Feybie wrote:What is the general consensus around here on meal replacement shakes?
There really is no general consensus. In fact, the topic of meal replacement shakes is one of the most contentious ones on this forum! Some love them, some hate them. And it depends on if you're talking about meal replacement shakes or protein
shakes which are two different things.
If you're going to follow a meal replacement diet my advice would be to do it under the supervision of a health care professional. Some of them are Very Low Calorie diets and can be dangerous if you follow them for too long. Most of the criticism of meal replacements comes from the notion that they don't train you how to keep the weight off through healthy eating and exercise. Most meal replacement systems do in fact have a phase out period where you start re-introducing healthy food according to their instructions. Some allow you to eat 'real' food for most meals from the start, and tell you what you need to eat. If you decide to follow a meal replacement diet then make sure you spend time educating yourself about nutrition and exercise so that you can keep the weight off once you go off the shakes. A lot of people re-gain the weight they lost because they assumed weight loss was the hard part. If anything maintenance is far harder and you need to prepare for it!
Protein shakes, mentioned by OTD in her post, aren't the same as meal replacement shakes They're not really meant to replace meals, but to supplement your existing diet. Protein shakes just concentrate on adding protein to your diet, meal replacement shakes have to add lots of other nutrients so that you can go without other food. Protein shakes are excellent for after weight and resistance work-outs because the extra protein helps you build muscle. Just make sure you're not adding too many calories along with your protein! Some protein bars can be quite high in calories, and I would assume it's the same with the shakes.