Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help With Weight Loss?
Picture this: It's a busy Monday, and you're in between meetings.
You've spent the entire morning putting out fires — from helping clients to fixing the coffee maker and just about everything in between.
Your phone won’t stop ringing, emails are beginning to pile up, and your boss is still waiting for last week's final numbers.
Then, just as you finally start to feel as though you're on a good pace to get everything done without having to stay late, your stomach reminds you that you're not a machine with a slight gurgle. And then a rumble. And finally, a loud growl — you need to eat.
You check the clock and realize it's way past lunch, but you have things to do and people to see — there's no time to sit down for a meal, and you don't want to sabotage your fitness goals by eating candy from the snack machine.
Although nothing can replace the benefits of eating a balanced meal with whole foods, meal replacement shakes come in a close second.
These tasty shakes are quick, convenient, and satisfying — but can they help with weight loss?
Let's find out!
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Simply put, meal replacement shakes are as they sound — shakes meant to replace or substitute the nutrition of a full meal. They've existed for more than 50 years and are usually bottled products or powders that you can easily mix with liquid, usually water.
While there are many different kinds on the market, most meal replacement shakes generally provide around 200 to 400 calories along with an array of other nourishing nutrients, such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes and Protein Shakes The Same Thing?
Although often used interchangeably, meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are different.
You see, unlike meal replacement shakes intended to serve as a healthy meal, protein shakes are not designed to replace a full meal completely. While both supplements should have a relatively high protein count, most protein shakes don't contain the necessary vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients needed to replace a full meal healthily.
We'll break it down for you:
- Calories. Meal replacement shakes work to replace a full meal and support healthy energy levels, so they're naturally going to have more calories and carbs than most protein shakes. Meal replacement shakes are often high in carbohydrates, protein, and fiber to match the nutritional profile of a healthy and balanced meal.
- Vitamins and minerals. To sustain your body with the nutrients it needs to replace a full meal, meal replacement shakes are fortified with vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, protein shakes may contain some of these essential nutrients, but more often than not, it's not enough to be considered a balanced meal.
- Protein. Since protein shakes are used for protein supplementation, they typically offer more protein per shake than meal replacement shakes. However, as protein can naturally curb hunger, it's common to find high protein meal replacement shakes — like our delicious Precision Whole Food supplement that provides a healthy 20 grams of protein in every serving.
As you can see, protein shakes lack the variety of vitamins and minerals required to make them a valuable food source, whereas meal replacement shakes often contain all the nutrients needed to drink your meal rather than eat it.
How Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help With Weight Loss?
Here's the deal — if everyone who wanted to shed a few pounds could drink a tasty meal replacement shake and instantly get the physique of their dreams, weight loss would be easy.
But the truth is that changing your body composition is hard work. It takes time, dedication, and perseverance.
You see, despite what many people believe, there's no such thing as a magic weight loss supplement that can get you summer-ready overnight. And even if there was, rapidly losing weight can be extremely dangerous and even detrimental to one's health.
So, can meal replacement shakes help with weight loss? Absolutely! However, they're not going to help you shed 50 pounds magically. When used consistently in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet and exercise, meal replacement shakes will support you on your weight loss journey.
In other words, you still have to put in the hard work to obtain your goal — meal replacement shakes just help to make the journey a little easier.
How Do Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss Work?
The equation for weight loss is pretty simple:
- If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight
- If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight
In general, if you eliminate 500 to 1,000 calories from your typical diet each day, you may drop about one pound per week.
We know, easier said than done, right? No worries, though — this is where meal replacement shakes can help with weight loss.
They Are Low in Calories
As mentioned a little earlier, meal replacement shakes incorporate healthful ingredients that replace a full meal, so they are usually high in calories. To give you an example of how this can help with weight loss, let's break down a typical meal replacement shake and compare it to a full meal:
BioHealth's Precision Whole Food Meal Replacement is a delicious macro-friendly protein powder that offers a healthy 290 calories per scoop. It contains a powerful Pasture Fed Blend of proteins, a Complex Carb Blend, and MCT oil to give you a quick boost of energy.
On the other hand, a full meal for lunch may consist of chicken breast, some quinoa, and kale topped with a drizzle of olive oil. Although healthy, this meal could run you 600 calories.
As you can see, swapping your lunch for a nutrient-dense meal replacement shake that still tastes great can help you to eat fewer calories without sacrificing flavor. And since eating fewer calories is key for weight loss, it's easy to see how meal replacement shakes can help you to reach your fitness goals.
They Are Satisfying
More often than not, a growling stomach keeps dieters from being able to drop weight, regardless of whether they lead active lifestyles. This is because hunger pangs notoriously cause many of us to overeat during and in between meals, whether cookies, vanilla ice cream, or another snack food.
Thankfully, meal replacement shakes can help you feel full and satisfied, ultimately kicking those pesky cravings to the curb and supplying you with essential vitamins and critical micronutrients like vitamin D, healthy fat, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, and potassium.
When the monster in your stomach is happy, you'll find it's much easier not to mindlessly snack throughout the day because, let’s face it, we aren’t snacking on vegetables. In turn, this satiety can help you keep your calorie intake low to support your healthy lifestyle and weight loss efforts.
They Are Convenient
When hunger strikes and you're not in the mood to whip up a full meal, it can be tempting to grab a sweet snack from the vending machine or make a quick trip through the drive-thru for fast food. These food choices, however, can quickly sabotage your fitness goals.
Meal replacement shakes are incredibly convenient, which is helpful for dieters on the go. Simply grab your shake, sip, and enjoy!
A Final Word
So, can meal replacement shakes help with weight loss?
Absolutely! When used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, meal replacement shakes can support you in your weight loss journey. Just be sure to purchase a high-quality shake with a perfect macro ratio — like our Precision Whole Food protein powder.
Here at BioHealth, we've created a new standard for clean, nutritious products with a major focus on innovation. From the best-tasting protein powders in the world to the most nutrient-dense meal replacements on the market, you can always count on us to have just what you need to reach your goals.
Ready to make this year your best one yet? Check us out today and see how we can help you on your journey to better health tomorrow!
Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics | Mayo Clinic
The Risks of the Crash Diet | Obesity Action Coalition
Meal Replacement Shakes: What You Need To Know | Cedars-Sinai