Can You Drink Only Meal Replacement Shakes for Every Meal?

Can You Drink Only Meal Replacement Shakes for Every Meal?

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Last Updated on May, 2022

When trying to lose weight, there are many things you might try to do to achieve your goals. In some cases, people try drinking meal replacement shakes. These are supplements that you can use for replacing meals once or twice a day.

But, some people might go overboard and start drinking only meal replacements throughout their days. Are you thinking of doing something similar to make weight loss easier for yourself? Well, don’t be so hasty.

There’s a lot to consider before trying a liquid diet such as this, and it’s important to know what happens if you only drink meal replacement shakes. We’ll be covering the topic, including all the most important details you need to know about these drinks.

What Are Meal Replacement Shakes and How Do They Work?

A man drinking meal replacement shake

Like protein shakes, meal replacement shakes are a type of supplement. You can easily purchase some or even make them at home. But, unlike a protein shake, their function isn’t just to help you build muscle. These shakes are meant to replace meals throughout your day.

For example, if you’re running late for dinner because of a long day at work and don’t want to go through the fuss of a full meal, you can easily prepare a meal replacement and drink it instead. That way, you get all the nutrition and can satisfy your hunger.

The ingredients inside them provide all kinds of different nutrients and are filling enough to keep you satisfied until it’s time for the next proper meal. A meal replacement shake can be a great alternative to solid food and promotes healthy eating habits.

They don’t have as many calories inside them as a proper meal, but they can be just as filling. Depending on what type you buy, meal replacements can be made in less than a minute or are already prepared for consumption. 

Some meal replacement shakes come in powder form while some come in ready-to-drink form. The powder ones need to be prepared by mixing them with a liquid base. The ready-to-drink shakes can be consumed anytime.

You can drink a glass of this if you aren’t in the mood to eat food, and it’ll be the same as consuming a whole meal!

Are Meal Shakes Filling?

Most people have a question regarding liquid meals, such as whether or not they are filling. That said, meal replacement shakes are filling. But, exactly how filling they are, depends on the specific product you’re drinking.

Like with all other kinds of products, there are good meal shakes and bad ones. The bad ones will only be able to fill you up for an hour or two, which isn’t good enough. 

However, the better ones will keep you full for 4-6 hours without trouble. You can also make them more filling by mixing them with ingredients like whole milk, bananas, and more.

So, as long as you buy from the right brand, meal replacement shakes are pretty filling and affect your hunger as whole foods. But, if they’re filling, how good is that for weight loss?

Do Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?

Losing weight

After drinking them, many people wonder whether or not they are suitable for weight loss. They think they might not be as they’re so filling. But, just because something can fill you up doesn’t mean it makes you gain some pounds.

What matters is the number of calories you consume and how your body uses them. These increase our body weight and make us unhealthy if we overeat. Since meal replacements don’t have many calories per serving, they’re ideal for weight loss.

They almost always have fewer calories than a full meal, which is preferable for those that want to lose weight. But, there are other details that you have to keep in mind too when it comes to this. For starters, an all liquid-diet isn’t the best long-term solution.

The reason for this is simple. Sooner or later, your body will adjust to the low calories you’re getting from only drinking these shakes. Because of that, your metabolism will start to act up, causing you to put on weight even when you don’t eat that much.

So, instead of ruining all your hard work by using shortcuts, consider a well-thought-out plan instead. For example, make a diet around these meal replacements instead of entirely focusing on them. 

Eat healthy things, and drink meal shakes. Do this while exercising and doing something to help your body instead of forcing it to be how you want it.

What Studies Say About Liquid Diets?

Liquid Shakes

Because of various diseases that ruin digestive health, there have been many studies on liquid diets and how they might be able to help people suffering from these diseases or obese patients. 

As a result, we know a lot about how drinking only meal replacement shakes might help the body or might not help.

It’s scientifically proven that liquid diets can help reduce your body mass index (BMI) faster than eating whole foods. Those that drink just liquids can notice changes in their weight as quickly as one week. But, these aren’t always good changes.

Because an all-liquid diet doesn’t exactly offer a massive variety of proper nutrition, your body slows down your metabolism. Because of that, you’ll start to notice weight gain soon after. 

More extensive studies have also shown that there’s no proof a liquid diet can purify and cleanse the body either. Experts have said that the human body is a lot more complicated than that, and it doesn’t detoxify just because you’re consuming liquids only.

What’s more, studies have shown that liquid diets can be unsafe. Drinking protein powder and eating junk food instead of real food leads to an increased chance of illnesses because of the body missing out on proper nutrition.

Similarly, studies show that drinking meal replacements or any liquid all the time can lead to fatigue, nausea, hair loss, digestive issues, and lots more because there’s not a wide variety of nutrients entering the system. This brings us to the next part of our article…

Does Drinking Meal Replacement Shakes Give You All the Nutrition You Need?

Shakes with bananas

If you’re going to eat something all the time, you best make sure it has everything you need. Otherwise, you’re going to be the victim of various diseases, including all those we just mentioned previously. So, does a meal shake have everything you need or not?

While it’s true that these drinks have lots of healthy fats and are suitable for the body, they aren’t perfect. No food is perfect, so we can’t have the same thing every day. Everything has its nutrient profile, and nothing offers every nutrient in the world.

There are a lot of vitamins and minerals, digestive enzymes, and more in these shakes. But, some things are still missing, such as certain healthy micronutrients. 

If you remove them from your diet, you’re opening yourself up to health risks, including digestive health, heart health, and blood sugar-related issues.

So, to answer the question, meal replacement shakes do not have everything you need. No food in the world does. That’s precisely why a well-balanced diet plan is so important.

Along with meal replacements, it’s essential to eat real food like fruits and vegetables to help the body.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Consuming Meal Replacement Shakes

So, now you know that meal replacement shakes aren’t perfect. But they aren’t bad either. Like everything, they have their advantages, but they also have disadvantages. Here’s a summary of what these advantages and disadvantages are to learn more about them:

Advantages

  • Meal shakespromote healthy eating habits. Instead of eating junk and snacks, you can have a meal replacement shake instead, which will fill you up just as well as solid food. That’ll help with fat loss and help you be more productive throughout the day.
  • These supplements are proven to be great for losing weight. Thanks to their relatively low-calorie count and their protein, these drinks boost metabolism and help with weight loss. (1)
  • Speaking of protein, meal replacement shakes feature it in abundance. That means that they’re good for losing weight and building muscle, making them a great workout drink for anyone looking to bulk up
  • Unlike most protein shakes and junk foods, meal replacement shakes offer all kinds of different nutrients. These include various fats, antioxidants, added vitamins, minerals, and much more, making them the perfect healthy replacement for meals.
  • Since they’re entirely liquid, meal replacements are great for anyone struggling with digestion-related issues. Those having dental problems can also drink them. They’re an easy to consume and filling meal that people of all ages can try out, including elders.
  • Last but not least, one of the best things about a meal replacement shake is just how convenient it is. Unlike full meals which you have to prepare and take a long time to eat, these drinks can be prepared in moments and consumed in minutes. You can even take them to different places with you in a bottle, making sure you never skip meals.

Disadvantages

  • Being entirely liquid isn’t a good thing. If you drink too many liquids like these, you might face other digestion issues such as diarrhea or nausea. If you’ve got a history of problems like these, consult a registered dietitian before trying a meal plan involving these shakes.
  • If you replace more than one or two meals a day with these shakes, you’ll grow weaker instead of stronger. You’ll likely miss out on some critical nutrients found in other foods, preventing you from maintaining a well-balanced diet.
  • While they can help you lose weight, the effects won’t be permanent if you drink too many meal replacement shakes. That’s because your metabolism will slow down to adjust to an all-liquid diet, causing you to gain weight instead.

Is it Healthy to Replace Entire Meals With Meal Replacements?

Meal to Shakes
Replacing food with shake

To put it simply, the answer to this question isn’t just a yes or no. Meal replacement shakes are meant to replace entire meals, so it’s more than okay if you drink these instead of eating a full course breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But, there’s a particular line you have to watch for.

There are only so many meals that you can replace from your day before it starts getting seriously unhealthy for you. 

It would help if you didn’t make it a race to lose weight. Weight loss happens with dedication, workout routines, and a good diet that involves many different foods, not one.

If you try to take shortcuts like these, they will help at first but be more costly in the long run. So, while it’s certainly healthy to replace a meal or two a day with these supplements, you shouldn’t go beyond that. 

Eating more calories is better than eating nothing as it’ll give your body energy. (2)

What to Look For Before Buying a Healthy Meal Replacement?

A Full Fulling Shake

Your experience with these supplements depends entirely on the specific product you buy. There are so many meal shakes out there and not enough time to go through every one. 

Instead of wasting your time with futile searching, we’re here to make it easier for you by highlighting some tips on finding the healthiest meal replacement shakes.

Nutrients

Obviously, the main thing to watch out for is how nutrient-dense a shake is. The meal replacement needs to be well-balanced and good for the body. This means lots of healthy fiber, fats, carbs, and protein. Micronutrients and macronutrients are also essential.

You won’t be able to find something with everything, but you should still try to look for a supplement that offers most things. That way, you’ll get a lot out of each serving and get the energy that you genuinely need from one of these drinks.

Filling Properties

A shake like this is no good if it can’t fill you up as an actual meal would. Ensure that the one you get is known to keep you full for hours so that you don’t get hungry again before it’s time for the next meal.

If a meal replacement isn’t filling, it’ll make you want to eat soon, increasing the calories you eat daily, making it difficult to cut down on weight and build muscle. 

Taste

This isn’t something that important. But, if you intend to drink these supplements often, wouldn’t it be better if they tasted great? Well, most people would say yes, which is why we recommend that you focus on flavor and taste.

Many brands offer delicious meal replacements which come in a variety of flavors. You can get any of these flavors which sound best to you and try them out. With all the options available in the market, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your tastebuds’ needs.

Price

Using anything often means that you’ll need to buy more and more of it. That’s the whole concept of supply and demand, and it’s something that applies to meal replacement shakes. If you’re looking to drink more of these, you’ll have to purchase more to consume in the first place.

Try to make sure that the one you choose is at least affordable. Otherwise, it’ll turn into a significant expense. That’ll make the shake heavier on the wallet than it will on your appetite, which is something that no one wants.

The Brand

You’re sure to get a better product from a more popular and trusted company than you are from one that’s not as trustable. The same goes for supplements such as this, which various manufacturers make.

Do some research on the options available around you and try out the ones with which people had the best experiences. It’s always preferable to know who you’re doing business with. You’ll be sure to have better luck that way and enjoy the product you buy.

Can You, or Should You, Drink Only Meal Replacement Shakes?

Making a Shake

So now that we’ve covered all these details, there’s just one thing left to answer. Can you drink only meal replacement shakes? Given what we’ve mentioned about what happens if you only drink meal replacement shakes, it would be wise not to.

Drinking only one thing throughout your diet can mess things up for your body. It can lead to digestion problems, heart issues, nausea, weakness, etc.

Different types of foods exist to give us other nutrients. If we don’t eat a variety of them, we’ll eventually get sick. So, make sure that you switch things up now and then.

As for the “should you” part, the answer is a pretty simple “no”. There’s no real reason to drink only meal replacements. It’s detrimental to your health, and it doesn’t even help in the long run. If you attend personal or group meetings with experts, they’ll all suggest avoiding this.

Experts and science have shown that there’s not much advantage to going on a completely-liquid diet. Unless your dietitian tells you to, there’s no reason you should drink meal replacement shakes all the time as it doesn’t hold any permanent benefits for you or your body.

Worth reading: Do meal replacement shakes make you constipated?

Conclusion

Now that you know what happens when you only drink meal replacement shakes, you can decide on your diet. We’ve covered all of the essential details, so now it’s up to you to go through it and do what’s best for your body.

It’s recommended that people maintain variety so that their diet is well-balanced. That’s all we have to say about the topic. Now you can tell us what you think in the comments and ask any questions. We’ll be sure to hear what you have to say and answer anything you have in mind!

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327254/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/eat-to-boost-your-energy
About the author
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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband that she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.
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