3 Facts That Prove Meal Replacement Is Madness
Meal replacement – I’m not a fan.
After training at the gym I head home to grab a serving of real, whole food.
Whole foods are defined as minimally processed packaged foods such as: lean meat, grain (quinoa), legumes (beans, peaks, lentils), nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole fruits and non-dairy milks and condiments (salsa, mustard, vinegar).
100% of the nutrients and fiber in these foods are perfectly arranged and as the saying goes, “Don’t mess with Mother Nature.” Anything else just isn’t food.
Now that we’ve established the definition of what food really is let’s go over three reasons why you can’t replace a meal with a “meal-replacement” product.
#1 Powder isn’t Food
The vast majority of the ingredients found in shakes, meal bars and snack bars are a concoction of highly processed synthetic substances.
Here’s a list of the ingredients in the shake-mix version of a popular meal replacement product that’s commercially available for purchase.
May Contain Wheat. Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine.
Sugar, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Maltodextrin, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Buttermilk Powder, Gum Arabic, Cellulose Gel, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Fiber, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Potassium Phosphate, Artificial Flavor, Guar Gum, Acefulfame Potassium (Nonnutritive Sweetener), Aspartame. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin E Acetate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Panthothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin Mononitrate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Chromium Chloride, Riboflavin, Biotin, Copper Gluconate, Folic Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Phytonadione (Vitamin K1), Potassium Iodide, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), And Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12). Sweetened with Nutritive Sweeteners and a Nonnutritive Sweetener. May Contain Wheat. Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine.
There are probably less than five ingredients on that list that the average person can tell you what it actually is, much less pronounce.
So let’s examine the first ingredient which is one we can all pronounce – sugar. It’s listed first so that means it’s the primary ingredient.
It’s widely known that many people replace meals for diet and weight-loss purposes. The reason why this strategy often fails in achieving the desired result is that the primary ingredient sugar spikes insulin levels in the body. The insulin hormone sends signals to the body’s cells to begin storing blood sugar for energy. This causes sugar levels in the bloodstream to fall and leads to a series of events inside your body that create insulin resistance.
Now your body needs to produce more insulin than you normally need in order to keep your blood sugar stable.
That’s BAD. Why? Because when insulin sensitivity becomes poor, we have trouble digesting carbs, absorbing nutrients and we gain weight.
If this continues for a long time the pancreas needs to make more and more insulin until it exhausts itself and that’s when Type 2 diabetes occurs.
#2 It’s Dairy Based:
Many of the ingredients in meal replacement products are dairy based but to make matters even worse, most people mix the powdered version of these products with milk.
Ever notice that we are the only mammals on this planet that continue to consume mother’s milk past infancy?
I’m not saying I don’t ever consume anything dairy based but drinking milk is something that has long left my daily regimen.
Heck, I could write a separate article on why milk is bad for you but a few simple reasons are that:
1) Milk depletes the calcium in your bones and increases the risk of bone fractures.
2) Three-quarters of all people lack the enzyme to properly digest cow’s milk.
3) Milk contains large amounts of hormones and contaminants that exacerbate inflammation in the body.
So go ahead and pour water over your meal replacement powder. You’re still left with something that resembles protein-infused vitamin soda.
#3 Food Tastes So Much Better!
This shouldn’t even be a debatable point here. There are so many healthy alternatives to soda, candy, cake and other chemically processed products that no one should have to resort to replacing an entire meal with a protein/vitamin version of something you bought at a candy store when you were 6 years old.
Ever notice that meal replacement products are designed after the things you grew up loving so much?
Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry protein-shake powder, chocolate-covered/chewy cookie dough bars and other sugar-laden atrocities. The companies that manufacture this stuff are trying to make you forget about eating because a protein bar works the same way a candy bar works – it spoils your appetite for real food.
And here you are thinking that your lack of hunger meant you’ve actually replaced a meal.
The Solution: Food Prep
There really isn’t any reason you can’t stop for healthy takeout on the way home or even go home and prepare a quick healthy meal. It’s just a small matter of weekly food prep. Here’s a photo gallery of some meals I’ve prepared either before I go to the gym or once I come home.
I’m not a chef…I just love to prepare super-delicious meals that give my body the natural nutrients it needs to meet the demands of my day. It’s not too often that I’m too tired or fatigued to prepare dinner after training because my eating habits dictate that I always satisfy my nutritional needs in the first place.
Ok, so maybe the goal of this article was just to make you hungry. In any event, just make sure you go forth now and eat something real…not the Gooey Chewy Cookie-Dough Muscle Bar or whatever it’s called.
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