How Much Weight I Can Lose on Meal Replacement Shakes?
If you have been looking for healthy meals to help you lose weigh, you have probably found articles recommending meal replacement shakes or have been bombarded with diet shake ads. In theory, they offer a complete package: tasty, convenient, and affordable. But you might be wondering, “How much weight I can lose on meal replacement shakes?”
Furthermore, are meal replacement shakes an effective lose to help you lose weight? That’s the question that I am going to answer today.
The short answer is yes, the right meal shake will be a great tool to shed the extra pounds from your body and help you achieve the ideal physique. However, the wrong diet shake might also lead to undesired weight gain.
Let’s find out how!
How to Lose Weight: Basics
The basics for weight loss are straight forward: consume less calories than you need. Otherwise known as CICO (calories in, calories out).
Your food consumption will be the way you get your calories in.
Your daily exercise, and basal metabolic rate (how much energy your body needs to survive) will be the way to expend those calories.
In order to calculate how many calories you need, I recommend checking online BMR calculators that will provide you accurate estimations depending your weight, age, and gender.
Similarly, it’s important to track the calories you consume with an app like MyFitnessPal.
Here is a deeper dive into how to lose weight.
How Much Weight Can You Lose on Meal Replacement Shakes?
Several studies have proven the efficacy of meal replacement shakes to lose weight.
In a 40 week trial with 90 obese adults, a CICO program with meal replacement shakes was proven to help with initial weight loss and even improved health parameters like inflammation and oxidative stress – which are linked to chronic diseases.
Similarly, a 3-month study showed greater weight loss in participants consuming meal replacement shakes than those who just followed a low-calorie diet. The study concluded in the following manner:
[…]these types of interventions can safely and effectively produce significant sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors of diseaseSB Heymsfield, et al. 2003
In a more recent meta analysis, the researchers found that diet plans with meal replacement shakes (over 60% of the dietary intake) had the greatest effect on weight loss.
All of this is to prove that meal replacement shakes can be incredibly effective to promote weight loss.
How Much Weight Can You Lose on Meal Replacement Shakes in One Week?
But how effective are they and how much weight can you lose on one week?
As a disclaimer, it’s worth noting that short term diets tend to create a yo-yo effect and are generally ill advised. Similarly, weight loss in such short term is mostly water weight loss.
If we take the first study, the participants lost on average 0.88kg or 1.94lb per week during 16 weeks for a total of 14kg or 30lb!
With a more aggressive calorie deficit you could lose about 2kg (4lb) in your first week, but your weight loss will be slowed down.
My Experience – Losing 6kg (13lb) in 4 Weeks
After a month of gluttony during December of 2022, I gained 8kg. My jeans didn’t fit me anymore, and not even the loose black t-shirts could hide my belly. Thus, in January I decided to cut aggressively and with the help of weight loss meal replacement shakes I was able to lose 6kg in 4 weeks.
My strategy was quite aggressive, and I had 3 shakes of 250kcals per day (breakfast, lunch and around the workout). I used Diet Meal Replacement Extreme, which is a shake high in protein and high in fiber that helped me stay full for over 3h.
This allowed me to have a generous meal for dinner (around 800kcals) while I aimed for a deficit of 700-800kcal.
Note: make sure that you keep track of all the macros, including the sauces or the milk you might consume with your coffee!
Meal Replacement Shakes and Weight Loss
There are many reasons why meal replacement shakes are extremely effective at helping you with weight loss, but here are the most important factors.
The ability to prepare a meal at any point that only needs water is the pinnacle of convenience. You don’t need any microwave, stove, or pans. You just add the powder to the shaker and you are ready within a minute.
This, paired with the fact that the calories are counted for you, it is incredibly helpful to relieve any mental stress that a diet can cause.
High in Protein and Fiber – Very Filling
Weight loss meal replacement shakes are optimized to make you full for the longest time possible, without providing you with unnecessary calories. For that, they tend to include a lot of fiber and protein, the two most filling macronutrients.
On top of that, high protein diets can lead to an increased weight loss due to the thermogenic effect of protein.
Easy to Eat on the Go
Another great benefit of meal shakes is that you can consume them anywhere. At work, during the commute, while visiting friends, or in the gym, you will always have the meal that’s best for you handy.
This prevents you from snacking and eating unhealthy food that we often consume in these occasions.
In a week, you can lose from 2lb to 4lb depending on your calorie deficit.
Personally, I was able to lose 6kg or 14lb in 4 weeks. However, this number can vary depending the person and their caloric deficit.
Yes, they have been backed by scientific studies and most brands undergo strict testing for their products.
Recommended Brands for Weight Loss
Ultimately, a lot of the success will come down on which brand or meal replacement shake you choose. Unfortunately, there are a lot of popular diet shakes that claim miraculous results that fail to deliver. In fact, these are often the worst options.
I have personally collected a list with the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss, but here are three good options.
Diet Meal Replacement Extreme
This meal replacement shake from Protein Works has been my go to choice whenever I had to lose weight. The main reasons for that are:
- Low in calories, 216kcal per meal
- Keeps me full for 3h+
- Has 16 different flavors to choose from – I love Digestive Biscuit
- Rich in protein and fiber
- Worked for me
The few times I had to lose some belly fat, Diet Meal Replacement was there for me. I particularly love how delicious these shakes are, quite thick in texture and filling. I don’t feel bloated and doesn’t give me any digestion issues, which means that I can keep working without any problem.
Lyfefuel Daily Essentials
I think that this is probably a better option for women, or for people who are looking for a more natural meal replacement shake. Lyfefuel uses only real food ingredients to deliver all your essential nutrients, and doesn’t have any artificial additives, gluten, soy or other nasty ingredients.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Only real food ingredients
- More rich in vitamins and minerals, which you might be lacking during a diet
- Keeps you more energized and improves digestion
- Lower in calories, better for women
- No artificial sweeteners
Unfortunately, it’s also the more expensive option, albeit a healthier one.
Instant Knockout Complete
These is my choice for athletes or people who do tons of sport. It was designed in conjunction with MMA athletes to optimize weight loss and prevent muscle loss. My main issue is that it only comes in Vanilla, and while lovely, it can get boring if you are looking to do a prolonged diet.
On the other hand, I would avoid popular brands like Herbalife, Slim Fast, Shakeology or Atkins. From having tested all of them, I found that they were overly artificial in taste, they had subpar ingredients, and they often lacked omega-3, an essential fatty acid we don’t consume enough of.
Conclusion – How Much Weight Can You Lose with Meal Replacement Shakes?
At the end of the day, how much weight can you lose with meal shakes will depend on how long you can keep the caloric deficit.
As shown above, there’s scientific evidence that proves meal replacement shakes can be more efficient than just low-calorie diets at helping you lose weight. This is partially because they are more satiating than normal meals, and adherence is higher.
Furthermore, meal replacement shakes can also improve your health reducing inflammation and free radicals. The nutrient rich nature of shakes helps your body replenish during calorie starvation.