If you are prone to a hectic daily schedule, and missed meals, you may have thought once or twice about using meal replacement shakes, as a healthy alternative. They are flavorful, and seem packed with vitamins and minerals, which can be assuring, particularly if you feel you are not eating a balanced diet.
There are many meal replacement shakes on the market, and available to consumers, which promise to be a healthy substitute for a normal, dietary meal. But some nutritionists caution that using nutrient dense shakes for weight loss, can be an ineffective approach with limited results. Whether you purchase the pre-made liquid shakes, or the powdered mixes that can be combined with almond milk, or other options, take a closer look at the ingredients of your favorite shake, and be aware of some of the associated nutritional limitations, and health risks.
Difficulties with Digestion: Your Body Prefers Real Food
When we eat normal meals, with dietary fiber, our bodies are conditioned to look for minerals and nutrients to break down, and absorb. When we don’t follow the mechanics of healthy eating, including chewing our food and emulsifying raw fiber, symptoms including indigestion, constipation, gas and even ‘leaky gut’ or intestinal hyperpermeability can occur. This is a malfunction of the gateway muscles and chambers between your intestines, and what is permitted to pass as nutrients, into the blood stream.
When it comes to digestion, the body isn’t always able to identify many of the ingredients contained in popular meal replacement shakes. The compounds can be additives or preservative chemicals, that the body simply doesn’t define as real food. Depending on your own personal health conditions, and the type of meal replacement shake you choose, many of those valuable nutrients you think you are benefiting from, simply pass through the body, unabsorbed without any additional benefit.
What is easily absorbed through a meal replacement shake, is glucose. This is why they are not recommended for individuals with Type I or Type II Diabetes. While diabetics benefit by controlling high glucose foods, options like fruits and vegetables which offer dietary fiber, slow the rate that sugar is released into the bloodstream. The fiber, helps stabilize and avoid dangerous glucose spikes, but in liquid form, a meal replacement shake cannot offer the same benefits, compared to a homemade smoothie, with ample dietary fiber.
One of the most important things to watch for, on the label of meal replacement shakes, is maltodextrin and soy lecithin. Both those ingredients are inflammatory additives that are created from corn, and soy. Symptoms can include upset stomach, and headaches. Meal replacement shakes are not regulated by the FDA, which means that there could be hidden additives and ingredients, that are not represented on the label.
Because the average consumer believes that meal replacement shakes are a healthy alternative to a standard meal. So, if you are not eating a balanced diet, and regularly relying on meal replacement shakes to provide those nutrients, you may be creating an involuntary state of nutritional deficiency, and intestinal inflammation.
Meal Replacement Shakes Are Not a Sustainable Weight Loss Tool
Products that are promoted for weight loss benefit, do not address normal human behavior. A meal replacement shake is not as satisfying as eating a balanced, dietary plate or snack. Dietary experts agree that while meal replacement shakes offer benefits when used periodically, in the absence of other nutritional options, the use of them long-term fail to reinforce healthy eating habits, that are essential to weight management. Meal replacement shakes are a helpful tool, to avoid unhealthy snacking between meals. They tend to be filling, and can help by reducing cravings and temporarily satisfying hunger needs. But given issues with nutrient absorption, and high sodium content (which can stimulate over eating) they should never be thought of as a healthy replacement for a balanced meal.