You’ve seen the commercials, right? Have two delicious shakes and one sensible meal every day and watch the pound melt away! And it sounds great. Who doesn’t love a delicious shake? It sounds so easy. It almost sounds too good to be true.
That’s probably because it is too good to be true, at least for many people. Now, some people use those diet meal replacement shakes and do lose weight. They may work for some people, at least temporarily. But they aren’t exactly good meal replacements, and they may not provide long-term weight loss results.
Consider Slimfast, one popular brand of diet meal replacement shake. A milk chocolate Slimfast shake has 190 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar and 10 grams of protein. For a meal replacement, that’s a lot of sugar and not much protein. Consider that the average person needs about 50 grams of protein every day, so if you rely on Slimfast for two of your meals, your one sensible meal of the day better have 30 grams of protein.
Slimfast is not the only brand of meal replacement shake out there, of course. Atkins Advantage chocolate shakes have only five grams of carbohydrates and one gram of sugar. They also have 15 grams of protein. And it should be noted that Slimfast offers a low carb version that is lower in both carbs and sugar and higher in protein. Still, many of these meal replacement drinks are high in carbohydrates and sugar, which are not things that will help you lose weight.
Another problem with replacing a meal or two with a drink is that liquids are generally not very filling. What’s going to keep you satisfied longer, a milk-like drink or three ounces of grilled chicken and a large green salad with fat free dressing? Keep in mind that protein helps you feel full longer and three ounces of grilled chicken has about 21 grams of protein, compared to 10 grams in Slimfast.
Yet another problem is that these diet meal replacement shakes are meant to be used temporarily. I mean, you aren’t going to be sucking down Slimfast every day for the rest of your life, right? You’re going to want to go out to lunch with the girls at the office or enjoy Saturday morning pancakes with your kids.
It’s OK to do an extreme diet for a short period of time if you need to lose a lot of weight quickly, but you’re going to have to make sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle if you want to keep the weight off. Many people find it works better to just make those changes in the first place and lose weight with a healthy diet (one involving solid food, not meal replacement shakes) and regular exercise.
Slimfast. http://www.slim-fast.com/products/shake/w/wiki/Creamy-Milk-Chocolate-Shake.aspx?ProductID=13. Creamy Milk Chocolate Shake.
Atkins. http://www.atkins.com/Products/ProductDetail20/Milk-Chocolate-Delight-Shake.aspx. Atkins Advantage Milk Chocolate Delight Shake.