Tips: How to use meal-replacement shakes

2011-11-05 21:35

Four experts advise on the responsible way to use meal replacement shakes.

» Daleen Basson, dietician, says: Take the shakes or a copy of the label with the nutrient breakdown to a registered dietician for analysis.

As nutritionists, we advise people on how to incorporate these, if the need arises. There are good, sound, meal-replacement shakes on the market that can be used with good results.

It is always better to use a nutritionally balanced meal-replacement shake than to skip a meal.Meal-replacement shakes can also benefit children who do not want to eat breakfast.

» Marieke Loubser, dietician, says: It is important to ensure that children receive all the nutrients that are essential to optimal growth and development (for example, calcium and iron).

Kids should be getting all the nutrients they need to grow and develop optimally, from food as the primary source.

Children should experiment with many foods and establish a healthy relationship with food from an early age.

It is generally not advised for children to have meal replacement shakes.

Meal replacement shakes could be used where dietary deficiencies exist, where there is an inadequate dietary intake or increased dietary needs which are not being met through food alone.

» Dr Deepak Patel, clinical specialist Discovery Vitality, says: Meal replacement shakes are generally not recommended for children and would not be regarded as a component of a healthy eating plan.

Protein shakes may increase the total protein intake, which may be a challenge for the kidneys in the long term.

Also, shakes lack fibre which is important for healthy gut flora and for cardiovascular health in the long term.

The general recommendations for healthy nutrition in kids are:» To eat a balanced diet of all the major food groups;

» Increase the intake of oily fish, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables (excluding excessive potato intake), nuts, legumes and dairy; and

» Decrease the intake of calorie-dense but nutrient deficient foods such as sugary cold drinks, crisps, cakes, processed meats and fried foods.

Other recommendations on eating behaviour are:

» Eat grain-based breakfast daily;

» Eat together as a family;

» Limit eating out, particularly from fast food outlets;

» Limit portion size and

» Eat slowly

» Faaiza Paruk, dietician, says: Meal replacements or shakes do not teach people to eat healthily.

It’s part of a quick fix.

And once you stop and start eating again, all the weight comes back on.

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