A meal replacement is a low-kilojoule food used in place of your everyday meal. It contains all the necessary nutrients present in a balanced meal like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre, and vitamins. The purpose of meal replacements is to provide all the nutrients required by a human body without consuming a lot of calories. This way, it becomes possible to lose weight by reducing the overall amount of energy intake. Also, some contain hunger blockers which help to suppress cravings, which makes them good weight loss supplements.
How meal replacements help you lose weight
According to research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2009 a meal replacement if well supervised can effectively facilitate weight loss and maintain a lean body. Discussed below is how they can help you to lose weight effectively.
- Increasing awareness and control
Meal replacements have known amounts of energy, which gives you an awareness of the energy you are consuming thereby enabling you to have more control of your consumption. They are also easy to prepare. You don’t have to use any additional ingredients in their preparation. This ensures that you do not end up taking any extra or hidden kilojoules that were not intended with added ingredients.
They are also convenient. They are mostly ready-made and can be consumed at any time, which means you can take small, frequent meals during the day. Taking small, frequent meals help in controlling weight loss by preventing overeating and cravings.
With the availability of meal replacements, you will not have to skip your meals. Skipping or postponing meals tampers with weight loss because it causes overeating as you make up for the missed meal.
- Low energy content.
In order to lose weight, you need to reduce the amount of energy you consume. Most daily meals have energy content that exceeds the amount required by the body for daily activities. Meal replacements, on the other hand, have low energy and they provide your body with all the necessary nutrients but cut on the number of calories you consume. This enables you to lose weight while staying healthy.
- Rich in protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for losing weight. This is because taking meals that are high in protein increases satiety leading to a reduction in calories consumed. Most meal replacements are high in proteins and have fewer carbs. This ensures that they provide your body with the required protein content while at the same time reduce calory intake.
- Provide all required nutrients
Most traditional diets lack all the nutrients required by the body to stay healthy. You may need to eat more than one type of food to provide your body with all these nutrients. This means you may end up consuming more calories than expected. Meal replacements are good weight loss supplements as they contain all the nutrients required by the body. Eating a small amount of these supplements provides you with all the nutrients. The best meal replacement should contain essential vitamins, fiber, protein, and minerals.
What you should know before taking meal replacements
Weight loss supplements do not work magic. So, if you are looking to lose weight, you need to take meal replacements and also adjust your diet as well as your social life. Doing regular exercise and taking a balanced diet that is low on calories can help you lose weight.
Different meal replacements contain different ingredients. You need to check the ingredients before purchasing them. This is especially if you are allergic to any ingredients. You can consult your doctor about the best meal replacements for your situation.
If you have unhealthy eating habits, meal replacements won’t help you fix them. You will also have to work on your eating habits to lose weight.
How to best benefit from a meal replacement
There are some best practices you need to follow if you are to get the best from your meal replacement. Failure to follow these guidelines might hurt your efforts of using these supplements for weight loss. Here are some of them;
- Adjust your diet and lifestyle
Taking meal replacements alone will never help you lose weight. You need to check on your overall diet. Even if you consume the best meal replacement but fail to check on your consequent diet, you will never get to lose weight.
- Control their use
Now that you know the benefits of meal supplements, you might be tempted to consume them as your main meal. These weight supplements should never replace your main meal. You should consume them to supplement nutrients that you might miss from your meals. They are also a good option in case you have a busy schedule to avoid missing out on your meals.
- Do not add too many ingredients
You might be tempted to add ingredients like milk to your meal supplement. This is not advisable if you are looking to lose weight. The best meal supplements have controlled energy content, adding extra ingredients will only temper with the energy content, and you may end up not losing weight as you intended.
When should you take?
There is no specific time to eat a meal replacement. Some people take it at breakfast while others during lunch. The time depends on your preference. It is however recommended to take meal replacements during the meal you struggle with the most. If you do not have time to prepare breakfast, then that is the right time to take a meal replacement since they are quick.
You can also take meal replacements when you feel hungry to fight the hunger cravings since some have hunger blockers.
How to choose the best meal replacement for weight loss
There are many meal replacement supplements available in the market. Selecting the best meal replacement is the first step to achieving your weight loss goals. You, therefore, need to be careful when choosing a meal replacement. Some of the best practices when settling for a meal replacement for weight loss include:
Make sure you read the labels on the packaging. A good weight loss supplement should indicate all its content in the ingredient lists. Check that it is from a reputable company and that it does not contain stimulants like caffeine. You may also want to check that it doesn’t have much-processed sugars.
You can always check on the reviews about the products. This way you can learn if there are side effects when using the product.
Ensure you ask expert advice from professional as well as asking friends and family for recommendations.
Meal replacements are an effective way to consume healthy food and lose weight. However, you need to ensure you choose the top meal replacement shakes that has no unhealthy ingredients.