Advantages & Disadvantages of Meal Replacement Diets
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Advantages & Disadvantages of Meal Replacement Diets

Many people enjoy the ease of using diet shakes and bars to replace one or two meals a day. Variations of this diet include substituting foods like frozen low-calorie meals or a fixed sandwich or cereal for a couple of meals every day.

Many people enjoy the ease of using diet shakes and bars to replace one or two meals a day. Variations of this diet include substituting foods like frozen low-calorie meals or a fixed sandwich or cereal for a couple of meals every day. Replacing meals with shakes or specific foods eliminates the stress of meal planning and helps people keep calories under control.

Meal replacement bars have appeared on the market as alternatives to meal replacement shakes. These include SlimFast and Pounds-Off bars. Like meal replacement shakes, these bars contain about 200 kcal apiece, and are supplemented with certain micronutrients. However, some of these bars are sold individually with little or no dietary advice or instruc¬tions. Their labels may state that the bars should replace breakfast and lunch, and that a normal dinner should be consumed. Providing the dieter with little guidance, this approach can be either hazardous or useless. If the dieter were to consume one of these bars in place of breakfast and lunch for a total of about 420 kcal, then he or she would be ravenous by dinnertime. If the dieter were to succumb to the natural feelings of hunger, it is possible that a dinner of excess calories would be consumed, defeating the purpose of the diet.

A main advantage to meal replacement diets is that they are fixed—in content, in calories, and in amount. They help some people regain control over eating. And contrary to popular belief, variety is not always the spice of life. In fact, studies show that the greater variety of foods a person is exposed to, the more likely they will be to overeat this is why buffets and food bars arc such a disaster for dieters

A disadvantage to over-reliance on meal replacements or rigid menus with no variety is that it could lead to nutritional deficiencies—or even excess—over time. Some of the bars and shakes that arc available today are high in artificial ingredients and sugar and arc more like glorified candy bars or milkshakes than meals. Other products contain excessive amounts of added vitamins, minerals, and herbal ingredients that could actually be harmful if eaten too often A potential pitfall of eating the same food every day is exposure to unknown harmful constituents. For instance, a person who cats a certain kind of fish every day might unknowingly expose themselves to high levels of mercury or other environmental contaminants.

The take-home message from this diet is that relying on a very fixed, very repetitive meal for part of your total nutrition intake may help you gain better control of your overall eating habits I laving just one or two standard, carefully selected breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that you enjoy for your basic diet can be helpful. However, it's smart to rotate in new foods periodically to assure dietary balance and limit exposure to unknown harmful substances. If you want to use meal replacement shakes or bars, check with your dietitian to see how these products can safely fit into your eating plan

 

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