Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a meal substitute shake and a protein shake? When is the right time to have a meal replacement shake verses a protein shake? Does it make a difference to the body? Which one is more effective for weight loss? Which one is more effective for workout recovery? Is there a simple rule to follow?
If you’re like most people, you’re looking for a shake that is right for your own specific needs.
Think of a meal replacement shake as simply that – a convenient, on-the-go meal in a cup.
A good meal substitute shake contains a balanced ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fats between 200 to 400 calories and contains additional nutrients commonly found in regular foods such as vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. Most meal substitute shakes are designed to replace one or even two meals a day and can be used for nutrient dense, calorie-controlled weight loss or simply as an extra meal to do the opposite – increase weight.
A protein shake is a recovery beverage most often used as a post-workout meal to feed torn muscles. The only carbohydrates found in protein shakes are those you may add yourself (such as milk, fruit, yogurt, etc.) and typically contain little in the way of extra nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
Quite often, I will serve my children a meal substitute shake for breakfast because not only is it quick and convenient, it also feeds their growing brains and bodies.
Think of a meal substitute shake like high octane fuel for your car – the higher the quality, the better it runs. Your body works the same way.
Here are some differences between meal substitute shakes and a protein shakes:
Meal Substitute Shakes:
-Nutrient dense complete meal in a cup
-Contains a balanced ratio of protein, carbohydrates, fats and other nutrients
-Usually contains 200 to 400 calories
-Formulated to help you increase weight, lose weight, or maintain weight depending on how they are consumed
-Designed as a post-workout recovery drink or protein snack
-Provides high quality protein for the development and repair of muscle tissue
-Used as supplemental protein but contains little or no carbohydrates or additional nutrients
-A serving is usually less than 200 calories
No matter what you’ve heard, meal substitute shakes do not increase your metabolism or help you to lose fat or weight on their own. They are simply convenient meals in a cup that contain high amounts of nutrients.
When lower calories are consumed in your diet, the effect is weight loss. When higher calories are consumed, the effect is weight gain. And when stable amounts of calories are consumed, the effect is weight maintenance.
Meal substitute shakes can definitely find a place in today’s active lifestyle. Do your research and find the ones that are best for you!