture. SlimFast launched 40+ years ago in 1977 and is still around today. Since that era, the global weight-loss industry has sky-rocketed in value to over $212 billion. You can find a wide range of products on the market today like protein powders, which promise to help you shed pounds and burn fat.
What was Metrecal all about? The canned drink included added protein, vitamins, and minerals. It was the protein that caused the company to claim its product made it practical to “stop eating.” The company also promised that you would lose at least 3.5 pounds every week.
One of the main issues about this product is it was referred to as a shake but was far from the flavor of milkshakes. It’s been referred to as “chalk.” However, the customers didn’t seem to mind since their goal was to lose weight.
This drink became famous worldwide by the early 1960s. It was even served as an alcoholic drink with rum/nutmeg. Greece’s king drank a case at a time and the USA’s White House served a couple of flavors.
While Metrecal was the first meal replacement product there were 700+ products offered by 1963. However, the product was removed from supermarket shelves in 1978 as ordered by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
It’s now 60 years after Metrecal was launched. It’s safe to say the flavor and nutritional value of these shakes have improved. For example, one reason SlimFast became popular was the improved non-chalky flavor of its shakes. This became one of the most popular meal replacement products on the market.
If you’re looking for the best shakes, here are some key factors:
The calorie count of these shakes varies. However, you can find several that are about 200 calories. This is much lower than a typical meal on a 2000/2500 calorie diet. Even if you’re not doing calorie counting it’s important to drop calories if you want to lose weight.
This also shows why you should consider a product’s nutrition facts. If you’re just getting 200 calories or so it’s critical to make them count. Even if you’re just replacing one meal/snack per day you won’t want to get a low amount of nutrients. Even if it’s not exactly one-third of your daily needs it should be somewhat close.
When picking a shake, it’s a good idea to go with a high-protein product. This can help to boost weight-loss. Protein is very filling so you’ll be less likely to binge eat. Studies show that protein can help you eat fewer calories during the day since it’s very filling.
Make sure to consider not only the calories of a replacement shake but also your macro and micronutrients. Macros include carbs, protein, and fat. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. If you’re replacing an entire meal, then it’s critical to make sure you’re getting a good amount of nutrients.
How much should you get? If you’re replacing one meal then the nutrients should be about one-third of what you need for a whole day. This includes vitamins and minerals, and particular. These shakes shouldn’t replace real food during the day. However, they should still add to your day’s total nutrients.
Possible Drawbacks of Replacement Shakes
1. Short-term weight loss
One possible risk of using protein shakes for weight-loss is you’re using processed food to lose weight. This makes it more likely you could regain the weight after you stop consuming the shakes.
One way to avoid this problem is to only consume 1-2 shakes per day. This could be one meal and one snack, for example. The majority of your calories should always be from real food. That’s also true while you’re dieting. If you take this approach it will be easier to keep off any weight you lose.
2. Food additives
This is somewhat related to the nutritional value of the shakes. However, it’s specifically about stuff like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Even if a shake is low-calorie with a good macro split, these ingredients can offset many health benefits. Always read ingredient labels.
3. Not healthy eating
These shakes can help to cut calories. However, they don’t help to change eating habits that are very unhealthy. This should be your main goal since it will be more likely to produce long-term results.
Your daily meals must be healthy and well-balanced. This is in terms of macro and micronutrients. The actual macro ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats will vary. However, it’s always important to avoid foods like white sugar, refined grains, sugary drinks, and salty snacks. These foods are highly processed and provide few to no nutrients.
4. Unhealthy Ingredients
Always check the ingredients list before you pick a certain product. While replacement shakes can help you lose weight, they’re still not a whole food. Since they’re made in a factory sometimes companies add cheap unhealthy ingredients. You should watch out for added sugar in particular. This can cause weight gain since sugar turns to fat. Another red flag is artificial ingredients when picking the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss.