- Do meal replacement powders and shakes help? Meal replacement shakes -- ready-to-drink or made from a powder, have been shown to help people on diets lose more weight, improve blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes, and boost protein intake to increase muscle mass. It can also offer a more healthful alternative to snack foods when you are unable to have a regular meal. In particular, meal replacements offer protein in a convenient form, along with carbohydrates (and often fiber) as well as fats. The products, however, are not meant to replace all of your meals and consumption of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. (See "What It Does").
- What's in meal replacement shakes? Most products provide about 10 to 20 grams of protein (from a variety of sources) per serving but vary widely in the amounts and types of carbohydrates and fats they include. They may also have a range of vitamins, minerals, and botanical ingredients. Serving sizes also range widely, from about 25 to 60 grams providing about 90 to 400 Calories. (See "Comparison Chart").
- Which meal replacement powders and shakes are best? ConsumerLab.com found that 4 of the 11 meal replacement products it selected and tested were not accurately labeled and/or had an unacceptable contamination (See "What CL Found"). Among those which were Approved based on their quality, CL then compared the products on features such as protein, energy, fiber and cost and made its Top Picks. You can compare specifics of the products using the Results Table.
- How to use meal replacement shakes? Products sold as powders are typically mixed with water or other liquids, but be aware of what you are adding (calories, carbs, etc.). (See ConsumerTips™).
- Cautions with meal replacement shakes: Do not substitute a meal replacement product for all of your meals or be fooled into thinking that you can skip eating whole foods. In addition, be aware that you may need to increase your fluid and calcium intake if you are increasing your protein intake. (See Concerns and Cautions).
Meal Replacement & Weight Management Powders and Shakes Review
Find the Best Meal Replacement and Weight Management Products.
Only 64% of Meal Powders & Shakes Pass ConsumerLab.com's Tests of Quality
Meal replacement and weight management powders and beverages compared in this review
Atkins Day Break - Strawberry Banana Shake
FitMiss Delight Chocolate Delight
Garden of Life RAW Organic Meal Vanilla
Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal French Vanilla
IsAgenix IsaLean Shake Natural Berry Harvest
Jarrow Formulas The Slim Whey Green Tea
Metagenics UltraMeal Rice Vanilla
Naturade Total Soy Chocolate
Nature's Plus Spiru-Tein Powder Vanilla Soy
SlimFast Advanced Nutrition Creamy Chocolate
Special K Protein Vanilla Cappuccino
Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake French Vanilla
- Which powders and shakes failed testing and which passed, earning top quality ratings -- and why
- ConsumerLab.com's Top Picks
- Head-to-head comparisons of the protein, fats, and carbohydrates (including sugar and fiber) in all meal replacement products reviewed and rated
- Nutritional intake recommendations
- Clinical evidence regarding the use of meal replacements for weight loss, blood sugar control, and muscle gain
- Concerns and cautions with using meal replacement products
Also see ConsumerLab.com's Protein Powders & Shakes Review.
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