Life without food is completely unimaginable. It is not just the source of calories essential for our body to function but also, for most of us, food means celebration. We not just enjoy cooking and tasting the food to remain human, we also love sharing them with family and friends as norms of social and cultural interactions.
The entertainment aspects that accompany food are just irreplaceable which, unfortunately, can also and easily become a serious health concern.
Over the past few decades, the world has seen a dramatic increase in obesity and as a consequence, serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension are at the rise in an alarming rate.
A severe disproportion between energy intake and energy expenditure is, according to health researchers, one of the crucial factor in the development of obesity.
Traditional wisdom is that confrontation of obesity includes major lifestyle changes such as exercise and long-term healthy eating habits.
But newly acquired scientific knowledge tells us that a dietary plan that institutes a negative energy balance can also become an effective strategy to overcome this severe health issue.
Meal replacements with energy restriction, in this age and time, are proven, safe, and effective weight management strategy that can lead to desired weight loss outcomes.
How do they function?
The concept of meal replacement was created to replace your everyday food with low calory powdered mixes, and snacks that reduce your energy intake comprehensively and allows you to lose weight.
Meal replacement products are designed to control calory intake and to facilitate mass weight loss in a way that at the same time can preserve lean body muscles.
Predominantly these products are protein-based food alternative that in most cases contains essential food ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, and an adequate amount of carbohydrates.
How do you find the right product?
The problem with meal replacements supplements in today's crowded market is that in every supermarket shelf you'll find products of numerous brands which makes it difficult to choose the right one.
Regretfully, there is no guarantee that all of those products are supplemented accordingly. Many of the products in the market are high in sugar which contravenes one of the most basic aims of the supplements which is to provide the body with essential proteins and at the same time keeping the kilojoules intake as less as possible.
Your best bet is to find a product which was manufactured in a country that strictly maintains the food safety standard and regulates the meal supplements industry.
And to be certain of what you're buying suits your need - essential minerals, protein content, and vitamins - look for products labelled "formulated meal replacement".
What is the right low for you?
The functionality of very low energy diet relies on a deficit of energy which means taking fewer kilojoules than the requirement of the body.
An average adult has a requirement of 8700 kilojoules daily to maintain proper functioning of the body. In contrast, to achieve the desired outcome a subscription to a very low diet encourages intake of maximum 2500 kilojoules per day.
The less energy intake causes low storage of glycogen which is considered as the fuel to run the body. When this occurs the body starts to burn fat for fuel and results in a mass weight loss.
It is a huge intervention to your body's regular cycle. This may initially feel good as you lose weight rapidly but at the same time, it can also make you a lot less active than you're.
Health professionals prescribe very low energy diets for adults with obesity usually for surgical purposes such as bariatric surgery.
Evidence suggests this specific meal replacement can be helpful for those with an obesity problem in short to the medium timeframe. But for an effective transformation, it is important to maintain healthy eating practice - which accommodates carefully designed usage of meal supplements - accompanied by a healthy lifestyle.
Balanced food intake that contains fibre, vitamins such as B, minerals such as zinc, iron, and iodine as well other necessary nutrients is not something that can be compromised. You don't want to end up with nutrient deficiency because of your dietary restriction. In addition, the increased risk of a gallbladder or liver inflammation needs to be taken into consideration.
Good news is that because of health consciousness, for many today, partial meal replacements, which includes meal supplements in the diet - and is profoundly beneficial for our body - have become a part of the lifestyle.
An expert will always tell you that the key to maintaining a healthy body is to put more emphasis on health with a long-term plan.
Therefore, if you're an everyday adult with no concerning medical condition, it would be better for you to try partial meal replacements - replacing one or two meals a day with supplements.
Just think of replacing your everyday breakfast with a powdery mixture that is made of nuts, and fruits containing a balance of food ingredients - an adequate amount of calory, vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates that can be easily mixed with water or milk.
If such a powdered mix is palatable to you for breakfast or if you're in a dire situation then for lunch and dinner as well, there is overwhelming evidence that meal replacements can help you live a healthier and better life.
The whole point is, while regular food undoubtedly is the best, it is - partially due to lack of knowledge, partially because of insufficient motivation - hard to prepare a balanced diet that contains all the ingredients rightly.
Traditional food cannot be replaced, but it is possible to replace junk foods or greasy unhealthy snacks.
This is, precisely, where the usefulness of meal supplements lies.
Before you leave, please note that very low energy diets or the meal replacements can affect your mental health negatively. Neither they are suitable for children, people with an eating disorder, pregnant women, or someone who is taking medication that causes weight loss.
It is always wise to consult with an expert such as your GP.