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Meal Replacement Diets - What Are They And Are They Right For You?

Thinking about trying one of the latest meal replacement diets? Wondering if they're right for you? This article will lay out what you need to know about these popular weight loss plans to help you decide.

First of all, what is a meal replacement diet?

Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. You "replace" a meal (or two or three) for the day with a lower calorie option like a shake or a protein bar.

More sophisticated plans may give you more appetizing alternatives like puddings, brownies, chilis, soups, omelettes, oatmeals, etc. I've even seen some diets offering replacements like chocolate cake and cheesecake.

How does it work?

You usually eat several times a day (from 4 - 7 times a day) so you don't get hungry. (Note: stay away from meal replacement programs that don't require you to eat at least 4 times a day as this can be dangerous.)

Eating several times a day also helps to keep your metabolism from slowing down, as can often happen with strict diets. The replacement meals are often high in protein - which also helps you to stay full, keeps your blood sugar steady and keeps your metabolism high.

Sometimes you may also add in your own meal like a 'lean and green' meal of, for example, a salad and grilled chicken or something similar.

What are the advantages?

There are several benefits to these diets - the main one being that you lose weight very fast. Some people lose up to 5 pounds a week on these diets (depending on the diet, how much they have to lose, their general activity level, etc.)

In fact, many doctors recommend a quality meal replacement diet to their patients that need to lose weight very fast, to diabetics, etc.

Another reason you lose weight quickly is because you are eating several times a day - which keeps your metabolism high.

Another advantage besides fast weight loss is that some replacement meal diets now give you a lot of delicious alternatives. So you can a lot of variety. For example for breakfast you can have a chocolate shake or cinnamon oatmeal or scrambled eggs or a veggie omelette. With more variety you don't feel deprived and you don't get bored eating the same things over and over again.

Note however that not all diets offer these alternatives. There are some poor weight loss plans out there that just have you eating the same bars or cookies every day. This can give you fast weight loss - but you're more likely to break your diet since you will get bored eating the same things every day.

One final advantage to these plans is that they can be much more affordable than standard diets. For example, I've seen full meal replacement diets starting at around $9 a day. That's a lot less than many people normally spend on food - even "diet" food. So you can also save money in the long run.

So those are some advantages that some of the best meal replacement diets give you. However be aware that not all of these diets are created equal.

As mentioned above, some plans just use bars or shakes - and that can get boring. You also may not get as many nutrients from eating the same foods every day, which isn't best for health. So it's important to choose a plan that gives you a lot of variety and has a good track record for helping people lose weight.

So if you are going to choose a meal replacement plan, look for a diet that has you eating several times a day, with a proven history, and lots of variety. And whatever you choose to do, make sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or fitness routine.


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