Popular diet plans assessed
With a wide choice of diets out there to help with weight loss, choosing the right diet plan is not an easy task. Here we put meal replacements under the microscope so you can decide whether it is the right diet to aid your weight loss.
The theory about meal replacements
Meal replacements (usually shakes) are designed to replace two meals per day so that you cut back on your total calorie intake and lose weight, e.g. Slim Fast. Usually you have a shake for breakfast and lunch and then have a balanced meal for dinner, usually a 600-calorie meal. Also allowed are two or three low-fat snacks such as fruit, a snack bar or soup.
Our opinion on meal replacements– marked out of 10 .
|Good for health||2|
|Ease to follow||6|
Overall verdict on meal replacements
Meal replacements are no substitute for a healthy eating plan. However, studies show that proper use of meal replacements can provide a nutritionally-balanced diet. They work for some people, as they are easy to incorporate into daily life.
Pros about meal replacements
- An easy way to reduce weight without having to plan and think about meals.
- The products are fortified with many different nutrients.
Cons about meal replacements
- There is no support for people taking meal replacements.
- There is no education on how to change eating habits in the long term.
- You may grow bored with the range on offer.
Suitable for vegetarians — yes, if you consume milk, it could be more problematic for vegetarians who don’t consume milk.
Suitable for vegans — yes, contact the manufacturers to clarify which products are suitable.
Suitable for coeliacs — yes.
Need to buy specialist foods — yes, there are many products available; shakes, soups, snack bars etc.
Restaurant friendly — no, you may feel excluded if going out with friends as it may not fit in with your eating plan. The best way around this would be to save your main meal in the day for the meal out; even so, watch portion sizes and the choice you make as meals out often exceed the 600-calorie meal allowance.