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Meal replacement shakes are often an option when you’re short on time and want a meal that’s easy to pack and consume; also when trying to control or lose weight.
A weight loss meal replacement shake is designed to replace breakfast, lunch or dinner and has fewer calories than one of these foods usually has. Ideally it should have certain components that are nutritious and help you feel full; in addition to a low content of added sugars.
Meal replacement shakes are high in protein. Protein consumption can reduce your appetite, help you lose weight and maintain muscle.
Protein keeps you feeling full better than fats and carbohydrates, according to research published in Nutrition Journal. This helps you feel full and reduce cravings.
Meal replacement shakes should also be high in fiber, at least 3 grams. Fiber makes you feel full longer. Adds volume but few calories. “In studies of people on different types of diets, those on high-fiber diets tended to eat about 10 percent fewer calories,” the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shares.
How well do shakes work for weight loss?
According to WebMD, meal replacement shakes can help you lose weight. However, it is not a plan that works for everyone and has successful results that are sustained in the long term. The kilos can be regained by returning to normal eating habits.
Shakes should be part of a balanced diet
As part of a balanced diet, shakes can help you lose weight. But the ingredients, portion sizes, and overall meal plan will make a difference.
Premade shakes are often made from highly processed ingredients or artificial, they can also be low in fiber and protein, added to the fact that they can also include added sugars to improve their flavor.
Shakes do not offer the same nutrients as a full meal on its ownwhich means the other meals will need to be specially balanced to compensate, says Kacie Vavrek, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Vavrek advises making smoothies at home and making sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, such as fresh or frozen bananas, berries, peaches or mangoes, and a handful of spinach or kale; They are good sources of fiber and natural vitamins and minerals.
Yogurt can add fat (good fats are needed by the body, too), and whey protein powder is an easy addition to meet protein needs.
Taking a meal replacement shake alone is not enough, for the quantity and variety of nutrients that the body needs as well as for its caloric content. Although to lose weight there must be a calorie deficit, consuming too few calories a day is dangerous for your health.
For each meal, you should aim to consume about 325 to 400 calories, 15 to 25 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 10 to 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, says dietitian Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, author of The Superfoods Rx Diet. Otherwise, you’re likely to get hungry again quickly, she shares via Prevention.
A daily calorie intake goal is different for everyonedue to factors such as age, gender, weight, and activity level.
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