The two most effective ways of weight loss are diet and exercise. Among these measures, dietary measures are of particular significance. Exercise has innumerable health benefits; however, burning calories is challenging without dietary measures.
When we talk about dietary measures for weight loss, it means normalizing daily calorie intake. However, restricting calorie intake does not mean reducing the intake of essential macro and micronutrients. Therefore, the change should be qualitative rather than quantitative.
None of the dietary measures says that one should give up proteins, fats, or carbs. Instead, what dietary measures say is to consume high-quality macronutrients and get an abundant number of micronutrients daily.
However, the problem with following various dietary recommendations is that it requires lots of learning. Thus, one of the more straightforward ways could be adding meal replacement plans to a regular diet.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Effective for Weight Loss?
Meal replacement plans are an effective way of weight loss. But, more importantly, it minimizes the risk of nutritional deficiencies that may occur due to dietary restrictions. These plans are created by dietitians and nutritionists, containing vital macro-and micronutrients.
These meal plans provide much-needed nutrients. They add little to a daily calorie intake and are yet contain vital nutrients that are challenging to get via diet.
Most of these meal replacement plans are shakes that require no cooking and are easy to add to the daily routine. One may use them to replace meals or consume along with well-planned nutrient-dense meals. They are also good to consume before a workout.
However, the question remains, are they effective? Do they aid in weight loss?
Many clinical studies indicate that these plans may work in different scenarios. For example, in one of the studies in 100 obese people aged 35-65 years, researchers found that 12-weeks of meal replacement treatment could considerably help weight loss (7 kg vs. 2.9 in the control group).
As one can see from the above study, it is possible to lose weight without meal replacement plans, too. But using meal replacement plans would accelerate the results. Not to say that it would also reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Studies found that in the long run, meal replacement plans are pretty economical. Thus, a study found that six months of effort in 63 patients failed to help reduce body weight. However, meal replacement plans helped reduce 7% body weight in six months.
The meal replacement plan is good because it is more effective than a traditional weight loss diet. In one of the first systemic reviews (pooling of data from multiple studies), researchers found that meal replacement plans cause significant weight loss when used for three or more months. In addition, people with meal replacement plans are less likely to drop their efforts in the long run due to better results.
Weight loss is one thing; maintaining it is another challenge. Studies show that meal replacement plans help maintain body weight, reduce inflammation, stress, and oxidative stress. Thus, it is a healthier way of weight loss and weight maintenance.
The Science Behind Meal Replacement Products
Meal replacement products are based on principles supported by decades to research. They do not contain any chemicals. It is still a portion of food, but it is well-balanced and nutrient-dense.
Thus, most meal plans would provide a greater amount of dietary fiber, something the western diet is deficient in. For example, recommendations say that an adult should consume 30 g or more of dietary fiber, but in the US or other western nations, people are just consuming half of it.
Dietary fiber helps normalize gut function and mood, boost metabolism, reduce inflammation, and even improve heart and brain health.
Similarly, meal replacement plans contain high-quality proteins with an excellent amino acid profile. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for people to understand the amino acid profile of proteins. However, by consuming meal replacement shakes, one does not need to worry about it.
Higher protein intake means adequate lean mass, improved satiety, mood, reduced stress. Moreover, these proteins in meal replacement shakes are low-inflammatory proteins, which is equally important, as science shows that inflammatory proteins make chronic ailments worse.
Meal replacement shakes or plans achieve this by mixing various kinds of proteins to contain a perfect blend. Thus, they contain whey protein, egg white, collagen protein. This means that these proteins are good for muscles and connective tissues, boosting immunity, reducing fatigue, and much more.
Another vital macronutrient is fats. However, it is almost impossible for people to understand the fatty acid profile of each vegetable oil. For example, meal replacement plans contain short-, medium, and long-chain fatty acids in the right balance. Moreover, they contain omega-3 and 6 in the proper ratio to reduce inflammation and boost heart and brain health.
These fats are from multiple sources blended in the right amount. Thus, they contain fats from coconut, olive oil, cocoa butter, flaxseed, and much more.
No meal replacement plan would be complete without micronutrients. Thus, a good meal replacement plans contain all vitamins and minerals.
Not only that, good meal plans contain many non-nutrients. These dietary elements are needed for optimal health. Thus, meal replacement plans contain digestive enzymes (to prevent bloating), probiotics (gut health and immunity), and antioxidants.
What to Look for in a Meal Replacement Shake?
There are many meals replacement shakes in the market, and choosing the right one may be challenging. Thus, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, ensure that it is low in carbs but high in dietary fiber. After all, getting carbs is never a challenge, so why spend money on shakes.
Next, look at the content of proteins and fats. Here pay particular attention to protein blend. For example, some shakes might only contain whey or other milk proteins. While high-quality meal replacement shakes, contain proteins from multiple sources like milk, egg, and even collagen proteins.
Further, pay attention to the fatty acids content. Any meal replacement plant should be rich in high-quality fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, some shakes may also be suitable for those on specific diet forms like the keto diet.
Finally, look at the content of micronutrients. Any meal replacement should contain all vital vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiencies. Additionally, it should be easy to digest, rich in probiotics and antioxidants, and free from GMOs
Obesity is a considerable problem. If unmanaged, it may considerably increase the risk of metabolic disorders, arthritis, and many other ailments. Though people are aware of the benefits of optimal body weight, they find planning a diet quite challenging. Meal replacements shakes are for easy diet planning.
Using meals replacement shakes means that one does not need to think about macro and micronutrients. These shakes are packed with all vital nutrients, ensuring that meal replacement does not lead to nutritional deficiencies. More importantly, it significantly boosts weight loss efforts. Using meals replacement shakes is an almost sure-shot way of weight loss.