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There are so many different diets out there.

In this series I will have a look at each diet. Starting with a meal replaceement diet plan.


What is meal replacement diet?

A meal replacement diet involves replacing 1 or more of your meals with a shake or meal substitute such as a food bar. There are many options available. You can choose from soups, milk shakes, biscuits, cereal bars, juices.

The majority of meal replacement are shakes. The shakes can be ready made or come in powder form and you typically mix them with milk or water.

Meal replacement shakes usually provide the nutrients that you would get from a meal but with fewer calories. The meal replacement should contain protein, some fat, usually carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some but not all contain essential fatty acids.

Meal replacement shakes are very low in calories, usually under 250cals per serve.

A typical meal replacement diet plan would add up to around 1400calories for a woman and 1600 for a man.


An example day would be

B: Meal replacement shake or bar – 220-250cals

S: A piece of fruit or meal replacement snack bar of - 50-100cals

L: Meal replacement shake or bar – 220-250cals

S: A piece of fruit or meal replacement snack bar of - 50-100cals

EM: A balanced meal- lots of veg, 1 serve of protein and 1 serve of carbs. - 600-800cals

Supper: Final snack 50-100cals


Pros

Easy to use.

Not a lot of planning needed.

Useful if you don’t like food.

Useful if you need to lose weight and don’t cook or feel unable to prepare meals.

Useful if you need to lose weight quickly and short term.

They can be very filling.

Meal replacements can be useful with some medical conditions, but this wouldn’t be from a weight loss perspective.


Cons

Taste is a real issue! They are often bland or overly sweet.

A meal replacement diet teaches us nothing about portion control, acknowledging and understanding hunger or food cravings.

The diet may not be nutritionally complete – most are missing essential fatty acids.

You would need to be mindful to include essential fatty acids in your meal or snacks for example- Oily fish, walnuts, olive oil or you would need to take a supplement.

Depending on which you choose you may need a multi-vitamin as atop up. You may not have enough fibre and suffer with constipation.

Can make some people feel bloated.

It would be difficult to maintain long term.


My view

The meal replacement diet is not a diet plan I recommend for long term use. I prefer to address why weight gain occurred, why the individual wants to lose weight and work personally with the individual to make long term changes.


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