Shake diets or meal replacement shakes have become one of the biggest fad diets in the world over the last couple of years. Big marketing campaigns from global weight-loss companies like Weight Watchers and Slimfast have propelled them into the hands of consumers. With limited research to back up the short and long-term effects and viability of shake diets, many are sceptical about them.
If you have considered taking up this meal replacement shake diet, it’s good that you are doing the necessary research before committing. Read on to find out the truth behind shake diets.
What is a Shake Diet?
Before we discuss the harsh reality behind this new diet, we should look into what it actually is and how it works.
A meal replacement shake diet essentially involves replacing your meals with a low-calorie shake. These shakes are not intended to replace every meal, however. Their goal is to fill you up in replacement of a meal with high protein and carb content but low calories. By replacing an otherwise calorie-dense meal with a low-calorie shake, you will be in a caloric deficit.
How Do They Work?
By putting you in a caloric deficit, they help you lose weight. To lose weight effectively you want to be in about a 500 calorie deficit. To calculate this you need to work out how many calories you should intake in order to remain at the same weight. For context, the average woman needs about 2,000 and the average man 2,500. The actual content of the shakes is not important, while they do contain some important vitamins and minerals. They also often contain large amounts of sugar and preservatives to make you feel full.
While on paper, they look like they would be a great way to incentivize eating less, they can have a harmful long-term effect which goes against the whole point of trying to lose weight. They don’t teach you how to cook low-calorie meals and the principles behind losing weight and eating healthily. A lot of people gain the weight right back on when they stop drinking meal replacement shakes. If they aren’t teaching you how to eat healthily, when you finish your three-month meal replacement shake course and need to cook all your meals again, you will be lost. Many suggest that just learning to cook low-calorie meals will serve you better in the long-run.
The vast majority of these shakes don’t contain enough of the needed vitamins and nutrients to adequately replace a meal. This is one of the main reasons why they are intended to be used on a short-term basis as a quick route to weight loss because they aren’t conducive to a healthy diet. The liquid nature of the shakes also leaves you in need of the much-needed fibre that won’t come from these meal replacement shakes. If we consider the alternative of a meal replacement shake, a salad, for example, you are missing out on good whole foods that are conducive to a healthy body.
The secret behind meal-replacement shakes is that they are a quick fix. They don’t contain enough of the nutrients and minerals our bodies need to function optimally. While they aren’t necessarily unhealthy for you, they don’t teach you good habits, which is why most people struggle to keep the weight off once they are finished with them. The truth is, you would be much better off spending some time learning how to create quick and easy low-calorie meals to replace the meal replacement shakes.