There is a bit of difference between the two terms- meal replacements and protein shakes. Granted, they both have significant benefits they give to the body to keep it healthier and also help the body achieve its athletic performance goals.
There are many brands out there with different nutritional specifications. But most of the products have the same general characteristics.
So, whenever you feel the need to purchase any protein supplement from any food store, ensure you are sure of what it contains and its benefits to you.
Let’s look at this in detail.
A protein shake can be a hundred percent protein concentrate or a carbohydrate supplement that has little protein and fat.
These are available as ready made drinks or as protein powders.
Over the years, various kinds of protein shakes, using egg protein, milk and whey protein and soy, emerged as popular supplements in the fitness world because of its impact of muscle recovery and development.
Meal replacement shakes
Meal replacement diets are a great, easy, simple way to lose weight. It’s as simple as choosing one of two meals per day and replacing them with a meal replacement shake.
Meal replacement shakes are designed to help you achieve weight loss. You drink one or two shakes per day in place of your normal meal to control your food intake easily and simply.
When should you use Diet Shakes?
Diet shakes are also called meal replacements. Australian researchers writing in the Journal of Nutrition found that diet shakes, were just as effective for producing weight loss when compared with conventional, structured weight loss diets
Whenever you lack the motivation to prepare balanced meals, meal replacement shakes comes in as a handy alternative to providing your body with the great nutrition it craves.
Diet shakes are actually designed to be taken at breakfast and dinner.
You should try as much as possible not to skip breakfast. Eating breakfast before you begin the day has been shown to have quite a number of benefits and this includes enhancing weight loss control long-term.
Diet shakes are not specifically intended to be taken at lunch, since you’re checking your daily calorie intake.
It’s that time of the day and you feel hungry with so much busy schedules and the only thing you need is a quick meal to get you back on track.
There are some ready-to-drink meals that are great and appreciated at such a moment. The makers of some of these products recommend sipping one each for breakfast and lunch.
You may likely go overboard at dinner. It’s because you’ve had a lot to go through during the day and now you’re terribly famished.
Chances are that you are likely to add certain foods to your diet that would wipe out the calorie deficits that contribute to weight loss.
While, you may simply be too hungry to control yourself at the evening meal, you should always keep you calorie consumption in check.
And one way to do this is by eating more at breakfast and lunch and choosing a diet shake instead of a complete meal.
Protein shakes as Meal Replacement
Different protein shake products are intended to help you achieve completely different objectives, so it’s important you pay attention to the label before consuming them.
A meal replacement shake does exactly that: it replaces an entire meal by offering a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Protein shakes are perfect for athletes on the go, or for those who have not had time to prepare a meal.
Meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are often confused with each other.
Not knowing the difference can cause many people to choose the wrong kind of shake for their goals. The effect of this is that it could prevent weight loss and muscle gain.
The difference between a meal-replacement shake and a protein shake
The biggest giveaway of the functionality of these shakes is in the names. While meal replacement shakes are used for replacing a meal, protein shakes are packed with protein, typically whey protein.
Different shakes have different purposes, and again this is why it’s important to carefully check the label before buying one.
A meal-replacement shake is intended to replace an entire meal, so it gives your body a good balance of not only protein but carbohydrates and good fats too.
It’s just perfect if you are always on-the-go and would rather prefer a quicker and handy meal.
Here is a breakdown of the major differences between meal replacement shake and protein shake.
- Meal Replacement Shake
Like I said before, meal replacement shakes are generally used to replace whole meals and they have the following qualities:
- Used for weight loss
Meal replacement shakes are very low in fat and sugar so that you can easily lose weight by helping to create a calorie deficit in your diet.
This means they help you consume fewer calories than your body burns so you will start losing weight.
- Protein content
While protein generally helps in muscle synthesis and aids recovery while you workout, most meal replacement shakes are designed to work whether you work out or not.
However,it is recommended that for effective weight loss as well as gaining of lean mass, you should go on an exercise routine while you add a great meal replacement shake for an effective result.
Meal replacements for general health could be lesser in protein content, usually about 10 g per serving, while those meant for dieting and muscle building might be quite as high as 40 g.
- Replaces a meal
Just as the name implies, meal replacement shakes are designed to replace meals- most likely a meal or two in order to help you reach your fitness goals.
It contains enough calories, vitamins, and macronutrients to keep you healthy and provide the nutrition you need.
- Level of Calories
A meal replacement shake will have enough calories to constitute a meal but it should be quite a bit lower than a regular meal to create a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Meal replacement shakes tend to be more filling since they consist of more calories as oppose to protein shakes.They normally contain approximately 250 to 400 calories.
You could try to get meal replacement shakes that contains an added hunger blocker that would help to reduce your crave to eat much.
- Contains Vitamins and Minerals
A good meal replacement shake will contain a multivitamin to help you attain your daily intake of all the essentials so you don’t need to eat more food to make them up.
Most people always find it difficult to meet the daily requirements of all of the different vitamins and nutrients necessary to be healthy. So, a good meal replacement shake is one surefire way to go.
- Fat Content
Protein shakes are commonly low fat, with about 3 g or less fat, while the fat in meal replacements are varies. The fat content in meal replacement shakes often varies due to the carb to fat ratio it contains.
Meal replacement shakes that contain low carb usually have higher fat content and vice versa. This means that if you’re on a low carb diet, this kind of meal replacement shake is still a good idea.
Otherwise, you should opt for meal replacement shakes that contain omega 3 fats if you want more fats in your meal.
- Protein Shake
Protein powders are mixed into a shake, providing maximum protein in our diet. However, protein powders alone don’t include sufficient amount of carbohydrates, fiber or vitamins to maintain energy in the body the way that a balanced meal can.
- Use to tone and firm
Whenever you workout, lifting those heavyweights, you actually tear your muscle fibers. So, sufficient quantities of protein are needed to build them back up again.
A protein shake is one easy way to easily and quickly deliver protein to your muscles, leading you to gain lean mass and a toned physique.
- Does not replace a meal
Protein shakes are supplemental and are not intended to replace a meal. Their main purpose is to help you get enough protein to repair and strengthen your muscles after you work out.
Therefore, they will not have enough calories, vitamins, and nutrients to give you enough energy and nutrition throughout the day. You will still need to eat regular, healthy meals.
- Protein Content
A good protein shake is very high in protein but very low in other nutrients such as, fats, carbs, and sugars.
In this way, protein shakes can really increase up your protein intake while accelerating your fitness goals.
- Low in calories
Protein shakes are generally low in calories because they are not meant to be substituted for meals. They are actually supplemental to the whole foods we eat.
They are very rich in protein and serve our body with the daily dose of protein we need. So, because of their low calorie content, you will still need to get the other calories and nutrients you need from regular, healthy meals.
- Fat content
Protein shakes are commonly low fat, with about 3 g or less fat, while the fat in meal replacements are varies.
So, why is meal replacement necessary?
Meal replacement is necessary for a number of reasons. They supply nutrition to people who are malnourished or seriously ill and cannot eat whole foods.
They are widely used in medical weight-loss interventions to control the amount of calories you consume in a meal.
Meal replacements provide you with all the required nutrients, ranging from carbohydrates to proteins to fats, and to vitamins and minerals — in balance.
Protein shakes: Incomplete nutrition?
Protein shakes are only rich in one nutrient source, which is protein. This is however, not to say that protein shakes do not have any other nutritional value. Of course, protein shakes are equally fortified with vitamins and minerals.
While this has been established, it suffices to say that they are not designed for whole nutrition. In fact, many are deliberately low in carbohydrates and fats.
And this is because protein shakes have been coveted by bodybuilders and athletes because it helps them attain high performance whenever they exercise or workout.
Protein shakes are actually low on other nutrients such as fats and carbohydrates unlike meal replacements. Carbohydrates are necessary to maintain your blood glucose levels between meals, prevent the loss of electrolytes, and provide energy to your brain.
Add to that, protein drinks don’t satisfy the same way as whole foods do. You’re more likely to get hungry later and consume more calories after substituting a meal with a protein shake.
While it’s easy to see that meal replacements contain some amounts of protein, they do not have equal amounts as protein shake. They are completely different in content and usage.
When you want a fast meal on the go, protein shakes may help in a pinch, but they are not designed for total nutrition as meal replacements are. Think of them as simply supplements that help increase the amount of protein in your daily diet.
If you have not identified your goals, then knowing how to choose what you really need becomes an issue.
Ensure that whatever meal replacement or supplement you choose would give you the best benefits, keeping you energized, maintaining your metabolism, fight cravings as well help repair worn out tissues after working out.