Are weight loss and meal replacement shakes a sensible option to healthy weight loss? Keep reading…!
The most obvious reason some of us tend to gain wait is delicious food…too much of it, too often. We tend to crave dense, sugary, fatty foods, especially when we’re stressed, and those are exactly the foods that tend to pack on the pounds.
It’s easy to choose those dense, heavy foods because most often preparing a nutritious meal takes more time.
What if we try taking away the need to choose healthier foods, and cook healthier meals? What if we make getting great nutrition easier, and remove all the preparation time?
Meal Replacement Shakes to the Rescue
There are literally hundreds of meal replacement shake powders on the market, and they vary in the types of protein they use, the amount of artificial ingredients included, and of course in the way they taste.
The key to finding a meal replacement shake that will work for your weight loss needs is to focus on protein source and whole-foods derived vitamins and minerals.
It has to have the right balance of nutrition, taste, and texture to satisfy the stomach and the taste buds.
What is the Best Protein to Look for?
People are beginning to wake up to the fact that soy, in this case soy protein, isn’t the right answer. Soy is being studied as an endocrine disruptor, which means it unbalances our delicate interplay of hormones.
If you’re trying to lose weight, your hormones are already out of sync, and needing help in correcting themselves. So it stands to reason that soy isn’t the answer you’re looking for.
Whey is another common protein source, and it depends on the type of whey as to how well our bodies use it.
Whey Concentrate is about 70% protein, and is moderately well absorbed in the body. It also includes sugars and fats, as well as lactose, so this is a poor choice for anyone with dairy allergies.
Whey Isolate on the other hand is over 90% protein, and is extremely well absorbed. Not only that, but it’s lower in sugar and fat, and has nearly no lactose, making it great for those with allergies.
If you can swing it in your budget, hormone free grass fed whey is a fantastic upgrade.
Shake mixes can also be made with a base of rice, pea, hemp, and egg. They are less well absorbed than whey isolate, but they can provide a good deal of nutrients, so they are worth adding to your rotation.
Sweetness Might not Equal Success
Artificial sweeteners and sugars in meal replacement shakes can derail your progress. So look for a shake that is low in these.
Stevia, xylitol, erythritol, and small amounts of natural sugars are just fine, but chemicals like aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium can cause dysregulation of blood sugar.
They trick the body into thinking they are getting a sweet substance. Thus, the resulting insulin release has nothing to latch on to and can cause excessive inflammation and potential toxic reactions.
Fiber will Help You Stay Fuller
Sugars aren’t the only reason to check the carb count on the jar. Check out how much fiber is in your weight loss shake.
Fiber not only helps you feel fuller longer and to actually be satisfied from drinking your meal, but this fiber will help move things through your digestive system in a regular way.
This will promote improved digestive health and balance the good bacteria in your gut.
But Do Weight Loss and Meal Replacement Shakes Help with Weight Loss??
In many cases, YES. The answer is yes, if you choose a high-nutrition, easily absorbed, low sweetener, fiber-ful meal replacement shake instead of your regular breakfast and sometimes lunch.
This will help you reduce your caloric intake while maintaining your energy level and reducing cravings.
You’ll be getting a better balance of vitamins and minerals than most average meals. So you’re making a healthful, sustainable choice for your weight loss journey.
Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds a week, and avoid any of the shakes that claim these kinds of results.
To get started, choose smaller jars and packets so you can try each flavor a few times to decide if you like it before you commit to the big jar.
Try mixing your shake with almond or coconut milk, or adding it to a blender with frozen berries or a banana.
In winter, the chocolate protein powders make excellent hot chocolates, and I’ve even seen flavors like egg nog and chai to keep things interesting.
You might be tempted to choose a meal replacement that’s also mixed with greens powder. While I love the idea, the concept doesn’t work so well in practice.
Definitely get your greens in, and feel free to do it with a drink mix, but not at the same time as your meal replacement shake. The flavor and texture just don’t make the good kind of magic happen.
If you’re feeling creative, there are loads of ways you can dress up your weight loss shake. So, feel free to try some of your own creations to keep your weight loss journey healthful and exciting.