Meal replacement products like diet shakes and protein bars can make it easier for you to stick to a diet. These plans include the well-known and popular MediFast diet, as well as other medically-supervised and unsupervised diets plans. Check out the pros, cons and suggestions for some of the most popular meal replacement diet plans in the country.
Pros for Meal Replacement Diets
Easy: Meal replacement diet plans are among the easiest of all diets to follow. You simply drink a protein shake or eat a protein bar instead of a full meal for breakfast and lunch each day, as well as eating one or two high-protein snacks, and finish off your day’s calories with a low-fat, low-calorie meal.
You don’t have to count calories, and don’t have to think too hard about what to eat.
Portable: Drop a canned diet shake into your purse or pop a protein bar into your briefcase and go. You don’t have to worry about finding a microwave to heat up your lunch or somewhere to throw away your dirty dish after you eat at work.
Cons for Meal Replacement Diets
May not be nutritionally balanced: Many meal replacement diets are too low-calorie to be nutritionally balanced. If you are counting on meal replacements and one meal a day for all of your nutritional needs, you’ll need to take some nutritional supplements to stay healthy.
Boredom: No matter how much you like vanilla milkshakes, it can get a little old drinking them twice a day every day. Some meal replacement diet lines offer more variety than others, so if you’re likely to get bored with the same flavors every day, look for a plan with more variety.
Most Popular Meal Replacement Diets
U.S. News Health lists MediFast as a nutritionally sound restricted calorie diet. You’ll lose 2 to 5 pounds a week if you follow the MediFast diet religiously. The key reason for the weight loss is the fact that you’re eating about 800 to 1,000 calories daily, although there is more to it than that. The low-carb high protein diet supposedly puts your body into ketosis, where it will burn fat faster. Medisfst makes specific plans for a number of different demographics, including seniors, teens, diabetics, vegetarians, nursing moms and those who have various dietary sensitivities.
Like MediFast, the SlimFast diet plan replaces two daily meals with SlimFast meal replacement snacks or diet shakes. The SlimFast 3-2-1 diet plan includes 3 100-calorie snacks, 2 200-calorie shakes or meal bars and 1 500-calorie meal, for which SlimFast provides awesome recipes. You can also choose to do your own dinners using a variety of frozen diet dinners. If you follow the diet described, you’ll eat about 1,200 calories daily. Add fresh vegetables and whole grains to meet your minimum daily requirements and you could lose 2 to 4 pounds a week.
These are the two best known meal replacement diet plans. Most of the others are modeled on them, with very low calorie intake and diet shakes or meal replacement bars eaten in place of actual meals or snacks. They make it easy to lose weight by eliminating the necessity to count calories and make decisions about which foods to eat, but may make it more difficult to maintain weight loss because they don’t teach you new, healthy ways of making food choices.
In general, if you are starting on a very restricted calorie diet using meal replacement weight loss plans, you should consult your doctor first and have him or her monitor your progress to ensure you stay healthy while you lose weight.