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Pros and Cons of Meal Replacement Foods

Meal replacement foods are a convenient option for the dieter on the go who wants to lose weight, but hasn’t got the time to research and prepare healthy diet meals. Many dieters have used them, either as the major part of a weight loss campaign, or as a back up for meals at work, or when time is short and there isn’t time to prepare a healthy meal. As with anything, there are pros and cons attached to the use of meal replacement foods. Here are just some of them


It’s convenient. Instead of preparing a meal, all you have to do is grab a bar or shake, and that’s breakfast, lunch or even dinner sorted. Meal replacement foods are very handy for busy people who may not have the time to prepare health conscious meals, or those who travel around a lot as part of their working day.

It’s portion controlled. There’s no measuring or weighing involved. The serving contains the exact amount for the meal, so you don’t have to worry that you’re eating too much.

It’s nutrient controlled. That bar or shake has everything your body needs, in the proper amounts, so you know you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals to stay healthy as you lose weight.

It’s a simple diet plan to follow. Many meal replacement diets suggest you replace two meals a day with their products, and then suggest suitable healthy meals to have in conjunction. That means there’s not too much shopping, and a minimum of cooking and working out calories, fat units, and all the other equations that come into weight loss.

So meal replacement foods are the dieter’s best friends. Or are they?


It’s monotonous. Okay, the meal is ready to go – you just mix a shake or unwrap a bar. However, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you may get fed up of the meal replacements and get to the stage where you’d rather eat deep fried donkey’s entrails than yet another meal replacement bar. Boredom is the worst enemy of the dieter, and meal replacement foods contribute to that boredom.

It’s expensive. A lot of science has gone into the creation of meal replacement foods, and somebody has to pay for it, as well as delivering a healthy profit for the manufacturing company. That someone is you, and your meal replacement products may be a price too high to pay. You can probably feed the whole family for what it costs for one week’s supply of some meal replacement foods.

It doesn’t tackle the original problem. If you follow a meal replacement diet, you’ll lose weight, which is the main objective. However, a meal replacement diet doesn’t teach you anything about healthy eating habits. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll probably admit that you gained weight in the first place because you either didn’t know enough about healthy eating, or didn’t care enough about what you ate.

It’s not a long term solution. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to eat a varied, healthy diet, which contains the right number of calories for your particular daily needs. Meal replacement diets do little or nothing to educate the dieter about healthy eating for the future.

While meal replacement foods can form a convenient part of a weight loss campaign, in the long term, they can prove expensive and do not offer real help in modifying a previously unhealthy diet into a permanent healthy eating plan you can live with. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to replace the unhealthy eating habits that caused you to gain weight with a varied diet which includes everything you need for a healthy, active life. Meal replacement foods do not help in this objective.