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The common arguments for not drinking diet shakes are they’re not a realistic long-term solution and they don’t really teach you anything about nutrition and real health. All valid points. There are other reasons though, you may not have come across which is why I wanted to write this post. I have discovered 3 REALLY good reasons why not to drink diet shakes that go beyond ‘losing weight should not be about a diet, it needs to be a lifestyle change’. Because, actually, you could probably make a diet shake part of your everyday nutrition just because of the convenience. And you could probably still drink them even if you weren’t overweight. There are probably lots of people who do! I definitely don’t recommend them!
WHY DRINK DIET SHAKES?
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The idea of diet shakes, is bound to appeal to all of us at one point or another as we attempt to lose weight and become healthier. It definitely meets the need for something quick and easy and which makes all the promises to help us lose weight. For the most part they taste ok, they’re portable, so you can take them to work, all the calorie counting is done for you and all you have to do is follow the instructions and drink.
We love the idea of not having to exert too much mental energy if we don’t have to! We don’t have to traipse through healthy recipes and cook different foods for ourselves and different foods for the family. You don’t have to put up with complaints from family members if you actually start cooking things they don’t like. They can eat the takeaway pizza while you drink your optifast! I know, it doesn’t sound completely fun but diet shakes do tick some boxes that actually work for some people. I’ve tried them and they’ve worked for a certain amount of time. But I have since become a little educated on the diet shake strategy and here’s my top 3 reasons not to drink them!
1. DIET SHAKES DON’T SATISFY!
How is a glass of optifast (or equivalent) which is about 200mls of water with powdered stuff going to compare to eating a real meal of the same calories?
An opti slim shake for example (chocolate) made with water equals about 207 calories. You would feel a lot more satiated if you actually ate a tin of salmon with some salad! It would be about the same in calories, just as convenient to prepare and a helluva a lot better for you!
When I was drinking these shakes, I would never feel like I had had a meal, so I was more inclined to snack! I would often end up eating more than if I had just had a healthy meal to start with! Especially at night!
2. DIET SHAKES DON’T DO ANYTHING FOR YOUR METABOLISM
The one thing that really revs up your metabolism (and it’s not just exercise) is actually eating real food! The process of thermogenesis comes about as your body digests solid food. There is an incredible amount of energy your body requires for digestion. If you’re giving your body nothing more than diet shakes, you’re stunting your metabolism. Something none of us want to be doing if we want to lose weight! Protein is the best type of food to eat to keep your metabolism as high as possible. You can read about the foods that burn calories here.
3. THE INGREDIENTS LIST READS LIKE A CHEMISTRY LAB
Here is the ingredient list off the chocolate flavoured optifast;
Skimmed Milk Powder (34%), Milk Proteins [Calcium Caseinate (13%), Sodium Caseinate (7%)], Fructose, Vegetable Oils (Canola, Sunflower), Inulin, Maltodextrin (Corn), Sugar, Cocoa Powder (5%), Minerals (Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Carbonate, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Zinc Sulphate, Copper Gluconate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Manganese Sulphate, Sodium Fluoride, Chromium Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide), Glucose Syrup (Corn, Wheat or Potato), Fish Oil, Corn Starch, Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, 472c, 471), Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium),Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Nicotinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Phytonadione, Cholecalciferol, Cyanocobalamin), Flavour, Antioxidants (304, 307), Vegetable Gum (414), Medium Chain Triglycerides. Contains Milk, Soy, Wheat and Fish. Contains Phenylalanine.
I find this extremely scary! The artificial sweeteners should be enough to have you running for the hills. Read my post about them here! For goodness sake, stop poisoning yourself! I have doubts that even Maccas food is worse than this ingredient list! I cant even pronounce half of those ingredients. Bottom line is this is a processed ‘food’. Yes it is low in calories, but so is a tin of salmon! So are fruit and veggies!
The facts are simple. If you are choosing diet shakes for simplicity, think again. They are expensive, highly processed and just not worth it. If you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy, there is nothing processed that will help you on that journey.
If you’re not into cooking that’s fine! Choose foods like eggs, tins of salmon, salads, fruits and nuts. All of these foods are just as portable, easy to throw together, and better yet, very very good for you! You don’t have to cook gourmet meals that take hours! If you are into cooking, there are so many resources out there, so get some great recipes together, cook in bulk if you can and make it just as easy as a shake can be without the crap and hype!
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