The Link Between Meal Replacements and Weight Loss - Fact or Fiction?

Marie France Bodyline
meals replacement, weight loss, fiber smoothies

Skipping meals is not the only way towards weight loss; many of us would know that by now.

Even if one were to take up a strict Atkins, The Zone or Weight Watchers diet programme, it has to be done right and only if your body is ready to face the torture. In fact, what some diet goers forget is that your body would still require all the essential nutrients to function well on a daily basis even when you are attempting to shed some kilograms. So if you skip meals and deprive your body from its essentials, your body will start burning energy from what's left after all the fat is gone – and that's not really good. Remember, one should aim to lose only fat in the body and not their mass. Worst still, bad dieting habits could even lead to dangerous health conditions from hypoglycemia to osteoarthritis.

So what can you do to lose weight without having to skip meals? Try meal replacements.

In the past, you surely would have read about eating filling foods, eating negative calorie foods and so forth, in lieu of skipping meals. Meal replacement, similarly, is just another healthy dieting method.

Essentially, meal replacements are foods of calorie-controlled and nutrient-rich contents that are designed to substitute our usual meals. You replace your traditional meals such as breakfast, lunches and dinners with healthy meal replacements that contain various nutrients from protein to vitamins and fibre to minerals that are required to sustain a good health, without loading too much carbs that rests too long in the body. If need be, you could couple this method with some cardio-based workouts to see faster effects too.

Commercially available meal replacements usually come in the form of shakes, stuff soups, bars or portion control meals. But you can also make them at home, with simple but rich ingredients that are wholesome. We have come up with two random and really simple recipes for you to kick-start the routine, as follows:

1. Berries Smoothie (Estimated Calorie of 310~370 kcals)

Berries Smoothie


  1. One serving of Spirutein Exotic Red Fruit flavour (190~250kcals)
  2. Strawberries 1/2 cup
  3. Blueberries 1/2 cup
  4. 300ml Water
  5. Ice cubes


2. High Fiber-Filled Smoothie (Estimated Calorie of 325~395 kcals)

High Fiber-Filled Smoothie


  1. One serving of Spirutein Double Fudge Crunch (190~250kcals)
  2. One small banana
  3. One tablespoon of Chia seeds
  4. 300ml Water
  5. Ice cubes

These above meal replacements could easily replace one to two of your meals a day, which is the recommended dose daily. You could make them richer and more exciting by supplementing with fruits and vegetables, to be consumed together or separately. Meal replacement programmes are generally based on a daily intake of 1200-1500 kcal, so if your body needs more, you can always improvise your meal replacement recipes.

Having seen the basics of meal replacements, so how does it compare to other conventional and non-conventional dieting programmes? We have done some homework for you, and you can see the pros and cons of meal replacement programmes in the table below:

Pros Cons

May help you to lose weight faster

  • Meal replacement shakes can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories
  • Replacing 1 or 2 meals per day with a healthy meal replacement shake may speed up weight loss

May help you to lose weight faster

  • They cannot completely replace a healthy diet full of whole foods.
  • Not a sustainable lifestyle for many people

Nutritionally adequate

  • Contains good amount of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats and other essentials vitamins and minerals.

Boredom and taste fatigue

  • People will think of whole foods with different cooking styles more enjoyable and palatable compared with meal replacement

Calorie control

  • Suitable meal replacements contains 190 to 250 kcal

Can be expensive

  • Certain brands are expensive

Encourage a regular eating pattern

  • It is convenient and easy to prepare

They Don't Fix Unhealthy Eating Habits

  • Drinking meal replacement shakes can help you lose weight; they don't force you to change your eating habits.

May help you to avoid unhealthy meals

  • A healthier alternative to fast foods.

Do not fit in with family meals

  • Could not enjoy feasts or meals with family and friends

You could observe from the above table that rapid weight loss from meal replacement dieting can be quite motivating, but it is unsustainable in the long run. Moreover, as meal replacements may have lesser than 1000 calories cumulatively for 2 or 3 meals, this programme should not be followed for more than 12 continuous weeks, unless of course it is not your only source of foods intake on daily basis.

Meal replacements with low-calorie entrees help you keep tight control on calories, but as with any other dieting programme, it won't work toward weight loss unless you eat fewer calories than you burn every day. So you will have to watch your body's needs and tailor your meals with what is needed and what is not.



  1. Meal Replacement. National Obesity Forum. Available from
  2. Becky Bell. Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight? Authority Nutrition. [Online] Available from:
  3. Medical Nutrition Therapy Guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Second Edition

Marie France Bodyline brings you Spirutein

*As causes for being overweight vary from person to person, weight loss results will also vary from person to person, dependant on various genetic or environmental factors such as food intake, individual rate of metabolism, level of exercise, etc. No individual result should be seen as typical.