meal replacement shake

Everyone has health needs to deal with. These include shedding a few pounds, or conversely, adding a few. Illnesses are constant irritations as well.

To tackle these nuisances, many people tap on diet drinks, which take the form of protein or meal replacement shakes.

Both serve different purposes. To find out whether a meal replacement or protein shake fits your needs, find out their uses, draws and flaws. It also helps if you know how to choose the right one.

The difference between meal replacement and protein shakes

Picking the right diet shake is essential, as doing so wrongly can cause your weight management endeavors to go awry. The nutrients in meal replacement and protein shakes are in different quantities.

Meal replacement shakes contain more calories than protein shakes, as they are more filling. That said, they have fewer calories than full meals, which is a boon for weight watchers. Whey protein shakes have fewer than 120 calories per serving.

Protein shakes typically give users more protein. Those targeted at building muscles have up to 40g of protein per serving. Note that protein helps weight loss. A study by Paddon-Jones D et al showed that whey protein boosts metabolism by about 80 to 100%.

Why people turn to meal replacement and protein shakes

Many people grab shakes without considering what their uses are. Not surprisingly, they find shakes counterproductive. Some of them gain weight instead of losing it, and vice versa.

Meal replacement and protein shakes have different functions. Before trying either, consider your needs.

1. Meal Replacement Shakes

A meal replacement shake is a welcome beverage if you are a busy professional who cannot find time to eat during the day. Easy to prepare, it is a convenient meal on the go.

You may want to supplement deficient nutrients. Meal replacement shakes carry most of the nutrients, in suitable amounts, that your body needs. These shakes are a potent source of vitamins and minerals.

Certain health conditions lead to a decreased appetite. If you suffer from anemia, or constant migraines, a meal replacement shake may ease this woe.

Alternatively, you or your loved one may suffer from chronic health conditions like:

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Chron’s disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • or Chronic Fatigue.

Health burdens may make meal replacement shakes a necessity, because they often lead to a decreased appetite. Containing probiotics, they promote gastrointestinal health and satiety.

You may use meal replacement shakes to counter obesity-related health issues. Diabetics, who want to lower their blood sugar levels, may turn to meal replacement shakes which are low in carbohydrates but higher in other nutrients. An effective meal replacement shake for weight loss should have fewer calories. This said, it should have enough calories to give you the energy you need.

2. Protein shakes

You may want to add bulk and muscle to your physique instead. If you are underweight, take a whey protein shake. Whey, a by-product of cheese making, will help you to develop lean muscles.

If you are an athlete who has an intense training routine, you will need to drink a protein shake within an hour after your workout. Protein shakes trigger muscle recovery.

Shakes high in proteins and carbohydrates are essential during busy athletic events. They top these nutrients up without making you feel excessively full.

Meal Replacement Shakes: The Good and Bad

Meal replacement shakes have definite boons for those who take them. That said, there is no perfect nutritional supplement. These shakes have their share of flaws.


1. Pre-packaged portions

Many of these shakes come in pre-packaged portions. Keeping track of your nutritional intake is easy. One of these packages has all the nutrients you need for the day.

2. Weight management

Meal replacement shakes represent positive news for weight watchers. Studies by Vanderbilt University show that taking effective weight loss shakes, such as those by Ideal Shape, will help a person to lose weight safely. Read more on Ideal Shape here –

3. Satisfying

With enough calories, meal replacement shakes will keep you feeling full until your next meal. This decreases your temptation to reach out for that luscious ice-cream bar in the freezer.

4. Cost-friendly

These shakes may help you save money in the long-term. Many supermarkets offer them at discounts. A lunchtime meal replacement shake costs far less than a meal at a fast food restaurant.

5. Lasting

Do not fret over a meal replacement shake package that you discover in your storage area a long time after buying it. Keep these drinks for months and save on your meals.


All said, these drinks are not a long-term diet solution. They still lack many nutrients present in whole foods. Meal replacement shakes may not have all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. This make it difficult for cells to work the way they should. As such, you cannot rely solely on them.

Drinking the same shakes daily is tiresome. Many meal replacement shakes come in a limited variety of flavors.

Protein Shakes: Their Draws and Flaws

Protein shakes, like their meal replacement counterparts, have draws for those who take them. This said, they are not a perfect meal solution.


1. Weight Maintenance

Protein, containing essential amino acids, is responsible for keeping your weight down.

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates appetite and weight. A study by Juliana Austin et al shows that protein stimulates the hormone GLF-1 and curbs a person’s appetite.. It enhances the body’s metabolism.

2. Enhances body functions

Protein helps cells to manufacture important components, such as enzymes, hormones, cellular messengers and nucleic acids. Working together, these compounds help your body to work properly. It also promotes healing. Without protein, your cells cannot repair themselves.

3. Easy to absorb and break down

The protein in food is nutritious, but difficult to absorb and break down. Conversely, the amino acids in protein shakes are small and easy for your body to take apart.

4. Decrease hunger

Protein shakes are proven to decrease appetite. Studies show that they decrease hunger by producing the appetite increasing hormone, Ghrelin. One study by Wendy Blom et al shows that a high protein breakfast decreases this hormone, curbs hunger and hastens weight loss.


1. Lack of nutrients

A serving of lean meat, vegetables and whole grains supplies the protein, fat, vitamins and minerals that the body needs.

Containing mostly protein and carbohydrates, protein shakes are not full meals. Mass builders have these nutrients, and fat, in high amounts. They lack essential vitamins and minerals.

2. Weight gain

With excess protein, fats carbohydrates and sugar, protein shakes will add to your weight. If you do not work out, you will accumulate extra pounds instead of building lean muscle mass. With protein shakes, you will not lose weight if you do not cut your net calorie intake.

3. Not satisfying

Protein shakes do not substitute meals, but build muscle mass. Manufacturers do not formulate them as full meals. As such, they do little to curb hunger.

Choosing a meal replacement shake

Meal Replacement Shakes

You will have meal replacement shakes on your grocery shopping list if you wish to lose weight. Many such shakes flood the market, so the key to weight loss success is choosing the right one.

A meal replacement shake should have a low sugar content. It should also have a lower calorie count per serving than a regular meal. These shakes should have enough carbohydrates to give you energy, yet not have them in excess.

Further, a potent meal replacement shake should have a high fiber content. Fiber, which controls blood sugar, lowers the risk of obesity and related diseases like heart disease. Apart from giving your skin a healthy glow, it hastens weight loss and eases digestion.

Choosing a protein shake

protein shakesIf you have muscle-building on your agenda, you would have to select a suitable protein shake.

Protein shakes come in two forms. Mass gainers are powders that protein, fats and carbohydrates. Do not buy a mass gainer if all you want is a protein shake. You will gain fat instead of lean muscle mass.

Find out how long the company you are buying the powder from has been on the market. Products should have been around for at least two years. Pick a protein powder that has natural ingredients and few additives.

Protein powders come as concentrates, isolates or casein. Consider concentrates if you want to have your shake between meals, as the body absorbs them at a moderate pace. You should take isolates, absorbed more rapidly, after a workout because they transport amino acids to exhausted cells. Casein, which gives the body amino acids throughout the night, makes a wonderful bedtime meal.

Tips for consuming protein shakes and meal replacement shakes

Meal replacement shakes and protein powders will meet your weight management needs effectively. No matter which you choose, bear these tips in mind before taking them.

1) Do not eat more at other meals

Meal replacement or protein shakes do not excuse you from eating healthily at other meals. They take excess pounds off, but you will put the extra weight back on easily if you eat more at other times. Mindless snacking nullifies their weight loss effects as well.

2) Choose a tasty shake

You may think of meal replacement shakes as short-term weight loss solutions, so their taste may not matter to you. However, they help you to keep your weight low in the long-term. Further, shakes meet your nutrition needs when you are too busy, or when you need proteins after a workout. It is better to find a tasty meal replacement shake that you enjoy.

3) Read labels

You need to know what is in a shake before you buy it. If it does not have nutritional value, then it is just another milkshake.

Make sure that the meal replacement or protein shake that you have in mind has protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals in the right proportions, depending on whether you need it for muscle-building or weight loss.

4) Take them at the best times

The best times to take shakes are for breakfast or in-between meals.

Breakfast is one of the best times to take in meal replacement shakes. This is the time when you need the most nutrition, yet are in too much of a hurry to prepare a meal. Meal replacement shakes supply the nutrients you need quickly.

Everyone tends to reach out for a packet of potato chips in-between meals. Grab a meal replacement shake instead, as it satisfies your cravings without piling the pounds on.

With knowledge about diet shakes in mind, you can pick one that will work for you.

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