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There has been an alarming number of people on my Facebook, pushing meal replacement shakes as the holy grail of health & fat loss.

You know the brands I am talking about, they sound like miceagenics & sherpa life.

Let’s get this straight…

Meal Replacement Shakes are NOT the answer

They are nothing more than insanely expensive skim milk powder, scattered
with unproven marketing claims. Backed by testimonials based on ulterior motives

I know what some of you are thinking… but people lose weight when they use meal replacement shakes.

People also lose weight if you lock them in a cupboard and only feed them rice cakes for 30 days.

So let’s look at the benefits of each of these weight loss methods.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes

  • You don’t have to socialise at dinner parties because you don’t eat normal food anymore
  • You never have to floss your teeth again because you never have to chew anything
  • You never have to clean the stove again! You eat an adults version of skinny ovaltine at every meal

Benefits of Being Locked in a Cupboard

  • You save heaps of money
  • You don’t have people on Facebook with fake testimonials trying to sell you shitty products
  • You don’t have to see ads for My Kitchen Rules every 2 seconds

So let’s review how very low calorie diets (VLCD) work.

Because regardless of whether you eat an adults version of skinny Ovaltine or you starve yourself they are both examples of VLCD’s.

Meal Replacement Shakes Cause Big Decreases In Metabolism

As you can see from the graph VLCD’s destroy your metabolism. Sure, you lose weight quickly, but it’s neither sustainable or healthy.

In my opinion any company / person who promotes this type of diet sucks.

More often than not, people who attempt this type of diet often end up in a worse position than when they started.

They put all the weight back on plus some, they now have a terrible relationship with food & have a hard time losing weight again in the future.

If you have a friend who yo-yo diets, this graph is a perfect example of what is happening to them.

It should be noted that regardless of the diet you undertake. If you are in an energy deficit (using up more energy than you consume) it will affect your metabolism to some extent, there is no getting around this.

But sensible dieting has far less of an impact, especially long term. This is why periods of fat loss followed by maintenance phases work best and are the most sustainable.

On testimonials…

The testimonials really get me.

I have a bunch of people of my Facebook who often post about how amazing they feel thanks to *insert product name*

It’s funny, I have never seen them post about product testimonials before.

They never post about

  • An amazing book they recently read
  • A great podcast they listened to
  • Or even a great restaurant they went to recently

But all of a sudden they are spruiking the benefits of this new product.

Is this a coincidence… or does this have something to do with the commission they get from pushing the products onto others?

I feel like this is a great analogy.

If I promise a drug addict a week’s supply of gear, if they hit the streets and start promoting the drug would they do it?

Of course they would.

They are getting something out of it. Would they have done that without the incentive?

No way in the world.

Unfortunately money / incentives does some crazy things to people.

On cleansing & unproven marketing quotes…

One of the product FAQs reads: Why do you need a cleanse?

It claims these products “kickstart the body’s detoxification systems”


Here is what some way smarter people than me think about cleanses / detoxes:

“The body has its own amazing detoxification systems: the liver and the kidneys” says Ranit Mishori – Georgetown University of Medicine

“There is very little clinical evidence to support the use of these diets” Journal of Nutrition & Dietetics

“You do not need to do anything cleansing, per se, because you have a wonderful organ in your body called the liver” Keri Gans – American Dietetic Association

“We encounter toxic substances all the time, but our body does a perfectly good job of removing them” Tim Deakin – Associate Professor Deakin University

There are also claims that these products have a x4 higher rate of increased muscle mass & x2 greater fat loss compared to traditional food plans.

This is absolute garbage.

If someone finds me any evidence on this I will eat my shoe.

Bottom line, the people who push these products have very little to almost no nutrition knowledge.

On price & what you could do with the equivalent amount of money…

I mentioned earlier that these products were insanely expensive.

One of the nutritional cleanses costs around $360

For 30 days worth of what is essentially skim milk powder with some vitamins, that is ridiculous.

What you could buy for the same price:

  • Buy 12kgs of protein powder from Bulk Nutrients – (enough to last you a whole year)
  • Get 4x sessions with a personal trainer
  • Get a nutrition consult + email support from a nutritionist & still have money left over
  • For the price of 3x months you could put yourself through the Precision Nutrition – Level One Coaching Program and give yourself a foundation level of nutrition & coaching knowledge
  • Buy the Muscle & Strength pyramid ebooks & have $273 spare – you will then have more nutrition & exercise knowledge than anyone who sells these products

*Note these recommendations are NOT affiliate links. I recommend them because I genuinely believe in them, not because I am being paid commission.

A message for people who sell these products

Your products suck. Instead of ripping people off and promoting a milkshake lifestyle.

How about you start eating like an adult & invest some time into nutrition. You’re not a nutrition expert, you’re in a marketing scheme trying to rip people off. Get a real job.

Regardless of your line of work, you should leave people better off than when you found them.

This is especially true when it comes to health & fitness. Promising quick results, starving people & using unproven marketing claims just isn’t it.