Substitute Meals

What are?

Meal replacements are food supplements (usually in the form of soluble powder) that are created "in an attempt" to replace a daily MAIN meal based on solid foods. Meal replacements:

  • They limit the energy intake (deriving from lipids and carbohydrates)
  • They guarantee the nutritional intake of vitamins and mineral salts
  • They have all the advantages of a highly storable and quickly prepared product.

Meal replacements are indicated (from their producers!) in weight loss as, if inserted within a specific context, they contribute to the reduction of daily caloric intake by facilitating the catabolism of excess adipose tissue.
There are two requirements for weight loss by consuming replacement meals:

  • Replacement of one of the two main meals (lunch or dinner) and not snacks or breakfast
  • Structuring of a MODERATE power supply (???).

How do they work?

Meal replacements make use of satiating ingredients or fillers that increase gastric volume, deluding the consumer on the actual amount of the supplement taken; these ingredients are:

  • Mucilage e
  • Dietary fibers of various kinds (such as carob flour, guar gum, arabic gum, tare gum, xanthan gum ...)

Containing mucilage and fiber, meal replacements provide (in a subjective way ...) a sense of fullness thanks to its volumizing capacity in the stomach.
ATTENTION! In this case it is appropriate to refer exclusively to the fullness and NOT to the satiety, since this last sensation (more lasting and generally less intense) resulted not only from gastric distension, but also from other mechanisms of feedback hormonal regulated by the absorption of nutrients.

In conclusion, in relation to their initial volume, meal replacements effectively stimulate gastric fullness which - while being among the components necessary for satiety - does not in itself have a sufficient duration to cover the period of time between the replacement meal and the subsequent meal. normal solid (about 3 hours).

When should, or can, be consumed?

Meal replacements represent an "acceptable" compromise in the low-calorie diet of the overweight or obese subject who, having a disordered and difficult to manage lifestyle (or being unable to organize their diet), follows a dietary regimen checked.
On the other hand, I consider it appropriate to specify that: "consuming substitute meals represents an" INCORRECT dietary habit justifiable only by a slimming THERAPY for curative purposes (obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc.) and that it must ABSOLUTELY NOT be transmitted to young or growing subjects; the parent in therapy, albeit with difficulty, is required to respect the management of ordinary meals in order to consolidate the nutritional education of the offspring.

Meal Replacement Smoothie - Banana Flavor

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Benefits and Disputes

The benefits of consuming meal replacements are:

  • Optimization of weight loss in the low-calorie diet
  • Significant supply of essential amino acids, although some meal replacements contain ONLY plant-based proteins ... but not all brands
  • Absence of WIDE DIFFUSION molecules of food INTOLERANCES (lactose and gluten) ... but not all brands
  • Increased protein in unbalanced diets (such as vegan ones)
  • Moderate glycemic index
  • Good supply of soluble and prebiotic fibers ... but not all brands

The controversies, or downsides, of meal replacements are:

  • The immorality of food substitution with surrogates which, in most cases, it is possible to do without
  • Increased protein and reduced carbohydrates in unbalanced diets (such as high protein ones)
  • Need for contextualization in a low-calorie diet; the perplexity arises from the fact that, in itself, food therapy (which requires careful management of food), if well calculated, autonomously determines the reduction of body weight without the inclusion of replacement meals; therefore it is not easy to distinguish how much replacement meals really contribute to overall weight loss
  • The filling (and not satiety) capacity of substitute meals is more limited than one might think; moreover, to consume them are people who are characterized by a rather large gastric capacity, which often leads them to take more abundant doses than those recommended, partially nullifying the desirable results
  • The consumption of substitute meals is absolutely negative for the adult and even more so for the child or adolescent who, among the various skills to be learned in the development phase, MUST also develop the "correct management of one's diet" without resorting to food supplements. .
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