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Meal replacement diets come in all shapes and sizes often being marketed with amazing testimonials about how easy they are to carry out and how much weight can be lost.
While weight loss is definitely possible with meal replacement programs it may not be as easy and enjoyable as celebrities or past users make it seem.
Meal Replacement is often more appropriate for those that require extreme weight loss.
Meal Replacement Diet Basics
The basic premise behind the theory of meal replacement:
- The dieter switches out two meals a day with products that are designed to curb appetite and that reduce their caloric intake.
- The dieter is then encouraged to eat a portion controlled, healthy dinner.
- Meal replacement products are usually in the form of shakes, soups, bars, cookies, and drinks.
Basically meal replacement diets are very low calorie diets in that the average calorie intake is only between 800 and 1000 calories a day.
This is why many can achieve such fast results with these programs.
Popular Meal Replacement Diets
|Medifast||A doctor recommended low-calorie diet for based on shakes and other food supplements (more appropriate for those with more than 30 pounds to lose).|
|WonderSlim||Weight loss eating 6 times a day using WonderSlim products and 1 healthy meal.|
|Body Reset Diet||Replaces meals with homemade smoothies. Rapid results in just 15 days.|
|Dr. Seigals Cookie Diet||2 meals are replaced by eating 6 specially designed cookies when hungry through out the day.|
|Herbalife Shapeworks||2 meals are replaced each day with Herbalife Shapeworks products.|
|OPTIFAST||Clinic-based obesity weight-loss program available in USA and Canada; employs liquid diet of shakes.|
|Slim-Fast||Replaces 2 meals a day with powdered shakes, RTD Shakes, or bars.|
|Smart For Life||Replaces 2 meals a day with 6 nutritious cookies.|
|Hollywood Diet||Replaces 2 meals a day with cookies or Hollywood Miracle Juice.|
|Special K Diet||2 meals a day are replaced with Special K Cereal and 1/2 cup reduced fat milk.|
Are Meal Replacement Diets Safe?
As with any new diet, it is important to consult your physician before beginning a meal replacement plan.
Some plans are medically supervised because of the risks involved in a very low Calorie Diet. However, if these programs are done correctly, they are generally safe. It is usually people with underlying health problems or people who do not adhere to the meal replacement program guidelines that have problems.
These products can be expensive and many gain the weight back after they quit using the products because the dieter hasn’t learned to adjust portion size or hasn’t addressed the underlying emotional causes of overeating.
Another negative aspect of these programs is that the meal replacement products are often highly processed.
Do your homework before choosing a meal replacement diet in order to find one that’s healthy and best for you.
Successful Weight Loss?
Meal replacement diets have been very successful with dieters in the short-term, but many regain the weight when they begin eating all regular meals again or can no longer afford the products.
The only way long-term results will be achieved is if dieters change their lifestyle and smaller portion size and healthier eating become habit.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- Haddock, C. K., Poston, W. S. C., Foreyt, J. P., DiBartolomeo, J. J., Warner, P. O. (2008). Effectiveness of Medifast supplements combined with obesity pharmacotherapy: a clinical program evaluation. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 13(2), 95-101. link
- Christopher, C., Jessica, K., Andrea, H. M., Carmine, S., Nicholas, F., Lisa, D. (2012). Use of the Medifast Meal Replacement Program for Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Clients: A Retrospective Chart Review of Three Medifast Weight Control Centers (MWCC). Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2012. link
- Wing, R. R. (2002). Behavioral weight control. Handbook of obesity treatment, 2, 301-317. link
Last Reviewed: March 21, 2017
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