Meal Replacement 101

Time to shine some light on a supplement that garners an extreme amount of misunderstanding in the health, nutrition, and supplement industry: The Meal Replacement Shake.

Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: You get told that you eat too much, or you feel that you eat too many times throughout the day. You want to lose some weight but have no direction to turn when looking for something that will help with this goal. So, you decide to go to your local supplement store and ask them what products you can take to help you lose weight. Among the regular picks, the person helping you out suggests that you take a meal replacement shake as this is a product designed to help you lose weight. You buy your range of supplements along with your meal replacement shake and decide to give it go. One of two things happens over the next few weeks:

  1. You lose weight. Or, …
  2. You do not lose any weight (and if you are really unlucky, you gain a little weight).

But I thought meal replacement shakes are supposed to aid in weight loss? How can a product made for weight loss have two totally different potential outcomes?

Sure, it is true that meal replacements are designed to help you lose weight but if you use them incorrectly, they can have the exact opposite effect on you.

So, let us have a look at how they work, why they can have the opposite effect and ultimately how to make sure they work they way we want them to.

Meal replacements 101 – What to do, when to do

Contrary to your regular protein shake, meal replacement shakes are made to provide the nutritional value of a standard full meal. On average, meal replacement shakes have anywhere between 200 and 400 calories which includes a fair amount of protein, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals. The weight loss design of the replacement comes in where their purpose is to provide a convenient way to get a quick and healthy, low-calorie meal on the go.

The purpose of a meal replacement shake is to act as a REPLACEMENT to potentially unhealthy meals that you may often have the tendency of indulging in. These could include anything from unhealthy lunch breaks at a nearby fast food joint, to mid-morning binges due to hunger from an extremely unsatisfying breakfast. Additionally, if you are pressed for time and need something to scarf down really quickly, then a quick stop at the garage for a pie, a chocolate and a coke is the general go-to.

Dopamine spikes from high sugar and high fat processed foods have a tendency to cause people to overeat, particularly on easy-to-grab processed foods. Therefore, being the quick and easy calorie-dense package that the meal replacement is, you will find that substituting your snack attack with a meal replacement shake is a much more nutritious and filling way to sate your hunger cravings for the next few hours and keep you going until your next proper meal.

Meal replacement shakes have the ability to keep you feeling full for quite a good period of time before your next properly scheduled meal. However, the problem with them not working comes in when you are taking this particular supplement because of its “weight loss” label. If you are the type of individual that eats multiple moderate sized meals throughout set times of the day, a meal replacement shake will do more harm than good. Chances are, that you are eating low enough calorie meals throughout the day anyways. But you need to remember that meal replacements are nutrient dense and, as a result, are calorie dense too (by comparison). If you have multiple small meals during the day and usually have a moderate chicken and potato bowl for lunch, chances are that this particular lunch meal is around 250 calories. But if you have 350 calorie meal replacement shake instead (that you bought because of “weight loss”), then chances are that you are slowly going to start gaining weight instead. I am quite sure this is not the desired outcome you would have been hoping for.

So how do we use them?

If you are a 3 solidly dense meals throughout the day kind of person, replacing one of those with a meal replacement shake will definitely help you with any weight loss endeavour.

If you are a midday or night time binge eater, having a thick meal replacement shake that makes you feel full and satiated, while giving you the energy to feel like you can continue on without needing a another chocolate or pack of chips, is the correct option for you.

If you eat multiple small meals throughout the day or bought a meal replacement shake simply because of the weight loss label, then this will only be a waste of money and time for you and may even set you back.

Meal replacements are just that – a supplement used to replace and entire meal or a string of super dense snacks. They are made to make you feel full while simultaneously working to bring down your overall calorie intake in scenarios like the first two mentioned above.

Keep in mind that the type of meal replacement you use is up to you and your lifestyle choices. There are a range of meal replacement shakes that are designed to fit into dietary preferences, whether you are vegan or vegetarian (like the Slender You Slender Shake), a keto dieter (like the Thermotech Keto Shake), etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is to ask yourself if you are essentially taking in more food as a result of the shake or if it is helping you eat less and feel more satisfied for longer. Knowing the difference between the two and checking to see which of the aforementioned categories you fit into will help you decide if a meal replacement will work for you or if it will just set you back.


Slender You Slender Shake

The Slender Shake Meal Replacer is a 100% naturally flavoured protein powder that’s gluten, soy and lactose Free, Plus vegan friendly. 

ThermoTech Keto Shake

Inspired by the ketogenic diet, foods high in fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrates; meet your new keto trainer in a tub.

Nutritech Premium Diet Meal

NUTRITECH PREMIUM DIET MEAL has been formulated with a precise blend of micronized whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate and milk protein, with 30 g of protein per single serving (67%). 

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