Are food alternatives safe? Here’s what nutritionists want you to know

If convenience is what you’re looking for in your fitness journey, a meal replacement shake might be just the right thing for you. They are said to be easy nutrition, lower in calories and weight loss friendly, which is why many people have done this diet in the past. But are they healthy and safe?

Dr. Archana Batra, Certified Diabetic Nutritionist, Educator and Physiotherapist, says, “Meal replacement shakes are intended as a replacement for breakfast, lunch or dinner. is a popular way to lose weight and is rich in protein, which can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.”

With regard to health and safety, however, she cautions against relying solely on such meal replacements, as it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

“Meal replacement foods are mostly protein and fiber, with small amounts of vitamins, minerals, carbs, and fats. Different meal replacement products have different ingredients and nutrients because they don’t have a variety of ingredients. Not all meal replacements are created equal Here’s why you should choose your meals She suggests the replacement supplements you want to use very carefully by reading the list. composition and do some preliminary research.

Sharing her views, Dr Anjali Hooda, Obesity Specialist, Advanced Metabolic & Functional Medicine Specialist, says, “Meal replacement foods are safe and healthy, especially especially for medical reasons They are called medical foods which can sometimes help people lose weight by replacing meals because sometimes people can’t choose how to eat, what to eat. weight, we use these specially designed meal replacement foods.You can’t have anything.They are specially designed for meal replacements because they have enough protein and calories to get sick. people feel full and satiated.”

However, author, colonologist and nutritionist Kavita Devgan doesn’t endorse them at all. “I don’t support them [meal replacement shakes]. Because the point is, I personally believe we have to eat food in the most natural form possible. This is why I’m not a big fan of supplements. So, on the same principle, I’d rather you have food the way it is, but eat in moderation,” she shared.

She further explains, “You can’t reproduce natural foods. So it’s obviously not going to be as good for you as natural foods. For example, if we’re talking about an orange, we’ll continue. keep talking about vitamin C very new. We haven’t even surfaced what these foods do for us. So meal replacement is clearly based on whatever we know about nutrition. So far, it’s clearly not on par with natural foods and never will be.”

Can replace meal support shakes in weight loss?

According to Devgan, meal replacements are often performed in hospitals and clinical settings. “That’s how it started before it hit the mass market,” she said.

For a person who is supposed to have surgery, but has to lose a certain amount of weight before that life-saving surgery, meal replacement shakes can be an effective solution. However, if a person is just looking to cut calories and lose weight, that may not be ‘very successful in the long run’, according to the dietitian.

Dr. Batra is of the same opinion and says: “Meal replacements can aid in short-term weight loss, but they are not a sustainable solution. Maintaining weight long-term requires commitment. end, calorie restriction and exercise.”

Is meal replacement a permanent solution?

Dr. Hooda believes that meal replacement shakes can help with rapid weight loss, but that, she says, is not a long-term solution.

“These types of diets are called VLCDs (very low calorie diets) and they are used for specific people, for therapeutic reasons. They are not used for people who need to lose 5 kg. They are very specific for medical reasons,” she added.

In addition, Dr. Devgan highlights the side effects of long-term use of meal replacements. She speaks:

1. You don’t learn to control your portion/calories through natural foods, that’s something you’ll eat for a lifetime.

2. There may be certain imperfections on the surface. No matter how hard they try, they can try and show, meal replacement foods will not be complete foods compared to natural foods. In the long run, somewhere other deficiencies can build up in your body.

What’s more, one of the most significant drawbacks of meal replacement shakes is that they often lack fiber, which can have a negative impact on your gut health, says Dr.

“Despite some companies’ efforts to provide high-quality meal replacement drinks, it’s important to remember that such beverages are not a long-term weight loss solution and cannot change habits. your eating.” she added.

Cons of restrictive diets

Many restrictive diets have gained momentum in recent times, including meal replacement diets. However, experts say this is not a long-term solution for a number of reasons.

Dr Jyoti Arya, Dietitian at Manipal Hospital, Baner says, “Meal replacement shakes are safe because they include healthy ingredients, but even though they contain some essential nutrients, , they don’t have all the nutrients the body needs like enzymes and antioxidants. . It does not meet the full amount of nutrients that our bodies need because each person has different requirements and these meal representations. The shake contains more protein and fewer calories, so it doesn’t reach the required daily calorie intake. ”

“Eating such restrictive diets over a long period of time can deprive them of essential nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, and plant-based compounds,” said Dr. More harm than good to your body and weight.

Not only that, it can also bring to light about ‘bulky eating behaviour’, Dr Hooda said.

“I’ve seen a lot of binge eating behavior in people on extremely restrictive diets. It’s very common. That’s why moderation is key here.”

‘Food is priority’

Nutritionist Kavita Devgan says: “No matter how busy you are, food should always come first. What you’re eating is necessary to sustain you. You have to respect it. You can’t just keep food as a snack so that trayenge aur jab doesn’t have time to wo trayenge If you keep that attitude towards food your health will change that attitude about it. ”

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