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Are protein shakes as a meal replacement safe?

Replacing your meals with protein shakes may be proven effective for weight loss. 

However, it is not a safe plan of action due to the lack of vitamins and nutrients in each serving.

If you are trying to lose weight with a protein shake meal replacement plan, you may want to restrict the amount of shakes you use as meal replacements.

Instead of replacing three meals a day with protein shakes, replace two meals and have one low calorie meal that includes the your daily requirement of essential nutrients.

If you are looking to start a protein shake meal replacement plan, you may want to use the supplement finder in order to research the right type of protein shakes.

Protein shakes are sometimes used as an addition to athletes' diets rather than replacing meals.

Protein shakes are great to have before or after a workout to either increase or replace the nutrients and calories that you are actually burning during your workout.

What are meal replacements?

Meal replacements are a lower calorie, smaller portion of a meal that may be reduced into the size of a protein drink, a protein bar, or even a wrap or sandwich. Meal replacements are more than less than half the size and calorie intake that you would typically consume for a regular meal.

Meal replacements have been proven to help lose weight, however, the nutrients and calories that are included do not necessarily meet the requirements of a daily percentage.

Why can't you safely replace all meals with protein drinks?

Depending on the protein drink, the amount of calories that you intake from one single protein drink is typically less than 400 calories. Although consuming 1200 calories a day would be beneficial if you are aiming to lose weight, you are still burning up energy by completing your everyday activities, therefore, although you are consuming 1200 calories, you are probably burning at least a quarter of these calories in your everyday activities, if not, more.

Replacing breakfast, lunch and dinner may be an option for a couple of days a week, yet it should not be your plan for seven days a week. If you continued to replace every meal of every day with a protein drink, the amount of nutrients you are receiving will not be efficient enough to remain healthy.

If you look at the nutrition label for one of your protein packets, you will see that an average protein drink will possibly include 240 calories, 2 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar and 9 grams of protein. Although some of these protein drinks include nutrients and vitamins that you receive when you eat fruits and vegetables, you are not getting the natural source of nutrients that are consumed when eating these pertinent foods in your daily diet.

Also, the amount of sugar in these protein drinks is too high to replace a healthy, well balanced meal. This means that you replacing the nutrients of regular fruits and vegetables in your diet by basically eating one or two bags of candy per day. The healthy alternative for protein shake replacement would be to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet rather than an extra protein drink.

When is it okay to replace a meal with a protein drink?

Although it is not safe to replace every single meal, seven days a week with protein drinks, you can incorporate protein drinks into your diet in order to contribute to weight loss and protein intake. Protein shakes are a good addition to your diet, especially for athletes.

If you are an athlete replacing a protein shake as a light meal before a practice or a game that is okay. However, if you are an athlete replacing all of your meals with protein shakes and then exercising twice a day, you are endangering your health drastically.

If you are trying to lose weight, the amount of calories that you need to intake in your daily percentage must be 500 less that you usually consume in order to lose one pound a day. Therefore, if you typically eat 2,500 calories a day and you eat 2,000 calories the next day, consistently, you will lose one pound a day. Initially, if you would like to replace your breakfast and lunch with a protein shake, and have a low calorie dinner that is rich with essential nutrients, that would be a safer alternative.

If you even replace breakfast with a protein shake and eat smaller, lower calorie portions for lunch and dinner, you will more than likely lose weight while continuing to remain healthy. There are meal plans alternatives and that allow you to consume the right amount of daily nutrients and vitamins that you need to consistently have in your diet. 

To get an idea of how to begin your new nutritional and exercise plan, use the fitness report card tool!