A client asked me the other day if they should use a meal replacement shake.
The short answer is yes. The Long answer is I don’t think it’s the best choice.
Yes, there was a whole fancy schmancy systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of meal replacements for weight loss that said MR was an effective tool for weight loss 😱
But…slow down, Charlie Brown.
Using a meal replacement shake made it easier for someone to adhere to their lower calorie intake; however, it was a portion control method.
You know, kind of like following a meal plan that someone writes for you.
Is it a bad thing? No…
It just happens that the meal replacement shake is lower in calories, and if someone is replacing 1-2 meals per day with a shake, they are bound to lose weight because…of their calorie deficit.
You can do the same by shifting some foods selected for your meals.
Will they be hungrier because they are drinking their calories…possibly? There is less texture to experience when consuming liquid calories, which decreases satiation.
Will they be able to sustain it long-term? That depends on someone needing meal replacement shakes/ prepackaged meals that stick to their strict diet.
The goal is not to depend on a strict meal plan, or meal replacement shakes to maintain weight loss. My goal as a coach is to provide someone with self-efficacy.
It’s essential to learn skills and practice the skills to make progress.
So the verdict…
Ideally, you would eat a meal and not drink it. For busy clients, we look at the concept of deliberate snacks.
Something like a protein shake can be a good call if it will be longer than 6 hours between meals.