In the twenty-first century, staying healthy can be an expensive business – there are organic and whole foods to cook up, gym memberships to work a sweat up at and a million and one (ish) dietary supplements on the market.
Whilst there is no doubt that a healthy and athletic lifestyle can be achieved without breaking the bank, there are some things that require a bit of an investment. In the world of supplements, you’re likely to find that you get what you pay for and that price truly reflects the quality.
And when it comes to weight loss shakes and meal replacement drinks, the same message rings true. You shouldn’t just grab the cheapest shake on the shelf and run – check out these 6 reasons to think twice about cheap weight loss shakes.
1. It’s Not Just About Weight Loss: Your Health Matters Too!
When you begin your search for a meal replacement weight loss shake, a quick look at any search engine will prove that the market is heavily saturated. Every brand out there has a different marketing spiel, tagline and packet full of promises of goals that you can hit with continued consumption. But when you start doing your research, you’ll fast find that not everything is always as it seems.
Cheaper meal replacement shakes are widely available but their ingredients often aren’t as nutritious as you might expect. Meal replacement shakes focused on weight loss are rarely nutritionally balanced, as their goal is to present rapid results to the consumer to encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchase. This is largely achieved by plunging those drinking them into a severe calorie deficit and ridding the body of water weight. Yes, this might be the quickest possible way to shed pounds – but it isn’t healthy or sustainable.
Whilst meal replacement and weight loss shakes that are made with the right equilibrium of nutritional value often cost considerably more than their less healthy counterparts, the investment is a sound one. For losing weight to be a long-term achievement and not just a short-term goal, it needs to be done properly – and that requires you putting your health first and not risking cheap alternatives.
2. They’re Cheap for a Reason: Artificial Ingredients Cost Less
It’s no mean feat to perfectly balance a meal nutritionally – let alone a beverage! The cheaper meal replacement shakes on the market often include artificial ingredients in place of natural or organic ones. Why? Well, they’re simply cheaper to purchase and process.
Synthetic sweeteners, vitamins and minerals are mass-produced cheaply and have a much longer shelf life than fresh produce. This allows for cheaper sourcing, transportation and storage, as well as fewer overheads as there’s no need for agricultural resources. It’s no surprise that manmade microwaveable ready meals are so much cheaper than full home-cooked meals!
It’s almost impossible to avoid artificial ingredients in your diet unless you produce everything you consume from scratch, as most prepared food includes at least some synthetics. However, healthy meal replacement shakes don’t need to contain anything artificial – it’s tricky, but they can be produced naturally. If you can afford to, purchasing shakes made up of natural components, such as the Nutribuddy Shake Complete, is preferable.
3. Synthetic Vitamins Blends Can’t Beat Real Nutrition: Whole Foods are Best
Synthetic vitamin blends, also known as isolated nutrients, are designed to imitate the original naturally occurring components found in food and plants, so are in their essence, man-made copies. Whilst science has led us to a point where artificially-created vitamin blends are close to delivering the nutritional value of whole foods, they’re not yet perfect – so why opt for the imitation, when you can have the real thing?
The production process of isolated nutrients is fundamentally different from that of natural nutrients – and while the results may end up chemically similar, the way the human body reacts to them is different. For starters, clinical tests seem inconclusive in judging how well the body absorbs artificial nutrients; so, unfortunately, no matter how many of them you consume, only a limited amount will actually prove beneficial. This is evidenced by trials that have shown that Vitamin E is absorbed by the body twice as well when it’s consumed naturally compared to synthetically.
The nutrients found in organic matter are not isolated but come as part of a package; including not just vitamins but also minerals, fibre and plant compounds. All of these are blended for optimal human nutrition. As vitamin blends are produced synthetically, they are isolated, so the consumer misses out on the well-rounded package that would otherwise be present. If artificial synthetic blends are chosen for consumption on purpose, then the other nutrients must be consumed separately in the correct measures… which arguably negates the point of a healthy meal replacement shake altogether!
4. Organic is Important, but it Doesn’t Come Cheap
As in supermarkets, you’ll find that anything with ‘organic’ on the tag costs more than that without. But how important is it? In our opinion, very.
Organic food supply is limited and demand is high – making for a traditional price-push consequence. Greater labour requires costs more than minimally maintained synthetic or artificially treated food – and all other such associated overheads (transportation, storage, even pricey accreditations!) are passed on to the consumer. It is, therefore, your own duty to balance your ideal financial commitment to meal replacement shakes with your ideal ingredients.
When left untreated with artificial pesticides, fertilisers and other chemical compounds, organic ingredients continue to produce their optimum phytochemicals – which can act as antioxidants and health-boosting additions to an individual’s diet. Organic ingredients are hormone-free and can boost immunity, prevent cancer and protect against heart disease.
Ultimately, it’s for you to decide how much of a monetary premium you feel these benefits are worth in your purchase decision for a meal replacement weight loss shake.
5. Your stomach won’t thank you: Allergens are Cheaper than Non-Allergens
There are 14 named allergens in British food and drink regulation, each of which must be clearly labelled if they’re used in a product. They’re usually written in a bold or different font to other ingredients, so they’re obvious. These allergens are cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame, sulphites (sulphur dioxide), lupin and molluscs.
You don’t have to be allergic to one of these ingredients to not want to consume them – all are capable of causing sensitivity – even to those who are usually able to tolerate them. A growing awareness of allergies and intolerances, combined with stringent safety legislation around the usage of allergens in products, has resulted in a surge of allergen-free products which use alternatives rather than the offending ingredients.
Using allergen alternatives is more expensive than allergens themselves, so meal replacement weight loss shakes that are allergen-free (of one ingredient or several) are usually sold at a higher price point than those that do. Of course, if you have a known allergy or intolerance, then you have no choice but to consume something free-from the ingredient you’re unable to tolerate. But, even if not, you may wish to consider the health benefits of avoiding such items.
Diet won’t cure an allergy or intolerance, but there’s no reason to cut out meal replacement shakes or discount their value because of sensitivity. Indeed a well-balanced weight loss shake that contains zinc, vitamin D and essential fatty acids could actually boost the immune system and help enhance your natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory barriers to help promote immunologic tolerance.
If you’re looking for a good-quality meal replacement shake and have a sensitive stomach, take a look at Nutribuddy’s selection of products – they’re free from all 14 named allergens.
6. Don’t believe the ‘Natural’ tag: The Cheapest Shakes Are Rarely Natural
The term ‘natural’ is used a lot in the marketing of health food products – and meal replacement weight loss shakes are no different! There’s not actually a legal definition for the use of the word in the UK, but it’s widely accepted to mean ‘derived from nature’ and not man-made. However, this could simply mean that it contains some (or one!) naturally occurring ingredients (even alongside synthetic ones), even if they’ve been heavily processed or artificially treated in the production process.
One way that brands manage to avoid difficult questions around their ingredients and properties is to use the term ‘natural’ or a similar word in their brand name rather than in a tagline or product name. This gives the impression of an organic, natural product, but is in essence just a name and makes no promises. Think of the brand names you know that reference an ingredient – do they actually contain just that? The answer is rarely yes.
It is, of course, down to the individual as to what they consume – but if you’re looking to avoid synthetics and man-made ingredients, then it’s likely you’ll have to spend more. The cheapest options of meal replacement weight loss shakes tend to contain artificial additives as they’re inexpensive to purchase, process, transport and store.
Don’t be misled by marketing claims or clever advertising tricks – stay smart, do your research and ensure you know exactly what’s in a weight loss shake before you decide to buy and consume one.
It can be difficult to prioritise your purchases when you’re facing a lifestyle change and are faced with lots of options of varying types, brands, flavours, price points and promised results. Indeed, while the internet makes for a great resource to research and discover products and services, it can also seem overwhelming!
But ultimately, there are no two ways about it – there’s no substitute for thorough research and developing a competent understanding of what it is you’re choosing to consume. The factors that play into your ultimate purchase decision are varied, and budget is a key one; often necessarily so. Meal replacement shakes are arguably an extremely important part of your new, healthier lifestyle, as they’re something you’re actually consuming and something upon which your body will become reliant over time for its fair share of vitamins and minerals. In order to give yourself the consistency of nutrition that’s needed, it’s important to stick with a weight loss shake blend for a while, rather than chopping and changing when you can or can’t afford another one.
The meal replacement weight loss shake market is large and diverse, but the true value can be found if you know where to look. Keep an eye out for natural and organic ingredients, honest labelling, no additives and no unrealistic weight loss claims.
Brands who value repeat custom will be upfront about the long-term commitment to nutrition and health required in order to maintain a healthy body weight and lifestyle, so pick products you believe to be authentic and sincere – and if you’re not sure on anything, ask their customer service team. A true team of nutritional experts will be able to offer support if you need it!
With so many meal replacement weight loss shake products available, it’s only natural that consumers are drawn toward those priced cheaply. Stay savvy to ensure that your new dietary supplement is optimum and nourishes you as well as it possibly can. When it comes to your health, quality always triumphs!
All Nutribuddy shakes have been formulated to contain all the necessary components of a healthy meal, but are 100% free from chemicals, laxatives, emulsifiers, thickeners and artificial flavourings. Buy our weight loss shakes as part of the great value Vegan Meal Replacement Bundle.