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Meal Replacements Reviews & Diet Program
"Meal replacements" are basically either one of two things: a liquid shake (powder mixed with water, milk, or fruit juice), or a filling nutrition bar. These are products consumers may buy from retail stores, mail order or multi-level marketing distributors. They are non-prescription do-it-yourself quick weight loss products that have been around a long time and which in recent years have been marketed by an increasing number of food manufacturers.
These shakes and bars are usually used as a substitute for one or a maximum of two meals per day (usually breakfast and lunch). You are encouraged to eat one "sensible" meal of regular food per day (dinner) and follow healthy diets. There are lots of brands now on the market and taste varies widely. Some products taste horrible, others are merely palatable, and others taste great. In recent years, most of the new meal replacements that have come out have been nutrition bars—it seems as if everyone is selling them now. The number of shakes brands has not grown as fast, and is still dominated by Slim Fast. However, sales of Slim Fast have been flat or declining the past several years.
Meal replacements are an inexpensive appetite suppressant weight loss option. They are easy to use, and are convenient for time-pressed dieters. However, there is a danger that they may be used inappropriately. Since there is no medical supervision, a person could very easily decide to substitute these products for three meals a day and deprive their body of the calories and nutrients it needs. Consequently, there is really no such thing as structured meal replacement programs, although Slim Fast does provide a very good website with support and lots of useful information and interactive tools. Nevertheless, meal replacements remain popular as a weight loss method.
This is still a cheap, easily accessible partial liquid diet option for many consumers. Past Calorie Control Council surveys found that 17% of all dieting Americans use meal replacements. However, this percentage has fallen recently, as competition from low-carb diets has been strong. Furthermore, there are several fairly large multi-level organizations such as Pharmanex (formerly Nu-Skin International), Herbalife and Shaklee, that sell meal replacements, and you will NOT find these companies’ products in retail stores—only via independent distributors.
Who Uses Meal Replacements?
The Atlanta-based Calorie Control Council's 1993 survey of low-cal food and beverage usage and dieting, reported that 17% of a total 51 million dieters (or 8.7 million) used meal replacement products in early 1993, down sharply from the 31% of dieters in 1991 (16.4 million people). Unfortunately, this analysis of dieting by type method has not been updated by the Council. However, currently BestDietForMe.com/Marketdata estimates that there are 72 million dieters, and the share of all U.S. adults using meal replacements alone is about 5-7% (or 5 million people).
Consumer Reports’ June 2002 survey on diet plans claims that 88% of the most successful dieters did NOT use meal replacement such as Slim-Fast. They also found that 6% of the successful dieters did use dietary supplements or over-the-counter weight loss aids (i.e. Metabolife, etc.). By contrast, Consumer Reports’ 1993 survey found that a much higher 24% of the dieters used meal replacements (second most popular method)....