How many Meal Replacement Shakes Should I Have in a Day?
If you know someone who’s drinking meal replacement shakes successfully for weight loss, you might be wondering how this type of dietary program works… and how you can get started as well, right away. It all begins with finding the best diet shake for you (which we’ll discuss in this article).
But another common question regarding diet shakes that gets asked is “How many meal replacement shakes should I have a day?” The answer to this question will differ greatly based upon your individual metrics and goals, however, there are some common ground rules that apply to everyone.
Read on to learn more about the best way to use meal replacement shakes for weight loss…
First: What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are created to be substitutes for nutritious, wholesome meals. Especially for people who are always on-the-go, or who have extra busy schedules, these diet shakes are a way to get well-rounded, balanced meals without spending time planning and meal-prepping.
Therefore, they’re a great option for anyone who’s trying to live a healthier lifestyle (by replacing unhealthy, high-calorie meals), or get more essential nutrients in their diets. They’re also, (as you may already know), a great option for those who’re trying to lose weight.
This is because they’re often low in calories, with little to no sugar, while being high in protein and fiber. In addition, many contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, digestive enzymes and even probiotics for gut and overall health benefits.
How Many Meal Replacement Shakes Should I Have A Day?
Getting down to the main question, “How many meal replacement shakes per day?” this honestly is very dependent upon your personal goals. We’re going to outline three major goals for most people using diet shake meal replacements, below, so you can see where you fall on the spectrum.
1) Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
If weight loss is your goal, then the recommendation is to replace two regular meals per day with meal replacements (in this case shakes). In one study of 100 obese patients, half the participants were put on a diet using conventional foods, and the other half replaced two out of three meals with meal replacements.
At the 3-month mark, the group that ate conventional foods lost only 1.5% of their initial body weight, whereas the meal replacement group lost a whopping 7.8% of their body weight!
2) Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Maintenance
If you’ve reached your weight goal, and instead you want to maintain your new, healthy weight, then it’s recommended to replace one meal per day with a meal replacement shake. In the same study discussed above, both groups were then monitored for 4 years – following a 1,200 – 1,500 calorie eating plan and replacing one meal per day with a meal replacement option (and one snack with a bar) each day.
At the 4-year mark, the group that had initially used two meal replacements per day had lost much more total than the other group. While the conventional foods group only lost 3.2% of their initial body weight, the meal replacement group lost 8.4%!
This proves that meal replacement diet shakes are absolutely effective both to lose weight, and to maintain that weight for the long-term. The key is to begin with replacing two meals with shakes per day, and then to continue using one shake in place of a meal per day as part of an overall healthy lifestyle plan.
3) Meal Replacement Shakes for More Daily Nutrients
Another reason that many people start drinking meal replacement shakes is simply because they’re busy, and want to live a healthier lifestyle! Typically, “fast” foods are unhealthy, and many people do not have the time to prep healthy, fresh foods every week.
Although making the switch to a healthier diet should be the overarching goal, drinking a meal replacement shake in place of at least one meal every day can definitely help you be healthier, in general. Just make sure that you pick a meal replacement protein powder that supports your long-term wellness – with 15-20g of high-quality (preferably plant-based) protein, 5-10g of fiber, a vitamin/mineral blend (around 20 added nutrients), superfoods, and probiotics.
In addition, the shake should have no sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemical-based ingredients, or soy protein isolate (which is a highly-controversial protein with potential negative health effects). If you need some help in your selection, we recommend our top-rated meal replacement shake right now, 310 Shake, since it meets all of the qualifications for an amazing shake. In addition, you can also check out more shake reviews or compare shakes side-by-side on this site.
Additional Tips for Success With Meal Replacement Shakes
When you find the best meal replacement shake for you, (and you know how many meal replacement shakes to have per day), there are still some measures you should take to make sure you meet your health goals, outlined below…
1) Track Your Calories
Although meal replacement shakes are an amazing product to help you lose weight, maintain your weight, and keep you healthy in general, they can be unhealthy if you don’t use them correctly. For instance, some people turn them into “unhealthy smoothies” based on the additional calories and ingredients they put into them.
For weight loss, you should use a calorie calculator to find out how many calories you should eat daily (based on your age, weight, height, gender, current activity level, and weight loss goals). Then, you can easily split that up to see how many calories you’re allotted per meal.
When you add ingredients into your meal replacement shake recipes, make sure you don’t go over your calorie goal for that meal. In addition, choose a meal replacement shake powder that is around 100 calories per shake serving, so you already have a nice low calorie base, and can build from there as needed.
2) Add in Exercise
Although you can still lose weight with meal replacement shakes if you don’t work out, you will get faster results if you add physical activity into your life. In addition, exercise is simply part of a healthy lifestyle in general, with proven health benefits. Plus, it can help increase your overall well-being and vitality.
It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you stay active. You can visit a gym, or use simple at-home workout equipment. Or you can pick a favorite outdoor activity like running, biking, swimming, or hiking.
3) Supplement Wisely
Finally, there are also supplements you can take that support your overall health and can help safeguard your success. Natural appetite-suppressing or metabolism-boosting supplements are great for helping to speed up fat loss and burn more calories.
Or, more simple dietary supplements such as a daily multivitamin, probiotic, or digestive enzymes can help you avoid nutrient deficiencies and improve digestive health – both vital for your weight goals. Finally, great shake add-in “supplements” include MCT Oil and green juice powders.
MCT Oil (which comes from coconut oil), is a special type of fat that gets absorbed immediately into your body, therefore can speed up your metabolism, give instant energy, and increase mental focus. In addition, a green juice powder can easily be added into your shakes, providing a ton of extra nutrients and superfoods, without added sugar or extra calories.
We hope this article helps clarify your questions on how to use meal replacement diet shakes successfully. To find the best meal replacement shake powder for you, check out our in-depth diet shake reviews here!