How do Meal Replacement Shakes work? Meal replacement shakes are not meant to replace all your meals completely. The focus is keeping the calories you take lower than what you would have consumed in a typical meal. The point here is to help you feel full and wait until the next meal while only taking a few calories. This is achieved through careful selection of ingredients so that they include more proteins and fiber to block hunger as well as vitamins and minerals to help maintain a healthier body.
Why Do You Need Meal Replacement Shakes
We are being pulled in a million different directions with real world responsibilities – work, family, friends, kids, hobbies. These responsibilities are important, they make us happy, they bring us joy, they are necessary, but they require serious time and energy.
And if you’re anything like me, when your responsibilities grow, your health suffers.
You skip that workout on the calendar. You don’t stick to that diet you vowed to follow.
Your health suffers because you’re selfless.
I needed some help – a healthy, convenient, affordable, and satisfying way to make sure my health maintains a priority.
What are these products I’m talking about? Meal Replacement Shakes.
I know, you’re probably thinking about some shake from the 90’s that wears mom jeans and a crew neck sweatshirt but hold your judgment! Given the maturity of the health food market the top rated meal replacement shakes are NOTHING like they used to be. But first let’s explore exactly what these meal replacement shakes are…
What the Heck are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal Replacement Shakes are fairly self-explanatory – shakes that supplement or replace a meal.
The shakes typically consist of a healthy balance of high proteins, vitamins, and minerals and low carbohydrate, fat and calories.
But the true power of meal replacement shakes are in their versatility and convenience. Body builders and busy moms alike benefit from meal replacement shakes despite typically having very different health goals.
Meal replacement shakes are not a new concept. However, over the last 25 years our understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle has changed drastically. Not to mention that shakes in the early days tasted like chalk!
Luckily improvements to nutritional contents and taste have helped meal replacement shakes recapture the interest of the health industry and its consumers.
When used regularly as a replacement for breakfast or lunch, these shakes conveniently curb over-eating and help maintain a balanced diet—helping you achieve your desired look, faster.
Meal replacement shakes are either prepackaged shakes or come in powder form. Simply add a scoop to cold water or milk, mix and enjoy! Pretty easy, huh?
What are the Main Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes?
Now that you know what these shakes are, let’s address their benefits.
Meal replacement shakes are:
- fortified with healthy vitamins and minerals
- perfect for a busy lifestyle – Convenient packaging and zero preparation!
- high protein, low carbohydrate and low calories promoting weight loss
- effective at curbing hunger and preventing harmful snacking
- tasty, light and fulfilling meal that leaves you satisfied and,
- an affordable alternative to expensive health foods.
Selecting the best meal replacement shakes
The best meal replacement shakes should be made from the right ingredients to help in blocking hunger for a longer period. Here are important indicators of a great meal replacement shake:
- Has high protein content: An ideal shake should have about 15 grams of proteins per serving. Good examples include pea proteins and whey protein that have amino acids that help build muscles, slow down the release of calories, and enhance cells regeneration.
- High fiber content: Fibers have been demonstrated to help block hunger and promote better gut health.
- Low sugar and carb: A meal replacement shake with low carbs and sugar will encourage the body to burn stored fat for extra energy supply.
- Does not contain artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colorings: If a shake contains artificial sweeteners it raises the risk of blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance. Besides, it should not contain artificial colors and flavorings because they introduce toxins and radicals that can cause problems like cancer.
- Other ingredients to check when selecting the best meal replacement shake include probiotics and omega-3 fats.
Meal replacement shakes and blocking hunger
The best meal replacement shake should be capable of blocking hunger for more hours. Manufacturers target helping users to stay away from unhealthy snacks in between the main meals. Some of the best meal replacement shakes can help you feel full for up to 4 hours. You can, therefore, be sure of staying from breakfast to lunch or lunch to supper without feeling hungry.
How long should you take meal replacement shakes?
When people turn to meal replacement shakes, one objective is cutting on weight. The secret in these shakes is helping you take fewer calories and lose more. Note that the target is not to deny you the good things, but ensuring that you meet the targeted weight reduction levels and stay healthy. The ideal weight loss should be 1-2 pounds per week. However, some people might want to lose weight faster, which is okay.
After reaching the target weight, many people want to continue using the shakes for better health. You can continue using them as long as the body is supplied with all the necessary nutrients to keep it healthy and calories to provide enough energy.
Combining meal replacement shakes with exercises
Exercise should be a part and parcel of your lifestyle whether you are using meal replacement shakes or not. When you combine meal replacement shakes with exercises, you will cut weight and build on lean muscles faster. Remember that when using meal replacement shakes and exercise, an additional serving is required after a workout session to help rebuild worn-out muscle cells. Besides, the number of hours that you can block hunger using shakes when doing exercises is lower because the body requires more calories.
The Top Rated Meal Replacement Shakes
Have you heard of P90X or Insanity? These extremely popular high-intensity cardio and strength training workouts are the pride and joy of Beachbody, one of the largest names in the fitness industry today.
Well, Beachbody also is dabbling in the meal replacement shake game – enter Shakeology. This well-balanced option has great brand recognition due to the Beachbody name.
Our favorite aspect of Shakeology is their wide selection of flavors including Chocolate Vegan, Greenberry and Tropical Strawberry Vegan.
The product has some shortcomings compared to other top rated meal replacement shakes. Although not necessarily the deal breaker, the shake is relatively expensive. At $130 per month supply, each daily serving costs $4.33.
Also, Shakeology has a higher calorie count compared to other tested shakes. Further research suggests this is probably due to the use of fructose as a sweetening agent.
Overall, Shakeology is a pretty good choice. It has some great qualities, but in our minds those do not overcome the high cost and caloric values.
#2: Evolv Shakes
Coming in at number two is Evolv Shakes. They are soy free, contain all natural ingredients, and include zero artificial flavors or sweeteners. Also, Evolv is chalk-full of vitamins, minerals, and what they call “Mod Carb” which is a blend of grains and amino acids. Evolv is also high in protein (12g per serving). Evolv packs a lot of good stuff into their shake and it still tastes awesome!
A big complaint with many meal replacement shakes is that they don’t keep you full long enough to be a proper meal replacement, leading to additional snacking and calories. But not Evolv. The shake packs in 5 grams of fiber per serving to keep you feeling full.
Evolv is a mid-priced product at $3.00 per shake ($42 per 14 servings). Although we don’t love the price our big knock on Evolv is the high sugar levels – 8g per serving! I don’t care what anyone says if I’m dieting and am going to spend my sugars wisely, and it will be on ice cream.
Thankfully, the top product in this list seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to finding a solid meal replacement shake.
#1: Idealshape Shake
Topping the charts is the popular Ideal Shape Shake. According to the company website, this supplement is designed to taste great and keep you satisfied. Also it has the right balance of high protein, high fiber, low calorie, low sugar and essential vitamins and minerals to help you reach your ideal shape.
Ideal Shape Shake tastes great – I’m a big fan of the chocolate and vanilla flavor – and only contains 100 calories and 1g of sugar!
Another plus is the price. Each shake costs just $1.33 – super affordable and probably a large reason why Ideal Shape Shake is so popular.
Since I’m usually quite skeptical of products that seem too good to be true, I did a little digging into Ideal Shape Shake to see if it is really all it’s cracked up to be.
What I found was shocking!
It turns out Ideal Shape Shake does a fantastic job as a proper meal replacer (read: keeps you full). For us this is a huge benefit. Despite if we use meal replacement shakes as a healthy supplemental snack or an actual meal replacement, feeling full and satisfied is paramount to reduce snacking and ingesting unneeded calories.
Finally, the company has great customer service out of their offices in Utah and has a 30-day money back guarantee – so you know you’ll be taken care of, even if the shake doesn’t meet your expectations.
I think it’s clear why this meal replacement shake out-performs the other two products on this list, but if you’d like to know more check out my Ideal Shape Shake Reviews.
Meal Replacement Shakes Pros and Cons
Meal Replacement Shakes can be bought almost anywhere (business establishments or online) and you can buy one for yourself without having any prescriptions from your doctor or dietician. However, no matter how promising these replacement shakes are, there’s always a downside to everything. In this editorial, we’ll digest the advantages and disadvantages of MRPs or Meal Replacement Products.
We all know that many people, especially those who are conscious about fitness, are attracted to many meal replacement shakes. It’s easy to prepare and cost less than two dollars per serving. As a result, more and more companies manufacture different shakes with different purposes. More often than not, the purpose of taking meal replacement shakes as a substitute for a regular meal is either to lose or gain weight. Meal replacement shakes are low in calories and are fortified with protein, carbohydrates, fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. More so, many manufacturers were able to resolve the chalky taste of their MRPs by introducing different flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, cappuccino, mocha, and more other flavors.
There are several advantages that dieticians could cite when it comes to meal replacement shakes. One of which is to suppress the cravings of eating more meals by replacing 1 or 2 regular meals in a daily basis. This is to avoid appetite cravings and makes sure that the body has its enough dosage of the vitamins and minerals it needs. As stated above, people who wanted to lose or gain weight go for meal replacement shakes as how their dieticians instructed.
However, there is always a downside to every diet plan such as taking meal replacement shakes. Yes, they are called meal replacements. However, it doesn’t intend to replace all of your meals in a daily basis nor it suggests that you take them for the rest of your life. Take note that these shakes have directions to follow and must only be taken in a specific amount of time. Many people abuse the consumption of MRPs and would no longer take their regular solid food meal.
Keep in mind that these meal replacement shakes are liquid and may not contain as much as fiber as your regular solid food meal does. The disadvantage of such could be issues with your bowel movement. Meal replacement shakes are really low in calories and may throw your body in a starvation mode. Remember that our body also needs water, fiber, sugar, and dairy products to function well. In addition, too much intake of protein shakes could also force your liver and kidney to work overtime.
In conclusion, meal replacement shakes are safe as long as you don’t overuse them. Always check with your doctor/dietician on what best diet plan could be applied in order to meet your targets. Consume it as directed and don’t go overboard.
Do Meal Replacement Shakes Work?
The theory behind meal replacement shakes is they take the place of a meal. They come in powdered form, nutritional bars, and packaged entrees. Nutritionists and weight loss specialists say they do but the question is — do they work? According to studies by the US Army they do.
The US Army used volunteers to study meal replacement shakes to see if they worked as well as low calorie diets. They found, in a 6 month period, the volunteers lost more weight than the comparison group on the low calorie diet. However, only 59% continued to use the replacement shakes after the study was done. The comparison group went back to their regular eating habits and gained back the weight they lost.
Another study done found more weight was lost by those using meal replacement shakes than any type of food based program. This study used 90 obese women and men and gave them 3 to 5 replacement meal shakes daily plus of food meal one time daily. The results showed 93% lost more weight than the food based group who only lost 55% of the weight in 16 weeks. When the study was done many of the people went back to their regular eating habits.
These studies show meal replacement shakes do work in a controlled setting but they also show that you can lose weight by using meal replacement shakes. That’s good because if you’re one of the overweight people then you can look forward to losing weight with a shake, bar, or entrée. The meal replacement shakes come in several different flavors to your desired tastes such as chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla. The nutritional bars come in a wide variety of flavors and ingredients to meet anyone tastes.
Meal replacement shakes normally contain whey which contains all the amino acids the body requires. Whey is one of the best substances for protein you can use whether you’re on a diet or not. You don’t have to worry if you’re getting all the amino acids or protein when you use whey either as a shake or when made into nutritional bars.
Losing weight is not easy but when you use a meal replacement shakes you can be sure you’re getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals the body needs to stay healthy. They will satisfy your sweet tooth and the nutritional bars will satisfy your snack fetish. Don’t worry, we all have snack fetishes, or as some people call them, cravings. Using the replacement shakes will help keep them under control so you’re not tempted to add a few sodas or chips to your diet.
Losing weight is not easy to do and it takes time, after all, it took a while to put the weight on, it’s going to take time to take it off. Using meal replacement shakes to help lose that weight is one of the best things you can do for your body and health. Besides losing weight, meal replacement shakes add all the essential nutrients to your body to keep you healthy.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe?
Just as its name suggests, meal replacement shakes are created as a replacement for a regular solid food meal. MRPs (Meal Replacement Products) are intended to substitute the five essential food groups: vegetables, meat, fruit, grains, and milk. There are many products in the market for which people can select which meal replacement shakes would work best for them. These shakes are most attractive to those who are health conscious and to those who watches their weight. Many of these meal replacement shakes promises weight loss/gain which made it extremely popular in the market these days. This is because it provides lower calorie content and more on protein.
Adults who are working in a fast paced life find this beneficial since they don’t have to spend time cooking or preparing a solid food meal. Since these shakes have been fortified with vitamins and minerals, another aim for which this was invented is to make sure that the consumer gets the necessary elements his/her body needed. However, for children, many pediatricians recommend that if parents want to have their kids take meal replacement shakes, they too must balance it with a regular food diet in order to train the child’s digestive system. For pregnant women, it is okay to take meal replacement shakes but never as a complete substitute for a regular meal. They could take these shakes as great snacks but never as a replacement for a well-balanced diet.
The overall idea of why such shakes are created is to promote a healthy intake of the vitamins and minerals that our body needs. Doctors also recommend meal replacement shakes in cases whereas the patient must undergo a liquid diet.
However, there are still many people who wanted to fast and lose weight more quickly. They no longer eat regular solid food meal and are completely inclined in drinking these meal replacements products alone. This may be unsafe especially when done without any medical supervision. If one wishes to go fasting with meal replacement shakes or is undergoing a liquid diet, one must consult his/her dietician for these specific shakes. The rationale behind that is because these particular shakes are needed to be well-studied in order to meet the right ratio of vitamins and minerals that their body really needs.
Keep in mind that meal replacement shakes are supplements and are only recommended for a specific period of time. These shakes are liquid and may not contain too much fiber for which one may experience issues with his/her bowel movements. Since these are low calorie shakes, it may greatly affect your metabolism and throw your body in a starvation mode if done for a very long time. Therefore, if you would completely substitute your everyday diet on meal replacement shakes alone, it may lead to some health problems.
So do Meal Replacement Shakes work? And are Meal Replacement Shakes safe for you; The answer is yes as long as they are consumed as directed.