Should you use Meal Replacements?
Should you use meal replacements as part of a comprehensive weight loss program? And I think the simple answer is absolutely yes. The unfortunate part about meal replacements is over the last several years, meal replacements aren’t what we’ll call sexy. What is sexy? Keto, intermittent fasting and vegan. Well, although those are sexy diets, they have not always stood the test of time. And there’s still a lot of questions about those diets and how they work long-term as far as weight loss.
Even going back to the 1970s, when liquid dieting got its start, it’s come a long way. Back in the ’70s, liquid dieting, so protein-based bars, shakes and soups were not the right thing to do when they first came out. But that was in the early 1970s.
Science and technology has come a long way since then. What meal replacements have now been shown to do, both in the short term, whether that be three months, six months, a year, and the longterm in studies lasting up to eight to 10 years, is that they help people structure their plan to lose more weight in the short term, and often keep off more weight in the longterm.
Five Benefits of Meal Replacements
Meal replacements are really doing five things for us. They’re helping us have a little more protein than the standard American diet, a little less carbohydrate. They have a few fats in them that we don’t otherwise have in our body, basically that are what we call essential fatty acids. There’s two of them and they’re long chain. And these come standard in what we’ll call medical meal replacements. The fourth is what we’ll call portion. So they have a standard portion. It is usually one package, whether that’s one serving of soup, a bar or a shake. And the fifth one is vitamins. They have enough micronutrients to keep us healthy for a long period of time.
What I say is you can take your meal replacements and you can take a jug of water and go to the International Space Station and live for a year very healthy, unless you’ve just are losing too much weight and want to have to add some calories back.
History of Meal Replacements
Throughout the years, meal replacements started out most likely as something was used in people who weren’t able to eat food for some kind of digestive or stomach problems, or they had part of their intestines removed. And they had to be supported for long periods of time through either a G-tube directly into their stomach or through a nasal gastric tube to feed them. Well, when it wasn’t just short term anymore and longterm, we had to figure out as a medical community what were the essential nutrients that we needed to sustain people’s health for long periods of time. They took that technology and just cut back calories and came out with what we now know as medical meal replacements.
Medical Meal Replacements are Not The Same as Store Bought Shakes
Medical meal replacements are not the same ones you can get in the grocery store, GNC or Costco. They are very specifically formulated to be potentially all the food you’re going to eat besides some liquid like water. They can sustain you for as little as one to three weeks and starting it, and then adding some food back in. Or if you desire for as many as six to nine months or longer. Now do you have to do it that way? Not exactly. We have many different patterns of the way people use meal replacements in our practice. Many people do get a jumpstart. And so they go on a jumpstart plan, which includes often a full meal replacement for a couple of weeks. And that again is completely up to you and your desires.
If it is working and you feel good doing it, and you’re losing a lot of weight, why not keep continue doing it? It gives you what we’ll call a break from food.
Protein Based Meal Replacements are a Vacation from Food
It’s kind of a vacation from having to wake up and decide what you’re going to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You don’t have to cook. You don’t have to do anything fancy. The other is it’s fast. So many people now in the pandemic are working from home. They’re sitting at their desk for hours at a day. Many people say, “I don’t even have time to get up to go to the kitchen or don’t feel like getting up and going to the kitchen and making something healthy for lunch.” So you know you can either prepare, which sometimes is just blending in a blender with some ice, sometimes adding water, sometimes just pulling from the fridge. Sometimes just open. You can have a fully nutritious, completely sustaining meal and then go right back to work.
So meal replacements make weight loss faster. Then make it last longer. They make it easier. And if you’ve chosen the right ones, and I believe we have chosen the right ones, also tastes quite good.
That is just a little bit about meal replacements. Hopefully you learned something today. If you have a moment, please subscribe to my channels here on the side of your screen, and then you’ll get automatic notifications when a new video is posted.