The nutritional content of meal replacement products varies from one product to another. A meal replacement shake usually contains only 220-400 calories and 24 grams of easy to digest protein. It is low on sodium and has 26 vitamins and minerals. The general ratio of the proteins to carbohydrates is 1:1.
Protein: Vita-Lanne Instant Meal Shakes are made of only the finest ingredients and feature 19 grams of protein. When blended with milk, each serving has more protein than three eggs—nearly 30 grams. The sources of protein might possess one or more of the following protein: whey protein, rice protein, vegetable (pea) protein isolate, white navy bean or caseinate from milk. Rice and Pea protein is a better choice (than soy) for lactose intolerant people and vegans, but it is considered to be very easily digestible, high in protein, vitamins and minerals and is ideal for hypoglycemics and diabetics. Casein protein powder is not as popular as whey powder and doesn’t have as high of a biological value. However, casein contains the highest amount of glutamine, which helps in the preserving of muscles. Egg protein is great for promoting tissue growth. It is also low in calories and is generally free of carbohydrates and fats.
Sugar: Carbohydrate sources usually consist of maltodextrin (short glucose chains), corn syrup solids, or sucrose (table sugar). Your ideal meal replacement shakes for weight loss should be sweetened with Stevia or Xylitol or honey. Meal replacements are supposed to be very low in simple sugar. Because simple sugars are rapidly assimilated into your blood stream, they tend to cause a corresponding surge in your insulin levels. This over-secretion of insulin produces a spillover effect that is directly associated with increased fat storage. High-fructose corn syrup and dextrose are high glycemic foods and may promote insulin spike and fat storage. Fructose is a fruit sugar that is relatively low-glycemic. Maltodextrin is high glycemic but is considered a complex carbohydrate.
Fat: Fat comes in the form of partially hydrogenated oils such as canola or coconut oils. Fats may come from olive, canola, safflower, sunflower or palm oils. Sesame seed oil or conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may also be include. Both are considered fat-burning fats that are not readily stored. Make sure the fat content fits with your personal goals.
Fiber: Generally low. Before buying, check the fiber content of the shake. High dietary fiber promotes regularity and helps to prevent many diseases. In addition, fiber can suppress hunger, balance blood sugar, and make you feel more full to avoid food cravings.
Sodium & Cholesterol: For those of you with risk factors for heart disease should avoid excess sodium and dietary cholesterol. Check the potassium content, which can help to balance out high sodium.
There are number of brands available, Slim-Fast Low-Carb Ready To Drink, Creamy Chocolate is one of the most trusted and reliable brands in the meal replacement shakes and this low carb version is in line with their high standards.
Meal replacement shakes are practical additions to any diet plan because they can be carried around anywhere. They can be used for weight loss but one should avoid consuming them without consulting a doctor. However its best to make one of your own choice of fruits or yoghurt. Throw in a small handful of frozen fruit, e.g. frozen berries or mixed fruit from the grocery store. You can add a banana…they are high in fiber and they make a good choice for meal replacement shakes. Put in a glass full of water, a quarter cup of oats for additional fiber and a couple scoops of stevia-sweetened, rice/pea protein. A small handful of almonds can be added. Another energy packed, shake for vegans is the peanut butter banana Shake, peanut butter is a source of unsaturated fats, and oats offer soluble and insoluble fiber to regulate digestion and cholesterol levels. Blend together 1/2 of a frozen banana, 1 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of rolled, raw oats and 1 tbsp. of peanut butter. The oats makes this shake hearty, with 361 calories and 17 g of protein.
If you plan to use a meal replacement products to assist you to lose weight, your best bet is to combine your meal replacement of choice with healthier eating generally and regular exercise.
As a rule, meal replacements are best utilized as an adjunct to a well-balanced nutritional regimen – not as a substitute for natural foods. They fill a specific dietary niche, but by no means are a complete source of nutrition. Hence, their overuse can lead to a disparity in dietary ratios as well as a deficiency in vital nutrients. Combining meal replacements with natural foods is the best way to satisfy all of your nutritional requirements, ensuring an optimal intake of nutrients.