Meal Replacement: Is It For You?

If you are looking for a simple and easy way of losing weight, then meal replacement may be the diet solution you are looking for! Meal replacement is a scientifically proven weight loss option that fits into any schedule and can be integrated into any diet program.

Meal Replacement: What is It?

Meal replacement is the substitution of one or two of one’s daily meals with specially formulated diet shakes, bars, puddings, and other snacks. These meal substitutes are concocted to contain a wide range of essential nutrients required by the body.  Meal replacement shakes and bars are low in carbohydrates and rich in protein; the typical ratio is 1:2. The ideal calorie content is 200-400 calories.

Meal replacement diet shakes shouldn’t be confused with protein shake. The latter, also called a smoothie, are only rich in protein – they lack many essential nutrients, fats, and carbohydrates. They are designed to increase your protein intake but not to replace a meal.

Meal Replacements vs. Traditional Diets

In 2000, Obesity Research published a study on how meal replacements aid in weight loss. The research included 100 subjects with excessive weights (79 were females and 21 were males in the 35 – 55 age group). Half of the participants were put into a 1500-calorie diet, while the other half were put into a meal replacement diet (2 meal replacement products (MRP) and 1 regular meal). After 3 months, the traditional dieters reported losing 1.7 pounds; the MRP group shed 7 pounds.

Clearly, MRP is very effective in helping people lose weight. However, like other diet programs, it is not for everyone.

Meal replacement is ideal for:

People who eat too often

  • People who often eat fatty foods or high-caloric foods.
  • People who want to keep their weight off for the long term.
  • People who have no time preparing healthy food.
  • People who don’t mind drinking their food.
  • People who just had gastric banding and are not yet allowed to eat solid foods.

Meal replacement is not for you if:

  • You prefer the taste of real food, or chewing food than drinking it. You should stick to traditional healthy food.
  • You love variety in the food you eat.  Some people find meal replacements boring after a while, as the flavors are rather limited.
  • You love to cook.
  • You’re on a tight budget. MRPs are rather expensive.
  • If you have lactose intolerance. Most MRPs are based on skimmed milk.

Getting Into Routine and How to Avoid Getting Bored

Most plans recommend substituting 2 meals with meal replacement bars, shakes, soup, or other snacks.  You are also encouraged to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Although replacing breakfast and lunch is what’s recommended, dieters would get most out of the program if they substitute the meal that’s giving them the most trouble. For instance, if you love eating fast food breakfast, eat a meal replacement bar instead.

To avoid getting bored, sample different MRPs. Vary your meal replacement schedule – you use, for instance, 2 replacement meals on some days, and use only one when schedule allows you to prepare real healthy meals.

To add more fiber to your diet, eat fresh fruits and nuts as snacks. You’ll be pleased to have something to chew!

Rate of Weight Loss on Meal Replacement Diet

This would depend on the amount of calorie you consume in a day. Generally speaking, if you limit your intake to 1200 -1400 calories a day, you will lose around 1 -2 pounds a week.

As with other diet products, there are lots of meal replacement products and programs out there. Take time to read professional and actual customer reviews about the products out there to find out which ones are effective and which ones don’t work.

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