Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss
Supplementation is becoming very hyped among people, especially among health-conscious people.
Various vitamin and mineral supplements, protein shakes, fat burners and also meal replacements shakes are used more and more.
But should you use them also? Are they dangerous to your health? Can meal replacement shakes help you lose weight?
To make the right choices of supplements that benefit your goals and your health, it is essential to be well-informed about meal replacements shakes.
Top Meal Replacement Shakes for 2017
Here is the list of top meal replacement shakes for the year 2017 that were good enough to take their place. Compare them from the table bellow:
I am going to do a very long and thorough overview of best meal replacement shakes for weight loss with the intent to better inform people. Hopefully, it is going to be interesting and informative for you.
To make things easier here, lets divide all meal replacement shakes into most popular groups or categories:
- Meal Replacement Shakes for Men
- Meal Replacement Shakes for Women
- Meal Replacement Shakes for Kids
What are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are intended for the substitution of solid meals, and they have controlled quantities of nutrients and calories.
According to the European Union regulations, a lunch replacement must provide 200-400 calories of energy, with no more than 30% of the calories from fat, and no less than the specified amount of nutrients and minerals.
Meal replacement shakes and other products can be regulated as functional or conventional foods.
How To Choose Best Meal Replacement Shake?
Lately, I am seeing a lot of negative reviews and critics about meal replacement shakes. All coming from not even close nutrition experts.
Those same experts, while arguing about replacement shakes, recommend juices, smoothies or even protein powders instead?! Kidding me.. Are they really smart enough to give subjective advice on this very weight loss sensitive topic?
Let's clear this now for ever. Meal replacement shakes will help to ensure your body is getting enough and right nutrients to fuel with energy. Period. They will provide healthy nutritional balance and help prevent cravings between meals.
Shakes are perfect for:
- People that are looking to lose weight. Shakes will help you cut your calorie intake. Calorie overtake, which happens all the time, is the #1 guilty for obesity.
- Busy people that don't have enough time to prepare all the meals. By replacing one meal daily, you will save a lot of time, but you will also get healthy meal.
- People looking to save a bit by buying them. Yes, you read this well. There are meal replacement shakes (high quality in same time) in the market that you can buy for much less money then you would spend on your thin grocery list.
- People looking for protein powders to increase muscle gains. There are meal replacement shakes on the market which have high protein ingredient ratio.
The real questions people should ask and look for while research for meal shakes are:
- Are meal replacement shakes safe? Before buying any shake, you should take a good research, because not all shakes are the same, and not all shakes provide same value.
- What are best, in terms of value and quality for the money, meal replacement shakes?
- Do they help in weight loss?
- Which meal replacement shake is right for you? Looking closer to the ingredients list is a must.
I've created this website to help people like you get right answer to this and a lot more questions about meal replacement shakes.
Bellow, I will be listing each meal replacement shake I try. I will explain each of them in detailed review format so you could compare them easily and choose the right one for you.
Before going deeply into reading, please also read what should you be aware of prior start of using them regularly:
- The first question you should address is what is your main reason for shake replacement consumption? Is it because you want to loose weight or you are having difficulties to intake high quality nutrients into your body for healthy and balanced diet?
- If you need them to replace your full meal, you should look for balanced nutrient ingredients. Make sure they contain all your macro-nutrients to compensate your not absorbed full meal. On the opposite side, for the purpose of dieting, you should look for high protein - low carbohydrate option.
- Don't be bored to take a closer look at ingredients list and nutritional levels. You should compare your first picks closely in detail, side by side. Always look for premium quality ingredients, natural flavours, minimal sweeteners (nothing more then 10 grams) and quality sources of protein. Priorities are: calories, protein, cards/sugar and fiber.
- Never take more then one meal replacement shake per day.
- Meal replacement shakes should always be combined with a healthy eating plan.
- Calculation of price per serving will always give you the right overview of price for shake.
- Last, but not least, the taste. Taste could be very important for you and your final decision. For me, it is not that important, but I know some people that couldn't drink some shakes because very bad taste.
Here is additional information about each of best meal replacement shakes:
More about Idealshape:
Compare: Idealshake VS. Shakeology
Meal Replacement Shake Benefits
Meal replacement shakes, along with natural and regular foods, should provide the needed nutrient amounts by the body.
The mineral and vitamin content meet 50%-100% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) requirements.
When purchasing shakes for increasing a number of nutrients in the body then check what minerals and vitamins they exactly contain to ensure you get the nutrients you need.
Another reason for using them is to increase weight, especially muscle mass.
They can be added to regular meals to increase the calorie and protein needs for weight gain.
Ectomorphs, who are naturally skinny, need more calories to be able to obtain weight than endomorphs or mesomorphs for example.
Another benefit of these shakes is the benefits for weight loss, especially low-calorie, low-fat and high-protein shakes.
Due to the low simple sugar content, they also stabilize the release of insulin and do not slow down or negatively affect the metabolism.
A large portion of supplements however that people use contain loads of pure sugar that is very unhealthy.
So choose meal replacement shakes that contain complex sugars that keep the blood sugar levels stable and, therefore, the insulin spike small.
Due to their low to moderate carbohydrate content, these shakes are also suitable as a breakfast substitute for diabetics.
Of course, it is important to check the ingredients and recommendations on the package before using them for diabetics.
Male replacements are also relatively cheap and can be consumed on-the-go.
Each person, of course, can make their homemade shakes as well, according to their needs and preferences.
What to Look In Meal Replacement Shake?
This is something that each person should think through very carefully. There are all kinds of products for various purposes and needs that people have.
If you are a busy person for example, and you want to get as many nutrients out of it, then you should choose shakes that have the most “meal-like” nutrition.
A meal replacement for on-the-go purposes should contain a proper mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as micronutrients, to replace what you would otherwise received from a well-balanced meal.
On-the-go shakes should keep you feeling full for the next meal that might be hours away. Regular juices or smoothies don’t often achieve this.
If you have a health problem and you want to buy a meal replacement shake to help you with this health issue, then you must select a product that fits your needs.
Diabetics should look for something that is high in proteins and nutrients but low in carbohydrates, especially simple sugars.
Diabetics can use them for replacing meals to cut back on carbs and calories or for snacking purposes for keeping their blood sugar stable.
There are also products on the market now that promote satiety and gastrointestinal health.
If you are suffering from these issues, then you can choose products that are high in probiotics and fiber.
If you are underweight, then you can choose something that is high in calories to add to your daily meals.
Since these shakes don’t leave you as full, as when eating a substantial meal, then you can consume more calories and hence gain weight quicker.
If you are an athlete or just training hard then certain, meal replacement shakes can also be of great benefit.
Athletes that train hard need more calories, proteins, and essential nutrients. Real good shakes contain lots of energies, plenty of proteins and nutrients to help you recover.
The best time to take a shake that is high in proteins and carbohydrates is within an hour after your workout.
When choosing a meal replacement shake for weight loss purposes then choose something that is low in fat but still have enough calories to give you some energy.
A shake that only contains 100 calories is not sufficient to replace a meal.
Ideally, the calories should be around 300 calories with some healthy fats, plenty of proteins and carbohydrates. For weight loss, you don’t want to pick something that is high in refined carbs and sugar.
Meal Replacement Shake Ingredients
Meal replacement and weight loss shake come in a variety of types. This includes low-calorie, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, and high-protein.
Some of the more popular shakes for weight loss are Slim-fast and Atkins chocolate shake.
There are lots of brands and types of products with varied ingredients, so for an example I will focus on this two shakes now.
The carbohydrate content of the low-carbohydrate Atkins shake is only 5 grams. The vast majority of it comes from dairy protein blend and cocoa powder. Slim Fast has 25 grams of carbohydrates that mostly come from simple sugars such as high fructose sugar.
This is not a good source of carbs because simple sugars get absorbed quickly and, therefore, give a huge blood sugar spike. Medifast has 13 grams of carbs per serving, which comes from oat fiber, fructose, maltodextrin, corn syrup solids and sweet dairy whey. In the Medifast and
Atkins shakes there is also acesulfame potassium as an ingredient and Slim-Fast has acesulfame potassium and sucralose added.
MINERALS AND VITAMINS
All of these brands are fortified with minerals and vitamins in relatively similar amounts. Every shake offers vitamin E, C, A and K, as well as B-complex vitamins. Medifast and Slim-Fast are also fortified with vitamin D. All brands also contain essential minerals like manganese, zinc, iron, iodine, copper, selenium, calcium and chromium.
Medifast has only 1 gram of fat with no saturated or trans fat. The Atkins shake includes 10 grams of fat, from which 3.5 grams are saturated fats. This is due to the sunflower and cream that are the ingredients in the Atkins shake.
Slim-Fast has a total of 6 grams of fat per serving with 2 grams coming from saturated fats. The fats in the product are hydrogenated soybean oil and canola oil.
The most amount of protein, a total of 15 grams per serving, is included in the Atkins shake. This is compared to the 10 grams of protein in Slim-Fast and 11 grams in Medifast.
The types of proteins that are contained in all three brands are from milk protein concentrate and soy protein concentrate.
The protein compounds in Medifast include milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate. Atkins consists of calcium caseinate, whey protein concentrate, and milk protein concentrate.
Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss
The weight loss supplements business is a huge business because countless millions of people want to lose weight. People often turn to supplements for help, and they can certainly help in many ways. Meal replacement shakes are beneficial for weight loss, but it is crucial to use these products in a smart and efficient manner.
The key to successful weight loss is controlling calorie intake and these shakes helps us do that very well. For weight loss, you generally would want to replace two meals – breakfast and lunch – with either a bar, soup or shake. In the evening, you would have a substantial meal and for most people this approach works quite well.
The vast majority of these diet plans also allow 2-3 100-calorie snacks to be consumed during the day. It is recommended to drink 6-8 ounces of water or low-calorie beverages.
The main thing you must pay attention if you want to lose weight successfully is how many calories you need to lose weight and how many calories you get from the meal replacing shakes.
If your calorie intake, for 1-2 pound per week of weight loss, is 1700 calorie for example and you consume two shakes per day of 400 calories then it adds up to 800 calories.
Let’s say for snacking you leave 300 calories and this leaves you with a proper 600 calorie meal in the evening. This seems like a pretty good plan to me. You always have to keep the calories in mind.
Studies have shown that meal replacement shakes are just as effective for weight loss as traditional calorie-counted diets in the short-term. More recent studies are also busting the myth that these shakes and products only work in the short. New evidence reveals that these products help people maintain their new lower weight very efficiently.
People who prefer to use these shakes for weight loss, do so because of convenience and because it makes calorie counting easier. Anything that makes weight loss easier and more convenient is always a big plus.
Meal Replacement Shakes vs. Protein Shakes
Protein and Meal replacement shakes can both aid your athletic performance, health and body composition. Although there is a difference regarding the benefits and nutritional profile. Shakes that are meant to replace meals are higher in calories, and they are also more filling.
Protein shakes provide around 25 grams of protein per serving and the protein content in meal replacing shakes can differ quite a bit. General health shakes might only have 10 grams of protein per serving while those shakes that are meant for building muscle can be as high as 40 grams per serving.
High protein diets are beneficial for weight loss because they keep a person feeling full longer, digesting proteins burns more calories than digesting fats or carbohydrates and proteins also help to maintain muscle mass while dieting. If your goal is weight loss, then choose meal replacement shakes that are higher in proteins.
Protein shakes are also low in fats, averaging around 3 grams per serving. The fat content in meal replacing products varies quite a bit. If you like low-carbohydrate diets, for example, then you can choose products that are lower in carbohydrates and higher in fats. Ideally, you would want a buy a product that is high in healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids.
The fair protein shake has around 5 grams of carbs only. So they are not meant to replace a well-balanced meal. Shakes that are meant for replacing meals, on the other hand, contain more carbohydrates and are, therefore, closer to a real meal.
You should also make sure that the shakes you consume also provide fiber, especially if wanting to lose weight. Fiber helps digestion, makes you feel fuller and help consume fewer calories during the day.
The reason meal replacing shakes are beneficial for weight loss is because they contain significantly fewer calories than ordinary meals. Whey protein isolates have about 100 calories per serving while other types include 120 calories per serving. Meal replacing shakes are generally around 250-400 calories.
Vitamins and minerals
Another drawback of your general protein shake is the lack of added minerals and vitamins. Of course, there are some already present in the protein, but nothing is added to them.
Whey protein that is made out of the dairy contains calcium for example. Some meal replacing shakes do not contain added minerals and vitamins while others do. So this is something you need to pay attention to as well.
Meal Replacement Shakes Side Effects
One potential side effect is fatigue from not getting enough calories. If a shake or drink gives you 250 calories per serving for example and you replace two solid meals with these drinks and consume one substantial meal of 500 calories, then it would add up to 1000 calories for the day.
If your caloric maintenance level is 2500 calories and you would drastically reduce that to 1000 calories per day, then it would leave you fatigued and feel tired throughout the day.
This amount of calories is not enough to sustain an active and functional day. It happens all the time that people cut their calories way too low and this is a problem. When using these shakes then watch your caloric intake and reduce calories slowly according to your needs.
Another side-effect is an adverse impact on your digestive health. If you replace 1-2 solid meals with shakes, then you might not get enough fiber, depending on the product you are using.
A man can need up to 38 grams of fiber per day and a woman up to 26 grams of fiber. Most of these types of drinks do not contain enough fiber if any. A person needs both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Not getting enough fiber can lead to constipation, diarrhea, and irregularity. Make sure you either choose products that contain fiber or that you get enough fiber from your solid meals.
One of the major benefits of male replacement shakes is that they do contain vital minerals and vitamins. You can also know exactly how much of certain vitamins and minerals you are getting.
This means you can get the nutrients you need without having to consume added vegetables or fruits. However natural and robust foods also contain thousands of other beneficial compounds that work together for optimum health.
Meal replacing shakes don’t contain most of these compounds. A well-balanced diet full of solid meals is unprocessed and natural as well. So make sure that the substantial meals you do consume are balanced, healthy and nutritious.
Meal Shake Timing and Dosage Instructions
When you take meal replacing shakes and how much you take is a crucial aspect. More often people do not think this part through correctly and thus do not get the results they expected. If your goal is weight loss, then you have to decide what meals you want to replace with the shakes. Like I mentioned before people replace breakfast and lunch with the shakes.
But you can also replace dinner with a shake as well. If you pick breakfast and lunch, for example, then try to stick to this routine. Sometimes people replace breakfast with a shake, other times they replace dinner and some other times lunch. This kind of irregularity is not okay.
Dosage is also a critical factor for weight loss and weight gain as well. To lose weight you need to get your calories right. You need to know how many calories per serving and how many calories you need during the day to lose weight. The dosage depends on lots of factors: how many times you plan to use shakes during the day, what is your total calorie intake, how much of the shake you want to drink at once and so on.
Some people like to consume smaller dosages of shakes during the day and then have a bigger meal in the evening. While others consume larger quantities of the shakes and eat less later in the day. This is entirely up to you and your preferences.
Meal Replacement Shakes Alternatives
Of course, you can also make the shakes yourself. A lot of the products on the market are expensive, tasteless and high in simple sugars. If you have a blender, for example, then you can create your shakes. For example, you can make a create 300-calorie shake if you combine half a banana, four frozen strawberries, one ¼ cup of water, one tablespoon of non-fat milk powder and one scoop of protein powder.
If you don’t have protein powder or just don’t want to use it then, you can also use yogurt. It has plenty of protein, probiotics, and healthy bacteria. For example, you can mix 2 cups of frozen strawberries, 2 cups of reduced calorie lemonade, half a cup of ice and 1 cup of low-fat strawberry yogurt. Blend the mix and serve. This adds up to around 300 calories. So there are easy to make homemade alternatives as well.
In conclusion, I would like to say that male replacement shakes do have their place, and they are very helpful and useful. The problem often is that people don’t think through why they need these shakes, what type they require, how to use then correctly and so on. You have to analyze your needs and your lifestyle and then figure out what kind of a shake would be best for you. There are all sorts of shakes for all types of purposes.
- If your goal is to gain muscle mass, then choose a product that is high in calories and proteins.
- If your goal is to get more nutrients to boost your health, then choose a product that is loaded with a right mix of macronutrients, micronutrients, and fiber.
- If you want to lose weight, then pick something that is lower in calories and simple sugars but high in proteins.
- The results can come very fast if supplements are used in the right manner. There are lots of people who say that all supplements are a waste of money, and none of them work. That is true in many cases because people don’t do their homework.
- If you have properly analyzed what supplement you need to take to help reach your goal, what benefits you get from a particular product and what are the right dosages to get results, then you will find supplements very useful. I strongly suggest you get a meal replacement shake but before you buy, make sure you have done your homework. Otherwise, it is money down the drain.