The Athlete

Meal Replacements

Meal replacements, as the name suggest, are edible products designed to allow you to skip 'sit-down' meal. Meal replacements are very popular in the world of sports nutrition. They are carefully formulated with different amounts of protein, carbohydrates and calories. Meal replacement is a huge, growing industry in North America, and to a slightly lesser extent, around the world. They can come in the form of a powder that is mixed with water or other liquids, shakes, and bars. There is a wide variety of products available at health-food stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and normal grocery stores.

Both men and women use meal replacements. When it comes to sports nutrition, different people use different types of meal replacements for entirely different goals. For example, some meal replacements help you lose weight, while others are engineered to help people put muscle or bulk up. Needless to say, it's important to choose a meal replacement wisely. While it's not a huge deal to skip a meal here or there, it's a different story if you are constantly using meal replacements as a long-term strategy. You might want to seek professional advise from either a registered sports nutritionist, sports doctor or trainer before you begin such a diet. They should be able to advise you before you embark on such an endeavor.

Using meal replacements to gain weight is a very popular technique these days with professional and amateur athletes alike. Who has time to cook properly balanced meals, right? And if you're trying to gain muscle mass, meal replacements can be a safe way to do so. Still, it's important to be very aware of what you're putting in your body. Always read the labels very carefully. Don't go overboard, and follow the recommended amounts. And of course, be careful that you don't eat or drink any meal replacements that contain foods that you are allergic to and use common sense.

Using meal replacements as a way to lose weight is an entirely different story. While meal replacements such as nutrition bars or powder shakes are relatively healthy and safe, the problem is that eating or drinking meal replacements over and over again can lead to boredom and it may be relatively easy to stray off course. Also, meal replacements often leave you wanting more because your body may be used to sitting down to a meal, chewing and swallowing a certain number of times. Even though you may be full from eating or drinking a meal replacement, you still might want to chew on something and end up eating way more than you should be.

If you do lose weight from meal replacements, it may also be difficult once you go off the diet, to keep the weight off. This is the same as with any diet. You may want to gradually reintroduce real foods into your system instead of switching from meal replacements to huge plates of food as soon as the diet is over.