Diet Shakes: Sipping to Slimness
Diet Shakes: The Simplest Way to Diet continued...
The makers of some ready-to-drink meals recommend sipping one each for
breakfast and lunch, and eating a sensible or healthy low-fat dinner, keeping
food preparation to a minimum. You may make it through the day on automatic
pilot by relying on diet shakes, but you can't completely escape thinking about
calories and other nutrients. Even when diet shakes stand in for two out of
three meals, you still need to interpret "sensible" and "healthy
low-fat" when determining dinner.
"Dinner is where people who use meal replacement shakes can get into
trouble," Nonas says. That's because many people eat at night to relieve
tension from the day. Going overboard at dinner (and after) can effectively
wipe out the calorie deficits that contribute to weight loss. Limiting dinner
to 4 to 5 ounces of cooked poultry, seafood, or lean meat; a medium baked or
sweet potato or a 1/2-cup cooked rice or pasta; and a cup of cooked broccoli or
other vegetable seems a sensible way of getting nutrients without excess
You may simply be too hungry to control yourself at the evening meal. If two
diet shakes, which can amount to 450 calories or even less, is all you've had
by dinnertime, you've only used up about one-third of your daily calorie
allotment, so it's little wonder you're ravenous. Two midmeal snacks for a
total of 400 calories help take the edge off evening hunger. Another option for
keeping evening calorie consumption in check: Eat more at breakfast and lunch
and choose a diet shake and salad for dinner instead of a full meal, always
working within your calorie allowance.
How Long Can You Last on Diet Shakes?
Let's say you're losing a safe amount of weight with two diet shakes, two
snacks, and a modest dinner every day. How long can you stay on this eating
plan? Nonas says many people use the beverages for the bulk of their meals for
about three months, then maintain their weight loss for years by substituting a
meal replacement shake for one meal on most days.
Research bears that out. In a Journal of the American Dietetic
Association study published in 2001, women who lost weight on a
reduced-calorie plan that included meal replacement beverages maintained their
losses after a year by drinking at least one diet shake a day in place of a
regular meal. Their counterparts in the study, who lost weight on a
conventional low-fat diet that did not use meal replacement beverages, regained
most of their initial weight.
The Bottom Line on Diet Shakes
Diet shakes are not the magic bullet in the battle of the bulge. Used
judiciously, they can help you get started on weight loss or help you maintain
a healthier weight. "To lose weight or even to eat well while maintaining a
healthy weight, you must be a vigilante and defend against the many temptations
out there. Meal replacements shakes are easy, but they are also a lot healthier
than most other choices you could make," Nonas says.