If you look around the health food aisle in your local supermarket, you will notice that there is a growing variety of meal replacement plans to help with weight loss. Most of the best meal replacement diet plans for weight loss are not all created equally. Therefore, it is important to know which the best meal replacement diet plan is for you, before incorporating it into your diet.
What is a Meal Replacement?
Meal replacement is a portion-controlled meal that will help you to reduce your kilojoule intake, eventually helping you to lose weight. They mainly come in a broad range of formulations – including bars, shakes, powders and soups. They are all intended to substitute one or two of your daily meals. Meal replacements can be useful in weight loss, even though they are not a substitute for regular exercise and healthy eating.
It is advisable to visit your dietitian before starting a meal replacement diet because there are many risks involved, which are not fit for everybody.
Are Meal Replacements Nutritionally Complete?
The majority of partial meal replacements are not nutritionally complete. They leave your body at a risk of developing mineral deficiencies because they do not provide your body with all the vital nutrients your body requires to function properly.
You might be able to replace one or two meals per day depending on your weight loss goals and the recommendation of your dietitian. Majority of meal replacement plans will require you to consume other types of food throughout the day to prevent dehydration and constipation. For example, the best meal replacement diet plans will require you to take fruits, vegetables, snacks, nuts, low-fat yogurt and at least two liters of water.
Once you have reached your weight loss target, you need to return to your regular healthy eating plan. Ensure that you regularly visit your dietitian for dietary advice to prevent weight gain.
Do Weight Replacements Work, and are they Safe?
Meal replacement plans are not supposed to be used for an extended period (more than five years). Therefore, you will be required to know how to prepare balanced, healthy meals and ensure you exercise daily to sustain weight loss.
Pros of Meal Replacements Diet
· You feel less hungry in between the meals
· They are easy to fit into your schedule because they are quick and convenient
· Most of these meal replacement programs have an online support platform aimed at helping you in your weight loss journey
· The meal choice is already made for you; therefore you will not have to worry about planning your meals.
Cons of Meal Replacement Diet
· They do not provide your body with the nutritional benefits of whole foods. Most of these meals are incomplete, leading to mineral or vitamin deficiencies if left unchecked.
· Once you stop using them, they do not teach you on how to come up and follow a healthy diet.
· They can be expensive (between $4 – 7 per serving).
· They do not have a variety, leading to boredom, eventually making you abandon the program.
· They may lead to serious side effects for people who have kidney or liver problems.
Meal replacements are mainly an effective way of losing weight. However, you need to consult your dietitian before, during and after using them to know if they are the right option for you, to achieve the best result, and to avoid future health complications.