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Choosing The Best Meal Replacement Shakes

Protein Types
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5 Things To Look For When Choosing The Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Men

The internet is a minefield when it comes to researching anything health and fitness related, with a myriad of brands and their marketing staff laying claim to what’s best, what works quickest, and what the next ‘big thing’ in supplements will be. In order to make as informed a purchase as possible before you decide upon and start consuming a meal replacement shake, there are five key things to look for in ensuring you’re getting all the essentials your body needs without any unintended ingredient or side effects being induced. Here’s our guide to exactly what you need to look into the best meal replacement shakes.

The Best Meal Replacement Shakes
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1 Stay Smart To Ambiguous Marketing Claims

It’s important to note that not all meal replacement shakes will have the same effects – as some designed for those looking to lose weight, some are to act as convenience food, and some are more well-rounded in terms of a complete nutrition substitution. Many, you may notice, are primarily targeted at women, so expect lots of pink packaging and Instagram-ready flatly promotional photos! Don’t be fooled, though looking beneath the surface at what lies within, ensuring your getting the expected results.

Everyone online has a product to sell, and marketers know that they must differentiate their product and messaging from their competitors. This leads to them seeking out a USP – Unique Selling Point – to make their meal replacement shake stand out from the crowd. In order to do this, their product must do or be something different from those offered by their competitors.

This leads to lots of different marketing claims being made, some of which cannot be backed up by evidence. Depending on where the brand is based, they may be allowed to lay claim to words or properties that they wouldn’t be able to elsewhere.

Keep an eye out for words such as ‘natural’ rather than ‘organic’ – as the latter has a legally-binding definition set by the UK Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), but the former does not. Stay aware of descriptive terms such as ‘best’ or ‘premier’ or ‘leading’ too; the source of such claims are often tiny focus groups, or completely unsubstantiated entirely!

2 Know Your Protein Types

While meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are different products; a meal replacement shake will contain at least one type of protein within it. There are lots of different types of protein: the most common of which are whey and casein, followed by plant-based options. The majority of information found online on protein strains is created by brands selling protein products – so it can be tricky to tell the genuine products from those inflated by marketers. Check the sources of such information: a lot of what can be found online is extremely biased.

In third party and independent clinical trials, evidence has favored non-traditional and plant-based vegan proteins heavily over traditional strains. The latest studies have proven rice protein powder to be competitively comparable to whey, and that pea protein is able to promote enhanced muscle growth and to increase heart health in the body – all evidenced in independent medical and clinical testing.

3 But Don’t Rely Upon Them Entirely

Protein Types
Photo by LYFE Fuel on Unsplash

It’s important not to focus your research efforts just onto the protein type included in a meal replacement shake, as there should be a lot more in a shake blend than just protein. A properly constructed meal replacement shake should contain a nutritionally-balanced ingredient profile that is able to effectively replace all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.  These supplements are what that the body needs to consume from a full meal.

The best producers of meal replacement shakes will include a full breakdown of the product’s nutritional profile and will have involved professional nutritionists and/or dieticians in their production process. If such information isn’t presented upfront, don’t be afraid to ask for it; be mindful that it may be hidden on purpose.

4 Consider Allergens and Additives

If you spot anything on the ingredients list that you don’t understand or recognize right away, chances are its artificial. This is extremely common in the formulation of meal replacement shakes, as it is easier, quicker, and cheaper for ingredients to be synthetically created and included than it is to source them from natural-occurring sources.

Man-made ingredients may lead to health issues in individuals if consumed repeatedly, and so should not be included in meal replacement shakes that are intended for frequent consumption: as they may build up unsafe carcinogens in the body. Although synthetic compounds are designed for easy digestion, this may not always be the case, and independent studies have found that optimal vitamin absorption is achieved through natural consumption.

It’s a common misconception that those with dietary requirements or allergies would be better to revert to meal replacement shakes, including artificial ingredients, in order to avoid the consumption of allergens. However, there are ‘clean’ meal replacement shakes available that are allergen and artificial ingredient free – so do the research required and track them down to ensure good gut health.

5 Investigate Claim Sources

When you read up on meal replacement shakes, be sure to click through to any links given and fact check what it is you’re being told. This article is a great example – we link to high quality and government-sanctioned research bodies who are able to present scientific evidence that backs-up some of the claims made by meal replacement shake producers (or indeed, the opposite of such claims, as the case may be if you’re reading something not quite kosher!). Ensure that whatever you’re reading comes from an unbiased and accurate source. If the URL features the company’s name or their product is mentioned a lot, it is likely their own website and/or research, and so may not be verifiable.

The key to finding the right meal replacement shake for you is all in the research. Making an informed purchase decision isn’t just wise – it’s the healthiest thing to do. Ignore the pink fluffy marketing and choose a blend based on your individual health and fitness requirements. Your body will thank you for it!