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Frequently Asked Questions About Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes generally contain a balanced array of macronutrients, which emulate a balanced meal. They are often low calorie and are quite filling. They tend to also be nutrient-dense, which means they are higher in nutrients than most full meals, even though they are lower in calories.
A good meal replacement product can help aid in dieting, weight control and enhanced muscle growth. Most meal replacement products are developed with a particular goal in mind.
For instance, some meal replacement shakes are intended to improve athletic gains while others are intended for weight loss or overall general health.
Some can also help to boost muscle growth as well as improve weight loss, resulting in an overall improvement in body composition.
It is also important to distinguish the difference between meal replacement shakes and protein shakes. These shakes may seem very similar, but are actually quite different. Protein shakes generally contain more protein than meal replacement shakes, and are lower in calories.
They also do not usually have as much fat in them, and generally do not include micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
Meal replacement shakes may include vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. If used improperly or used like a protein shake, a meal replacement shake may add unnecessary calories and carbohydrates to your diet.
Meal replacement shakes are effective and time-saving. They can help to ensure that you consume a healthy amount of nutrients and achieve a feeling of fullness all in less calories than many full meals.
They can also offer you access to a well-balanced meal when you are traveling or on-the-go, and they can help athletes to supplement with much needed macronutrients directly before, during or after a workout.
When used properly, these products are quite reliable at helping consumers to achieve their goals.
- Athletes – Athletes can benefit from meal replacement shakes in numerous ways. Some athletes can take a meal replacement shake simply to save time – for serious athletes, eating out is sometimes not an option. They rely on making their own meals to ensure they consume balanced nutrients. With a meal replacement shake, athletes can consume a balanced meal without having to spend an hour in the kitchen making one. Athletes can also use these shakes to provide themselves with extra nutrients to help them bulk up. They can take them before, during or after their workouts; depending on their goals and preferences. They can also use them to lose weight (or “cut”) by replacing a meal with it – giving them a low-calorie, nutrient dense meal that is easy to consume on-the-go.
- Those Trying to Lose Weight – Athletes are not the only ones who can lose weight with the help of a meal replacement shake. Those who are looking to shave off a few pounds for health or aesthetic purposes may also benefit. Just as athletes can replace a meal with a shake, regular people can too. Some meal replacement products can provide you with balanced nutrients at only around 500 calories or less, whereas most meals are much more. A study conducted on restaurant meals in 2013 found that the average restaurant meal is about 1,128 calories per meal.
- Travelers – When traveling, it is often very difficult to ensure you consume balanced meals. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is often especially hard for travelers – especially travelers on a budget. If you have no access to a kitchen and you have to eat out for most of your meals, salads become pretty expensive. So, if you are planning on taking a long trip, you may want to consider bringing some meal replacement products that help you to consume balanced meals with plenty of necessary nutrients. They are easy to make and consume, they can help you save money and keep you full and energized on your trip!
If meal replacement shakes are used improperly, they could potentially cause weight gain. They also may cause you to be more fatigued due to calorie restriction.
Other side effects may include digestive distresses such as gas and diarrhea.
Some people may also experience a minor feeling of bloat, but this is not common. However, if used properly, meal replacement shakes do not generally cause negative side effects.
Note: We do not recommend using meal replacement shakes as a substitute in any way to proper daily nutrition.
Depending on your purposes, you may take a meal replacement shake for breakfast, lunch or dinner or before, during or after a workout.
Some people may use a meal replacement shake to boost their intake of macronutrients to promote growth, while others may use them to provide nutrient dense calories and effectively lower their caloric intake to lose weight.
Please note: these products are not meant to replace proper daily nutrition or food!
A good product should be produced by a reliable company for a reasonable price, and should also contain the right nutrients in the right amounts. However, the “right” amounts of each nutrient may differ depending on your purposes, age and gender.
For example, if you are an athlete trying to bulk up, you may want more protein and carbohydrates. If you are trying to lose weight and slim down, you may not want as much carbohydrates.
Gender and age also affects your intake recommendations of certain nutrients. There are different available meal replacement formulations to choose from, so knowing your body and your goals is important.
It is also important to be aware of the standard for nutritional balance in a meal. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids, fats and cholesterol, fiber and water.
There is a wide range of acceptable macronutrient intakes that you can refer to to ensure that you are consuming balanced meals, and to ensure that your meal replacement supplement is within an acceptable range of balance. Generally, the distribution range includes: (For adults)
- Carbohydrates: 45-65%
- Proteins: 10-35%
- Fats: 20-35%
As you can see, it is the ratios that matter most. Micronutrients are also very important factors of a balanced meal. This group of nutrients is called “micro” because you need small amounts of them, as opposed to “macro” which you need large amounts of.
Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and other compounds such as antioxidants and polyphenols.
Your micronutrient recommendation can be found as an “RDA,” which means Recommended Dietary Allowance. RDA’s can be found on the National Institutes of Health website.
Contents of this Article
- Frequently Asked Questions About Meal Replacement Shakes
- What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
- Meal Replacement Shakes vs. Protein Shakes
- What Are the Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes?
- Who Can Benefit from a Meal Replacement Product?
- Are There Any Side Effects of a Meal Replacement Product?
- How Do I Take a Meal Replacement Shake?
- How Do I Pick a Good Meal Replacement Product?
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