The Pros and Cons of Meal Replacement Shakes
By Scarlet Gratton
Meal replacement shakes used to be associated mainly with athletes, but that’s no longer the case. Due to their convenience, they’ve become hugely popular, especially with people who lead a busy lifestyle and can’t be bothered with cooking three times per day. They can provide you with everything you need in less than a minute that it takes to prepare them. However, with all the benefits come some downfalls as well. So, if you’re thinking about adding meal replacement shakes to your daily routine, here are some pros and cons you should be aware of.
They are great if you lead a busy lifestyle
As mentioned, if you lead a busy lifestyle, there will definitely be days when you simply don’t have the time to prepare anything healthy. You might be falling behind on your work project, busy with kids and their schedules, or simply too tired to even think about chopping vegetables and standing by the stove for half an hour. No matter the reason, we’ve all been there. Meal replacement shakes take minutes to prepare, they are nutritionally balanced, and you can also carry them with you and have them on your way to work. It’s definitely a better choice than ordering fast food or buying unhealthy street food.
They can help you lose weight
If you are trying to lose weight, replacing one or two of your meals with shakes could actually help you reach your goal faster. The thing is, as nutritious as they are, meal replacement shakes don’t have many calories. Plus, they make calorie counting much easier, especially if you tend to forget to update your calorie-counting app. They might also be a good idea if you’re trying to drop just a few pounds before some big event or simply before summer.
They can be great for athletes
As mentioned, athletes have been familiar with the benefits of these shakes for a while. It can be hard to come up with a meal that is nutritious enough for your needs. This is especially true if you like eating out, as most restaurants think that a healthy meal is a low-calorie meal. Even when preparing your own meals, you might be surprised to find out that the huge and healthy dinner that you’ve just made doesn’t come close to the number of calories you need for the day. So, whenever you need to boost your calorie intake for the day, you can always have an extra shake.
They can be too low in calories
Some benefits can also be drawbacks, depending on your own needs. For example, there are many 100-calorie meal replacement shakes, and while they can serve as a great snack in the above-listed example, they can hardly be a meal on their own. Even when trying to lose weight, such shakes should not be actually replacing your meals. So, know the difference between a replacement meal and a nutritious snack, and know which one you actually need.
They may contain some less healthy ingredients
In order to choose the best meal replacement shakes for you, you need to become an expert in reading labels. The thing is, some shakes can contain added sugars, carbs, and preservatives, which you definitely do not need. They may also have different amounts of sodium, which might even be dangerous for people with blood pressure issues. So, keep your health in mind when reading the labels and choosing the right option.
They can be expensive
The price of meal replacement shakes varies depending on the brand and type, but some of them can be quite costly. Depending on how many meals you actually plan on replacing with a shake, this habit could leave a dent in your wallet. So, before you do choose to add meal replacement shakes to your diet, make sure to do some price comparison. This is unlikely to become a huge problem though, simply because meal replacement shakes are not very satisfying. After a week or two, you’ll probably start craving solid food. So, instead of spending a fortune on replacing a meal every day, it might be a better idea to buy them only when you know that you won’t have the time for preparing anything, so you don’t get tired of them too fast.
Meal replacement shakes are often underestimated simply because they are “not real food”. However, quality meal replacement shakes can provide your body with everything it needs – and they can save you time, which is one of the main benefits of using them. However, as with everything else, they are best taken in moderation since there will always be things that you can only get from whole foods. So, do your research, think about both the benefits and the drawbacks, and don’t hesitate to try them out if you think they could improve your lifestyle.
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