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Opioid addiction costs employers $2.6 billion a year for care
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Opioid addiction costs employers $2.6 billion a year for care

 

A new report shows large employers spent $2.6 billion to treat opioid addiction and overdoses in 2016, an eightfold increase since 2004. More than half went to treat employees’ children.

The analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds such spending cost companies and workers about $26 per enrollee in 2016.

Employers have been limiting insurance coverage of opioids because of concerns about addiction. The report finds spending on opioid prescriptions falling 27 percent from a peak in 2009.

Researchers analyzed insurance claims from employers with more than 1,000 workers. Most are self-insured, meaning they assume the financial risk.

Workers share the costs. Steve Wojcik of the National Business Group on Health says for every $5 increase, employers typically cover $4 and pass $1 to workers.

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Facebook Building 8 explored data sharing agreement with hospitals

The exploratory effort to share medical-related data was led by an interventional cardiologist called Freddy Abnousi, who describes his role on LinkedIn as “leading top-secret projects.” It was under the purview of Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook’s “Building 8” experiment projects group, before she left in October 2017.

Facebook’s pitch, according to two people who heard it and one who is familiar with the project, was to combine what a health system knows about its patients (such as: person has heart disease, is age 50, takes 2 medications and made 3 trips to the hospital this year) with what Facebook knows (such as: user is age 50, married with 3 kids, English isn’t a primary language, actively engages with the community by sending a lot of messages).

The project would then figure out if this combined information could improve patient care, initially with a focus on cardiovascular health. For instance, if Facebook could determine that an elderly patient doesn’t have many nearby close friends or much community support, the health system might decide to send over a nurse to check in after a major surgery.

The people declined to be named as they were asked to sign confidentiality agreements.

Facebook provided a quote from Cathleen Gates, the interim CEO of the American College of Cardiology, explaining the possible benefits of the plan:

“For the first time in history, people are sharing information about themselves online in ways that may help determine how to improve their health. As part of its mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health, the American College of Cardiology has been engaged in discussions with Facebook around the use of anonymized Facebook data, coupled with anonymized ACC data, to further scientific research on the ways social media can aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease—the #1 cause of death in the world. This partnership is in the very early phases as we work on both sides to ensure privacy, transparency and scientific rigor. No data has been shared between any parties.”

Health systems are notoriously careful about sharing patient health information, in part because of state and federal patient privacy laws that are designed to ensure that people’s sensitive medical information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

To address these privacy laws and concerns, Facebook proposed to obscure personally identifiable information, such as names, in the data being shared by both sides.

However, the company proposed using a common cryptographic technique called hashing to match individuals who were in both data sets. That way, both parties would be able to tell when a specific set of Facebook data matched up with a specific set of patient data.

The issue of patient consent did not come up in the early discussions, one of the people said. Critics have attacked Facebook in the past for doing research on users without their permission. Notably, in 2014, Facebook manipulated hundreds of thousands of people’s news feeds to study whether certain types of content made people happier or sadder. Facebook later apologized for the study.

Health policy experts say that this health initiative would be problematic if Facebook did not think through the privacy implications.

“Consumers wouldn’t have assumed their data would be used in this way,” said Aneesh Chopra, president of a health software company specializing in patient data called CareJourney and the former White House chief technology officer.

“If Facebook moves ahead (with its plans), I would be wary of efforts that repurpose user data without explicit consent.”

When asked about the plans, Facebook provided the following statement:

“The medical industry has long understood that there are general health benefits to having a close-knit circle of family and friends. But deeper research into this link is needed to help medical professionals develop specific treatment and intervention plans that take social connection into account.”

“With this in mind, last year Facebook began discussions with leading medical institutions, including the American College of Cardiology and the Stanford University School of Medicine, to explore whether scientific research using anonymized Facebook data could help the medical community advance our understanding in this area. This work has not progressed past the planning phase, and we have not received, shared, or analyzed anyone’s data.”

“Last month we decided that we should pause these discussions so we can focus on other important work, including doing a better job of protecting people’s data and being clearer with them about how that data is used in our products and services.”

Facebook has taken only tentative steps into the health sector thus far, such as its campaign to promote organ donation through the social network. It also has a growing “Facebook health” team based in New York that is pitching pharmaceutical companies to invest its ample ad budget into Facebook by targeting users who “liked” a health advocacy page, or fits a certain demographic profile.

Incyte tumbles after combo therapy with Merck fails study
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Incyte tumbles after combo therapy with Merck fails study

 

Incyte‘s shares sank more than 20 percent on Friday after its experimental cancer drug failed to bolster the effectiveness of Merck‘s blockbuster Keytruda to treat skin cancer patients.

The failure is a big blow for Incyte, which has strung deals with major drugmakers to test its immunotherapy epacadostat in combination with their cancer drugs in separate trials.

Guggenheim analyst Tony Butler noted the data suggests epacadostat provided no additional benefit above Keytruda alone. “We assume the probability of success of other studies with epacadostat is zero.”

Epacadostat, a so-called IDO inhibitor, works by blocking an enzyme that protects tumors from the immune system, reported promising clinical data last year.

The development also weighed on stocks of other drugmakers testing combination cancer treatments. Shares of NewLink Genetics tumbled 39 percent, while those of Nektar Therapeutics were down 8 percent.

Incyte’s study was evaluating a combination of epacadostat and Keytruda in patients with metastatic melanoma compared with those who were on Keytruda monotherapy.

Keytruda is approved to treat several forms of cancer, including lung cancer and advanced melanoma, and is a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor that blocks a mechanism tumors use to evade detection.

Keytruda competes with Bristol-Myers Squibb‘s Opdivo. The companies are looking to expand the reach of these drugs by combining them with other therapies.

Incyte has already signed deals with Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca to test epacadostat.

William Blair analyst Katherine Xu said the result was surprising and the failure will make things difficult for the cause of IDO inhibitors.

Merck and Incyte said the study’s second main goal of overall survival was also not expected to reach a statistical significance.

Incyte is currently testing its Jakafi as a treatment for graft versus host disease, a medical complication of transplants from a donor. It is also awaiting an FDA decision for baricitinib, an eczema drug it is developing with Eli Lilly.

Incyte shares were down 17 percent at $68, while Merck was down about 0.5 percent.

Knee surgery for seniors is costly and usually a waste
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Knee surgery for seniors is costly and usually a waste

 

The most common knee surgery performed on people over 65 is repair of torn meniscus cartilage. The procedure is costly, at up to $10,000 a patient — and it’s also usually a waste, if not outright harmful.

 

“It’s known that this procedure is often done without strong evidence; I don’t think it’s well known that this is one of the most common surgeries in the U.S.,” said Martin Makary, a professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and author of a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery. “We not only described it, we looked at it in a population every American pays for (through Medicare). That’s a price tag and a context I’m not sure people have really calculated.”

That giant waste of money could be better spent on other treatments, from something as simple as Advil to more sophisticated courses of physical therapy that will give most patients better results, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say.

The problem is that there are two kinds of meniscus tears, said David Altchek, an attending orthopedic surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery and the medical director for the New York Mets. Only one of the two tears, the much less common one, responds to surgery, Altchek said.

Arthroscopic procedures for acute injuries are fine and are often done in conjunction with physical therapy to rebuild strength in the joint. These are mostly done on younger patients, who get hurt doing everything from playing basketball to misstepping off a commuter train. The issue with seniors is that their meniscal injuries are more often the result of wear and tear, and they often or even usually coincide with osteoarthritis, Altchek said.

Indeed, the cartilage that wears out in seniors is a different kind of tissue than what is damaged in acute injuries — the cartilage that bothers older patients is usually articular cartilage, while younger patients injure meniscal cartilage.

Articular cartilage is usually found on the surface of bones in the knee joint, and when it wears out, it produces a duller ache. Meniscal cartilage is more like a pad between joints and can produce a sharper pain, especially when it’s injured all at once rather than over time.

Incyte-Merck trial failure deals blow to cancer immunotherapy hopes
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Incyte-Merck trial failure deals blow to cancer immunotherapy hopes

 

Incyte hoped epacadostat, in conjunction with Keytruda, would fight cancer more effectively than Keytruda alone. But epacadostat failed to stop the progression of cancer, and it hasn’t helped overall survival. The disappointing trial caused Incyte stock to drop more than 19 percent on Friday; Merck shares were down near 3 percent, though that merely matched the selloff in the stock market.

“We are disappointed that this study did not confirm the efficacy of epacadostat in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma,” said Dr. Steven Stein, chief medical officer of Incyte, in a release. “We remain dedicated to transforming the treatment of cancer and will continue to explore how IDO1 inhibition and other novel mechanisms can potentially improve outcomes for patients in need.”

After halting the melanoma study, Incyte wants to test epacadostat with other types of cancer. Dr. Jason Luke, an oncologist at the University of Chicago, believes the Incyte study examined a patient sample that was too broad. Only patients with T cell-inflamed tumors react to immunotherapy at all. Patients without T cell-inflamed tumors don’t have a natural immune response against cancer. IDO inhibitors won’t make any difference.

“This is why we need to select those patient that have an immune response,” said Luke. For patients that have the natural immune response, epacadostat still might be effective. Unfortunately, this is the minority of cancer patients.

Doctors can use RNA-based sequencing to test if a patient would be a prime candidate for immunotherapy. Although the Incyte and Merck press release mentions lung cancer, Luke said IDO inhibitors might help this minority of patients with any type of cancer.

Dr. Roy Herbst, a Yale University oncologist, believes there is no one-size-fits-all cancer solution. “You have to personalize immunotherapy,” he said. “You need to know who will benefit from drug A and who will benefit from drug B.”

The more research that goes into immunotherapy, the more doctors will understand how best to treat patients. Combining different medications, like Merck and Incyte were trying to do, could improve treatment in the future.

Even with the trial failure, “That’s all the interest right now,” Herbst said.

More from Modern Medicine:

Knee surgery for seniors is costly, and usually a waste of time

Scientists on verge of universal flu vaccine


New Alzheimer’s blood test could detect disease decades in advance

How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Business of Medical Care
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How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Business of Medical Care

 

Dr. Mark J. Werner, a consultant for the Chartis Group, which advises medical practices, emphasized that convenience of care didn’t equal quality or, for that matter, less expensive care.

“None of the research has shown any of these approaches to delivering care has meaningfully addressed cost,” Dr. Werner said.

Critics of retail clinics argue that patients are given short shrift by health professionals unfamiliar with their history, and may be given unnecessary prescriptions. But researchers say neither has been proved in studies.

“The quality of care that you see at a retail clinic is equal or superior to what we see in a doctor’s office or emergency department,” said Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School, who has researched the retail clinics. “And while there is a worry that they will prescribe antibiotics to everybody, we see equal rates occurring between the clinics and doctor’s offices.”

Still, while the retail clinics over all charge less, particularly compared with emergency rooms, they may increase overall health care spending. Consumers who not long ago would have taken a cough drop or gargled with saltwater to soothe a sore throat now pop into their nearby retail clinic for a strep test.

Frustration with the nation’s health care system has fueled a lot of the recent partnerships. Giant companies are already signaling a desire to tackle complex care for people with a chronic health condition like diabetes or asthma.

“We’re evolving the retail clinic concept,” said Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, the chief medical officer for CVS. The company hopes its proposed merger with Aetna will allow it to transform its current clinics, where a nurse practitioner might offer a flu shot, into a place where patients can have their conditions monitored. “It requires new and different work by the nurse practitioners,” he said.

Dr. Brennan said CVS was not looking to replace patients’ primary care doctors. “We’re not trying to buy up an entire layer of primary care,” he said.

But people will have the option of using the retail clinic to make sure their hypertension or diabetes is well controlled, with tests and counseling provided as well as medications. The goal is to reduce the cost of care for what would otherwise be very expensive conditions, Dr. Brennan said.

If the company’s merger with Aetna goes through, CVS will initially expand in locations where Aetna has a significant number of customers who could readily go to CVS, Dr. Brennan said.

UnitedHealth has also been aggressively making inroads, adding a large medical practice in December and roughly doubling the number of areas where its OptumCare doctors will be to 75 markets in the United States. It is also experimenting with putting its MedExpress urgent care clinics into Walgreens stores.

Big hospital groups are also eroding primary care practices: They employed 43 percent of the nation’s primary care doctors in 2016, up from 23 percent in 2010. They are also aggressively opening up their own urgent care centers, in part to try to ensure a steady flow of patients to their facilities.

HCA Healthcare, the for-profit hospital chain, doubled its number of urgent care centers last year to about 100, according to Merchant Medicine. GoHealth Urgent Care has teamed up with major health systems like Northwell Health in New York and Dignity Health in San Francisco, to open up about 80 centers.

“There is huge consolidation in the market right now,” said Dr. Jeffrey Le Benger, the chief executive of Summit Medical Group, a large independent physician group in New Jersey. “Everyone is fighting for the primary care patient.” He, too, has opened up urgent care centers, which he describes as a “loss leader,” unprofitable but critical to managing patients.

Eva Palmer, 22, of Washington, D.C., sought out One Medical, a venture-backed practice that is one of the nation’s largest independent groups, when she couldn’t get in to see a primary care doctor, even when she became ill. After paying the annual fee of about $200, she was able to make an appointment to get treatment for strep throat and pneumonia.

“In 15 minutes, I was able to get the prescriptions I needed — it was awesome,” Ms. Palmer said.

Patients also have the option of getting a virtual consultation at any time.

By using sophisticated computer systems, One Medical, which employs 400 doctors and health staff members in eight major cities, allows its physicians to spend a half-hour with every patient.

Dr. Navya Mysore joined One Medical after working for a large New York health system, where “there was a lot of bureaucracy,” she said. She now has more freedom to practice medicine the way she wants and focus more on preventive health, she said.

By being so readily available, One Medical can reduce visits to an emergency room or an urgent care center, said Dr. Jeff Dobro, the company’s chief medical officer.

As primary care doctors become an “increasingly endangered species, it is very hard to practice like this,” he said.

Hospital CEO forced to pay hackers in bitcoin now teaches others
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Hospital CEO forced to pay hackers in bitcoin now teaches others

 

“By 10:30 that night we had shut down every single computer that we had and all our servers,” Long recalled about the Thursday night in January. “By midnight we successfully shut off every computer in the organization and started from scratch. It’s surreal.”

By 4 a.m. on Friday, Long and his team had recruited Indianapolis-based cybersecurity firm Pondurance to identify the cause and scope of the attack and eradicate the imminent threat.

Pondurance co-founder Ron Pelletier said the first priority was to contain the intrusion and evaluate what was affected. Together with the FBI, which was called in to help pinpoint the origin of the attack, Pondurance experts determined that there was no easy way to erase the encrypted data from Hancock’s system and replace it with clean data from the backup system.

Taking into consideration the flu outbreak and the snowstorm, Long made the executive decision to buy the decryption keys from the hackers. Late Friday night, Hancock bought the keys by transferring four bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s was selling above $13,500 that day, bringing the estimated total Hancock paid to about $55,000.

“Criminal organizations now are treating this like a business,” Pelletier said. “They’re going to plan, they’re going to make sure they understand how they’re going to execute and then they’re going to set out and see where they can execute.”

Cybercriminals typically use the fourth quarter of the year to seek out “low-hanging fruit” and plan their attack, Pelletier said. Then, in the first quarter, particularly between February and April — a time Pelletier has come to refer to as “breach season” due to the uptick of cyber incidents — they put their plan into action.

“Hancock is one organization of many in this period that this happened to,” Pelletier said.

While the investigation into Hancock’s attack is ongoing, none of the network’s patient data appears to have been stolen, which Pelletier said was an indication that this particular group saw ransomware as a more effective way of getting paid.

“If you think about the numbers of breaches that have occurred in general, [it’s] millions and millions of records,” Pelletier said. “The dark web becomes a supply and demand issue at some point — I can try to monetize PHI [personal health information] by selling it on the dark web, or I can probably make maybe less, but a more expedited payment if I do something like ransomware.”

What Makes TruVision a Great Way to Enjoy Life
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What Makes TruVision a Great Way to Enjoy Life

The two supplements complement each other, just like Yin and Yang. The blue capsule cannot work well without the other. One can take up the responsibility of suppressing appetite and the other takes care of toxins, cellulite and fat discharge. If you are looking for ways you can achieve great results, then you need to check out health TruVision can assure you. 

The blue supplement is known as TruFix can help you manage weight. It helps in striking the right BMI balance for the blood chemistry to achieve the right composition. The supplement keeps in check the cholesterol levels and cleanses the liver so that you can achieve the desired health levels. Trufix can boost the body energy reserves as well as shedding excess fats from the body. The supplement cleanses the body through several functions. 

TruControl weight loss combo is a supplement but it is not like the common diet supplements. The supplement works in such a way it allows the body to achieve seamless synergy. The blood feeds the body with nutrients. When the blood has enough supply of nutrients, the body can look for ways of getting the nutrients from other parts of the body. You enjoy weight loss due to cleansed blood effects achieved by the supplement. 

What do I need to know next? 

How can we prevent things from getting out of control? The right way to enjoy healthy living is through adhering to the right nutrition. Your blood should have the necessary nutrients
so that your body can enjoy good health. Healthy organs allow you to enjoy good health. 

TruControl weight loss combo will require you to have some form of determination before you can enjoy great results. You should maintain consistence when using the weight loss supplement so that you can enjoy the great results associated with the weight loss supplement. 

TruFix is very effective in tackling visceral fat in the natural manner which is unlike short term metabolic technique which many controversial dietary solutions offer. Some product even ends up exposing you to counterproductive results where you end up gaining weight instead of losing it. 

Some weight loss solutions end up imposing compulsory weight loss effects on the body which make the body to lose lean muscles. The TruCombo plays a great role where it acts on the causes of weight gain making you lose fat naturally. 

TruVision has both truweight and trufix which work in a combination to eliminate bad fat from the body. They get rid of visceral fat while preserving the organ tissue in the body. Lean muscles are left intact upon using the combo to get rid of excess fats from the body. 

TruFix tackles visceral fat hence they do not affect the breast tissue. Breast tissue has subcutaneous fats hence you are left with good looking breasts. The supplement increases lean muscles while getting rid of excess fats from the body. 

TruControl weight loss is a long-term weight loss solution which works to offer you natural weight loss effects. It is not a thermogenic supplement which offers temporary results. 

How Trufix work to tackle visceral fats 

Visceral fats are deep lying fats which accumulate around the abdominal region. You will find them around the waist. The problems face both obese and those who are not obese. The fats can make thin people face fast aging process among other health complications. 

He visceral fats have been discovered to lead to several health complications in people. It can lead to certain forms of cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes among others. 

Many people are keen on their weight by checking weighing scale rather than the bad effects visceral fats have on their bodies. The fat can accumulate leading the waist line and clog blood vessels which can lead to several health complications. It can lead to cardio vascular disease among other health complications. 

TruVision can help you get rid of the fats which can expose you to the health complications. It is a combo which is equipped with nutrients to help you tackle the problem of visceral fats among other health complications. 

Visceral fats can hide under organs and the waistline. It is hard to notice when they are gone hence you should be patient with the supplements. TruVision offers great results. You will enjoy good health if you make an effort to use the weight supplements the way they are supposed to be applied.

Why Good Meal Replacement Shakes Need Vitamins, Minerals, Super foods, and Probiotics
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Why Good Meal Replacement Shakes Need Vitamins, Minerals, Super foods, and Probiotics

There are different nutrients that should be present in all meal replacement shakes. Some of these nutrients include vitamins and minerals. A good shake should also contain probiotics and two or more superfoods. All these components work in different ways to ensure overall body health. They also come with different features that make meal replacement shakes more efficient when it comes to weight loss. Click here to learn more about meal replacement shakes.

Below are some of the reasons why these components are important and should be part of any good shake designed for weight loss.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are important for body growth and development. They play a part in normal body functions such as immunity, building muscle, and digestion. Vitamins have also been found to play a key role in energy metabolism. With the right vitamins, your body will process foods easier, and this can lead to better metabolism and weight loss over time. Some of the vitamins that are instrumental in digestion include vitamin B1, B6, and vitamin C. Good meal replacement shakes should contain these vitamins among other essential nutrients. This way, your body gets all the nutrients required for optimal health. 

Similarly, minerals help in growth, development, and energy metabolism. Minerals are either macro or trace, and both categories are necessary for optimal health. Side effects of low mineral levels differ and can be anything from weak bone to fatigue and a slow metabolism. Since your body needs to be performing optimally if you are to lose weight, you need to ensure that you get most if not all the minerals that your body needs.

The best minerals and vitamins are found in nature. Different meal replacement shakes manufacturers have devised different ways of extracting these essential nutrients to ensure that you get maximum benefits from them. Look for a shake that contains a good portion of the vitamins and minerals you need on a daily basis so that you do not deprive your body of essential nutrients. 

Superfoods 

Superfoods are natural foods that are bursting with nutrients. Most superfoods contain most of the vitamins and minerals that should be part of a healthy diet. The superfoods also come with unique and potent compounds that are perfect for your health. This is addition to the fact that these foods come with a perfect delivery system and are easily digested and utilized in the body.

Some common superfoods include flaxseeds, almond, broccoli, avocado, and milk. Some berries are also classified as superfoods. A good shake should feature these foods or products of the above foods. Fortunately, there are enough shakes that come with a blend of the above and other superfoods.

If you want to up your consumption of the above foods, you can blend them together with your shake powder. You can also use low-fat milk or almond milk in place of plain water or other less nutritious beverages. You can also choose to have them together with your other meals.

Superfoods will boost your immunity, keep you healthy, and help heal and address some of the issues brought about by an unhealthy diet. These foods are also quite filling and they are also low in calories. They are, therefore, ideal for weight loss and the perfect companion in your meal replacement shakes. 

Probiotics

Probiotics include yeasts and bacteria that promote gut health. Thanks to their role in the gut they are regarded as the good bacteria. Probiotics help the body in different ways. They work to replace the good bacteria lost mostly when we take antibiotics. They also help ensure a good balance of the good and bad bacteria in the digestive system.

Gut health and weight loss go hand in hand which explains why good meal replacement shakes come with probiotics. When the gut is healthy, digestion is more efficient and there is no buildup of toxins that hinder digestion and slow down body metabolism.

All of the above nutrients are perfect for your health and are extremely important for weight loss. Take your time to read through the list of ingredients in different shakes and settle for the one that is rich in these nutrients. You should also ensure that the shake you choose also contains the right balance of other essential nutrients. In short, a good meal replacement shake should be rich in all the nutrients your body requires to ensure that you lose weight safely and acquire all the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.

Things That Should Be in All Meal Replacement Shakes
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Things That Should Be in All Meal Replacement Shakes

Meal replacement shakes, as the name suggests, are designed to replace a meal. These shakes are perfect for weight loss because they are much lower in calories when compared to a normal meal. They are also user-friendly and fit perfectly into our busy lives today.

Given the numerous meal replacement shakes in the market today, choosing one is not easy. Below we have compiled a list of the 5 main components of a good meal replacing shake. Any shake that does not contain any of these five ingredients is definitely not good for you.

Good Protein

Proteins are required for the function, regulation, and structure of body organs and tissue. Proteins are also hard to metabolize which makes them perfect for weight loss as the body needs more calories to process them. This is in addition to the fact that they also stay in the stomach longer making it easier for you to stick to a low-calorie diet.

The most common proteins that you find in meal replacement shakes include whey and casein. There are also shakes that come with plant-derived proteins such as pea, hemp, and soy. A good shake should contain at least 10 grams of protein in every serving.

The quality of a protein is determined by the number of amino acids that it comes with and its digestibility. Whey and casein meal replacement shakes are easily processed in the body. Pea, hemp, and brown rice proteins are also great since they come with other essential minerals. Shakes that contain soy protein should be taken in moderation since numerous studies have shown that soy can come with a number of unpleasant side effects.

Optimal Fiber

Fiber plays a key role in ensuring gut health and protecting against weight gain and the lifestyle diseases that come with extra weight. Ideally, we need to consume about 30 grams of fiber every day. This means that your meal replacement shakes should come with at least 5 grams of fiber. If you get one with a higher amount of fiber the better. Apart from considering the fiber content, you should also consider the source.

Fiber derived from whole foods is best.

Fiber is classified as either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like paste in the gut that slows down the absorption of nutrients. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, leaves you fuller but come out of the body unchanged. Look at your ingredient list on your meal replacement shakes before you buy to make sure you’re choosing the right type of fiber for your body.

Low Calories

The essence of replacing a meal with meal replacement shakes is to lower your daily calorie intake. Good meal replacement shakes should, therefore, be low in calories. Fortunately, there are many shakes that come with less than 100 calories in a serving.

To keep the calorie content in your meal replacement shakes low, you need to use a low-calorie beverage to make the shake. This only applies if your shake does not come ready to drink. Anything from plain water to low-fat milk works just fine. You can also incorporate fruits, nuts, and vegetables into your meal replacement shakes. You just have to ensure that you use them in moderation and only choose fruits and vegetables that are low in calories.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals have numerous functions in the body and they are classified as essential nutrients. Without an adequate amount of these vitamins and minerals, the body cannot perform optimally. Good meal replacement shakes should, therefore, contain a good portion of the vitamins and minerals your body needs on a daily basis.

It is important to note that too much of these vitamins and minerals can be harmful to your health. Check the content in your meal replacement shakes and ensure that the nutrients in your shake are within the recommended dosage.

Superfoods and probiotics

Superfoods are simply nutrient dense foods. Most of the superfoods are plant-based though there are a few animal-based superfoods such as dairy. Go for meal replacement shakes that feature foods such as blueberries, kale, pomegranate, and broccoli. These foods come with most if not all the nutrients that you need for optimal health.

Probiotics

Probiotics are the good bacteria that keep the gut healthy. Though these bacteria naturally occur in the body, we lose them when we take antibiotics. Taking probiotics help replenish the bacteria in your gut and keep them within the normal levels.

Recent studies have shown that probiotics are essential for weight loss. You should, therefore, go for meal replacement shakes that feature them in addition to other essential minerals.