Why Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss?
3 mins to read
What exactly is a Meal Replacement Shake?
Meal replacement shakes are a trendy topic today in Singapore, with the primary purpose of it being for well-being or weight management. Meal replacement shakes are designed to replace your typical breakfast, lunch and dinner meals with carefully designed nutrition components that contain important vitamins, fibre and minerals for your day-to-day activities. You can also healthily lose weight when you plan your meal replacement shakes intake by carefully inducing calorie deficit in your meal plan.
General Singaporean Health Condition
Today, obesity among Singaporeans is at the highest level since 2010, with 1 in 10 Singaporeans classified as obese and another 20.7% of Singaporeans categorised under the high-risk BMI category for Asians (Ministry of Health, 2020). This data is concerning as obesity could lead to the development of chronic health problems. Additionally, according to the Ministry of Health Singapore, obesity in Singapore is caused by a lack of physical activity (exercises) and an unhealthy diet.
Read our article 10 Fun Exercises for Weight Loss and a healthy life.
Causes of Unhealthy Diet among Singaporeans
On average per day, an adult male requires 2,200 calories intake while an adult female requires 1,800 calories. This figure is based on an average Singaporean weight and physical activity. However, based on statistical data, the average daily intake of Singaporeans has grown 17% since 1998, to 2,470 calories in 2018. One of the most common causes of such an increase is grazing.
Grazing has become a norm among Singaporeans and this is an unhealthy habit as it often involves a lot of processed snacks or foods, that are usually high in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Singaporeans are also huge fans of flavoured teas, milk teas, chocolate mint drinks and other high-sugar drinks. The availability, affordability and convenience of delivery platforms, coupled with regular promotions are prompting Singaporeans to order out more often than cooking healthy food at home.
Singapore Food & Dietary
Singapore’s food evolution, contributed mainly by Singapore’s hectic lifestyle, are showing signs that more Singaporeans are choosing their meal based on the cost and time needed to prepare meals (Jackson & Viehoff, 2016). This finding is not a surprise when recent research revealed that more than 50% of Singaporeans surveyed consume fast food more than three times per week (Statisca, 2021). So perhaps the next time you’re rushing for a deadline and don’t want to give in to the temptation of fast food, you should consider meal replacement shakes as one of the quick and effective healthy alternatives.
Not all meal replacement shakes are created equal. You need to be aware of the ingredients and components that go into the creation of these alternatives. Shakes bought from the store or homemade remedies are often high in natural or processed sugar and contain less protein, fat, fibre or minerals to constitute a healthy meal replacement. They also do not keep you feeling full, leading to more food intake eventually or snacking time. This is why it’s important to choose meal replacement shakes by looking into the key ingredient lists to ensure they fulfil what is required.
Here’s a list of natural ingredients to look out for in meal replacement products:
1) Natural Carbohydrates – you can look for non-GMO carbohydrates cultivated from brown rice, tapioca, and quinoa under the ingredients list.
2) Healthy Fats – you can look for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil and coconut oil as they are good for heart health.
3) Easily Digestible Protein – you can opt for a whey protein isolate, soy protein isolate, or a plant protein such as pea protein. It all depends on your dietary needs.
4) Important Vitamins and Minerals – the meal replacement shake should have ample vitamins such as iron, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D and others to ensure you are getting the essential nutrients you need as you are replacing meals to eat.
5) Sufficient calories – Even if you are looking to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, it is important that the meal replacement shake still contains enough calories as you need enough calories for your body to function throughout the day.
Intrigued? You can read more on how to choose the proper meal replacement products in our article: 7 Ways To Choose The Right Meal Replacement Shakes
How many Calories are in a Meal replacement?
Nutrition experts estimate that average consumption for a healthy individual can be somewhere between 300-400 calories for breakfast, 500-700 calories for lunch and dinner with snacks limited to 100-200 calories.
A typical meal replacement usually contains somewhere between 150-200 calories. However, the figure may vary depending on the various meal replacement brands and manufacturers. It is important to know that calorie intake is just part of the puzzle in maintaining a healthy weight and well-being. You need to take into account the list of ingredients and the nutrients component in the meal replacements.
Is Calorie Everything?
One of the most important factor to consider is that meal replacement shakes should be healthy, contains all the important ingredients and leave you feeling full after consumption of the meal replacement products. If you’re just starting meal replacements and wondering why you’re not feeling full, you can read our article to find out more: Why Am I Still Hungry After Meal Replacement Shakes?
Are meal replacement drinks good for weight loss?
Losing weight is a mathematical equation. The primary formula for losing weight is calorie deficit. This happens when you consume fewer calories than the number of calories you burn. While this may sound easy, most people often missed out on the other key factor in losing weight; a healthy balanced meal filled with nutrients. Think calorie counting – but amplified that with an unhealthy diet.
Another common misconception is that meal replacements are similar to protein shakes. They differ significantly. Protein shakes are often used to create lean body mass or build muscles , or for healthy weight gain (Gordon, 2022). Meal replacements primary purpose are to offer a whole and complete meal to consumers who are mindful of their well-being or are in the purpose of weight loss.
Low-Calorie Meal Replacements Viable to lose weight?
Ultimate Cleanse – Imperium’s meal replacement shakes contain only 84 calories, which is a huge plus in dietary planning for successful weight loss. While there is a common perception that low-calorie meal shakes are insufficient in terms of nutrients, Imperium’s Ultimate Cleanse meal shakes are made differently from low carbs 26 superfoods (fruits and vegetables) and 55 high-quality ingredients backed by over 30 years of clinical research for a balanced meal. It is rich in folic acid, high protein, dairy-free, gluten-free and is suitable for those who are carb conscious. In terms of taste, it’s enough to satisfy even those with a sweet tooth.
Research Findings in Meal Replacement Shakes and Weight Loss
There has been various research established that linked meal replacements with weight loss. One study found that weight loss with meal replacement shakes loses 6.3% more weight compared to those who do not (WebMD, 2021).
Curious to find out how much weight can you lose with meal replacement shakes? You can read more in our article How Much Weight Can I Lose With Meal Replacement Shakes?
Can I drink meal replacements all day?
There are no substitutes for fresh and healthy real food straight from a cooking pan. The general consensus is that you can replace one or two meals a day with meal shakes. Shakes such as low-calorie Ultimate Cleanse are meant to fill you up with enough nutrients and flavours to last the day. However, it is just a temporary solution and you still need freshly cooked healthy food to make a whole and complete meal in your daily nutrient needs.
Which meal is best replaced with shakes?
There is no general guideline on which meal is best replaced with shakes but the commonly agreed best meals to replace are breakfast or lunch. Despite a plethora of studies showing the benefits of healthy breakfast, 1 in 3 primary school kids in Singapore is skipping breakfast once a week (Asiaone), with half of the respondents (parents) surveyed stating that there is not enough time for children to eat. This is essentially robbing the children of much-needed nutrients which can affect their growth.
Lunch is another best meal to replace with meal shakes. It’s the most common ground for dietary crimes where most often just don’t have the time to prepare a healthy lunch. We often resort to a typical lunch outing with our co-workers, fast food joints or meals packed with junk food.
This makes shakes such as Imperium Cleanse a powerful and effective meal replacement. They are simple and supply plenty of vitamins, minerals and key nutrients to promote energy – at the beginning of the day where you need it most. All these are done, at the cost of low calories. Just simply magical.
You can also add additional ingredients to enhance the flavours of meal shakes. Some of the most common are oats, yoghurts and bananas. Read more on our article on What To Add To Meal Replacement Shakes for enhanced flavours.
Summary of Meal Replacement Shakes Benefits
It’s a convenient alternative to cooking and preparing your own meals. Meal replacement shakes are usually ready to go in less than 5 minutes of preparation. All you need is access to hot water. You can usually find a hot water boiler in an office pantry.
Shakes provide you with fine granular control over your calorie consumption. It helps you to plan your diet, all while delivering great taste at low calories. Shakes are generally about 150-200 calories per intake but special shakes such as Imperium’s Ultimate Cleanse are only 84 calories.
Filled with nutrients
Calorie calculation is just part of the equation in a healthy lifestyle. What matters more is what you eat. Shakes are a great way of providing much-needed nutrition albeit a hectic, busy lifestyle, which is what most of us Singaporean have been accustomed to.
Take a look at Imperium’s Ultimate Cleanse – A perfect meal replacement packed with fibre and protein that helps with detoxification, cellular repair and rejuvenation while maintaining a healthy digestive system, which is important for overall immune health.
An Indirect Way of Eating Fruits & Vegetables
We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is healthy. This has been indoctrinated in our minds and in our education since we are small. Yet, according to National Nutritional Survey (CNA Lifestyle, 2018), 9 out of 10 Singaporeans are not eating enough vegetables.
Eating meal replacement shakes usually contain key ingredients commonly found in vegetables. For example, meal replacement shakes such as Ultimate Cleanse contain ingredients from 26 types of fruits and vegetables. Consuming such meal replacement shakes indirectly provide you with much-needed nutrients commonly found in vegetables and fruits.
Meal replacement shakes have been proven to be effective. Its combination of low-calorie and high-quality ingredients are the primary driver to effective and successful weight loss. Research suggests that a meal replacement diet plan is better than a traditional food plan based diet (Library of Medicine, 2010, Jihyun, Soo-Young, In-Soo, 2020, Heymsfield, 2003)
Save Time & Money
It’s an undeniable fact that a healthy diet is expensive. However, if you look at this in the long run, an unhealthy diet will eventually catch up leading to higher healthcare spending. Singapore is already currently dealing with a big rise in healthcare spending (Strait Times, 2019). Such a rise is unsustainable in the long run and individuals must start taking care of themselves by living healthily.
We must play a part in this by being mindful of what we eat. Meal replacement shakes are a viable alternative if you’re busy or craving for those fast foods, saving us both time in preparation and money in the long run.