Updated: Jun 20, 2020
The World of Instant Results & Shakes
We live in world where we always want everything instantly. We are always looking for instant results so that we can save time – whether its dishwashers to wash the dishes, a microwave to cook food faster or even hormones animals grow quicker. And yet despite all of this, we still do not have enough time. Everything is rushed and our expectations on life takes the same rushed road of instant results.
And so too with our health, our body, our weight and our looks. We all want to have that perfect body, that perfect figure and we want that instantly. Surely there must be some magic formula, some magic pill or drink to get us that perfect body – I mean if they make meat artificially or make a shake that can replace a meal, then surely we can go on living the way we do and take these magic potions and have these perfect bodies when we need it, right?
The fact is that there is no easy quick fix. There is no overnight success. Everything comes from hard work and a dedication and commitment to success. And months and years of neglect, getting your body to look the way you want it to, you will need more than a magic pill or shake – you will need to commit to changing old habits – and it will not be easy.
In today’s blog, I want to address the options of Meal Replacement Shakes in a diet and the debate of this being an adequate nutritional replacement. It seems a quick and easy solution - it saves you time and gives your body what it needs. Right…?
I could not disagree more. I am firm believer in whole foods, organic food and you simply cannot replace whole foods with protein bars and on-the-go health foods. I mean we might as well eat a pill for a meal, that’s where we seem to be heading to. Nowadays meal replacement shakes are the flavour of the month as food substitutes in a diet.
But can you really “replace or substitute” food in a pill or shake form and if you can, what are the long terms consequences? Have you considered this? This is my take on the subject.
Meal replacement shakes fall into to the same ambit of processed foods because they contain preservatives and they are manufactured in a process which results in the loss of essential of vitamins, minerals, fibre and water – all which makes food less healthier. Couple this process with the addition of artificial coloring, preservatives, flavourants and suddenly the products are in a space where you have to consider the side effects of the product you are consuming because it is now closer to a drug than to a food.
A whole food does have unnecessary added sugars and salt – aspects that are linked extensively to obesity and high blood pressure. Your body is designed to break down natural sugars and salt not artificial substitutes.
Let’s look at why do you want to have a meal replacement shake.
I get it that you want to provide your body with vitamins and minerals. Sometimes you want to build muscle or reduce calorie intake for weight loss. Sometimes it’s a healthy convenience or you are busy and don’t have the time to eat a meal or simply just lazy to prepare meals.
But remember most of these products have a long shelf life, they don’t need refrigeration and it’s clear that they don’t contain any fresh ingredients. This is an unhealthy combination as it means that the ingredients are all processed.
It brings me back to my point that nothing can replace fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh protein sources.
Why you should avoid meal replacements.
1. Sugar or artificial sugars.
These products are normally loaded with sugars or artificial sugars. These sugars are “empty” calories with a host of bad effects that it has on the body which are related to a number of resultant health issues.
Carbohydrates (especially refined and processed) can trigger blood sugar spikes. In the long term, this leads to health problems. Carbohydrates, especially processed and refined carbohydrates digest much faster than whole foods. You want to consume foods that digest much more slowly which result in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels which are invariably healthier.
2. Artificial ingredients
Many meal replacements are full of ingredients that should even not be classified as food. These include colour and flavor enhancers, thickeners, preservatives (maltodextrin), refined vegetable oil, aspartame and sucrose. Numerous studies have linked these ingredients to inflammation. They also have a high glycemic index which is linked to negative health effects such as obesity and autoimmune issues.
We know indigestion can cause heartburn, bloating, gas, nausea and vomiting. Gut health is extremely important as an unhealthy gut leads to an uncomfortable life and numerous other health problems.
4. Synthetic vitamins and minerals
Ingredients such as Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate and Potassium Iodide are very common in meal replacement products but be assured these ingredients are not found in nature. They are made in a laboratory or factory. Your body is not designed to break down these synthetic ingredients.
Get your nutrients from unprocessed whole foods like fruits, vegetables and quality proteins and healthy fats. A body that does not receive enough nutrients may experience problems with metabolism.
5. Meal replacement shakes can interfere with your weight loss efforts. It will impact on your metabolism.
Still tempted to skip real food?
Whilst in the beginning, you may drop a few kilograms quickly, but meal replacements are not a long-term solution. You will more likely end up feeling deprived, low in energy and full of cravings.
Overall in the long term, your metabolism rate will drop. The most successful long-term weight maintenance programmes involve whole foods, regular exercise and support. Replacing your meals with “shakes” may help in the beginning but once you return to regular diets, those kilos that you lost will find its way back again – and with vengeance. It becomes much harder to lose the weight since your metabolism rate has become slower after all those shakes….
By Nikki Nair, Founder & Owner iFitBeauty
I write this blog based on my personal experience, as well as that of my clients, using a variety of leading products associated in weight loss, weight control and muscle building. I have been in the fitness and health industry for over 30 years and as a competitor, instructor and trainer. Last year I was crowned IFBB SA Women’s Fitness Championship. My assessment of the meal replacement shakes is not a reflection on any particular brand or product range but the result of my collective experience.