How to Choose Meal Replacement Shakes for Effective Weight Loss Results
The problem with cutting back on calorie intake is that you can feel constantly hungry and unsatisfied, making any diet plan an uphill struggle when tempting treats are never far away. One great solution to this problem is a meal replacement shake, which provides the nutrition you need in a physically filling format without the excess calories which will sabotage your diet.
But what should you look for when choosing between the many different shakes on the market? Here are the three main areas to consider.
1) Basic Shake Types for Different Diets
Depending on the type of diet plan you’re following, you might need a different type of shake to best fit in. There are five basic kinds to choose from.
– Plant-based shakes are mostly or entirely made from vegetable proteins, and are ideal for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, check on the ingredients list before buying if you have any food allergies, as these shakes often contain traces of nuts, soy, hemp, or other sources which some people find difficult to digest.
– Keto-friendly shakes are low in carbs to suit those following keto-based diet plans.
– Paleo-friendly shakes place the emphasis on wholefood ingredients with as little extra processing as possible.
– Low-sugar shakes don’t rely on sweetness to be palatable, and so are particularly low in calories as well as suitable for those with blood sugar issues.
– Very low-calorie shakes are great for reducing your daily calorie intake, but can leave you feeling hungry and lacking in energy. It’s usually best to try these once you’ve got into the meal replacement routine, rather than making them your first choice when starting out.
2) Protein Sources
Most shakes rely on concentrated proteins to leave you feeling satisfied, and these proteins come from a few typical sources.
– Whey protein is the most common, and is made from milk. It’s easy to digest and can assist in turning fat into lean, toned muscle, but isn’t suitable for vegans or people with lactose intolerance.
– Casein is another protein that’s derived from milk, but it’s digested and metabolized much more slowly than whey protein. This makes it a good choice if working out is a large part of your weight loss routine, as it helps muscle recovery over a longer period.
– Soy protein is made from soybeans and is great for vegans and vegetarians. It provides complex proteins containing the full range of amino acids for all-round nutritional health, but has a couple of drawbacks. Many soy shakes are made from genetically modified ingredients, so choose an organic product if you want to avoid this. Also, excessive soy can have an estrogen-like effect on the body, so all soy-based products should be used with care.
– Pea protein is another complex source that’s suitable for vegans. What’s more, its high fiber levels can produce stronger feelings of fullness, to keep hunger at bay for longer.
– Brown rice protein is a good dairy-free source, but doesn’t offer the full-spectrum of amino acids. If you use only brown rice shakes, then make sure the rest of your diet contains a full nutritional range to make up for this lack.
– Hemp protein is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote joint, brain, and cardiovascular health. However, it’s not a good source of most other amino acids, so should be used as part of a fully balanced diet.
3) Added Extras
While in most cases unprocessed wholefoods are the most desirable for health, when it comes to meal replacement shakes sometimes a few added extras can be beneficial.
– Added fiber increases feelings of fullness while also promoting better digestive health.
– Added vitamins and minerals can help make up for any nutritional deficiencies a restricted diet can cause.
– Added superfood blends can bring the particular benefits of mushrooms, kale, spinach, and other ingredients, without the natural tastes and textures that are off-putting to some people.
– Added probiotics can help promote all-round digestive health, as well as providing support to the immune system.
While all these options can make choosing your meal replacement shake a little tricky, it also means there’s plenty to try if your first choices don’t work out as you’d hoped. By refining the exact type of shake your body needs, you can home in on a meal replacement routine that works for both your diet plan and your overall health.