Recently I have noticed a rise in the usage of meal replacement shakes to promote weight loss from companies such as +Herbalife and +Bodybyvi-90 Day Challenge, and I have had enough of them!
These shakes are marketed as being a ‘ healthy alternative’ to meals, and suggest that you should replace one meal a day with a shake. First of all, this is not true. There is nothing more healthy than food. There is no healthy replacement for food. There is no such thing as a ‘healthy alternative to food’, and if there was, these shakes aren’t it.
What frustrates me, is that I cannot see a list of ingredients on these sites for these products. The only information remotely associated to nutrition I can find on the Herbalife site is about their shakes is:
- Approximately 220 kcal per serving.
- Rich in protein from dairy and soy’
- ‘Soy protein: a complete protein providing all essential amino acids’
- ‘Provides essential vitamins and minerals’
People have no idea what is in these shakes. No quantities of anything, and no information on what vitamins/ minerals are in the shake or what form they are in. As far as I can tell, these shakes are nothing more than highly processed low calorie powders, which have unknown amounts of anything in and are likely to be unhealthy, if not toxic.
What is even more frustrating is that simply because these shakes are low in calories, people do lose weight, and think they are great! Of course you will lose weight of you are replacing a meal (usually 500-700 kcals) with a 220 kcal powder (Body by Vi shakes are even worse, with only 90 kcals).
If you do feel that low calorie diets are the best way for you to lose weight, at lease do it with real food! It will be healthier, and probably cheaper. If you are looking to cut a meal down to 220 kcals (which I don’t necessarily recommend) there are much better alternative using real nutritious food.
The majority of fruits and vegetables are low in calories and extremely nutritious, being high in naturally occurring vitamins/ minerals/ phyto-nutrients. A large egg is only about 70 kcals, and is full of high quality protein, vitamins and minerals. Tuna and other meats are high in protein and minerals. There is any number of food combinations available to you, and if you control portion size you will open to door to even more meal options. Having real food will keep you feeling full for longer, and is much healthier.
Give up those meal replacement shakes, stop replacing food with powders. Eat real food!
Image courtesy of healthgauge