Meal Replacement 101

[caption id="attachment_37470" align="alignnone" width="856"]Read labels and know that facts before using a meal replacement drink Meal Replacement Can Be an Effective Weight Loss Tool[/caption]

Meal replacement shakes and drinks have been around for a long time. They are typically marketed toward those wanting to build muscle and lose weight. But just like with any diet or major lifestyle change, it is important to do your research and determine if it’s the right choice for you.

Weight Loss

Researchers at the University of Ulm published a study in the 2010 issue of Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews that found obese participants who used meal replacement drinks lost more weight in a year than those who just reduced calories without using replacements. You may get especially good results if you include protein with your meal replacement, since many scientists believe protein to be more satiating than either carbohydrates or fats.

Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, it’s difficult to get all the nutrients you need on a daily basis. Meal replacement can be extremely beneficial here if you’re using one that includes vitamins and minerals. Many meal replacement options don’t provide all the nutritional components of whole foods, so be sure to read the labels carefully and look for a comprehensive meal replacement.

Convenience

Meal replacement beverages have a definite advantage over full meals when it comes to convenience. They’re easy to take with you, quick to drink and simple to prepare. Often, no preparation at all is involved. The right meal replacement can keep you feeling fuller longer so you’re less likely to snack between meals. Meal replacement is most definitely preferable to skipping meals entirely if you’re traveling, in a rush or trying to lose weight.

Sustainability

Trying to lose weight or change your physique using only meal replacement shakes isn’t a sustainable strategy. The most successful long-term weight maintenance programs involve detailed weight loss plans, regular physical activity, and healthy eating. It’s best to find a way to incorporate a meal replacement drink into your plan and stick with it. Using just replacement drinks for a few months may offer immediate results, but those results won’t be sustainable without including daily exercise and healthy eating habits.

Reading labels to ensure proper consumption of vitamins and nutrients can ensure that the body gets essential dietary needs. It is important however, that dieters check the nutritional value of the replacements before they begin using them. Those that are high in fat and sugar are not likely to produce the weight loss results that most dieters are looking for.