Meal Replacements And Weight Management – Are Meal Replacements Your BFF Or The Devil?

By Jean Tong, Nutritionist, Halley Medical Aesthetics

Professionals can prescribe a weight loss caloric-reduced diet regime called a low-calorie diet that comes in the form of foods or meal replacements.

Caloric-reduced diets are the cornerstone of modern weight loss approach. Healthcare practitioners can prescribe a weight loss caloric-reduced diet regime called a low-calorie diet (LCD) that supplies more than 800 kcal per day, usually in the range of 1,200-1,600 kcal per day. LCD can come in the form of foods only and/or with meal replacements.

LCD can come in the form of foods only and/or with meal replacements. A partial meal replacement (PMR) plan that prescribes one or two portioned-controlled, vitamin and/or mineral fortified meal replacements, along with traditional reduced calorie meals and snacks, work best for most people in losing weight safely and effectively. Each of the LCD strategies is usually designed to lower caloric intake by 500-1,000 kcal per day to help one lose 0.5-1 kg weight per week and is generally administered by a healthcare practitioner in association with lifestyle modifications.

Meal replacements encompass a broad range of food products which include beverages (i.e. shakes), pre-packaged shelf-stable and frozen entrees, and meal/snack bars. Such meal replacements can be purchased at medically supervised weight management clinics, commercial weight loss centres, and over the counter. The majority of meal replacement products are vitamin and/or mineral fortified and are designed to replace one or two regular meals or snacks daily while providing for a nutritionally balanced low fat, low energy meal plan. Most weight management commercial programmes also advise on consumption of healthful low-caloric low-fat nutrient-dense diet, and lifestyle modifications (i.e. physical activity).

meal replacement shake
Optifast

Part of weight loss diet regime

Specifically, meal replacement shakes are often used as part of a weight loss diet regime. Low in calories, portable and easy to prepare, meal replacement shakes help one lose weight while ensuring one gets all of the essential nutrients one needs to stay healthy. Weight loss shakes come in different flavours and from various manufacturers. For example, Optifast from Nestle is the only clinically proven, safe and effective meal replacement sold in hospitals and medical clinics. It contains very low calories of only 160 kcal, yet is nutritionally adequate in terms of protein, vitamins and minerals.
 

A weight-loss friendly meal

Meal replacements such as meal replacement shake help make managing your caloric intake easier. They eliminate your need to weigh, measure or cook your food. By replacing a meal or two with a shake, one can be sure of the consumption of the exact right amount of energy and nutrients based on your weight loss goals. By eliminating the guesswork of caloric count and their nutrients profile, meal replacements are especially suitable for anyone who does not have the time, ability or who does not want to go through the hassle to prepare or cook weight loss-friendly meals.

Additionally, meal replacements such as shakes are portable, can be quickly prepared, and consumed anywhere and anytime.
 

Pair meal replacement programmes with weight counselling

Using meal replacement such as shakes does not teach healthy eating habits or portion control. Hence, it is important to go onboard commercial meal replacement programmes which also incorporate educations modules on healthy eating and lifestyle modifications administered by qualified healthcare practitioners.

 

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