It seems that the health and fitness industry has the shakes again.
I’m not talking about tremors or vibrations, but those fluid concoctions that promise to be all the nutrition you need regardless of your goals or needs.
Actually, shakes have never gone away. Their popularity rises and falls, but I have never seen a surge like this. Let’s do the wise thing and educate ourselves before deciding to shake or not to shake.
What is a “shake?” Usually marketed as a “meal-replacement” to help with fat-loss, these beverages are engineered to be high in protein (10-25 grams/serving), low in carbs and have a varying but generous blend of vitamins and minerals. Shakes come packaged as a powder you can easily mix or in a small, portable, disposable “ready to drink” version, which only requires you to punch in a straw (attached) and suck it down.
Shakes normally come in two flavors, chocolate or vanilla, because they are easy to blend with other flavors (fruits for example), with strawberry showing up from time to time.
Why are shakes so popular? Because they can really work, especially for fat-loss, and for those “on the go” types that need a quick, healthier meal option. Shakes are super-convenient, fairly well-balanced in nutrition, tasty (or easy to make tasty with a slight modification) and finite in calories, offering meal discipline.
Sounds pretty perfect, right? Sure they do, but there are three things to consider before you start shaking uncontrollably.
1. Do I need this? In my opinion, not everyone needs to add a meal replacement shake to their diet, but they can definitely serve you for these purposes:
• to assist in beginning a fat-loss program to establish good eating patterns/behaviors, and offer some initial discipline and success
• to replace a meal you need but are choosing to skip for whatever reason, especially breakfast and lunch (no one skips dinner, are you kidding me?)
• to replace a meal where you would normally grab a convenient, but not-so-healthy item
• as a post-workout product to replace your energy and offer resources for your body to rebuild itself; and
• as a quality, disciplined snack that bridges the gap to your next meal, and gets you through tricky, cheat times
2. Is there a plan? Regardless of the promises and convenience of shakes, don’t be fooled. The best nutrition for your body is real food. When considering a nutrition plan that involves shakes, look for a progressive plan to ween you off the shakes and onto real food as you experience success and discipline. But, feel free to keep the shake in your food arsenal especially for the reasons I listed above.
3. What are the ingredients? Turn over the food label and take a look. What’s in it? What is the protein source? Looks pretty good right? Just one catch: the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements but leaves it to the company to make sure the ingredients inside are as the label says. So be careful and remember nutritious, quality ingredients are expensive and companies can skimp and use inferior ingredients. For example: two common protein sources — soy and whey — both have some negative health benefits and allergenic properties. You might also consider a certified vegan product since those guys are even more picky than the FDA.
Personally, I love shakes for all the great reasons I have listed above, but they don’t define my nutrition. They are a useful tool providing a specific niche in my food plan, but real food is the base. Use your brain and do some homework to decide if a shake supplement is right for you and your body.
Mark Moreland is the owner of Body Outfitters Personal Training Studio in Zionsville and has 13 years of experience as a personal trainer. Mark welcomes your comments and ideas for future topics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonder if lion meat tastes just like chicken
I saw on one of the news sites I frequent that there is a restaurant in Florida serving lion meat. I wonder if it tastes like chicken?
Feeding families on the fly
Running a schedule with kids this time of year is hard! Your family is pulled in multiple directions between sports, “end of school year” events, and your regular scheduled events.
Assess summer child care options
As summer looms closer, parents face a perennial question, “Who will care for the children while we are at work?”
Spring’s been slow to arrive
I found my first two tiny, gray sponge mushrooms Thursday, April 25. With relatively warmer weather over the weekend, this should be the prime week for the Central Indiana mushroom hunter.
Frost-free is not worry free
Gardeners’ hearts are a-thumping. Central Indiana’s frost-free date is just around the corner.
And the award goes to. . .
Mother’s Day is coming soon. As I always do this time of year, I use the day as kind of a debriefing session for the past year. What went well? What could have gone better? What are my goals as a mother for the coming year?
Foundational work will turn your heart into a monster
Tell me if this story sounds familiar: You strap on your shoes and head out running, but before you are even a half mile down the road your heart is jumping out of your chest and it doesn’t come down until you back off to a super-slow walk that is embarrassing.
Strong relationships grow through patience
Not many parenting challenges match the one to simply be patient. What is it about our children’s questions, slow pace or insistence on having an opinion that drives us to snap?
There are so many reasons to celebrate
Today is the first day of May. This day is noteworthy because it is May Day, which you probably know. It is also the anniversary of the introduction of Cheerios by General Mills in 1941, which you may know. May 1 is also Fat Bear Day, which, unless you are my dad, you don’t know.
‘Chemical Reaction’ poses safety questions
Most claim it all started in Levittown, N.Y. After World War II, there was an immediate need for homes for the millions of returning service men and women. William Levitt saw opportunity and quickly set up thousands of mass-produced, look-alike, cracker-box homes, side by side in what has become known as the subdivision.
- More Commentary Headlines
- Wonder if lion meat tastes just like chicken