Food is life, life is food. In summation, if you hate eating then you hate living. Food tickles your palate, it fills your head with unspeakable sensation that runs down to your stomach that satiates your cravings, heals your hunger and quenches your thirst. The enjoyment and satisfaction that you get from food is not only to feed your empty stomach, but what the body needs to boost your energy to be able to sustain the rigorous and demanding activities all day.
Human body needs the prescribed amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein and all essential elements for muscle building, good eyesight and skin, strong bones teeth and on top of that energy-booster. The nutrients that one gets from cereal, meat, dairy products and vegetables are topmost priority in staying healthy, yet, the needed nutrients cannot be ingested in one meal a day because of our different habits and lifestyles. Eating three square meals and a balanced diet a day is the dogma of good living.
However, some misses the opportunity to sit on a dining table and indulge a good meal, thus, one incurs body weakening and illnesses. Due to this drawback, a person cannot manage to keep up with all the demands of this rat-race world we live in and lack the stamina to keep moving rather feeling lethargic and procrastinates all the time. True enough that diet is important to achieve ideal weight and shapely body, but it is our priority not to die yet. In line with this notion, there are meal supplements that can fill in the gaps of the missing nutrients that the human body needs despite hectic schedule and unable to spare few precious minutes of eating.
These supplements contain appropriate nutrients to power you up without the guilt of eating much and feeling bloat. With these supplements, one is not starving himself from the needed nutrients rather it is an easy way to eat your way to good health and be prolific.
What Are Meal Replacements?
The term “meal replacement” generally refers to a calorie-controlled, pre-packaged product in the form of a bar or a beverage that is used to replace a meal (1). Meal replacement supplements usually provide around 200-250 calories per serving and are fortified with more than 20 vitamins and minerals, healthy carbs, and healthy fats (2). The inclusion of fiber is thought to decrease the incidence of low blood sugar, low blood pressure, constipation and diarrhea while vitamins and minerals can provide essential nutrients that would generally be found in a meal from “grocery-based food” (3).
Additionally, meal replacements are intended to be more filling and contain more calories than a protein supplement and tend to be lower in calories than an actual meal, which can assist with weight loss. There are a lot meal replacement supplements in the market today that you might want to try. The most common of them all are the ones in liquid form. They have become hot topics in the internet since they are readily made available and are easy to consume. More so, many people take these supplements because of the health benefits they reap.
Meal Replacements Health Benefits
1. Gives you the right value nutrients
Some people who want to lose those extra weight by cutting calories and reducing intake on a weight loss diet, may find it challenging to ensure getting all of the important micronutrients that the body needs, thus, increasing the risk of micronutrient deficiencies (4). However, taking the right meal replacement supplement offers a wealth of essential nutrients, including protein, fiber and various vitamins and minerals (5). Supplementing with a multivitamin or adding a few meal replacement smoothies into your routine can be a simple way to get the nutrients that you need to help round out an otherwise healthy, well-balanced diet (6).
2. Helps in weight management
Meal replacement supplement can be added in your daily routine to aim at losing weight and can be incredibly beneficial (7). According to some research, changing one meal per day for a meal replacement can help to increase weight loss (8). Another study conducted by the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons also showed that participants who swapped one to two meals per day with a meal replacement lost 5.6 pounds more than those following a conventional reduced-calorie diet after just three months (9). Since meal replacements are often high in protein and fiber, they help kick up weight loss. Protein delays the emptying of the stomach to keep you feeling full and reduce levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger and fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract to promote satiety that may even be associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (10).
3. Gets rid of unhealthy alternatives
When you’re running short on time in preparing a healthy and nutritious meal, you may try the easy to prepare meal replacements supplement. Doing so helps you stay away from the temptation of swinging through a drive-thru, ordering a pizza or grabbing whatever junk food is sitting in the fridge for a quick meal on the go (11). Healthy meal replacement protein shakes on hand can be a simple strategy to avoid these unhealthy alternatives and avoid setbacks to stay on track with your heath goals (12).
4. Helps get the healthy portion sizes
For people who want to achieve a sustainable weight loss, getting the right and healthy portion of food is a must. If one is not careful in the quantity of the food taken even if they are healthy foods, it would quickly turn them into bunch of calories in the body. With meal replacement supplements, it is made easier for anyone to monitor the portion sizes, getting just enough of the nutrients needed to support satiety and keep the feeling of being full between meals without going overboard (13). Moreover, it also helps prevent spikes in blood sugar, aids in weight maintenance, and supports long-term health and minimizes the risk of serious issues associated with overeating like heart disease and arthritis (14).
5. Manages blood sugar levels
Eating too much could lead to spike of blood sugar levels and may cause other health complications. High-carb meals and snacks can cause blood sugar to shoot up, resulting in diabetes symptoms like fatigue, increased urination and unintentional weight loss (15). Because meal replacement shakes are pre-portioned, they help deliver just the right amount of carbohydrates to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels and can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and improve blood sugar control since they are high in protein (16). Consuming a liquid meal replacement as part of a regular diet led to significant improvements in body weight as well as insulin and blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, according to one study in the journal Obesity Research (17).
Meal Replacements Side Effects
Meal replacements are a safe and effective tool for weight management and beyond. In fact, recent research suggests that they can provide additional metabolic and nutritional benefits. It is, however, important to ensure that you are getting the right and healthy formula of your meal replacement supplement. Otherwise, you are not getting the nutrients you need.
Also, depending on the formulation, meal replacements can have a low glycemic index and have a high nutrient density relative to energy density, the latter being an important aspect highlighted in government dietary guidance (18). While well defined in some markets, there is a need to establish clear regulatory standards in other key markets to ensure a level playing field and proper recognition of the category (19). It is a must to read labels and be vigilant in looking for the authenticity and legitimacy of the supplements.