Are Meal Replacement Shakes Really Heathy?

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2022)

Meal replacement shakes have become increasingly popular as a weight loss tool. But are they really healthy? There’s no easy answer since the healthiness of meal replacement shakes depends on the ingredients used.

In general, though, they can be an excellent way to lose weight or to supplement your diet if you’re not getting enough nutrients from food. But it’s important to read the labels and to choose brands that are low in sugar and calories. And always consult with your doctor before starting any new diet plan.

are meal replacement shakes healthy

Don’t Live on Meal Replacement Shakes Alone

Meal replacement shakes are not the same as meals and should be considered “next best thing.”

Meal substitutes may help with weight loss by providing quick, easy calories that taste good- but they’re far from perfect 1:1 replacements for healthy food.

You don’t have time for a balanced, healthy meal? Most people say they never eat one. But suppose you’re someone who thrives on processed junk and fast food instead of nutritious foods like vegetables or fruits. In that case, it might be worth considering using alternative ingredients in your recipes so that the end result is still tasty without being as bad for us.

The invention of protein powder has given people all sorts of options for their diets. Some choose traditional whole foods such as beef or chicken. Still, others may be looking for something more convenient, like a shake made with pre-mixed ingredients that can easily replace milk in recipes. No need to cook dinner!


Can You Get Your Vitamins and Minerals from Meal Replacement Shakes?

The truth is, the best way for people to stay healthy isn’t always as clear-cut. While it may seem like getting your vitamins and minerals from whole  foods will do you more good than taking them artificially (and who wouldn’t want that!), there are some benefits in both approaches – so what’s really ideal? The answer lies somewhere between those two extremes. Getting an artificial boost through supplements can be beneficial if we don’t get enough natural sources or foods containing these nutrients.

While it’s important to have a good balance of nutrients in your diet, even if you are eating something as balanced and healthy as steak with broccoli, there won’t be much variety when compared against the standard American Diet.

A meal replacement shake will typically contain about two dozen vitamins or minerals, providing more food-based sources plus additional vegetarian options on top of what we get from meals alone_. Even though this sounds excellent, our goal should still remain to achieve wellness through nutrition rather than just dietary inspiration.

But some nutrients aren’t typically found in meal replacement shakes.

“You can get some nutrients that are lacking in your diet from meal replacement shakes, but you’ll also do well by taking a multivitamin.” -Natalie Rizzo RD.

The best meal replacement shakes are a convenient and easy way to get your body’s nutrients. They’re also low in calories and can help you lose weight. But it’s important to choose brands that are low in sugar and calories and consult with your doctor before starting any new diet plan.


Meal Replacements Can Help With Weight Loss

Weight loss all comes down to calorie consumption. Consume too many calories and gain weight, cut calories, and lose weight. Liquid meal replacements have a set number of calories to know exactly how many calories you are getting with a given meal; calculating how many calories are in your steak, broccoli, and brown rice is more imprecise.

If you’re looking for a way to shed those extra pounds, meal replacement shakes might be the answer. A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorder found that these shakes are safe and effective at helping people lose weight while improving their health.

“I tend to fall under the “you can get all the nutrients you need from a well-balanced diet” umbrella,” says Rizzo. “Sure, you can use them for a few weeks to replace your meals and help with weight loss, but unless you choose to use them forever, those results may be reversed when you go back to your normal eating habits.”

Suppose you’re adding meal replacement shakes to your diet. In that case, it pays to balance them with healthy meals and education about what makes a nutritious versus an unhealthy choice. After all – no supplement should be seen as the answer for everything.

We all know that if you’re looking to lose weight, the best way is by eating less and exercising more. But what many people don’t realize though as necessary – especially those who have difficulty sticking with their diets- are meal replacement shakes!

Drinking meal replacement shakes can be an excellent tool in your dieting arsenal because they will help make sure we get enough vitamins & minerals, but studies show us these products improve several biomarkers that lead to healthier living overall.


Related: Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss, On a Budget, Muscle Building and More…


Some meal replacements use junky vitamins

You can’t just take a mineral and expect it to be absorbed. For example, there are many forms of magnesium with different absorption rates depending on their chemical makeup, the cheapest form being Magnesium Oxide which also has poor bioavailability (the ability for nutrients like minerals or vitamins A & C). Just because your meal replacement shake has magnesium in it doesn’t mean your body will absorb much of it.

Bottom line…

Avoid cheap meal replacement shakes if you want them to use decent vitamins that your body can absorb.


Can a Meal Replacement Shake have too much nutrition?

You might think there is no such thing as something being too nutritious but it can happen. For example, some superfood drinks can contain up to 1000 milligrams of calcium, the problem is the National Institutes of Health says we can about 500 milligrams at once. This is why it might not always be the best idea to rely on one meal to deliver all your vitamins and minerals.

Generally, though, people don’t have to worry about eating food or too nutritious shakes as long as you keep them in moderation.



Meal replacement shakes can be a convenient and easy way to get your body’s nutrients, but it’s important to choose brands that are low in sugar and have fewer calories. They’re also low in calories and can help you lose weight, but consult with your doctor before starting any new diet plan. Meal replacements can help with weight loss by providing a set number of calories and helping you make healthier choices, but they shouldn’t be used as a crutch. Be sure to balance your meal replacement shakes with healthy meals and snacks, and get regular exercise for the best results.

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