Meal-replacement shakes are available in two main forms: as over-the-counter dietary supplements sold in retail stores and online and as medically prescribed formulas provided by a health care provider. These prepackaged versions may be easiest for a man who prefers not to tabulate calories and nutrients. Making your own meal-replacement shake is also an option depending on your health goals.
For most men, replacing one or two meals per day is a safe and effective way to drop weight, provided you've consulted your doctor about any possible complications. A meta-analysis published in the "International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders" in 2003 found that meal-replacement shakes are a valid method of promoting weight loss and improving health risk factors related to obesity when compared to the conventional method of cutting calories. You can purchase commercial meal-replacement shakes in most grocery and drug stores. In cases of extreme obesity, your doctor may place you on a very-low-calorie diet plan and provide you with meal-replacement shakes that total just about 800 calories per day -- well below the average 2,000 calories or more required to sustain the average man. These drastic diets should be followed for no more than 12 weeks and must be administered by a physician.
Breakfast or Other Meals
Running out the door without breakfast could be a mistake, especially for men. Men who skip breakfast may be at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes, reported a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2012. A meal-replacement shake involves no cooking and is certainly more portable than a bowl of cereal. It can also help you avoid a stop at a fast-food restaurant. If you have time, mix one up using fresh fruit, yogurt, spinach and almond butter in a blender. This combination provides you with protein to support tissue growth, healthy fats for heart health, antioxidants to bolster immunity and probiotics for healthy digestion. This shake could stand in at lunch or dinner too.
Meal-replacement shakes can also help a man who is underweight pack on a few extra pounds. Prepackaged or powdered weight-gain shakes are calorie- and protein-dense, providing you with a convenient way to fit in a fourth or fifth high-calorie meal for the day. If you have access to a blender at midday, whipping up your own meal-replacement shake may be preferable as you can control the ingredients and don't have to consume the excess sugar and supplements that often come in weight-gain products. Try blending whole milk, whey protein, peanut butter, a banana and flax meal for a high-calorie, nutritious meal replacement. The extra protein and carbohydrates supports workouts designed to lay down muscle, while the flax meal provides fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Consuming a meal in the 30 minutes after a workout is paramount to muscle recovery and growth. This meal should contain between 0.45 and 0.68 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of your body weight and between 10 and 20 grams of protein. A whole meal is ideal, but carrying around a slab of salmon and a sweet potato isn't always convenient. Prepackaged post-workout meal-replacement shakes offer up the nutrients, in the proper ratios, in a portable package. Making your own meal-replacement shake that you bring with you to the gym is another option; try blending a scoop of whey protein powder with a banana, water and ice. Not every man needs to conclude his workout with a meal-replacement shake. If you didn't really break a sweat, worked out for less than 90 minutes or failed to raise your heart rate significantly, you can probably wait until your next whole-foods meal to eat.
- International Journal of Obesity and Related Medical Disorders: Weight Management Using a Meal Replacement Strategy: Meta and Pooling Analysis From Six Studies
- Weight Information Network: Very-Low-Calorie Diets
- Department of Surgery, New York University Langone Medical Center: Diet Shakes and Meal Replacements: Can They Really Help You Lose Weight?
- American Cancer Society: Flaxseed
- American Council on Exercise: 7 Smart Post-Workout Snacks and How to Know When You Really Need One
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Eating Patterns and Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Men: Breakfast Omission, Eating Frequency, and Snacking