This is a topic that has been debated for years amongst dieters so I thought it was important that we addressed it. There are a plethora of diet shakes flooding the market: Slim-Fast, Atkins, the list goes on. Most of them contain some protein (often the cheap kind), a mix of vitamins and sugars, coloring agents, etc.
So do they work for weight loss? Not so well, I am afraid. While protein shakes are a great asset for every athlete in order to make sure there is enough protein in his diet, they don’t work too well for weight loss purposes. Not only is the nutritional quality of most of these products poor, the shakes also contain an unbalance vitamin mixture and do not satisfy your appetite for a long time due to a lack of fiber.
Compared to foods like brown rice or chicken, they take up very little stomach volume and are digested much quicker, meaning the athlete will suffer more hunger pangs. The average American consumes about one third of their calories in liquid form, which is one of the reasons why the nation is facing an obesity epidemic (Hello, fruit smoothie!).
Liquid calories are much easier to consume than whole foods, making it harder to keep track of your actual intake. If you rely on shakes, you will simply never learn how to prepare foods properly in order to lose weight. A liquid crash diet will create weight loss, but it will be mostly muscles lost since your metabolism shuts down within days. As soon as the dieter goes back on a more sustainable lifestyle, every calorie consumed will be stored as fat because their body assumes that a horrible famine has just passed and wants to be prepared for the next one. This sets up a dreaded yo-yo effect and it is the single reason why 90+% of all dieters gain the weight back (and then some). Bottom line: crash diets will destroy your metabolism!
Also, whole foods require more digestive work than liquids do, so they use up more energy thus keeping the metabolism elevated. Studies have shown that test subjects consumed twelve to twenty percent more calories when they consumed a liquid food as opposed to eating a solid meal. Their hunger responses were also worse, even the day after the liquid meal.
Whole foods also provide a wide array of phytonutrients which simply can’t be duplicated as of yet. These nutrients will help to ensure optimal health and maximum fat loss. If you are very time-constricted and you simply have to use a shake, try to find some high-end whey protein and add some fats in the form of nuts or oil to it. This will increase satiety and slow down digestion in your system. If you are on a very strict weight loss diet, just have some steamed vegetables with it — albeit not very tasty, the fiber will keep you full without adding any considerable calories.
Keep on cooking,