Look Better, Feel Healthier: Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Women
Being a woman is no easy task. We want to feel good and look even better all the while trying to balance the duties at work with the ones at home, leaving no time for a proper diet.
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Fortunately, we can now enjoy some of the best meal replacement shakes for women to help us in this ongoing struggle. With their help we can meet our weight goals in a healthy manner, obtaining the nutrients that we need to maintain proper energy levels and keep going throughout the day.
Because purchasing a meal replacement shake can be a hassle by not knowing who and what it is good for, we’ve taken the liberty to provide some information and make some suggestions that would help you select the right one for your needs.
What are meal replacement shakes?
Just as the name suggests, meal replacement shakes are a convenient way of getting all the nutrients provided by an entire meal while skipping the time-consuming part of preparing the actual food. If you lack the time to eat properly, as most of us do nowadays, then meal replacements are a considerably healthier alternative.
Meal replacement shakes can come in a bottle, can or in the form of powder and can be consumed instead of 1-2 meals a day, delivering around 200-400 calories and a substantial amount of protein, healthy fats and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
They are easy to prepare and carry around, which also makes them appealing to less motivated people who find it difficult to stick to a conventional diet.
Do meal replacement shakes facilitate weight loss?
According to researchers, replacing one or two meals a day with a meal replacement shake can speed up the weight loss process.
Meal replacement shakes contain protein and fiber so they help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and eat fewer calories during the day. And fewer calories usually equals fewer pounds.
You get rid of the hunger sensation you might have by skipping meals and avoid the processed foods and unhealthy snacking that is a major downfall to your weight loss plan. Most processed foods are full of artificial ingredients, sugar and salt which can stimulate the brain to overeat.
Meal replacement shakes are especially effective as a jump-start in losing weight because of the caloric control they provide you with and “particularly useful for women who have very little leeway in calorie intake and who cannot lose weight when they exceed their calorie quota even by a little” according to Cathy Nonas, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and director of Obesity and Diabetes Program at North General Hospital in New York City. (1)
Why do women need specific meal replacement shakes?
Studies showed that women experience the craving sensation way more often than men, making it difficult for them to maintain a proper diet and lose weight as they would like to. This is called “carbohydrate craving” and it is also enhanced by the menstrual cycle. (2)
Thus, a meal replacement shake is the perfect ally in the battle against the wish for sugar and fat-rich foods. Women’s best shakes are designed to contain the right amount of calories and nutrients to help women achieve their weight loss goals all the while feeling energized and satiated.
The satiety is mostly given by proteins. For fear of becoming the Hulk lady-version, many women don’t consume as much protein as they should. Fear not! Meal replacement shakes for women usually include less protein than the ones designated for men, because women feel fuller faster than men. This is also due to the fact that women consume less energy than men.
Generally, compared to men, women are more aware of their bodies and try to stick to a healthy diet. Although richer in nutrients, fibers and various micronutrients, women’s diets often lack calcium and other minerals such as iron. Meal replacement shakes can fill this gap.
In order to understand and find the best meal replacement shakes for women, let’s first have a look at dietary requirements of women compared to those of men.
Nutritional needs: Men vs. Women
98.5 % of men and women’s DNA is basically the same so it is no wonder that their nutritional requirements are more similar and only slightly different.
Therefore, both macronutrients, that is carbohydrates, protein and fat, and micronutrients, namely vitamins and minerals, required by men and women, are not based on gender alone but also on other factors such as lifestyle, eating habits, age, physical activities and overall health level.
Macronutrient requirements are generated by a percentage of the overall calorie level. Generally, an adult woman requires between 1,200 and 2,400 calories a day, while an adult man needs between 2,000 to 3,000 calories. (3)
You can determine your caloric needs depending on your body size and how active you are. For example, a 125-pound woman with a moderate activity needs around 2,000 calories a day while 175-pound man with a similar physical activity level needs 2,800 calories.
How can you measure how many calories you should eat in a day? This calorie calculator is a great, quick way to establish the daily number of calories tailored to your needs.
In terms of carbohydrates, which are the main sources of energy to keeping your body working, these should deliver around 45%–65% of the daily calorie intake, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. (4)
These should mostly be taken from high-fiber carbohydrates and whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, bran cereals and whole-grain products. Women need 25 grams of fiber per day while men require 38 grams.
Proteins are fundamental to our bodies and have an active role regulating the body’s cells, tissues, and organs.
Protein should deliver around 15% of the daily calorie intake and both moderately active men and women require around 60 grams of protein per day while people hitting the gym regularly need an extra of around 20%. In terms of body size, for a 125-pound woman, protein intake should amount to approx. 42 grams, while for a 175-pound man, 58 grams.
Fats are a used as a backup for our energy, delivering the highest amount of calories among all other macronutrients. With 9 calories per gram, men and women require no more than 30%–35% of daily calories to come from fat, and 20%–25% when trying to lose weight.
For moderately active women, this amounts to 2,000 calories a day or 44 to 77 grams of fat. Men with a similar pattern, on the other hand, reach around 57 to 101 grams of fat per day, which translates into 2,600 daily calories.
Micronutrients are not required in such high amounts as macronutrients but they still play a major role for our health and wellness.
Both men and women need around the same intake of vitamins and again, depending on individual parameters, the amount may vary. In the case of women, one of the most important is calcium which is the main ally against osteoporosis.
Some vitamins such as folic acid or B vitamins are especially important for women because of their active role in the prevention of anemia and before and during pregnancy.
Iron and magnesium are other micronutrients required more by women than by men, due to their loss during the menstrual period. Men can feel lucky for skipping that part! In the case of iron, women require around 18 mg a day, while men only need 8 mg.
Choosing the right meal replacement shake
The all-mighty protein
When trying to lose weight, women often focus on eating as less as possible or resort to counting calories for each meal.
Count no more! If you are trying to lose weight, then meal replacement shakes that are high in proteins are an efficient option because of their capacity to boost calorie burning and satiety.
There are many sources of protein used by manufacturers right now. Protein can be either complete or incomplete; complete sources have all the essential amino acids your body needs on a daily basis, while incomplete protein lacks one or more of them. Also, protein can come from animal or plant sources. (5)
- Whey – Complete, Animal
- Casein – Complete, Animal
- Egg white – Complete, Animal
- Soy – Complete, Plant
- Rice – Incomplete, plant
- Hemp – Incomplete, plant
- Pea – Incomplete, plant
Depending on the source that’s being used best meal replacement shakes for women’s weight loss may use a combination between more protein types to make sure that you get all the essential amino acids in one serving.
As mentioned above, a healthy protein intake for an average woman is around 42 grams, so don’t go overboard with the proteins because in the case of women, a diet extremely high in protein raises the risk for osteoporosis. (6)
Watch out for calories
A reduced calorie intake is essential to losing weight. A woman requires at least 1200 calories a day so a good meal replacement shake should cover that caloric need while replacing 1-2 meals of solid food a day.
However, not getting enough calories might become a problem for you getting the nutrients your body needs; the downside is that by exceeding your calorie quota you might also gain weight. Hence, there should be a balance between what you eat and what you supplement. For example, if two other meals during the day provide 800 calories, your shake should contain about 400 calories.
You also need to keep an eye out for artificial sweeteners. More often than not, meal replacement shakes are marketed as weight loss products but contain a lot of sugar. An efficient meal replacement shake should not contain more than a few grams of sugar; or even better, include stevia, a natural sweetener which can successfully meet your sweetness goals.
Fiber up your shake
Just like protein, fiber creates a feeling of satiety, making you able to control your calorie intake more easily. “According to a review published in “Nutrition” in March 2005, people who eat more fiber tend to weigh less and have less body fat.” (7)
Women need around 25 grams of fiber per day, so the best meal replacement shakes for women’s weight loss should include fiber sources such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains which have a low amount of calories per gram but fulfill a woman’s nutritional needs.
Shake up your life
For women who want to shed the unwanted pounds faster but still maintain a healthy lifestyle, specialists recommend the 40-30-30 formula (40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat)
This “allows your body to burn fat more easily and freely without the fear of starvation. You’ll feel energized, brain-strong, and minimize cravings and hunger . . . it has just enough carbs to keep your brain happy, but not too many where you go into fat-storage mode.” (8)
Whether this combination works for you or you need different amounts, meal replacement shakes grant you a better control in terms of…well, everything. The blend of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins and minerals can be mixed with almost everything, from water or milk as a liquid base, to bananas, walnuts, blueberries or chia seeds, to give you the boost, energy or flavor that you want.
If you think meal replacement shakes could benefit your diet and lifestyle but don’t know what to choose, let us show you our top choices for the best weight loss shakes for women in terms of nutritional profile, flavor, calorie intake and sustainability.
Women’s Best Shakes Reviews
Marketed as one of the best meal replacement shakes for women, this science-backed nutritional product includes a vast array of vitamins and minerals that are essential to women, such as vitamin A or Biotin from vitamin B, which is good for hair, skin and nails. Each serving delivers 11 grams of plant-originated protein and is low enough in sugar to match most dietary requirements.
- Vitamins and minerals like iron that boost women’s health
- Free from genetically modified ingredients and other toxins
- Multiple tasty flavors available
- Some customers say the stevia-sweetened shakes are too sweet for their taste
Designed to serve the dietary needs of women, this nutritional shake combines protein with a wide range of micronutrients that supplement ladies’ needs. Among them, there are included folate and magnesium, which women may need in extra amounts. With just 1 gram of sugar per serving, this product can be used as a meal replacement any time of the day and it fits any eating habit.
- 15 grams or protein that meets nutritional needs
- Gluten free and low carb to fit most diet requirements
- Multiple flavors to choose from
- Contains whey protein, so it’s not suitable for vegans
Compared to the other products on the list, this meal replacement shake is completely organic and non-GMO, certified by USDA. Including 10 fruits and vegetables, it provides a good sugar control since it does not include large amounts of sugar or any artificial sweeteners. It can be used as a meal replacement or before or after workout, delivering 255 calories per serving.
- 16 g of organic protein
- Free from soy and gluten
- 21 vitamins and essential minerals
- Some consumers complained about the strong taste of stevia
With 20% of the daily vitamins and minerals requirement, this shake works as an effective meal replacement for breakfast, lunch or post-workout. It provides 400 calories, which is more than other shakes do, and is effective in curbing appetite due to the slow-burning carbs from beets.
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- Good source of calcium, vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E, magnesium, potassium
- Plant-based, so it’s also good for vegans and vegetarians
- Slightly more calories than other meal replacement shakes
Part of the well-known SlimFast Plan, this meal replacement shake has been clinically proven to facilitate rapid weight loss and prevent cravings for up to 4 hours. The 20g of protein are a huge benefit even for vegetarians or those who might find it more difficult to get the protein intake they need in a day. It can easily fit any diet due to its low amount of sugar and 1g net carbs and 190 calories.
- Award-winner for best taste, comes in 4 flavors
- 5 grams of fiber, more than other meal replacement shakes of its category
- Low in sugar and carbs, very effective for weight loss
- Some customers didn’t enjoy the flavors that much
Considering how convenient meal replacement shakes have become nowadays, it is no wonder more and more people use them to make sure they achieve their nutritional requirements and weight goals while saving time and effort.
Every product we reviewed is helpful for women who want to lose weight and keep it off in a healthy manner. Due to its specific characteristics, we believe the SlimFast Advanced Nutrition Meal Replacement Shake is the best meal replacement shake for women who want to lose weight.
First off, the amount of proteins efficiently curves your appetite, making you feel more satisfied while boosting calorie burning. The 5g dietary fibers, much more present than in other MR shakes, also boost the satiety sensation without you worrying about calories. Not to mention that the 190 calories per serving can accommodate any diet, at a very reasonable price.
Another thing that makes it an effective weight loss shake for women is the 1g of sugar, the ingredient that everybody wants to avoid when keeping a diet. Add the fact that it is gluten and lactose free and you get one of the best weight loss shakes for women of every category, even lactose intolerant, who don’t enjoy such a vast array of choices.