Meal replacements (MR) are high quality diet products that are nutrient-dense and having a low glycemic index. When combined with other weight loss modalities i.e diet modification, behavioral change, exercise, medication, intragastric balloons and bariatric surgery they can also help promote lean body mass to maintain or build lean muscle and support fat loss.
In a recent review article it was reported that MR is an effective intervention for the treatment of overweight and obesity at 1 year, especially when used together with a support programme. MR could be recommended for inclusion in weight management programmes offered by professionals or as part of a self‐management strategy for people with overweight or obesity.
Considering that those who are overweight or obese are likely to struggle in consuming a nutrient-balanced diet, the MR diet may be an effective strategy to enhance overall nutrition quality of their diet. At Gleneagles Hospital Penang, we incorporate MR into a healthy lifestyle program that includes healthy eating and exercise along with our other interventions for those at risk for macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies.
Meal Replacements Provides:-
A dietitian practices medical nutrition therapy to treat people who are overweight or obese, and also people with certain health conditions. During your session with a dietitian, your dietitian will look closely at your eating habits. He or she will then help you set nutrition goals and plans just for you. You will meet your dietitian several times. Your dietitian will track your progress at each visit and look into strategies to improve and help you work towards your goals. Your dietitian will help you plan a healthy nutritious diet and assist you in making positive lifestyle changes that last.
Lack of time to prepare healthy meals is one of the biggest barriers to losing weight. Meal replacements make it easier to plan meals.
Regular Eating Pattern
Repetition and routine are key in a weight loss or weight maintenance journey. Eating at regular times throughout the day and avoiding long periods of time between each meal positively affect your energy level and hunger feeling.
Quality of food consumed
Cutting back on calories can make it difficult to obtain the required nutrients. Meal replacements are often fortified vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, which help avoid a nutrient gap.
Positively affects self-monitoring
Recording dietary intake helps people become aware of their current food-related behaviors. Tracking meal replacements is easy, making self-awareness of target behaviors and outcomes easier.
Accuracy of calorie estimation
Dietitians typically advise consuming a certain number of calories throughout the day, depending on your health goals. Meal replacements – when prepared as suggested – are an easy, precise way to keep track of how many calories you are consuming.
Meal Replacements for Clinical Use
Ideally the clinical recommendations for the treatment of obesity is that individuals attempting weight loss should aim for an energy deficit of 500-1000 kcal. Centers with medically supervised weight management teams can advise patients safely to achieve this deficit without omitting important macro and micronutrients in their diet.
The use of meal replacements as a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) to lose weight or incorporated with the intragastric balloon or bariatric surgery program has to be supervised by a trained dietitian. It’s important to note that, as with any changes in your diet and physical activity levels, individuals should always consult their physician before engaging in their weight-loss journey.
In summary, medically supervised meal replacements work better than self-directed weight loss attempts. While popular diets might work for short-term weight loss, in the long run, adherence will be an issue. If you’re looking to achieve a healthy weight long term, it’s always best to find a centre of excellence that offers multiple treatment options and can treat an individual holistically.