“Lose 20 lbs. in 30 days!”
“Say goodbye to illness and regain your life!”
Short, enticing phrases that are specifically designed to elicit an instantaneous, strong emotional reaction.
“I want that!”
It is no secret that we all want to look fantastic and feel great, and the skinnier and fitter the better. Right?
Thanks to the daily onslaught by media outlets that the ideal body is skinny with no love handles, and the frightful rate at which chronic illnesses are rising, it is no wonder we are lured in by promising headlines.
However, are they just that? Promising headlines?
By the time a client seeks out my services they are desperate for a change, and when I ask what they have tried, they have tried it all.
The most frequent answer I get is weight loss shakes, or meal replacement programs. Though I am not a fan of any of these programs, I am also not 100% against them either.
I do believe there is a place for weight loss shakes in some people’s weight loss journey, especially if a person is extremely overweight and they need a jump start to start to see improvement. I have seen products like weight loss shakes be very beneficial for this purpose, and this purpose alone.
When you read testimonials for weight loss shakes, you will discover that a person lost an unbelievable amount of weight, reversed their illness, cholesterol numbers dropped and the list goes on and on. Reading these makes jumping on board even more enticing.
But here’s the deal. Any person giving up processed, refined food, sugar, grains, dairy or alcohol is going to lose weight, regardless if it ‘s via a shake or by eliminating these things from one’s diet.
As for the great test results, one will get the same results again by eliminating the culprits listed above.
So, if you can get the same results by drinking a shake or popping a pill versus eating and preparing real food, doesn’t it make sense in our fast-paced, instant gratification world to do the just that?
Would you be surprised if I told you my answer is NO? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for making our lives easier, but this is one instance where I don’t agree.
What are my issues with weight loss shakes or protein powders in general?
I am not going to spend time on the fact that the majority of these companies are hyped by salespeople focused on building their “teams” and making money – they know virtually nothing about nutrition and health issues beyond what their company tells them.
The Truth about Weight Loss Shakes
1. There is NO substitute for real food. Let me repeat that.
Weight Loss Shakes are NO substitute for Real Food!
Sure, a product can be packed full of vitamins and minerals, but these nutrients are added into the product in their individual component form, and more than likely a synthetic version of the actual nutrient.
Real foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Each one has hundreds of related compounds and they all act synergistically together to ensure good cellular health. 1
Synthetically made, isolated nutrients have different shaped compounds than naturally occurring ones, and because they are not accompanied by related compounds, our bodies have a harder time using the nutrients effectively.
2. Most weight loss is all gained back and then some. Yes, there is weight loss to be had, but the majority of people who depend on weight loss shakes to lose weight have a harder time maintaining their new weight, or they gain all that weight back plus some unwelcomed pounds once they end the program.
Many of these plans have you eat one “healthy” meal a day. The problem with these meals is they are usually low calorie and low-fat meals. Yup, you heard me correctly, LOW FAT.
Not only are they eating a meal that is not satiating them, but there is also no education in what a nutrient dense, whole food meal looks like and how to implement these meals once the diet period is over.
3. You need fat to lose fat! Simply put, our body needs fat to be healthy.
No diet shake or pill is going to give you the fat your body needs. In order for your body to absorb and utilize the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, you need to be eating fat. Plain and simple.
Good fats. Coconut oil, nuts, and seeds, avocados, pastured butter, lard, ghee, raw milk, etc.
But here is the caveat. If you are going into your program overweight or have digestive issues, chances are your liver and gallbladder are not functioning at full capacity and your body’s ability to break down and process these fats is impaired. If you have not addressed this area during the diet, when you start eating your good fats you may run into trouble.
4. My final rant issue with these products is one’s overall health. When clients come to see me and they are desperate to lose weight, 100% of the time there is going to be an underlying digestive issue. They may be dealing with only their digestion, or it has manifested into some form of chronic symptoms, such as hormone imbalances or autoimmune issues to name just a couple.
Consuming these products does nothing to help poor digestion due to low stomach acid, intestinal infections or bacteria, food sensitivities, sluggish gallbladder, leaky gut, etc.
So, what are your options? First off, if you are going to take the route of consuming these products, please make sure you are working with a qualified nutritionist who can also educate you and guide you into incorporating a whole food, nutrient dense diet.
Switching from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a nutrient dense, whole food diet will automatically ensure weight loss barring any hormonal issues which you will need to seek a holistic practitioner to rectify.
Eliminating the intake of processed foods in a box, junk food in a bag, meals from a drive-thru is a good start. Incorporate vegetables into your meals and pair them with quality, complete proteins and plenty of healthy fats. Drink your water, hydration is key! Practice mindful eating, reduce stressors in your life and exercise.
Practice all of these, and I promise you will lose the weight for good and regain your health – without any weight loss shakes!
Sandra Brougher is a Certified Nutritional Therapist and a Board Certified Health Coach. She specializes in functional and holistic nutrition, focusing on supporting the body as a whole.
She received her education and training from the Nutritional Therapy Association and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sandra also holds certification as a Transformational Coach using the Neuro-linguistic Method.
Her belief that whole foods provide the medicine we need to obtain optimal health is what guides her mission and goal to help others renew whole health with support, education, and accountability.