Who Needs Meal Replacement Shakes?
At some time in our lives most of us will need to lose a little weight, whether it is to look good on the beach in the summer or to fit into a new outfit for a special event; shedding a few pounds makes us feel better and often healthier.
For some people, obesity is a real problem and is one of the leading causes of diabetes. (source) For those people, controlling weight can be a real struggle, but also an important factor to improving quality of life.
replacing your meals with shakes can be used as part of a weight loss plan to help retrain your body to expect less food while still providing all the nutrition it needs.
Anyone who is looking to adjust their dietary habits, lose weight or simply looking for a handy way to eat on the run without losing out on good nutrition might consider a meal replacement shake (MRS).
Diabetics specifically will need to look out for products where the sugar and carbohydrate content can help with glycemic control. Diabetics are also recommended to consume at least the minimum RDA of fiber, which can be found in many MRS.
The modern world can be a busy, hectic place which leaves little time to sit and enjoy a proper meal. The days of the long lunch break are rare and many people choose to eat at their desk or grab a snack between meetings.
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Skipping breakfast and eating on the run might save time, but your body needs proper fuel to function. MRS can be handy substitutes for anyone whose lifestyle leaves little time for ‘proper’ meals.
What do Meal Replacement Shakes do?
Commercially available products seek to provide all the nutrition of a balanced meal in one single serving drink. Combining protein, vitamins and complex carbohydrates in a milkshake style product, they aim to curb hunger pangs while giving your body everything it needs to function correctly.
Basically speaking, instead of eating a normal meal or grabbing something from the local fast food joint, you can carry a shake around with you and get all the nutrition you need in a single drink.
As well as saving time, your stomach slowly becomes accustomed to receiving less food and over time it will take less food to feel full. This means you can gradually retrain your body to a healthier eating regime and lose weight in a controlled and healthy way.
Some MRS are specifically designed to be part of a proprietary weight loss program, while others claim to build muscle, promote wellness, strengthen bones, help digestion and generally be a tasty drink.
The main point of a good MRS is that is contains a balance of essential nutrients while making you feel less hungry and not tasting like something even poor starving Oliver Twist might reject.
Which is the Right Shake for me?
Most people can choose a product simply based on taste or price. Diabetics however need to be especially careful when choosing anything which might upset their insulin balance.
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Sugar content is extremely important and this should be a major factor when choosing a product. However, a recent study suggests “the best mix of carbohydrate, protein, and fat depends on the individual metabolic goals and preferences of the person with diabetes.” (source)
If you have been advised to lose weight by your doctor, they may have referred you to a nutritionist who can suggest products that should compliment a diet plans specific to you. If you are looking to find products by yourself, here are some things to look out for:
- Low sugar content
- Slow digestible carbohydrates
- Balanced nutritional content
- Physician recommended
Obviously these are only guidelines and if you are in any doubt about a product’s suitability you should consult a doctor. If at any time you feel unwell while using meal replacements you should also consult your doctor or nutritionist.
Many of the companies have a helpline or Q&A section of their website where you can find answers to frequently asked questions or submit a specific request about your own concerns. Don’t be afraid to use these facilities, when you have dietary restrictions, having all the information you need for peace of mind is important before putting something into your body.
Do not be tempted to replace too many meals with shakes as rapid weight loss can be harmful; again consult a doctor or nutritionist if you are unsure. Following ‘fad’ or ‘crash’ diet can be just as dangerous to your health as being overweight.