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Meal replacement type diets are very popular today and it is highly recommended by celebrities and marketing agencies, usually with testimonials from people about how easy it is follow this type of diets. The theory of most meal replacement diets is straightforward. Most programs will require you to substitute 2 or more regular meals with a specific product that will help with weight loss.  These products are designed to curb the appetite and are filling. They are also calorie controlled. Most of these products come in the form of shakes, drinks, cookies, bars and soups.

Most meal replacement diets are very low in calories. The average calorie intake per day is about 1000 calories or less when you are on such a diet. The dieters lose weight rapidly because it is a large difference in calories from their usual intake. However, once they stop following the meal plan and go back to their regular meal patterns, the weight usually comes back. These types of diets can get expensive and people have not addressed the underlying issues with behavior related to eating and they usually gain the weight back. It is best to use this type to diets to get a kick start with weight loss and then follow a healthy balanced lifestyle with portion control and calorie control.

Popular meal replacement diets

  • Biggest Loser Club: This type of diet is based on the popular reality TV show, the “Biggest Loser”. This diet plan has three meals and snacks a day and it includes proteins, grains, fruits, dairy and vegetables. It also has an aggressive exercise component along with the food part. It is subscription only plan and supplements are available for purchase.
  • Herbalife Shapeworks: This program has a daily plan that includes one healthy meal with plenty of vegetables and fruits and two meal replacements shakes that take your protein needs in to account. They also offer supplements to curb hunger and enhance health. There are six different tracks available depending on your weight loss goals. They claim a weight loss of 7.5 pounds a week which may be too high for most people to sustain. This program also uses herbal supplements and pills for weight loss purposes. It is very standardized and does not teach the user basic healthy skills to maintain their weight.
  • Slimfast: Slimfast has been around for about 25 years. It substitutes shakes and bars for cooked meals. It is very calorie controlled and has low amount of fat and sugar. The new version of Slimfast uses Splenda as the primary sweetener. The program does not have a set meal plan, but encourages dieter to use Slimfast products instead of cooked meals to control calories. Many users have found success with this product and it is usually beneficial in rapid weight loss.
  • Optifast: Optifast is complete therapeutic approach for treating obesity in the USA and Canada. This program has physicians, registered dietitian and trained counselors as part of their team and it offers high quality, calorie controlled shakes and drinks. This program is based on a well researched treatment option and teaches the dieter coping skills and weight maintenance skills for after weight loss. It supports lifestyle changes and physical activity along with calorie control.

As with any meal replacement type diets, use it after consulting your doctor. Remember that once you are off the diet and increase your caloric intake you will gain the weight back. Use these types of diets to motivate you for long term lifestyle changes.

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