The Science Behind How Meal Replacement Shakes Work

Last Updated 6th April 2020
woman exercising at the gym with a meal replacement shake

Meal replacement shakes gained popularity in the 1980s as health and fitness concerns hit the mainstream population as a way for diet-conscious individuals to continue to maintain their nutrition whilst ‘on-the-go’, when too busy to cook or create a full meal, or when unable to.

The formulations of these products have come a long way since the 80s, and now the focus is definitely more on nutritional profile rather than just losing weight.

Nutribuddy has several nutritionally-balanced products designed to replace solid food meals: the Breakfast Shake, Shake Complete, High-Protein Sculpting Shake and delicious HotSlim drink! These are available separately or as a Meal Replacement Bundle.

But how do meal replacement shakes work?

Let’s take a look!

natural meal replacement shakes

What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?

Meal replacement shakes are drinks; often the consistency of milkshakes, hence the name; that are intended to contain the nutritional profile similar to, or better than, a solid food meal, so that it substitutes it in the human diet entirely.

These are usually used by those looking to lose weight as they lower traditional calorie intake so leave a deficiency. 

Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?

If you find that your usual diet means that you struggle to maintain a calorie deficit enough to lose weight, then you may find success in consuming meal replacement shakes – as long as they remain as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

One or two healthy shakes a day won’t make a difference if you’re not including it as part of a wider health push.

Meal replacement shakes do help many people lose weight but it’s worth noting that weight loss can also be achieved through a nutritionally balanced diet; it’s just not as easy!

woman drinking meal replacement shake

How Do Meal Replacement Shakes Work?

Meal replacement shakes are usually non-perishable mixed powders that can be mixed with a milk or milk alternative to create a drink.

This drink is then consumed in place of a solid food meal.

When formulated properly, a meal replacement should provide the optimum dose of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that the body needs; without being too calorific!

As you shop around for meal replacement shakes, it’s always worth checking the nutritional profile of the drink so you know what you’re getting.

Nutribuddy’s product pages give good examples of nutritional profiling, compiled by nutritionists to provide the best possible dietary balance.

Meal replacement shakes work in several ways, including, but by no means limited to:

They help create a calorie deficit

Meal replacement shakes can be consumed for a variety of purposes but the primary is to help people lose weight.

Shakes designed for this purpose contain as few calories as possible without compromising on nutrition: so consumers can get a good boost of healthy vitamin and minerals in their meal without taking in lots of cals.

Over time, this creates a calorie ‘deficit’, which leads to weight loss – but it does require the person drinking them to stay active and to eat healthily alongside the shakes!

woman on weight loss scales

They give you a convenient meal when you’d otherwise skip a meal

Skipping meals and just generally eating less is a popular tactic adopted by those looking to lose weight – if not consciously, then often out of convenience.

However, skipping meals is unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs.

Research has shown that not eating a meal can often lead to over-consumption on the next meal (not because you’re greedy, but because your body is programmed to survive and therefore eat when it can), induce dizziness and fatigue and can interfere with your body’s natural metabolism rate.

If for whatever reason you know that you’ll be unable to consume a full meal for any reason, consider instead having a meal replacement shake.

It’s more convenient and will keep your metabolism in check!

They should contain balanced nutrition which helps to keep you feeling full

Historically, meal replacement shakes were very much ‘diet’ products and so although they may have been healthy and tasted OK, the effect of satiety (feeling full) didn’t last very long; putting consumers at risk of then snacking or overeating.

Now, however, formulations are better mixed and are designed to provide the optimum nutrition from ingredients that naturally help you feel fuller for longer.

Nutribuddy’s meal replacement products are a great example of shakes including ingredients to promote satiety. These include oats, which have been medically proven to help curb appetite.

meal replacement shakes for women

They can help you avoid unhealthy meals and snacks

It’s imperative that a meal replacement shake tastes good enough that you won’t want to binge on sweet or tempting snacks or meals instead or afterward.

The most convenient foods on-the-go for most of us are fast foods: but these usually contain lots of sugar, salt and fats – which boost endorphins and lead to further overeating.

Consuming a meal replacement shake while out and about can just be as quick but without all of the unhealthy ingredients.

The Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake is available in three flavours or completely unsweetened, so it could even taste just like your favourite treats.

Their ingredients may provide weight loss benefits

A meal replacement shake that is formulated with a complete nutritional profile can contain ingredients that are beneficial to weight loss alongside the calorie deficit the shake would give compared to a full meal.

In Nutribuddy meal replacement shakes, these include oats (which promote ongoing satiety as a result of their beta-glucan content), flaxseeds (which have a high fibre content, proven to encourage weight loss as part of a healthy diet) and Stevia (a natural sweetener that can help satiate a craving for sugar).

gluten-free oats

Conclusion

If you’re looking to lose weight, or just maintain a nutritional diet on-the-go, meal replacement shakes can be a brilliant solution.

Shop wisely and choose products with comprehensive nutrient profiling and few calories in order for them to be as effective as possible.

Nutribuddy’s products are formulated by nutritionists for maximum dietary optimisation, whilst never compromising on taste.

They’ll be a welcome substitution to your diet – you’ll look forward to them in no time!


Stock image credit: UnsplashPexels & Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nutribuddy Ltd.

Author Bio!

Post by Lex

I’m a full-time Marketing Manager and Copywriter but also a qualified yoga teacher and keen runner; so I know a thing or two about maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a good dose of fitness! My previous roles include marketing and social media for the likes of the household names including the Cabinet Office and Aviva. Outside of work, I’m a Mum, passionate social rights campaigner and bookworm.