3 Shakes a Day for 2 Weeks – Should You? Is it worth it? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Having a hard time preparing meals? Or say you have no time altogether? It does happen, you see, sometimes life and work can get in the way. And in no time, you might find yourself with less and less time to whip up a healthy meal.
Most people turn to junk food to fill the void, but that’s not the way to go about this. If anything, it’s only going to worsen the situation.
If you can’t get enough time to prepare a healthy meal, or you’re not good at cooking, there are always options at your disposal. Meal replacement and protein shakes are healthy, handy alternatives that you can count on.
I have been using these for God knows how long…so it got to a point I thought hey, I can try something out and see how taking 3 shakes a day for 2 weeks works out for me.
Can you? Should you? These are probably some of the questions racing through your mind right now.
Well, you’re at the right place. Ahead, you will find all you need to know; from what shakes are (more specifically protein shakes) and how they can help you health-wise.
Also, I will let you in on what you can expect if you set out to consume 3 shakes a day for 14 days.
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are powders (some premade ones come in liquid form) that often come filled with nutrient-rich, low-calorie ingredients.
The idea behind them is to provide a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or a pick-me-up within the day when you need one.
If you are having hunger pangs and looking for something that will help curb your appetite, then the best option is a shake with a high level of protein.
This guy at fitlifefanatics shares some of the all-time favorite meal shakes for most fitness enthusiasts. I’m talking about high-end options that not only contain sufficient amounts of protein, but also have very clean ingredients, are tasty, and their nutrient profile is downright remarkable.
…Then there are protein shakes, which are more about the protein content. I will get into details about these in a jiffy; let’s wind up with meal-replacement shakes first…
How do Meal Replacement Shakes Work?
In case you didn’t know, men eat about 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, women just come shy of these figures at 1,600 to 2,400 calories each day.
That’s why you need a diet with the right meal choice to give you the best number of calories and nutrients to carry you through the day.
According to experts, your diet should have the following basis;
- Fresh fruit
- Dairy products
- Oils and fats
- Whole grains
Some meal replacement shakes lack some of these, more so grains, fruits, and veggies. But the good thing about shakes is that they are rich in nutrients that you would otherwise find in most of these foods.
The high protein content is what makes meal replacement shakes stand out the most, which helps fill you up without flooding your system with calories.
If you are on a weight loss journey and don’t want to lose muscle mass, you will benefit the most from these shakes.
What’s cool about shakes?
Several aspects make shakes the best in the game.
- Low-calorie count
- Great for weight loss
- Added fiber
What’s not so cool about shakes?
As much as they are awesome at these aspects, replacement shakes also have some downsides too.
- Some lack quality
- Some have artificial ingredients, sweeteners, and fillers
- The low-calorie count can also be too low for what you would get out of a meal
What Are Protein Shakes?
The name kind of gives it away, doesn’t it?
Unlike meal replacement shakes (which are more of a mixed bag of ingredients), protein shakes mostly revolve around the macronutrients… they are shakes high in protein. Granted, the protein quantity will vary from one protein shake to another, and so will other macros and micros available in different ones.
These too come in both powder form and pre-mixed ones in liquid form. That said, with a bit of ingenuity, and such ingredients as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, nut butter, and other protein-rich ingredients, you can make homemade protein shakes right in your kitchen.
The different types of protein powders and how they stack up
Just like meal replacement shakes, protein powders come in different types.
And no, I don’t mean the powders that you can mix yourself and the pre-mixed liquid ones here, I’m talking about the protein in the powder here.
This one is dairy-based and comes with virtually all the essential amino acids. But it’s slowly absorbed into the body. (1)
Whey protein is also dairy-based, with all the 9 essential amino acids, but it is absorbed quickly in the body. (2)
Unlike the others above, soy protein is plant-based, but it also has all the essential amino acids. But the good thing about soy is that it also has isoflavones that offer more health benefits. (3)
Rice protein is also plant-based, but this one has less of the amino acid lysine. (4)
This is another plant-based protein with all the necessary essential amino acids. But the cool thing about hemp is that it also contains Omega-3, Omega-6, and high levels of arginine. (5)
Let’s wrap this showdown up with yet another plant-based protein – pea protein. It makes for a great alternative to soy and whey for those looking for a less allergenic protein. Pea protein is low in essential amino acids like methionine and cysteine though. (6)
One thing worth mentioning here is that some protein shakes do contain 2 or more types of protein. This is a good thing, since, for instance, with the combination of whey and casein protein, you can get both the fast and slow absorption benefits out of one protein shake.
So if you are allergic to any type of protein it’s wise to be keen on the ingredients label to be sure it’s not one of the ingredients.
So, which Protein is Best for You?
Well, that is a tough one. Everyone is different, so the effects of various protein types will vary from one person to the other.
So it becomes rather difficult to tell whether any, several, or all of the different types of proteins out there will be good for you.
The best I can do is take you on a deep dive into the meats and potatoes of the different types so you can see which one fits the bill.
Whey is a popular one in the fitness space, thanks to its fast absorption, which makes it ideal for muscle protein synthesis before workout sessions for muscle growth.
It also does help keep you feeling full, albeit in the short term. These are just a few perks, there’s a whole spectrum of whey protein benefits that make it an absolute favorite for many.
What you need to be on the lookout for when choosing any protein powder is the quality.
Soy, whey, and casein, for instance, are considered to be complete proteins, which is to say they are high in all the necessary essential amino acids for your body.
On the downside, however, these can be allergenic for some people…so you may need to be careful with them.
Pea and rice protein should give you some confidence as these are considered less allergenic. However, they are low in essential amino acids such as lysine for rice protein, and cysteine and methionine for pea protein.
Hemp protein offers more of the sweet spot in between, thanks to its less allergenic nature and high levels of essential amino acids.
But hey, the protein that best suits your needs is all down to you.
With that out of the way, let’s focus on the elephant in the room…
Can you live on Shakes for 2 Weeks?
The short answer here is yes. The long answer…well, it depends. While meal rep shakes have almost all the nutrients you can get from your average meal, there’s always a catch.
You could survive on shakes, but honestly, you also risk missing some vital nutrients that these shakes might be lacking. Sure, some of the best shakes on the market have excellent nutrition profiles.
But unless you are cycling through different options, there is little chance you can get all the nutrients you need in one shake.
The best you should do is to fix these shakes in the gaps between meals. And only use them to supplement the nutrition you are getting from your meals.
That way, you can get the best out of meal replacement shakes without compromising your nutrient intake.
Can You Lose Weight with Meal Replacement Shakes?
Sure you can. Weight loss is one of the benefits of these shakes, which also goes for protein shakes. This is how;
Among the many perks, you can count on shakes for is to stay feeling full for a long time. More so if it’s a protein shake, or has enough protein in the ingredient, you will curb hunger for way longer than you would with say junk food.
Also, this means you won’t be binging on just about anything in your path – reducing the chances of eating sugary foods that might counter your weight loss efforts.
You will also love shakes in that they also help increase your metabolism indirectly by maintaining muscle mass. It also helps through the thermic effect since protein requires more energy to digest, meaning the body burns more calories in digesting proteins than it would require for digesting carbohydrates, for instance.
Not only does protein encourage more calorie burn through digestion, but most healthy shakes out there are also low in calories themselves.
And then, with most packing a great deal of protein and helping you to stay full for a long time, you reduce your calorie intake significantly.
On the bottom line…fewer calories mean less weight.
There you have it, peeps. Whether you are taking shakes that are high in protein levels or using protein shakes, the results are pretty much the same.
You can use (healthy) shakes for a quick refuel on your energy reserves in between meals, or count on them when you can’t cook a good meal.
Do note, however, that we are talking about healthy meals here. There’s a plethora of junky ones out there that are either chalky, taste weird or are not by any means better than junk food. I mean, those that are chocked full of sugar, artificial flavors and colors, sweeteners, and other unhealthy substances.
Always check the ingredients label, and read reviews to be sure you are getting the real deal.