Meal replacements come in many forms – from portion-controlled meals, soups to shakes and bars. Meal replacements are used to replace foods at one or more meals with the intent to reduce daily energy intake to help with weight loss or weight maintenance following weight loss. When it comes to meal replacements, we’re spoilt for choice, with no end of portion-controlled meals, soups, shakes and bars to choose from.
There is nothing inherently special about meal replacements in how they work to help with weight loss. All they do is provide a discrete energy and portion control at meal times which along with sensible eating habits, will help with weight loss. The premise is pretty simple: control the amount of energy (kilojoules) you consume, to create a deficit with the amount of energy you expend.
Why meal replacements are effective for helping you lose weight
What’s really interesting is that the research shows meal replacements are more effective than traditional diets for up to a year. Studies have found that the best results are achieved when they are used as part of a support program.
Twenty-three randomised-controlled weight loss trials were analysed that compared meal replacements used for one year against an alternative diet.
In people who were assigned to a diet that used a meal replacement product, they lost an additional 1.4 kilograms compared with alternative kinds of diets.
When meal replacements also included some level of ongoing support, the weight loss difference at one year was even greater at 2.2 kilograms compared with other diets with support.
In studies that had the highest level of ongoing support, weight loss on meal replacements was 6.1 kilograms greater than alternative diets with regular support.
How to get the best weight loss results with meal replacements
Meal replacement products can be an effective option to help with weight loss and this benefit is heightened when used as part of an ongoing support program.