I agree with your sentiments about the shakes. I have seen so many people follow that approach and pile the kilos back on after they use them. If you are considering replace main mains definitely don't do it!!
However, if you want to have 5 or 6 small meals a day (a great strategy) a low-carb, low-fat shake may be a good option for your mid-morning and mid-afternoon meals. Do not replace your breakfast, lunch or dinner though.
Below is an article I wrote on Meal Replacement shakes and what you should look for when selecting one.
You have plenty of options to help you get the last 15 kilos off. Please visit my website for more info and choose the principles that suit you and your lifestyle. All the information is free because I sincerely want to help people achieve their weight loss goals.
I wish you the greatest success with achieving your weight loss goal.
Here is the artricle Indi:
How to Choose the Right Meal Replacement Shake For YOU
If you are serious about losing weight, improving your health and boosting your energy, then you should endeavour to have 5 or 6 small meals each day: breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner and perhaps supper as well. Unfortunately, since we are all so busy with work, family and various other commitments, it is almost impossible to fit in all the meals. This where meal replacement shakes can help. They are quick, easy, convenient, portable and cheap. They also help to control the portion sizes of your meals. They can be used 2 or 3 times a day to ensure all your meals are consumed.
Skipping meals as many people do because they are busy forces the body to kick in its ‘Anti-Starvation Response’. This results in a slowing of the metabolism, a loss of precious lean body tissue, particularly muscle, an increase in appetite and an increase in the activity of fat-storing enzymes. Having a small meal every 2-3 hours throughout the day prevents this from occurring.
Since it is obvious that meal replacement shakes should be used by virtually everyone, it is important to know how to select the right one for you, when you should take it, what ingredients it should contain and what ingredients it shouldn’t contain.
Firstly, any nutritional strategy you choose to incorporate into your lifestyle must be sustainable. This means you should be able to do it for the rest of your life. If any strategy is not a sustainable lifestyle option for you then you shouldn’t use it. As a result, meal replacement shakes should only replace your mid-morning, mid-afternoon and perhaps your supper meals. These are the meals that are generally considered to be snacks. For most people, replacing the ‘main’ meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with shakes it not a sustainable strategy and therefore should not be used; the exception being those people who find it difficult to eat first thing in the morning. In that situation a shake can be used for breakfast but then a ‘whole-food’ meal should be consumed for the mid-morning meal.
If you are interested in losing weight or simply improving your health and energy level then the meal replacement shake you use should be low in fat and carbohydrate and high in protein. If you want to put on weight then higher carbohydrate and fat levels are okay. For best results choose shakes that contain 15g-30g of protein, 2g-10g of carbohydrate and 2g-5g of fat per serve.
The primary protein source should be whey protein because it is the highest quality protein source available. Avoid using shakes that contain cheap and inferior quality protein sources like skim milk powder, milk protein isolates or soy isolates.
The carbohydrate should come from maltodextrin, which is a complex carbohydrate, or should be derived from the protein source. Avoid shakes that use cheap sugars like glucose, glucose syrup or high fructose corn syrup. It is also best to avoid plain fructose as a carbohydrate source too. Even though it is a low Glycaemic Index carbohydrate, fructose can be easily converted into body fat by the liver.
The fat usually comes from the protein source and as long as it is contains 5 grams or less per serve that is fine. Always make sure the level of saturated fat per serve in the shake is less than 2 grams per serve.
Meal replacement shakes that contain added vitamins and minerals are fine but are not essential. It is best to use a multivitamin and mineral supplement every day anyway simply because the levels of the ingredients tend to be higher than those contained in shakes.
If your goal is to lose weight it is best to mix the shake in water rather than milk because the milk will increase the carbohydrate content of the meal too much. If you goal is simply to improve your health or energy then mixing the shake in low-fat milk is fine.
Other factors you need to consider when using a meal replacement shake are: taste, mixability and cost.
It is essential that the shake tastes nice in order for it to be a sustainable lifestyle option for you. If you don’t like the taste of the shake then it is highly likely you won’t stick to using it long term.
The mixability of the shake is important too. Since shakes are supposed to be convenient they should mix instantly. You must be able to stir them with a spoon or put them in a shaker cup and have it prepared in a matter of seconds. There shouldn’t be any need to use a blender.
The cost of the shake is also a major factor to consider. They need to be a cost-effective meal option. $2-$4 per serve is a reasonable price to pay for a shake.
The meal replacement shakes come in a powdered form and are available in tubs, buckets or sachets. Any of these are fine to use. The sachets have the added advantage of being portable because they can be put into your handbag and carried around with you during the day.
Meal replacement shakes are rapidly becoming the fast food of the new millennium because more people understand the benefits of having small, frequent meals and the ease that comes with using shakes.
Stephen is the part-owner of Body Concepts and Focus On magazine. Stephen has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 18 years and has a science degree from UWA.