With health and fitness being a major focus in our culture, all types of new diets and exercise plans emerge on a daily basis. Each claims to be “The One” that will get you the beach-body you long for. Amongst this myriad of dieting options, many diets actually use a similar strategy when you strip them down to their essential approach. The basic strategy of a low-calorie diet is to eat fewer calories than you use in any given day. Using basic math, it makes sense. While on the surface different diets can seem distinct, often underneath they all operate using this simple philosophy.
As you know, calories are essentially the energy our bodies use as fuel. If you’re using more calories than you’re consuming, your body starts turning stored fat into calories, resulting in weight loss. The fewer calories you consume and more active you are during your weight loss journey, the more dramatic the results will be.
Using meal replacement shakes to lose weight is an example of a diet using a low-calorie strategy. However, there are differences between meal replacement shakes vs. low-cal diets. To give you an idea of what that looks like, here are some pros and cons of each.
One of the glowing benefits of a basic, low-calorie diet is how relatively easy it is to follow. Among many pros we could list, here are a few:
- Simple. All you need to do is keep track of how many calories your food contains and add it up.
- Non-restrictive. At its most basic, there aren’t really any foods you can’t eat. If you’re really craving a high-calorie food, you can eat it – you just won’t have as many calories left in the “budget” to spend later on in the day.
- Educational. Done right, a low-calorie diet can actually help you learn a lot about portion control and help your body achieve healthier cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Gets results. One thing is for sure: you’re almost guaranteed to lose weight following a low-calorie diet, especially when combined with proper nutrition and exercise.
While there are compelling reasons to think a low-calorie diet might be the golden bullet of dieting, we would be remiss to not discuss the drawbacks of this weight-loss strategy:
- Nutrition. Because low-calorie diets don’t necessarily ban foods, it’s possible to stay within your caloric budget and still eat junk food. This often means people following a low-calorie diet might lose weight, but at the expense of their overall health. Just because a food has a low-calorie count doesn’t make it a healthy food beneficial to your body.
- Poses a health risk. While it’s true that the fewer calories you eat the more weight you’ll lose, it’s dangerous to set your calorie goals too low. Getting the right nutrients your body needs requires eating, and if you aren’t allowing yourself enough calories it’s likely your body won’t get proper nutrition.
- Not sustainable. Let’s face it: keeping track of calories for every. little. thing. you eat gets exhausting. In the short-term, it can be helpful, but it’s hard to keep up for an extended period of time.
Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes are designed to help you achieve your health, weight, and fitness goals by giving your body the nutrition and calories it needs to lose weight in a healthy way. A few key benefits of meal replacement shakes are:
- Predictable nutrition. While the best way to get vitamins and minerals is through real food, we all know it isn’t always possible to get 100% of what we need through our diet. Meal replacement shakes can help make sure you hit those goals by giving good percentages of the nutrients your body needs.
- Ease of use. Many people struggle to fit in a well-rounded breakfast – the meal we all know is the most important meal of the day. Meal replacement shakes are a simple way to never skip another breakfast. They also travel well, giving you more flexibility to follow your diet plan.
- Promote long-term weight-loss results. According to a study done by the Journal of the American Diabetic Association, “Women who lost weight on a reduced-calorie plan that included meal replacement beverages maintained their losses after a year by drinking at least one diet shake a day in place of a regular meal.”
However, there are also drawbacks to using meal replacement shakes as well. Some things to be aware of when using shakes are:
- Not all meal replacement shakes are created equally. Before you commit to a certain brand, do your research to know what ingredients they use. Unfortunately, many shakes – even ones labeled as “healthy” – use highly processed, synthetic ingredients.
- Are less effective stand-alone. While using meal replacement shakes by themselves will jump-start weight loss, you’ll see better results by pairing them with exercise and good eating habits for the meals you don’t replace.
Really, meal replacement shakes work well with a number of other weight-loss strategies, including low-calorie diets. If you’re looking for a healthy meal replacement shake, 310 Nutrition has balanced, delicious, nutrition-rich shakes made without the unnecessary additives. Learn more about the products we offer and how they could help support your diet HERE.