More than 60% of the adult UK population are considered either overweight or obese. The primary cause of obesity is an energy imbalance between calorie intake and calorie expenditure. Today, we have to accept that poor diets, lack of nutritional education, inactivity and excess weight gain has led to this energy imbalance and thus an obesity crisis.
However, the stark consequences of being overweight or obese are the associated increased risks of developing mental illnesses and chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Yet, if required, weight loss is something that we can all achieve and benefit from. Even losing just 5% of bodyweight can significantly improve overall health and reduce chronic disease risk. We discuss the benefits of meal replacements and how they can effectively contribute to weight loss.
Key to successful weight loss
To maintain sustainable weight, healthy weight loss should be 5-10% of starting weight with loses of 1-2lb a week. To achieve such weight loss, it is important that lifestyle changes are made through a combination of increased levels of physical activity and dietary improvements such as following a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet (daily deficit of 600kcal).
Today, there is emerging evidence that alternative dietary methods such as the Mediterranean diet, low-carbohydrate diet and meal replacements are effective for weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance. Research has found that in the short term, meal replacements coupled with a balanced diet can also produce greater weight loss compared to a reduced energy diet.
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The benefits of meal replacements
- Effective in reducing total daily calorie intake due to low energy content.
- Convenient for those with a busy lifestyle.
- Can help promote portion control.
- Most contain high levels of protein, which ensures satiety.
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals, thus can help increase daily micronutrient intake.
- Replacing one meal can assist weight maintenance.
In addition to meal replacements, introducing other lifestyle changes can also help with sustainable weight maintenance:
Don’t skip meals: Missing main meals can actually result in fat storage, loss of essential nutrients and the breakdown of muscle for energy. We may also find ourselves snacking more throughout the day due to imbalance in blood sugar levels and hunger. One of the benefits of meal replacements is that you do not need to skip a meal.
Increase physical activity levels: The government recommends partaking in at least 150 minutes of weekly physical activity (30 minutes, 5 days a week), combining moderate aerobic training (swimming, cycling and fast-walking) and strength exercises (resistance training).
Increase fluid intake: Thirst can be mistaken for hunger; ensure that you remain adequately hydrated. Just be mindful of fruit juices as high amounts of fast releasing sugars can result in greater fat storage. Replace sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices with water, herbal or fruit teas.
Replace white ‘refined’ carbohydrates with wholegrain varieties: Generally have higher fibre content, more nutritional value and are better at balancing blood sugars, which can promote the feeling of fullness.
Portion control: Use smaller plates and bowls at mealtimes. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full, so eat slowly and recognise the need to stop. One of the benefits of meal replacements is that your portion is already planned out for you—you have a balanced amount of vitamins and protein to keep you going.
Read food labels: Traffic light labelling now makes it easier to identify how much fat, saturated fats, sugar and salt are in that food. Red signals high, medium (amber) and low (green). To support weight loss and weight maintenance, foods with green and amber lights should be habitually consumed.
Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can lead to low energy and the urge to snack on sugary and energy dense foods; all of which can negate weight loss efforts. We should aim to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Another important benefit of meal replacements is that they do not load you up with caffeine as a form of energy; instead you can gain the right amount of sleep you need to stay healthy.
Almased® is Germany’s No.1 meal replacement; the benefits of meal replacements such as Almased® are renowned and this particular product is scientifically proven to aid healthy and effective weight-loss. The formula blends 3 high-quality ingredients: natural soya, probiotic yogurt and enzyme-rich honey with important nutrients, essential amino acids and enzymes for easy digestion. Owing to the wholesome and clean nature of the brand, Almased® contains no artificial flavours, fillers, preservatives or stimulants. It is also gluten-free, vegetarian and suitable for those with Diabetes. Providing more protein than any other meal replacement in the UK, Almased® has been proven to reduce body fat while preserving essential muscle. To find out more about Almased® visit their website: almased.co.uk
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