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.
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.
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.
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 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.