Meal Replacement Powders (also called MRP’s) are gaining popularity these days. These dietary supplements are infused with calculated amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients. MRP’s are nutritionally dense and come in several flavors. It’s important to sufficiently research any substance that before consuming it. But with the rampant amount of false information and myths doing the rounds on the internet, it can be quite a task to get to the underlying truths about meal replacement powders. This is where we come in to simplify your work. Here’s a list of things you need to know before you dive into the world of Meal Replacement Powders
Meal Replacement Powder Myths
It’s easy to find articles backed by poor quality studies that scare you away from using meal replacement powders. It’s vital to sieve through these myths. For people who are obese, meal replacement powders can help kick start weight loss when supplemented with dietary fiber. Of course, this works in a controlled atmosphere under the supervision of a dietician. Just using meal powders to substitute an otherwise unregulated meal would have no effects. The claim that meal replacement powders are ineffective and bad for you is just a poorly generalized statement and definitely a myth. When taken in a controlled manner under the right guidance, meal replacement powders play a vital role in bringing back your body into good health and shape.
Choosing the Right Product
One might assume that any of these meal replacement powders is better than unhealthy junk food. The truth is far from it. There are several powders, shakes and energy bars that are just glorified high calorie malt drinks, no better than a sugary soft drink or a candy bar. The overzealous branding and marketing doesn’t help our cause either. Make sure you carefully read the nutrition label on the product. If you see a horde of chemical sounding names, it’s not a good sign.
If weight loss is your goal, these guidelines should help you find a reliable meal replacement powder. A good meal replacement powder should have the following per serving: 200 to 300 calories, less than 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 10 to 15 grams of protein and 30-35% of the RDA for vitamins and minerals.
If your goal is body building and adding muscle mass, you will need a product with higher protein content. Consult your trainer or your dietician to figure out what mix of nutrients is best suited for your body type and purpose.
Only an Alternative, Not a Substitute
Keep in mind that all the scientific development in the world still has not created a meal replacement powder that can act as a total substitute to actual, regular meals. MRP’s are only alternatives to your daily diet, not a complete replacement. It is generally advisable to use them once a day, as an alternative to any one meal, either before or after your work out.
Difference between Protein Shakes and Meal Replacement Powders
It is important to distinguish between protein supplements and meal replacement shakes. Supplements add on to your daily meals and provide extra nutrients, mostly proteins, which help in muscle gain. Meal replacement powders can stand-in for a regular meal. It is a complete meal with balanced nutrition. The two are not interchangeable.
To conclude, meal replacement powders are compact, nutrient dense meals that are ideal for the on-the-go lifestyle. They save time and effort as opposed to cooking and consuming regular foods. But they cannot completely substitute every single meal and are to be used in moderation. They have to be chosen carefully to account for your customized needs and requirements.