If you’re constantly on the move, diet shakes or meal replacement shakes may seem like a good way to eat on-the-go. But are they actually good for weight loss?
Meal replacement shakes promise all the protein, carbs, fiber, and even vitamins and minerals that can be found in a regular meal. Better yet, they come in a pre-packaged, easy to consume formula.
However, there’s some debate amongst experts over whether meal replacement shakes are actually good for dieters. The main issue is that – while whole foods may be better for you overall – meal replacement shakes can help busy dieters manage their weight loss despite busy schedules.
Below, we’ll examine the pros and cons of using meal replacement shakes for weight loss.
Pros Of Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss
The beauty of meal replacement shakes and diet shakes is that they allow busy women and men to get nutrition on-the-go, without the hassle of preparing a balanced meal.
If your lifestyle is so busy that you have no choice but to skip the occasional meal, then meal replacement shakes may be a better option than missing important nutrition or hoping over to the nearest fast food joint for a burger. Not only are they extremely convenient, but it’s easy to keep track of how many calories you’re consuming in meal replacement shakes.
Cons Of Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss
When you’re dieting, a good rule of thumb is to lean towards natural, whole food sources rather than processed sources – and there’s a good reason for this. Whole, unprocessed foods take a significant amount of energy for your body to digest and breakdown. This is known as the thermogenic effect and it burns up calories, which is good for weight loss.
Meal replacement shakes on the other hand, are easily absorbed by your body with little effort by your digestive system. Taking your nutrients through meal replacement shakes means your body spends less energy processing the food, thus the effective caloric intake of a meal replacement shake is actually higher than if you had consumed the equivalent calories from say, a grilled chicken breast, some veggies, and quinoa.
When you eat whole, unprocessed foods, your body will naturally feel full. In fact, even eating processed junk food can leave you feeling satiate if it has a high fat content. However, consuming calories through meal replacement shakes leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. This can lead to problems for dieters trying to control their calorie consumption.
Because your body’s hunger system works to regulate your consumption of calories, drinking calories that don’t leave you feeling full can contribute to overeating. There’s a reason meal replacement shakes are so popular amongst bodybuilders looking to bulk up – it’s an easy way to consume a ton of calories. If you’re replacing your morning and afternoon meals with shakes, you’ll often find that by dinnertime you’re absolutely ravenous. Be sure that you’re accurately tracking your calories and managing your diet accordingly.
Choose Whole Food Sources Whenever Possible
In general, you should be making every effort possible to avoid meal replacement shakes and choosing whole food sources instead. But if you don’t have the time to shop for and prepare healthy, nutritious meals, meal replacement shakes may be a suitable alternative for managing your diet. Just be sure to keep a tight wrap on those calories – or you’ll find yourself gaining weight instead.