The shake diet plan is a meal replacement system in which you substitute a protein shake for one or two meals per day in order to lose weight. A variety of commercial products are available. Although this type of diet can lead to weight loss, protein shakes are not a magical solution for weight issues, cautions Mayo Clinic nutritionist and licensed dietitian Katherine Zeratsky.
On a shake diet plan, you generally replace breakfast and lunch with a protein shake, and then eat a healthy 600-calorie dinner. The shake typically is a powdered formula fortified with vitamins and minerals as well as protein, to be mixed with skim milk. Most of these plans allow two or three 100-calorie snacks per day and recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water or low-calorie beverages, according to Weight Loss Resources.
Because replacing meals with protein shakes tends to decrease daily calorie intake, this diet can lead to weight loss. Creating a full diet plan instead of simply replacing some meals with shakes can make the diet more successful, notes Health Services at Columbia. One diet shake company, for instance, provides a plan involving a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch along with 200 calories of other foods, and a dinner with reasonable-sized portions of vegetables, lean protein and starch. Healthy snacks such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products also are acceptable.
Meal replacement shakes are convenient and allow you to avoid planning food choices and counting calories for one or two meals each day. Some commercial products include information on healthy lifestyles, such as guidelines for changing eating habits and becoming more physically active, according to Weight Loss Resources.
Certain problems are associated with a shake diet plan. Many users of diet shakes report continuous hunger, according to the Colorado State University Extension. Flavors are limited and the diet can become boring. Relying on diet shakes for meals means missing nutritional benefits of whole foods. In addition, it's easy to put weight back on after discontinuing the diet, because you don't learn how to eat in a healthy way.
Meal replacements are effective for weight loss on a short-term basis, according to Weight Loss Resources. A health professional can guide the dieter toward new healthy eating habits rather than a return to the previous routine. Zeratsky reminds dieters that losing weight results from burning more calories than are consumed. Eat healthy foods, including lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and be physically active every day, she suggests.