Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss: Nutritional Values

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The Nutritional Value of Weight Loss Meal Replacement Shakes

For convenience purposes many people choose to rely on meal replacement shakes to aid in their weight loss efforts. Sometimes these shakes can be a great resource and are even necessary for some if you have had bariatric surgery. They can be an adequate way to meet your protein needs especially at breakfast when you are eating on the run. However, it is very important to look at the overall quality of the shake that you are consuming. Does it have too much sugar? Does it have fiber? Does it have protein? How much fat does it have and where is the fat coming from? All are very important questions to ask yourself when making such a decision. Below are comparisons of a few different meal replacement shakes for weight loss. Which would you choose?


- Whey Protein

- Good balance of carbohydrates and protein

- 17% carbohydrates coming from fiber

- 53% carbohydrates from sugar

- Rich in antioxidants and probiotics

- No artificial sweeteners or refined sugars

- 1 g fat, 17 g carbohydrate, 17 g protein, 140 calories per scoop

Special K:

- Whey and Soy protein

- 62% carbohydrates coming from sugar

- 17% carbohydrates coming from fiber

- Contains artificial sweeteners

- 5 g fat, 29 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein, 190 calories per bottle


- Milk and soy protein

- 20% carbohydrates coming from fiber

- 72% carbohydrates coming from sugar

- Contains high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil

- Contains artificial sweeteners

- 6 g fat, 25 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein, 190 calories per can

Ultimately, when looking for a meal replacement shake you want to choose something that is low in fat and rich in fiber and has a good balance between the grams of carbohydrate and protein. You also want to look at the ingredients and determine what makes up the shake. The quality of the shake is just as important as the nutrient breakdown. If you are going to use a shake let it be something that is as close to eating a “whole” food as possible. Is it a soy based shake? Is it milk based? Does it have artificial sweetener? Are the sugars coming from fruit or refined sugar? Does the product have hydrogenated oils - also known as trans fat? Try to steer clear of all the artificial “stuff” that can be used in products to keep them sitting on the shelf longer.

Meal replacement shakes for weight loss are great when you are in a rush and just need something to fuel your metabolism, but they should not be used on a regular basis to replace a well balanced meal. Remember a calorie is a calorie when you are trying to lose weight, but being satisfied depends on the types of foods that you consume.

Permanent weight loss should revolve around behavior and habit change- do you think you can live the rest of your life at your weight goal by drinking your calories every day?