Weight loss shakes, also known as meal replacement shakes or diet shakes, are not an uncommon part of a weight loss program.
Almost everyone has tried them at one point or another, whether it be as part of a diet program or as a last ditch effort to spark some kind of weight loss, but their effectiveness depends on several factors.
Read on to discover if commercial weight loss shakes really work.
What Are Weight Loss Shakes?
Weight loss shakes are made to be used as a meal replacement. Many commercial programs such as SlimFast or Special K have constructed their weight loss programs to surround their products.
Each of these programs provide their own weight loss shakes, as well as meal replacement bars and other snacks and foods, that are meant to be consumed as part of their diet program.
Depending on what type of program you are on and how quickly you are looking to lose weight, the weight loss shake is meant to replace either one or two of your meals for the day.
The meals that you do consume are low calorie, typically a large salad with a source of lean protein such as chicken, and the snacks are one of the program’s other products.
Why Weight Loss Shakes Don’t Work
Though the theory behind weight loss shakes makes sense, the truth is they simply do not provide lasting weight loss.
If you can stick to the designed program for two weeks it is possible to lose weight, but only because you are taking in far less calories than you normally would.
However, with these weight loss shakes, you are also consuming far less nutrients.
They slow your metabolism
Replacing meals with weight loss shakes might help you lose weight for a week or two, but it won’t have continued success.
Eventually you will switch back to full meals, but your metabolism will be considerably slower due to it being used to running off of fewer calories, especially if you have continued the low calorie program for a while.
While eating larger meals is what your body may need, your body will no longer know what to do with the extra calories and the weight can creep back on.
They don’t contain sufficient fiber
Fiber is an important aspect to any weight loss program. It is the essential nutrient that helps to keep the body satiated, while it also keeps everything moving along nicely in the digestive tract.
Fiber also helps with detoxification, another vital element to weight loss, by helping to flush the toxins that are released from the fat cells in the body.
They are high in sugar and artifical chemicals
In order for people to continue wanting to drink these weight loss shakes, they need to be tasty.
No one wants to pay money to drink something that tastes awful, which is why companies make sure to pump the shakes full of sugar and artificial flavorings.
Excess sugar is the last thing you need to be consuming when you are trying to lose weight, which makes these weight loss shakes counter-productive.
Sugar also breeds addiction, which means you will continually crave sugar and sweets as a result.
This could be exactly what these companies want, however!
They are not real food
There is no substitution for real, whole foods. While weight loss shakes may have vitamins and minerals added to them, these nutrients are far more potent coming from the direct source.
Real foods not only have vitamins and minerals, but also contain macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates as well as fiber, enzymes, and trace elements, all of which are needed in order to maintain health.
If weight loss is your goal, a balanced diet of lean protein, and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables is the best way to achieve your goals.
They aren’t sustainable for life
Weight loss shakes simply aren’t sustainable for life.
Not only will you suffer from insufficient nutrition from prolonged use of these weight loss shakes, but you will have a severely damaged metabolism from consuming so few calories.
It is also not practical to bring a meal replacement shake with you everywhere you go.
Make your own meal replacement shake at home
If you are considering using shakes as a meal replacement, the healthiest option is to simply make them at home.
Making your own weight loss shake at home allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring the amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein and essential fats match up to what your body needs.
What to put in a weight loss shake?
Making your own weight loss shake or meal replacement shake at home is easy with the right ingredients.
Use fresh fruits and even greens to amp up the nutrients, while using protein powders and low-fat dairy products for filling protein.
Here’s what you can add to a homemade weight loss shake:
- spinach, kale or other greens
- low-fat milk or non-dairy milk
- protein powders
- goji berries
- cacao nibs
While the idea behind weight loss shakes is a good one, the ones available commercially simply aren’t healthy options.
Look to make your own weight loss shake at home to get the most nutrients as well as see real weight loss progress.
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