While you may try to eat 4 to 6 small meals per day that are made of high protein and low carb ingredients, it’s not always possible to do so, as preparing protein rich and low carb foods takes time, a commodity that is not always available for most people. So, when you’re not able to consume whole foods, although that should be your first choice, the next best thing is to have a meal replacement shake, which unlike processed junk food, will give you all the nutrients you need without any of the bad stuff.
Protein shakes are the best meal replacement option there is because unlike protein bars and MPRs, they are low in sugar. That said, you should never replace more than two meals a day with protein shakes.
Meal Replacement Shakes Advantages
A protein shake, also known as a meal replacement shake has the following advantages:
- It’s a practical on-the-go solution, which is why it’s often recommended to at least have a protein powder tub stored at your place of work, or have a place where you can go to purchase meal replacement shakes
- It prevents you from constantly thinking about food
- All the calories have already been counted for you
Meal Replacement Shakes vs. Protein Shakes
Contrary to popular belief, protein shakes and meal replacement shakes are two completely different things. The main difference between the two is that they contain different calories.
As the name implies, meal replacement foods are designed to replace a few of your meals per day, and this could include things like bars, puddings, soups, and snacks. On the other hand, meal replacement shakes are specifically designed to help with weight loss and management and will have a protein to carb ratio of 2:1 to provide you with all the nutrients you need while keeping the calories low.
Protein shakes contain protein, and often have little if any, carbohydrates, nutrients and fats. They’re also very low in calories and will not work as a form of meal replacement.
Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
Protein shakes, and meal replacement shakes are not exactly made to help you bulk up or lose fat, but are rather nutritious foods in powdered form, and are designed to help you maintain a healthy diet, which is why it’s not advisable to completely replace your meals with them.
How to Benefit from Meal Replacement Shakes
If you want to lose weight and get the most out of your meal replacement foods, try the following tips:
- You should never consume more than one meal replacement shake or snack per day unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
- Always get a meal replacement shake that has at least 200 calories and has a good balance of dietary fiber, carbohydrates, protein, fats and essential vitamins and minerals. This will ensure that you meet your caloric and nutritional requirements for the day while preventing hunger.
- Only use meal replacement shakes when necessary. For instance, you can opt for a meal replacement shake instead of eating a donut for breakfast or consume one serving to avoid skipping lunch. You can also consume a meal replacement shake if you’re too busy to make yourself a healthy dinner and are trying to avoid getting the munchies during the night.
- Again, try to limit your use of meal replacement shakes to those times when you truly need them, so that you don’t end up consuming them every day. However, you should choose them over junk food if those are the only two options you have, as the goal of having a meal replacement shake is to ensure that you get your required calorie intake for the day.
- Switch it up and use different meal replacement products to keep things interesting. This will help you prevent boredom from eating the same product.
- Always consume fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, because they’re a source of fiber and essential nutrients that you won’t necessarily get with homemade foods.
- Consume balanced meals regularly to maximize weight loss. This means consuming meals that contain a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, for example, meat/ fish/ tofu for protein, legumes/ vegetables and starches like potatoes as well.
How to Buy the Best Meal Replacement Shake
Consider the following tips while you’re shopping for a meal replacement shake:
- Choose a powder that you can easily mix in with milk, water or juice
- Go for a meal replacement shake that has a balanced combination of calories, from carbohydrates to protein, essential vitamins and minerals, good fats and dietary fiber.
- Opt for shakes that are low in sugar, trans-fats and saturated fats and specifically avoid shakes that are high in sugar.
- Choose a meal replacement shake with the right calorie content for your needs, whether that’s for weight loss or simple meal replacement.
- Consuming a meal replacement shake with excess sugar and few calories can defeat the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve because it will cause you to eat more.
- If you’re on a low carb diet, make sure only to consume meal replacements that are low in carbohydrates.
- Don’t go for the first brand you see. Make comparisons between the different options available, and choose the best one for you based on the carbohydrate, protein, fat and calorie content. Also, check how much of the carb content is made of sugar.
Tip: When looking for meal replacement shakes, try to look beyond Slimfast and Atkins products. Some of the products that are recommended by experts like bodybuilders include Labrada, Met-Rx and Myoplex. However, you have to consider your unique needs as well and make comparisons between the different options to find the one that best works for you.
Choosing a meal replacement shake based on the taste is not the best idea, as certain brands will add excess sugar and carbs in a bid to create milkshakes that are tasty with a thick and creamy texture, which then defeats the purpose of your weight-loss goals. Your best bet is to go for a supplement with the best combination of high-quality ingredients, and taste should be the last consideration you make when choosing such products.
Here are our top 10 choices for meal replacement shakes:
The 18 Shake was rightfully named the Best Diet Shake in 2018 due to its efficacy in aiding with appetite suppressing and weight loss. Users have given it a high rating for the variety that it provides.
It tastes good, doesn’t contain any filler, it blends well plus it tastes nice. Some clients have even reported experiencing benefits like sustained and consistent weight loss and appetite suppression over time due to consuming this product.
The criteria for a good meal replacement is that it should have a balance of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins as well as an all-natural ingredients list. 18 Shake meets and exceeds these standards, and is backed by a 30- day money back guarantee to prove it.
The best part is that they provide a list of all the amino acids contained within the product, as well as information on the power of amino acids.
As many customers agree, 18 Shake has earned its rating as the best shake for 2018 because not only does it help with weight loss, but it’s also nutritious and well-balanced.
- Backed by a 30-day money back guarantee
- Great at suppressing appetite
- Helps with weight loss
- Contains a combination of well-balanced ingredients
- There’s nothing to complain about when it comes to this shake, it’s well balanced and works well to suppress appetite
The Yoli YES is a convenient meal replacement shake that promises nourishment that’ll help you lose weight more efficiently while gaining and maintaining muscle through the supply of healthy amino acids. It’s available in canisters or packets and flavors including vanilla and chocolate.
The manufacturers of Yoli YES also offer two patented blends, including a type of whey protein called PuraWhey, as well as LeanImmune which contains a healthy combination of fruits and vegetables. While the PuraWhey blend is only available in a 90-calorie serving, it’s said to provide high doses of fiber and protein.
With 12 grams of whey protein, it’s safe to say that the Yoli YES shake is an optimal source of protein, although the inclusion of grass-fed protein raises the price quite considerably. Also, grass-fed whey doesn’t contain as many beneficial fats as its counterparts, so that’s something to think about as well.
The sweet flavor of this shake is made possible by the addition of stevia, xylitol, and Luo Han Guo, all of which are healthy sweeteners. However, the product is plagued by controversy over its use of Luo Han go, as not enough research has been done to establish the safety of this ingredient, as well as its use of guar gum which has a history of causing digestive issues in some people. That’s why the shake needs to be taken with a considerable amount of liquids to reduce the occurrence of side-effects.
Also, the LeanImmune blend has a low nutrient content even though it contains fruits and vegetables, which means that it won’t add any nutritional benefit to your diet.
- Helps to build and maintain muscle mass
- Available in two delicious flavors
- Helps with weight loss and weight management
- It has a low nutritional content
- Uses Luo Han guo and guar gum, which are both questionable sweeteners
Isagenix Isalean is made up of 23 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as 24 grams of protein. It’s clinically proven to support lean muscle growth.
This shake boasts a high nutritional content and is low in cholesterol, sodium, and fat. To consume, all you need to do is add it to some water or milk and enjoy a hormone-free and antibiotic-free drink.
It contains quite a lot of calories at 240 per serving and uses fructose as a sweetener, which is not good because it can stimulate appetite and cause cardiovascular damage. Also, the high caloric intake caused by this shake means that you’ll have to work twice as hard to burn calories at the gym, and because you’d have to take two of these shakes to get 480 calories, it requires a lot more in calorie intake than other meal replacement shakes. The protein contained in this is also a problem because most of it is made of milk protein concentrate and non-fat milk instead of high-quality whey.
- Contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals
- Supports lean muscle growth
- Free from hormones and antibiotics
- Has too much sugar and too many calories to help with weight loss really
- Contains cheap additives that may lead to weight gain
- Has a cheap form of protein
The Proti Diet brand offers several food products that are centered around weight loss including meal replacement shakes, snacks, puddings, meals and more. Their products are formulated to work only when used in conjunction with a balanced diet and lifestyle.
It is often recommended to use their entire selection of products to experience the full weight loss benefits because then you’ll be consuming foods that are not only filling but high in protein and low in calories, providing you with the necessary nutrients while suppressing the appetite. The intended purpose of Proti Diet products is that you should be able to sustain your weight loss even after you’ve stopped taking them.
That said, many who have tried Proti Diet shake complain that it’s not as filling as advertised is difficult to mix and has a chalky texture. Some found the advice provided to be insufficient and didn’t provide the needed support for weight loss purposes. Others even added that using these products doesn’t really lead to significant weight loss as expected, and that one must sacrifice a lot with little reward in return.
- Has a nice flavor
- Good price
- The shakes are quite filling
- Some users have complained that using this product didn’t lead to the weight loss that they expected
- Chalky texture
With just one scoop, Vega One promises to provide users with everything they need and boasts a list of healthy ingredients that include antioxidants, probiotics, plant-based protein and whole foods.
Most of the ingredients are organic, and the product is advertised as being gluten-free and nutritious, while the plant-based nutrition is said to reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases.
You may have seen Vega One products at your favorite store, as it’s quite a popular brand that’s widely available and because it’s made from organic ingredients, it’s considered to be quite an exceptional product when it comes to protein shakes. It’s also high in protein and has a great flavor.
On the other hand, this product has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism due to its lack of sufficient amino acids and the fact that it has caused allergic reactions for some users. Ideally, you want a protein shake that’s rich in amino acids and protein with high nutritional content, and natural ingredients that aid in sustained weight loss.
- Convenient to make
- Helps with weight loss
- Keep you full for long periods of time
- Contains plant protein which is great for whey-intolerant users
- It has a gritty texture
- Too much sodium
Vi-Shape is packed with 26 vitamins and minerals, as well as patented ingredients that include 3 different types of protein, fiber, and enzymes. It’s marketed as an efficient weight loss product that’s designed to help users reach their fitness goals, thanks to its minimal calories, good carbohydrates, reduced sugar, etc. The best part is that it comes with over 1,000 recipes to help you enjoy the shake in different ways.
Through an aggressive marketing campaign, Vi-Shape has managed to attract thousands with promises of providing efficient weight-loss support through healthy means. However, there have been complaints that the product leads to side-effects, which is most likely due to the inclusion of artificial ingredients, soy protein, and binders, all of which are known for their harmful effects.
The moral of the story here is always to check the ingredients list of a meal replacement shake to make sure that they’re suitable for you.
- Contains 26 vitamins and minerals
- High in protein
- Low in sugar and sodium
- Comes with 1,000 recipes
- Can cause allergic reactions and side effects
Shakeology is made from an unusual combination of superfoods that are known to help achieve weight loss. This shake also contains antioxidants to strengthen immunity, enzymes that help with proper digestion and adaptogens which help handle stress better.
Shakeology offers many other health benefits such as the ability to help build and maintain muscle, regulate blood sugar levels and increase energy. In addition to being flavorful, Shakeology is suitable to consume for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the pack comes with healthy recipes and food options to help kickstart your weight loss journey.
Unfortunately, Shakeology is very low in vital amino acids, uses fructose as a sweetener and is quite pricey. Many have found its high sugar and low nutritional content to be counteractive to its weight loss purposes. However, you can use it if you’re willing to stay disciplined for the whole 3-day course without cheating and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout.
- Comes with a booklet to support you in your 3-day weight-loss journey
- Easy to prepare
- Available in different flavors
- Offers tons of health benefits besides weight loss
- Some users have reported feeling sick or constipated after using this product
- It’s quite pricey
With the GNC Lean Shake, you have a meal replacement shake that promises to support weight loss while helping you control your blood sugar levels. With 25 grams of protein, this shake is very efficient at reducing appetite, although users are advised to drink at least 2 shakes a day, and supplement it with exercise and reduced calories to get the desired results.
Also contained in the shake are 24 vitamins and minerals which support the growth of lean muscle, while improving one’s metabolism. Another benefit of GNC Lean Shake is the fact that it’s an appetite suppressant that comes at a low price when compared to other similar products.
A few customers did notice some downsides with this product, such as feeling hungry even after drinking the shake, while others found it difficult to drink due to its strong taste. It’s also worth noting that this meal replacement shake is preserved with harmful additives that may cause allergic reactions for some users.
- 25 grams of protein
- 24 vitamins and minerals
- Improves metabolism
- Supports lean muscle growth
- Contains harmful additives and preservatives
This meal replacement shake has gone through rigorous clinical studies and tests which have proven it to be an effective weight-loss supplement that prevents hunger for up to 4 hours. This shake is available in 4 different flavors, including strawberries and cream, creamy chocolate, caramel latte and vanilla cream.
With only 1 gram of sugar and 20 grams of protein, this shake is made free from gluten and lactose, and its availability at various retail stores make it an accessible and popular option for many. However, just because something is popular doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check its labeling before purchasing it. While packed with beneficial fibers, vitamins, minerals, and proteins, it is also low in sugar, which is great.
However, the little bit of sugar that it does contain is made of artificial sweeteners and flavors which add to the calories and can make weight loss difficult for some. Its accessible price is made possible by the cheap proteins that the company uses, which include sucralose, an ingredient that has been clinically proven to cause tumors. Therefore it’s always a good idea to go with an all-natural meal replacement shake that doesn’t contain any additives.
- Contains only 1 gram of sugar
- 20 grams of protein
- Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber
- Contains tumor-causing sucralose protein
The Herbalife Formula is a well-known meal replacement shake brand that promises weight loss and lean muscle growth, thanks to its balanced ingredients list which includes 21 vitamins and minerals, low cholesterol, low fat and plant-based protein.
It’s available in a whopping 12 different flavors, and each serving contains 9 grams of protein. A few of its advertised benefits include weight loss support, a prolonged feeling of fullness and increased energy. That said, the Herbalife formula is not without its flaws, which include GMO soy, which is responsible for side-effects like reduced mineral intake while it disrupts the way your metabolism works. There are also artificial sweeteners in this product that promote weight gain instead of weight loss.
All of this shows that it’s better to opt for a GMO-free product that doesn’t contain any soy or artificial ingredients, as even the slightest amount of artificial sweeteners can cause metabolism disorder.
- 9 grams of protein with every serving
- Low-cholesterol and low-fat
- Promotes lean muscle growth
- Contains GMO-soy protein
- Has artificial sweeteners
- Some might experience side-effects and allergic reactions due to the additives
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
While meal replacement shakes are a well-known product, only a few people truly understand what these products can do for you and what they are.
The first step to understanding meal replacement shakes is first to distinguish what they’re not.
- A meal replacement shake is not the same as a protein shake. While meal replacement shakes do contain protein, they’re not the same as a dedicated protein shake.
- Consuming a meal replacement shake will not lead to miraculous weight loss. This is not to say that they don’t work, but one shouldn’t expect magical results.
- Consuming meal replacement shakes doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself, as they’re more of a weight-loss support product aimed at keeping you full and satisfied to prevent you from snacking or consuming processed food.
What Exactly is Meal Replacement Shakes?
- They’re a convenient way to replace certain meals during the day while still being able to meet your nutritional needs.
- Meal replacement shakes are an effective weight loss solution and have helped many people to adopt healthier lifestyles to help with weight loss.
- A good meal replacement shake should have the right quantity of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and good fats – all in adequate amounts. This way, you’ll know that you’re consuming the equivalent of a healthy meal with each serving.
Summary: Essentially, meal replacement shakes help with weight loss by cutting calories and providing you with your daily nutritional and caloric requirements.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Filling?
Constantly feeling hungry although you’re trying to lose weight is one of the worst struggles for those and is one of the reasons why so many people fail. Therefore it’s so important for a meal replacement shake to be filling to do its job. While many scoffs at the thought of being satisfied by a mere liquid meal, most high-quality shakes can keep you full for hours on end. In fact, the really good ones are made with high-quality ingredients that’ll make you feel full for 3 to 4 hours.
What exactly are these ingredients that we’re referring to?
Well, the main ingredients that you should look out for in any meal replacement shake include
- Hunger Blockers
Protein is an important ingredient because it gives you that satisfied feeling after a meal, and this is mainly because it takes the body quite a while to process and digest it when compared to other ingredients like fat and carbohydrates. For the best results, look for a shake that has about 10 to 15 grams of protein to keep the hunger pangs at bay in between meals.
Fiber is also good at keeping you full and feeling satisfied between meals, and it does this by slowing down the digestion process. The longer it takes for the stomach to empty out, the longer your body can retain that full feeling, which is why fiber is an essential part of any balanced meal.
Also, fiber adds bulk to your meals, which goes through you undigested to keep your colon clean while preventing hunger. Any good meal replacement shake should have at least 5 grams of fiber in it.
In addition to protein and fiber, a good meal replacement shake should include a hunger blocker that works to block hunger straight from the source.
The meal replacement shake stimulates your body to release the CCK hormone. This hormone tells your body that you are satiated, thus preventing you from wanting to eat more food, which takes care of the number one weight loss struggle: hunger. Therefore your meal replacement shake should have a hunger blocker included to give you the desired results.
How Do Meal Replacement Shakes Work?
The first and biggest misconception about meal replacement shakes is that taking them will lead to miraculously instantaneous weight loss. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is that the best and the most effective way to lose weight is by reducing your caloric intake and by moving more. This is the real proven secret to weight loss success. The reason why meal replacement shakes work is that they support these two factors, especially the first one. They help you eat less so that you can easily lose weight and be motivated to move more.
That’s why all the best shakes leave you feeling satiated for hours after you’ve taken them, effectively helping you eliminate harmful snacking and hunger pangs. Meal replacement shakes should also require minimal preparation, be accessible at a reasonable price, and provide a convenient weight loss solution for those who need it.
When to Drink a Meal Replacement Shake?
Meal replacement shakes are typically suitable to take at any time of the day, which puts the power in your hands!
For the best results, you would do well to drink your shake only when you need to replace your most difficult meal of the day. For some this is breakfast, and for others, it is lunch or dinner. So instead of missing out on a meal or eating junk food because you don’t have access to anything else, you can opt for a healthy shake.
The general rule of thumb here is to start by replacing one meal with your shake and then increase it to two meals to fast results. Also, you should make sure that your actual meals are high in protein and good carbs.
Do Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?
The weight loss industry has made billions from promoting and selling products, pills, and diets that promise fast weight loss, mostly at the cost of having to count or restrict calories. The truth is that losing weight is not as difficult or complicated as it’s made out to be, and meal replacement shakes are proof of this. They’re simple, straightforward and effective, and they work because they not only help you lose weight, but they provide you with the needed support and resources to make sure that you keep it off!
Many people credit meal replacement shakes for helping them lose weight and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Not only did they get the desired results, but they were inspired to stay healthy afterward.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Healthy?
One serving of a meal replacement shake is usually enough to provide you with all the nutrients you need while helping you gradually lose weight. However, that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll see a difference in your weight. This is mainly because some meal replacement shakes are more nutritious than others, so make sure to read the label before you purchase a meal replacement shake.
Most meal replacement shakes are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals while containing fewer calories than you’d get with an actual full meal. That’s why replacing one meal a day with a shake can help you lose weight, reduce your caloric intake while ensuring that you get the required nutrients at the same time. Studies done in the past have also shown that replacing one meal per day with a shake can produce better weight loss results than following a low-calorie diet.
As with anything, there are a few downsides to consuming meal replacement shakes, with the first one being that they’re not regulated by the USDA as other foods are, which means that manufacturers of these products can make any health claims they want without the proper scientific backing. This makes it difficult to get accurate nutritional information about meal replacement shakes, and some may contain more fat or sugar than a normal meal would, which then defeats the whole purpose of taking them.
Ideally, there shouldn’t be any added fat or sugar in a healthy meal replacement shake, and it should contain a good amount of protein, fiber and enough calories to keep you satiated for 3 to 4 hours or so. For example, a good meal replacement shake will be made up of 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, which translate to 20% of your daily requirement, and only 190 calories. Some popular meal replacement shakes only have 9 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber and 18 grams of sugar at 250 calories.
It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before you start consuming any meal replacement shake or diet plan, or seek the advice of a registered dietician, who will give you custom suggestions based on your unique needs. A healthy, low-calorie and balanced diet is usually the best way to go to achieve a healthy lifestyle in the long-term. You want a diet that’ll consist of whole grains fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Make sure to always check the labeling on any food product for nutritional information. Look out for potential allergens like milk, gluten, soy, etc.
Should Diabetics Use Meal Replacement Shake?
As a chronic health condition, the best treatment for diabetes usually involves following a balanced and healthy diet that includes meals and snacks rich in carbs. This helps to reduce the possibility of complications that are associated with diabetes while managing blood sugar levels. Losing weight can also help you improve diabetes management through better regulation of blood sugar levels.
Meal replacement shakes have helped many people lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles. That’s because the best ones contain just the right number of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and fat to provide you with your daily nutritional requirements while keeping you satiated long enough to avoid harmful snacking.
A good example of a meal replacement shake that meets these requirements is the 18 Shake, which was recently voted the Best Diet Shake of 2018. This shake contains a nice blend of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals while boasting an all-natural ingredients list. The best part is that the 18 Shake is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee and judging from all the positive reviews that it has received; this product makes good on its promise to help you with weight loss and appetite suppression.