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Nutrition Information: What We Need to Know About Meal Replacement Shakes



Green drink with celery

With the increasing number of obese and overweight individuals, numerous ways on how to cut the weight and lose the pounds have emerged. To promote safe, sustainable, and effective weight loss, we have to know the “what” and the “how” of these weight-loss regimens.

What are Meal Replacement Shakes?

Meal replacement shakes are specially formulated drinks intended to serve as substitutes for solid food meals, in cases when a person cannot prepare one full meal. They are usually in the form of a health shake or protein shake. Meal replacement shakes are often medically prescribed; healthcare professionals determine the dosage and the nutrients to be included in the meal replacement shake. The nutrient content and amount differ from client to client; some clients would require specific nutrients such as protein (e.g., weightlifters and bodybuilders), while others would require more vitamins and minerals (e.g. those who intend to lose weight).

Examples of medically prescribed meal packs include Optifast and HMR which offer the required amounts of vitamins and minerals needed by the body, while other meal replacement packs provide 25 percent of the required daily allowance for vitamins, minerals, and even fatty acids. The meal packs, which also contain other essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fibers, are rich in nutrients and low in calories, a perfect formula for those who intend to lose some pounds.

What Meal Packs are?

Meal packs should never be used to replicate the nutritional value of a whole meal, i.e., meal packs do not replace the nutritional and health value of whole meals. Thus clients are still advised to eat whole meals and even snacks on a regular basis, even if they desire to lose weight. Fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish offer unique nutritional elements that meal packs cannot provide, and clients are then encouraged to eat whole meals whenever they can and to not replace these meals with meal packs. However, if circumstances do prevent you from preparing a well-balanced, nutritious meal, then the meal replacement packs can be good alternatives.

What is in Meal Packs Anyway?

Meal packs contain essential nutrients that the body needs to function on a day-to-day basis. Meal packs are nutrient-packed, and studies have shown that when the body has enough supply of nutrients, then the need for calories are reduced. This means the body does not signal us to satisfy our hunger or to eat high caloric foods for energy.  When the calories are reduced, fewer fats are stored, and therefore less weight is gained. Meal packs, such as those offered by All about Weight, often contain the following essential nutrients:

  • Vitamins

Vitamins are an integral part of cellular function. Almost every system in the body needs the help of vitamins to help regulate its function. When it comes to weight loss, vitamins also share an integral role. Vitamins C and D help the absorption of the essential minerals iron and calcium which are found to contribute to weight loss. Iron is essential in oxygenation and cellular energy, and without it, a person might end up fatigued. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron in the body and allows the body to take up more iron. Vitamin D, which also assumes a similar function, also boosts the absorption of calcium in the body.

  • Minerals

Another essential element of meal packs is minerals. Minerals such as calcium are proven to contribute to weight loss. According to several studies, three servings of calcium (from low-fat dairy products) have shown to be beneficial for those who want to lose weight. The study also revealed there is more weight loss from daily calcium intake than that from calcium supplements.

But that does not mean that calcium supplements do not aid in weight loss at all. Another separate study revealed that women who consumed 1,000 mg a day of calcium supplements experienced more weight loss than those who were just given a placebo. The study results simply show a relationship between calcium and weight loss.

  • Protein

Almost everything in our body is made up of protein. Protein not only functions as a primary component of cells and tissues, but it also participates in controlling the body’s water content and healing and immune systems. The recommended amount of protein is essential in maintaining a person’s health and well-being. This is important for people who are undergoing weight loss as there is the tendency that they might not be getting enough protein from their implemented dietary restrictions.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates should not be immediately equated with fats. We must remember that carbohydrates are the immediate and primary source of energy or fuel in the body, and when the body is depleted from the right amounts of carbohydrates, the results could be very harmful. When it comes to losing weight and maintaining a good weight, the key is having the right amounts of carbohydrates. A balance must be made between the intake of carbohydrates and the number of carbohydrates to be used by the body. The right amount of carbohydrates should be according to a person’s daily carbohydrate use; it should not be less, and it should not be more.

Experts Agree

Nutritional and weight loss experts have agreed that meal replacement packs are one of the proven weight loss supplements. Weight-loss clients must remember, however, that meal replacement packs work at their best when they follow instructions directed by healthcare professionals. In many meal replacement plans, the packs are taken during breakfast and lunch and are supplemented with fresh fruits. At dinner, clients can then enjoy their favorite meals as long as they are still within their caloric limits.