Meal replacements for weight loss. Obesity is a severe problem, affecting up to a third of the adult population of developed countries. In most cases, overweight is a consequence of a sedentary urban lifestyle, combined with overeating. High material affluence frees a person from the need for heavy physical labor and provides an excess of food.
You can lose weight by creating an additional physical activity for yourself or by reducing the caloric content of food consumed. Programs to reduce caloric intake (weight loss diets) began to be actively developed from the middle of the 20th century, but reducing the amount of food consumed requires excellent will power. Therefore, simple fasting is often not effective. In addition, illiterate reduction of the diet adversely affects health – there is a shortage of essential substances and vitamins. (1, 2, 3)
A practical solution to the problem of overweight is the method of meal replacements for weight loss (food substitutes) – the consumption of the finished food product, such as a bar, with limited calorie content, but increased saturation. Meal replacements for weight loss are used instead of one of the meals or snack. Increased saturability of such a product leads to the fact that with the subsequent “normal” food intake a person will have less appetite and he will learn fewer calories.
Initially, the idea of meal replacements for weight loss was not considered as a means for losing weight – the scientists were tasked with providing people with the necessary calories and nutrients in conditions when regular food intake was impossible. For example, in expeditions and military campaigns. The real boom meal replacements for weight loss survived in the 60s with the first flights into space, at the same time all modern forms of meal replacements for weight loss appeared. (1, 2, 3)
Already later, in the 70s, meal replacements for weight loss became widespread. Particularly popular products of the company Herbalife International. However, due to some errors in the formulation, characteristic of that time, the product had several side effects. Since then, the form meal replacements for weight loss – a food bar or a mixture for cultivation – has remained unchanged, but specific requirements have been made to the composition: it must satisfy all nutrient requirements and contribute to the speedy saturation.
To meet the nutritional needs of the meal replacements for weight loss should include vitamins: first of all those that are most rapidly consumed during fasting. These include ascorbic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, and nicotinic acid. It is also useful to include pyridoxine and pantothenic acid. Furthermore, dietary fiber is of particular importance. (1, 2, 3)
Their number in the modern diet and so small, and when fasting drops to an unacceptable level. Even though dietary fiber is practically not absorbed by our body, they are required for the normal functioning of the intestine. When eating refined food motility of the colon is broken, which leads to problems with digestion and constipation, therefore at each meal or meal replacement should eat at least 2-4 grams of dietary fiber.
Another important aspect is the protein content. Protein is a complex product. It consists of various amino acids, including 8 essential: valine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan and phenylalanine; Arginine and histidine are also indispensable for children. Their daily intake is mandatory.
To ensure optimal amino acid composition, proteins designed explicitly for feeding, casein and whey proteins, are introduced into meal replacements for weight loss. It is these proteins that completely cover all the amino acid needs of growing children. Additionally, soy proteins can be added, slightly different in composition from dairy. Fats are also an important component. As a rule, dietary fats in humans are associated with the underlying cause of obesity, but this is not entirely true. (1, 2, 3)
At the end of the 20th century, it was proved that the main accumulation of excess adipose tissue does not occur as a result of the deposition of fat intake, but by secondary liponeogenesis — the process of synthesizing own fat from the eaten carbohydrates. Fats are necessary for our body, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids, combined under the name of vitamin F, are valuable. Many meal replacements for weight loss contain essential trace elements: calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and iodine.
The second essential requirement for the composition is high saturability. Meal replacements for weight loss should contain components that, with a similar caloric content, lead to earlier saturation. The feeling of satiety is formed due to several factors. One of them is the mechanical filling of the stomach. Regardless of the calories received a full stomach signals the need to stop eating, which leads to loss of appetite, and in case of overeating, mild nausea and heaviness. (1, 2, 3)
This principle can be used if you include in the composition of products with low-calorie content, but large volume. Swollen polysaccharides, such as pectin or polysaccharides of cereal grains, have the most significant effect. The latter has a very positive impact on digestion.
Cereals and wholemeal products are especially rich in them. In addition to the degree of fullness of the stomach, signaling molecules — some amino acids and glucose — affect appetite. When their amount in the blood increases, a person has a feeling of satiety, satisfaction, and relaxation.
In the 70s, scientists almost wholly relied on glucose for studying the effect of meal replacements for weight loss. It “interrupts” the appetite and contributes to the onset of premature satiety. This is well known to parents who do not allow children to eat sweets before eating. Amino acids, unlike glucose, do not lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar levels and are not converted to fats. Therefore, proteins are a central, highly efficient component of meal replacements. (1, 2, 3)
The practical effectiveness of proteins in weight loss has been proven in a series of experiments conducted over the past 20 years. It turned out that if a person at dinner consumes 450 kcal in the form of meal replacement, which contains 75% protein, then due to increased satiety at dinner, patients consume 30% fewer calories than after dinner without protein.
In this case, patients for dinner no one limits the food. If, at lunch, a similar meal replacement with 37% protein is eaten, then at dinner, patients consume 20% fewer calories than after a protein-free lunch. Increased saturability of proteins lasts a long time – up to 3 hours. (1, 2, 3)
However, we should not assume that proteins are a panacea for obesity. Firstly, an excess of proteins in food negatively affects digestion: meteorism and intestinal disorders develop. Also, prolonged excess protein can overload the liver and contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, the optimal protein content in meal replacements for weight loss is not 75% (which would lead to rapid weight loss), but about 25-30%.
As a result, modern meal replacements for weight loss has the following composition: one bar should contain about 200-250 kcal to replace 400-600 kcal of ordinary food. The protein content in meal replacement should be higher relative to a healthy diet and be at least 10% of the total calories. The average dry weight composition of meal replacements for weight loss: 55% carbohydrates, 15% fats, 25% proteins, a few grams of dietary fiber (3-5 g), vitamins and trace elements. (1, 2, 3)
What is the actual effectiveness of meal replacements for weight loss?
According to the results of more than 20 studies for the year, you can lose about 8% of weight, even without special exercises and lifestyle changes. This is 4-6 pounds more than with strict adherence to a diet of similar caloric content (which not everyone is capable of). The first stable results with the use of the meal replacements for weight loss system are achieved in 12 weeks, with full meal replacement (that is, with the substitution of all meals in a day) – 4 weeks. If a person is ready to be more attentive to his lifestyle, exercise and normalize sleep, then it is entirely possible to double the results.
It should be remembered that the phenomenal promises of many programs for losing weight, promising deliverance from tens of pounds, are unfounded. Based on the experience of evidence-based medicine, you can not promise to reduce weight in more than 10% with the help of changes in nutrition alone. Unless, of course, we are not talking about dangerous, exhausting fasting, which is not recommended to anyone. (1, 2, 3)
Thus, meal replacements for weight loss is a modern, convenient way to lose weight by optimizing nutrition. It is based on reducing the calorie intake of food. But, unlike conventional corrective diets, it has 2 benefits. The first is the optimal composition that ensures the fastest possible saturation and replenishment of nutrients. The second is a convenient form (bar), fixing the amount of food consumed. (1, 2, 3)
It is more difficult for a person to break the diet and eat more. Besides, with meal replacements for weight loss, a person has the opportunity to eat their favorite foods during regular meals, because their composition is not regulated. Of course, one should not overeat or eat a lot of easily digestible carbohydrates (potatoes, flour dishes, desserts), but otherwise, you can eat anything. meal replacement will not let you eat too much. Meal replacements for weight loss can be safely recommended to anyone who wants to lose those extra pounds without a radical change in lifestyle.