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Meal Replacement Shakes – Good or Bad for Weight Loss?

There are several reasons why you might vouch for a simple shake in place of an entire meal. They are portable, easy to prepare, effortless, low in calories and help you lose weight.

But some also come with a downside to them. How do you go about getting the necessary information about a product before including it in your diet?

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Benefits:

One of the major benefits of using meal replacement shakes is that since they are a replacement for a meal, they tend to include all the necessary nutrients so as to keep it as balanced and healthy as a balanced meal. However, they are not the sole source of total nutrition. How you use a meal replacement shake is also important. Since they are low-cal, you may want to replace all your meals with meal replacement shakes. Doing so will not only put you into starvation mode with a hike in cravings but also throw your metabolism out of whack and you might end up reaching a plateau phase. The best approach is to go by replacing any one meal of the day. And to avoid extreme calorie restriction, you can add a fruit or a small bowl of salad to go with your shake.

The simple science behind weight loss suggests that the intake for calories should be lesser than the output. This means, cutting down on calorie in a smart way will not only help you overcome weight loss but also get rid of untimely hunger pangs, sugar cravings and fatigue. Using a protein rich meal replacement shake in a more rational manner in combination with other weight loss methods such as, regular exercises for at least 30 minutes and making small but impactful lifestyle changes may help you achieve your goal sooner.

Another important benefit that shakes have over meals are that they are convenient.  Easy to carry along and have on the go, easy to prepare/ store makes meal replacements a better way to follow a healthy diet pattern. Being a product that offers convenience, it cuts down the chances of skipping meals among those who being short on time are unable to eat a healthy meal.

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Considerations:

While a meal replacement is a good way to mind your calories, there are also certain risks that come with meal replacements. Meal replacement shakes being supplements do not have to meet the same strict regulations as other foods. This gives high possibility to certain products to bear health claims in advertisements which are not scientifically backed. While there might also be products that do have some scientific credibility but their nutritional quality might be hampered by the use of filler agents like sugar or thickeners in order to enhance the taste and texture of the product.

An ideal meal replacement shake may have some amount of sugar or fat but this is usually kept to the minimum amount so as to not interfere with the nutrition quality of the product. That is why it important for customers to always read nutritional label on every product before making a purchase.

Here are a few points that a good quality meal replacement should provide:

  • It should be low in calories, 125-150 kcals/ serving as compared to a normal meal.
  • It should contain 15-20 gm. of good quality class one protein. This much amount of protein is required for maintaining satiety for a longer period of time.
  • The sugar levels should not exceed beyond 5-10 gm. per serving. Also check for the presence of dietary fibre.
  • It should be taking into consideration the inclusion of necessary vitamins and minerals apart from the main macronutrients.
  • Additionally, look for helpful fortifications from herbs, amino acids or compounds like antioxidants that help you also maintain overall well-being.

While meal replacements can take you a long way towards your weight loss goals, you must pay attention to their nutrition labels. Make sure you keep in mind the above considerations to make an informed decision while choosing your meal replacement shake.

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