Do Meal Replacement Shakes Really Help?

Meal replacement shakes offer both convenience, and the ability to lose weight simply.

They’ve become a fast and simple approach to gaining the benefits of a full meal, without any of the bloating or weighed down feelings. However, the question remains on whether or not they’re truly effective.

This article has the information you need to know on the value of meal replacements.

Who are Meal Replacements for?

If you’re looking to lose weight easy, then a weight loss shake is for you.

A quality shake has essential vitamins and minerals, quality macronutrients, all natural ingredients, and a well-rounded nutritional profile.

What you should avoid are added binders, artificial ingredients, or heavily processed additives.

The great benefit of a proper shake is that it’s backed by legitimate science. Reducing calories is key for weight loss, but without there also being vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and fat, it’s hard to stay satiated without still having food cravings.

Web MD even mentions that meal replacements:

“help when you don’t want to think too hard about what to eat to lose weight”

The Colombia University College of Physicians and Surgeons pooled together 6 clinical studies on meal replacements, they confirmed that it:

“safely and effectively produce significant and sustainable weight loss”

It also showed how it can:

“improve weight–related risk factors of disease”

What to Look for

There are advised guidelines on how to select a proper meal replacement. Web MD mentions a proper shake should have:

“3-5 grams of fiber”

“Fortified with a third of daily vitamins and minerals”

“Less than 5 grams of fat per serving”

“10-15 grams of protein per serving”

These are all essential for selecting a potent weight loss shake.

Depending on the brand, you can find plant-based protein, whey, egg, weight gainers, and several milk-based proteins.

Often plant-based protein is lacking key amino acids, that’s why it’s often mixed into a blend of different types of protein. This is to make up for the lack of key amino acids the body needs.

There are also dairy based proteins which depending on how they’re processed, can be either fast or slow acting.

Whey protein is consider one of the best, since it’s both easy to digest, and it’s rich in key amino acids. This is why adds:

“Whey may be healthier than other forms of protein”

It’s a fast acting protein that improves muscle function. It also contains the amino acid L-cysteine in high amounts, which can prevent early aging and diabetes conditions.

Weight Loss

The amount of weight you lose depends on the amount of calories you consume.

The benefit of a proper meal replacement is that you get a small amount of calories, but with the fiber and protein needed so you won’t go hungry.

Take a 90-calorie shake for example. A full meal can range from several hundreds of calories, and it’s often advised to eat around 400 calories per meal for weight loss. So the difference in calories between a proper shake and a full meal is 310 calories.

Eating Well recommends for weight loss:

  • To lose 1 pound a week cut 500 calories a day
  • To lose 2 pounds a week cut 1,000 calories daily.

So in replacing 2 meals a day with a shake you’re set to lose around 620 calories, which equals to a pound of weight loss a day.

Looking at these figures makes it easy to understand why a meal replacement is a good way to lose weight.


The benefit of a meal replacement is that you don’t have to spend time cooking a full meal. Especially when losing weight, it’s easy to lose sight and just grab what’s most convenient.

Fortunately, a meal replacement is easy to prepare as they’re often ready to go without a blender. Most can be made with blending a liquid and the dried formula to make a quick and easy shake.

In the traditional way of losing weight it’s often advised to keep track of what you eat in a journal. Web MD mentions tat:

“keep journals detailing what you eat”

The benefit of a meal replacement is that the full macronutrients are listed. You know exactly how many calories you’re eating, and it takes the busywork out of figuring out your diet plan.

Otherwise one might have to spend time using food scales, writing down exact calories, using measuring spoons and devices, all to determine the full caloric range.

This can make it hard to have a full meal without having to spend countless hours prepping and tracing each day all the foods you eat.

Selecting the Right Brand

Every product claims to offer the best, and it’s hard to know who’s telling the truth when there’s clever marketing used.

Reading the nutrition facts label is important for determining overall quality. Here are some clear pointers to help you pick the right brand:

  • What’s listed first?: The FDA requires for the most used ingredient to be listed first in a nutrition facts list. If the first ingredient isn’t protein, it’s likely the shake in question is either full of fillers, or it’s limited in its nutrient profile.
  • How sweet is it?: Limiting sugar is important in order to lose weight correctly. Excess sugar can also actually increase appetite, obesity related diseases, and metabolism disorders. Look for brands with low sugar and sweeteners like stevia, which offer a low glycemic and safe sugar alternative.
  • How it's made: Look for a GMP certified label on the shake. This ensures that it was made in a FDA approved facility, which shows that the company produces their product in a clean and safe environment.
  • What kind of protein is used?: Make sure there’s a healthy amount of protein from a quality source. Also, try to find a amino acid profile that shows how effective the protein truly is.

Meal replacements truly are a quick and convenient way to lose weight and support your nutritional needs.

Though not all brands are considered equal, there are key things to look for which determine overall quality.