This post is the second in a series of lengthy posts exposing the reality behind the lucrative market for diet and health supplements.
The first post in this series can be read here: Beware of health and wellness industry rip offs
For the last year I have been gathering my thoughts about MEAL REPLACEMENT and weight loss shakes. In this post, I will expose what I think is wrong with liquid meal replacement diets, I will look briefly at the companies selling these solutions to a confused public, and one by one, we will look at the ingredients and nutritional composition of several of the best known brands on the market.
If you don’t want to read this lengthy blog, then I’ll summarize it all for you here in simple bullet points.
- They are all fake, synthetic formulas. Synthetic vitamins and other nutrients do not give your body the same benefits that natural nutrients do when consumed in whole fresh foods
- Heavily processed powders full of synthetic ingredients, artificial sweeteners and chemically processed sugars have NO PLACE in a healthy lifestyle, in my opinion. Many of these shakes contain soy, rice, sugars, dairy (whey protein) and ‘fillers’, cheap sugary carbs to pack the product out and give it enough calories to fill you up
- Meal replacement shakes, when taken as a weight-loss strategy, are not sustainable for the long-term. Any temporary behaviour can have a temporary effect. However, it requires long-term, permanent lifestyle change to effect long-term, permanent health and body changes. If you want to lose weight permanently, change your lifestyle, don’t resort to some powdered supplement as a quick-fix, short-term solution
- You should be aware that many of the most popular meal replacement shakes and weight loss shakes, are sold under MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) schemes (what we used to call pyramid selling schemes but for some reason we are not allowed to call them that any more). These companies are not set up to help make you healthy, they are set up to make their founders and senior staff very rich. Pyramid schemes only work while people keep buying the product, so the goal is to get you in, get you on the program and keep you buying – your health and weight loss has nothing to do with it
- The list of ingredients should be scrutinized rigorously – look for sugar, sugar and more sugar
- The list of vitamins and minerals that the can, tub or packet claims the shake will deliver, cannot be taken as a definitive guide to what your body might absorb and use. You need to understand how synthetic nutrients are absorbed differently to nutrients delivered in real whole food, in order to understand why this is so
- Meal replacement shakes are expensive, and that is money that you could spend on high quality, real, organic food. I never understood why people fall for these marketing tricks of the ‘diet food’ industry. I see it this way: if you are overweight, it’s extremely likely that you have either been eating too much food, or too much cheap, low-nutrient, high-sugar, junk food. Either way, just eat less, and eat real, plain, simple food. Think about it – SAVE money, just eat less. The solution to losing weight isn’t “go out and buy loads of extremely expensive powder to mix with some milk or water and spend half the day feeling hungry” – surely, the solution ought to be “eat less”. See, a solution that saves money, not one that costs more. Common sense thinking