Shake diets, or meal replacement shakes, can seem like the simple solution to achieving your weight-loss goals.
It seems so easy – just drink a shake instead of eating and you’ll lose weight quickly without having to prepare meals or think about what to eat.
There are a few prominent companies that promote their shakes through social media and the individuals that sell them make them seem very enticing. Just complete a 30-day programme and you’ll lose weight, have amazing energy and all your dreams will come true. Well, the last bit is a bit of an exaggeration, but you could be forgiven if you did get drawn into the claims of shake ‘cleanses’ such as amazing energy, great skin, a happier life as well as weight loss.
But like all diets, they aren’t always as great as the advertising makes out. Here’s why.
Diets don’t work
First and foremost, diets don’t work for the vast majority of people. In fact, one scientific review found that 2/3 people end up gaining more weight than they lost on a diet. That’s not something you see in any diet programme advertising! While shake diets can be marketed as the miracle solution, we know it’s highly unlikely to work long term.
Shake diets are low in calories
Shake weight-loss plans work simply because you’re in calorie deficit. For many people, this deficit can be less than what they need to do their minimum day to day functioning, without any extra activity. This can lead to you feeling tired and lethargic, especially if you’re an active person. It can also lead to the loss of muscle mass, which will decrease your metabolic rate and increase the likelihood of rebound weight gain.
They don’t teach you healthy habits
Replacing a meal with a shake does not help build new healthy eating behaviours. What happens when you stop the shake? Most people revert back to old habits.
They aren’t as nutritious as ‘real food’
No surprises here! A shake may contain added vitamins and minerals, but they don’t contain any of the phytonutrients and antioxidants found in plant-based foods. You can’t replace the benefits of healthy food with a shake made in a factory.
While there are some people that may find a meal replacement useful in certain situations, shakes do not teach long-term healthy habits. A great way to start improving your eating habits is to pick one small change and add to it once you’ve mastered each change. As time goes by, you’ll find yourself reaping the benefits of sustainable healthy changes.
Nicola Jackson is a NZ-registered nutritionist with a passion for helping people to develop a healthier relationship with food. Nicola’s blog Eat Well NZ tells you why you don’t need to quit foods, follow rules, or go to the extreme to be healthy. Her blog showcases a balanced approach to eating well, with plenty of healthy recipes and other tips on nutrition, fitness and wellness. You can also find Nicola on Facebook and Instagram.
Subscribe now for delicious, healthy recipes and expert advice delivered to your door!