What are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Not to be confused with protein shakes, meal replacement shakes are designed to provide the nutrition of a meal but with fewer calories. These shakes include protein, vitamins and minerals and are most often used for weight loss or maintenance. In contrast, a protein shake is simply intended to add protein to the diet, not to fully replace a meal.
Meal replacement shakes have received some scrutiny over the years as they can differ so much in quality and nutrition. As a result, there can be a fair bit of confusion regarding what constitutes a ‘good’ meal replacement shake.
Here we will outline what you should look out for when choosing the right one for you and the real benefits that a meal shake plan can provide!
Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes
There are plenty of reasons you might replace a regular meal with a shake, and it is likely that it may tick one or more of the following boxes:
Shakes certainly have an advantage over full meals when it comes to convenience. They’re easily portable, simple to prepare and quick to drink. Because they help to keep you full, shakes are far preferable to skipping a meal entirely if you are in a rush or travelling - and can be made and consumed in as little as a few minutes - depending on how quickly you wish to drink!
Research has observed that replacing one or two meals per day with a high quality meal replacement shake may help speed up weight loss. This may be, in part, due to their often high protein content. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for weight loss. Higher protein diets create greater satiety, and have been shown to lead to eating fewer calories throughout the day, resulting in gradual and sustainable weight loss over time. The kind of weight loss we want to achieve!
When cutting back on calories, it can be a challenge to get all the nutrients you need from your diet. Shakes are nearly always fortified with nutrients, meaning you are much more likely to be able to fill any nutrient gaps when cutting back. For example, many shakes will be a good source of calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin D - many of which people are often lacking from in their diets.
Just like a healthy diet, your meal replacement shake should be full of real ingredients that taste like real flavours - not artificial or chalky. This is how you know they contain ingredients sourced naturally from foods. However, many diet shakes contain a myriad of ingredients you’ve never heard of - which should certainly be a red flag. At NGX, our BodyFuel powder contains only ingredients from real food, so you can be assured there are no-nasties at all in our shakes.
What is a High Quality Meal Replacement Shake?
Just as everybody has different nutritional needs, not all meal replacement drinks are created equally. Most shakes contain between 200-400 calories and a good amount of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
The ingredients and nutrition, however, can vary greatly between brands - and will differ in their amounts of protein, fats and carbs. It is important to choose shakes high in protein and low in sugar, in order to maximise weight-loss potential.
Plenty of shakes are made with high quality, wholesome ingredients but others contain unnatural or artificial ingredients. These may include anything from added sugars and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (increasing ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol) to artificial flavours and chemical preservatives.
Here is a checklist for what you should look out for when choosing a high quality meal replacement shake:
✔ Based on whole food based ingredients
✔ Avoid artificial sweeteners, flavours or ingredients you can’t pronounce!
✔ At least 15g of protein per serving
✔ Beneficial fats including omega 3’s
✔ Less than 5g of sugar per serving
✔ No hydrogenated vegetable oils or fillers
✔ Vitamins and minerals
How Long Can You Use Meal Replacement Shakes?
For best results, meal replacement shakes should ideally be partially incorporated into the diet, replacing one or two meals a day. Solely using meal replacement shakes to lose weight is not a sustainable strategy in the long term.
Whilst many brands ensure their shakes contain important nutrients, they are all designed as a ‘one size fits all’ product. Individual nutritional needs vary from person to person, which is where having insights into your DNA can be invaluable.
As an example, vitamin D and B vitamins are key nutrients needed to support weight loss. B Vitamins, in particular, are key for maintaining high energy levels. Ensuring you are having an optimal intake will give you the energy needed to feel fired up for your workouts and as a result will contribute to your weight loss goals.
Consuming a shake that has your own individual requirements of these nutrients (and many more) means that you’ll undoubtedly be able to stick to your meal shake plan for much longer compared to standard meal replacement shakes providing sub-optimal nutritional value. This is key in order to make a meal replacement plan sustainable in the long term. At NGX, our focus is on long term results - not quick fixes or rapid weight loss.
Genetically Personalised Meal Shake
We have used cutting-edge nutrigenetic science to develop the world's first genetically personalised shake. NGX BodyFuel is created with a personalised blend of all 30 essential vitamin and mineral requirements, and is sweetened only with stevia extract - a plant-based zero carb natural sweetener.
Each serving provides a lean 140 calories per 35g meal. If losing body fat is your goal, we advise consuming one 35g scoop instead of breakfast, and again for lunch or dinner. You can of course switch things up and add a scoop to a smoothie recipe or protein pancakes, if you fancy.
And you can be confident there are no-nasties in our shake. Your BodyFuel shake contains only real food which includes all-natural, high-quality, and sustainably sourced pea protein isolate, brown rice isolate, flaxseed, vitamins and minerals - all personalised to your DNA, of course.