The Skinny on Weight Loss Shakes

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Trying to lose weight can be complicated. It’s hard to know which new diet craze will give the best results.

Cambridge? Paleo?

Or, which exercise routine mania will blast away fat the fastest?

Clubbercise, anyone?

How about weight loss shakes?

It’s easy to get caught up in the before and after pictures showing people who have been loyal to certain brands. They look amazing! It seems as though all you need to do is replace a meal or two with a weight loss shake to achieve your ultimate body transformation.

But do those pictures tell the whole story? Are weight loss shakes really a magic wand for weight loss?

What are Weight Loss Shakes

Basically, weight loss shakes (or diet shakes) are a liquid substitute for a full meal. They are often called meal replacement shakes and serve the purpose of providing all of the necessary nutrients of an actual meal, but with fewer calories.   

There are a plethora of meal replacement shake brands and flavours to choose from. Customers even have the option to choose brands that meet stringent dietary restrictions, like gluten free and vegan.

Currently, the average meal in Australia is over 1,000 calories. In turn, the average Australian eats over 3,300 calories every day – which is 1,500 more calories than are generally recommended for women and 900 more than are generally recommended for men.

And if you are not finding a way to burn those extra calories, they turn into extra pounds.

That’s where weight loss shakes come in.

How They Work

A good meal replacement shake is designed to contain the adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and other nutrients of a well-balanced meal.

But, while they can serve as a key component of a well-rounded diet, they contain only a fraction of the calories of a typical meal.

Whereas an average meal in Australia is at least 1,000 calories, most meal replacement shakes contain between 200 and 400 calories! So, replacing one full meal with a shake can save you at least 600 calories – bringing you a lot closer to that recommended daily intake and helping you shed those extra pounds.

What About Hunger?

Dropping those extra calories might seem like it would cause intense hunger. And as hunger is one of the top reasons people fail at dieting, it is valid concern.

Fortunately, high-quality meal replacement shakes are designed to limit cravings and keep you feel full for at least three hours. This can seem surprising when considering that weight loss shakes are really just liquid meals, but they are specifically designed to keep you full and satisfied for extended periods of time.

When buying a weight loss shake, make sure that it has three key hunger-fighting components:

  1. Protein

Protein is essential in fighting hunger. It takes longer to digest than other nutrients, so it can keep you fuller for longer. Look for weight loss shakes that have between 10 and 15 grams of protein for the maximum weight loss, nutrition, and hunger fighting benefits.

  1. Fibre

Fibre works hand in hand with protein. It can make you feel full right away and also has a slower digestion time than other nutrients, like carbohydrates. Fibre is also useful as it adds bulk to any meal, including a good meal replacement shake. Meal replacement shakes typically have up to 5 grams of fibre.

  1. Added Hunger Suppressants

While protein and fibre are natural hunger suppressants, some shakes also include supplements that aim to further curb hunger spikes. Meal replacement shake suppliers sometimes market the supplements as “Hunger Blockers” or “Fat Burners.”

If your shake doesn’t include any additional appetite suppressing supplements, you can increase its satiating effects naturally at home. Add an apple, banana, a few berries, or some spinach to prolong your fullness. If fruits and vegetables are not your thing, blend in some almonds or unsweetened coconut to make your shake even more satiating – and delicious!  

Losing Weight

So you drink a nutritious, high-quality, satiating weight loss shake and the pounds just fall off, right?

Maybe not.

Those who are most effective at losing weight combine cutting caloric consumption with increased caloric burning. In other words, they eat less and move more.

Meal replacement shakes already help you consume fewer calories. Adding a simple exercise plan to your routine will further the effectiveness of the shakes.

Drink-up!

For those just starting out with a weight loss shake regimen, it’s best to replace just one meal per day. Replace your breakfast or lunch with a shake and enjoy a day of increased energy, improved mood, and less hunger.

As you start to increase your caloric burn and intensify your exercise, you can also use a high-quality meal replacement shake as a pre or post workout drink.

Meal replacement shakes are designed to be nutrient packed and can work great no matter where you decide to fit them into your diet – so long as your total caloric intake does not exceed your total caloric burn.

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