The Best Meal Replacement Shakes to Supplement Your Nutritional Needs
Calorie management is an essential component of any legitimate weight loss plan, calling for the cutting out of empty calories. To supplement what is being lost in this process, you will need to find the best meal replacement shakes to supplement your new nutritional regimen. Choosing the right meal replacement shake can go a long way in helping you to achieve the fitness and weight loss goals that you have set for yourself.
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Not only do meal replacement shakes help you to manage your caloric intake, but it also ensures that you achieve your minimum essential nutritional needs. Because of the ease of use concerning the top meal replacement shakes on the market, they are a convenient and sustainable source of achieving nutritional proficiency.
Unfortunately, all meal replacement shakes are not created equal, and neither should they be. Moving forward you will learn what to look for in a a top-rated meal replacement shake as well as what to avoid. We will even make a few suggestions to get you started.
Why Use Meal Replacement Shakes?
Outside of being a convenient way of monitoring your nutritional intake on a daily basis, meal replacement shakes are easy to carry around, can be treated as a quick snack, and they are satiating. Meal replacement shakes are easy to prepare and they are great at curbing hunger between conventional meals.
The Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes
Latelty, meal replacement shakes have become the talk of the town – and frankly, it’s no wonder. These snacks offer plenty of benefits such as convenience, glucose (sugar) management, caloric management, simple preparation, nutritional control, and satiety. Along with a balanced diet and an active lifestyle, finding the best meal replacement shakes to meet your nutritional needs and lifestyle will serve to improve the results you get from your plan.
While you may need to consume less calories to lose weight, your body also needs its daily share of nutrients. Meal replacement shakes deliver a considerable amount of macronutrients and micronutrients packed up in fewer calories than whole-food meals would provide.
As Mayo Clinic points out, though, meal replacement shakes shouldn’t be used as a crutch. Relying on this snack alone to replace too many meals could backfire on the long run and. In fact, a 2014 study showed that people who consume meal replacement shakes intensively ended up gaining more weight than those who created a balanced long-term diet plan. (1)
Improved insulin levels
One of the key contributing factors to obesity is insulin insensitivity, which is caused by constant insulin spikes that are due to high-carb/high-glucose diets.[iii] The use of a good meal replacement shake can help manage your glucose levels and even reverse insulin insensitivity.
A study published by the National Institutes of Health suggests that meal replacement diets can also reduce the effects of stress and inflammation through extended use in addition to aiding in the weight-loss process. (2)
Convenience & sustainability
Aside from being a healthy way of maintaining a balanced diet and gaining energy, meal replacement shakes are also extremely convenient! After all, getting so many nutrients in a few sips whenever you want is one of the simplest methods to improve your lifestyle. Furthermore, choosing the right option for your needs provides sustainability too. Every physical goal requires a long-term, high-quality plan of action that involves a good diet, plenty of nutrients and proper training. With meal replacement shakes, you know for sure you give your body just the right amount of nutrients it requires. (3)
The Similarities and Differences in Shakes
The instant-preparation shake industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry. There are diet shakes, protein shakes, and meal replacement shakes — all serving different purposes. Understanding the similarities and differences associated with these different types of shakes will help you make an educated decision when choosing the best meal replacement shake.
While all three types of shakes can support weight loss, they accomplish their results in an entirely different manner. First, let’s take a look at how these shakes are similar. Meal replacement shakes, protein shakes, and diet shakes all help you maintain a healthy diet.
They support weight loss by limiting the number of empty calories that you consume per serving and adding proper value depending on your physical goals.
Each of these options is complementary to your diet plan and helps you maintain a balanced amount of nutrients.They can all come as powder which you then use to prepair your own shake, or ready-made, so you just pop the can and drink whenever you want.
So what’s the difference between these shakes?
The main difference comes in the nutrient content. For protein shakes, the main focus is to provide as many essential amino acids per serving as possible.A report issued by Healthline suggests that protein shakes are almost essential for people who are looking to improve athletic performance and build muscle mass. The key focus with a protein shake is the amount of amino acids it offers per serving and how well it delivers that protein to your system — bioavailability. (4)
Diet shakes offer their fair share of micronutrients, but their main focus is to be low in calories, carbs and fats – the main macronutrients that promote weight gain. Although they can be viewed as a form of meal replacement shake; however, they lacks the holistic nutritional value to be sustainable over a long period of time.
The best meal replacement protein shakes are going to offer a balanced nutritional drink that’s rich in both macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Some of the things to look out for is the total calorie count per serving and key nutritional essentials. (5)
Meal Replacement Shakes Vs. More Conventional Diets
Choosing a nutritional plan begins with understanding yourself. What are some of the things that are vital to you reaching your full physical potential? Every person is different in what they need based on their current condition.
If you don’t have enough time for healthy meal preparation, a meal replacement shake will make sense. After all, it’s better to enjoy a nutritional drink than fast food or other harmful snacks!
Perhaps the most significant difference between conventional diets and meal replacement shakes is the ability to achieve nutritional specificity. Furthermore, if you have highly specific nutritional requirements, meal replacement shakes show you exactly how many macronutrients, vitamins and minerals you get per serving.
However, it’s crucial that you combine this option with a healthy diet made of whole foods. Regardless of the quality of a meal replacement shake, it could never replace the digestive and nutritional benefits provided by whole foods. As long as you maintain a proper balance, though, there shouldn’t be any problem!
Are There Any Risks Associated with Meal Replacement Shakes?
As with anything, there can be negative consequences or side effects when you move beyond moderation or misuse meal replacement shakes beyond the established recommendations. While safety associated with short-term use has been established through scientific study, we don’t have enough data to know if there are any long-term negative effects associated with meal-replacement shakes. (6)
Obviously, the fewer additives a shake has, the fewer the risks for long-term effects. If you’re suffering from kidney problems, they may be emphasized by long-term use of meal replacement shakes – especially if they’re rich in protein. (7)
Because most meal replacement shakes have a low caloric content, it can have a reverse impact on your body’s metabolism. Usually, when your body goes into what is known as a caloric deficit, the metabolism will slow down in order to preserve energy. When this happens the chance of gaining weight increases. In other words, the down-regulation of your metabolism can work against you if you don’t manage it properly.Lastly, meal replacement shakes that lack adequate fiber can lead to bowel problems, especially constipation. To avoid many of these potential complications, you should limit your consumption to one shake per day and cycle off of the shakes periodically.
The Criteria for Choosing the Top Meal Replacement Shakes for You
Every person is different in body composition and hormone balance. Also, the goals of one person may be different than your own. First, you should consider the potential risks involved. If you have a liver or kidney condition, you will want to avoid meal replacement shakes that have a high protein content. If you frequently suffer from constipation, look for a shake that is high in fiber. Your energy demands will matter as while.
While most diet shakes and a lot of the meal replacement shakes focus on reducing the number of carbohydrates per serving, the demand for energy requires more complex carbohydrates that break down slowly allowing for consistent energy throughout the day. Consult your physician or nutritionist to know what your shake should supplement the most based on your current nutritional needs.
- Anything hydrogenated
- Added sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
The Best Way to Use Meal Replacement Shakes
As I said earlier, meal replacement shakes are meant to supplement your existing diet, not to replace it completely. You should have a healthy diet already in place when choosing the top meal replacement shakes because it will simply supplement nutrients that are not sufficiently supplied through your diet.
You should determine the best time of the day to take the shake — deciding which meal to replace. In most instances, lunch is the most practical choice because it is the meal that you are less likely to be home to adequately prepare it. This way you have at least one solid meal before and after your meal replacement shake.
Depending on how active you are, you may also want to get a meal replacement shake after working out. Exercise stimulates nutrient absorption and digestion particularly when they come in liquid forms. (8)
You will probably need to test the dosage over the first couple of weeks to find the optimal dosage for you. The dosage listed on the package is very general and serves as a great starting point, but you will need to customize it in time. Start with the recommended dosage for about four to five days and evaluate the impact. You may need to reduce or increase the dosage depending on what you experience in the first five days.
The Ingredients that You Want
Again, your desired outcome and your current health will play a significant role in determining what ingredient you want in your shake. Fiber is extremely important because it plays a vital role in the regulation of the digestion processes. You should also look for a high green food content, especially as it pertains to cruciferous vegetables. The proper balance of protein and carbs is also important, and you want your carb content to be mostly complex carbs. Simple carbs can lead to elevated glucose levels because they break down so rapidly in the blood stream — creating insulin spikes.
Insulin spikes can lead to insulin insensitivity, obesity, and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes. Make sure that the essential vitamins and minerals mentioned by your physician and nutritionist are present. Because vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, it is important to make sure that you get ample doses of this vitamin. While there are plenty of foods and fruits through which you can get vitamin C, having an adequate supply in your shake won’t hurt. What the body does not use, it will discard.
Some of the ingredients you can use to enhance the taste and performance include:
- Natural juices
- Coconut water
- Distilled water
- Almond Milk
- Coconut milk
Not only do these ingredients add flavor and texture, but they also have nutrtional value and health benefits that will ultimately boost the value of the shake.
The Best Meal Replacement Shakes
Not all meal replacement shakes are created equal and they don’t all offer the same distinct benefits, so we listed the top five meal replacement shakes on the market with a focus on diversity in performance and focus. The primary focus will be on quality, price, content, dosage and overall performance, things that you should focus on when choosing the top rated meal replacement shakes for you.
At 39 grams of protein per serving, this option is highly recommended to active people who enjoy working out on a constant basis. While it’s extremely low in sugar, the formula contains plenty of micronutrients that supplement your daily nutritional needs. Each serving has 240 healthy calories filled with vitamins, minerals and protein that help your muscles recover faster, reduce cravings and encourage weight loss. The product comes available in two tasty flavors that are quickly blended into any liquid.
- Contains plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals
- Very high in protein (39 grams per serving)
- Low in sugar and free from unhealthy trans fats
- Some customers claim the flavors are too strong for their taste
Fit365 has developed a reputation for containing all natural and organic ingredients, which makes it perfect to complement a long-term healthy diet plan. Another great benefit is that it is gluten-free, so it matches most diet requirements. One of the top benefits of this particular meal replacement shake is the fact that it has a low glycemic factor, so you don’t have to be concerned about insulin spikes and everything related to it. It comes in several flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry so you can also change the flavor while keeping the healthy formula intact.
- Balanced nutritional contribution
- All natural and organic ingredients
- Only 3 grams of sugar per serving
- May cause unpleasant symptoms for lactose-intolerant consumers
With only 80 calories per serving, this meal replacement shake is simply perfect for anyone trying to lose weight. Its balanced formula and lower protein content make the product highly recommendable to less active people too, regardless of their diet. This formula is easily blendable into any liquid and offers a unique chocolate flavor that turns a healthy drink into a dessert you’ll enjoy every single day!
- Extremely low in calories
- Great for any time of the day
- Includes essential vitamins and minerals
- May be too low in protein for highly active people
While this meal replacement shake has a high level of protein (40g), it alos has a significant carb count (19g) and meets your physical needs for fiber (6g). Surprisingly to all these quantities, it is very soluble in any liquid. When mixed with a proper workout and a healthy diet, this is the perfect ally to gain lean muscle while losing fat. The product is available in four tasty flavors and you can have it ready in a matter of minutes.
- Promotes lean muscle mass
- Great as a recovery supplement after workouts
- Easy to mix according to your preferences
- Some customers claim the flavor is too strong
From dietary fiber that offers energy to 25 grams of grass-fed whey protein, the formula of this shake is completed by a micronutrients such as potassium and calcium – all of which are essential to get us through the day. What really makes this option special, though, is its unique blend of organic superfoods like spinach, kale or carrots. Needless to say, the wide range of healthy veggies and fruits only enhance the benefits of this meal replacement product and make it perfect for any time of the day!
- Unique superfood blend
- Available in multiple natural flavors
- Low caloric content
- Contains whey concentrate which may not be suitable for lactose-intolerant people
While the best meal replacement shake for you will depend heavily on a number of variables, including your personal preference, your specific goals, your current health condition, and more. The best meal replacement protein shakes, with all things being considered equal, is the NutraFit High-Protein Meal Replacement Shake. The high-protein content makes this shake versatile enough to use as a pre-workout or recovery shake, but the shake is balanced enough to serve as a replacement for a meal.
The soluble fiber and elevated level of carbs created the balance necessary to meet all of the macro nutritional needs of a conventional meal. It should be noted that the greatest concern here is the high levels of protein that could create an issue with your liver and kidneys over periods of extended use.
One way that you can reduce the risk of damaging your kidneys and liver is by cycling off of the shake periodically to allow your body to naturally detoxify and recover from the excess protein and other toxins that may be harmful to you. The NutraFit High-Protein Meal Replacement Shake is the best of both worlds in the sense of performance and holistic meal replacement. You have the convenience of daily meal replacement and the punch of high-octane protein-infused performance in one formula.