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Meal Replacement Vs Protein Supplements – Are They Same?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on January 05 2021

R

eal-life is busy and saving you time is an area where the supplements excel. Running out of time, need to eat outside the home, will make people look for convenient alternatives to supplement whole foods.

In today’s market, the options for supplements that match your fitness goals are no less and in fact, the wide variety will put you into confusion as which one to choose and which supplement will make a relevant choice.

There is one such major confusion prevailing among protein powders and meal replacement powders. Are they one and the same, how to figure out which is best for your goals?

If you too are unsure about the two supplements and need some clarity, this blog will cover everything you need to know about the two. Shall we crack open the lid and quickly dive in…?

First, come first, let’s go with meal replacement…

 

What Is A Meal Replacement?

Meal Replacements are a calorie-controlled, pre-packed product in the form of a bar or a ready to drink beverage or powder that is used to replace a meal.

To put things in much simpler terms, meal replacements are products designed to replace the nutritional value of a meal but with lower total calorie intake. The low-calorie, smaller portion of a meal may be reduced into the size of a shake, or a meal bar.

Depending on goals, they could be used to replace one or two of the usual 3 daily meals. Substituting one of the main daily meals with meal replacement product can help people lose weight and even maintain/manage their weight after weight loss.

Meal replacement products give you the sustenance your body requires without the disproportionate amount of sugars and carbs that are common in a normal meal.

Note: Meal replacement powders are in general, marketed as a great, simple way to help individuals that are prone to missing meals or struggling for consistency in their diet plan due to its meal replacement ability to be consumed immediately with minimal to no preparation.

 

What Is A Protein Supplement?

Protein supplements are protein powders that are a more convenient way to meet the daily protein demand.

The advantage or usefulness of protein supplements come in allowing a person to meet the amino acid need without having to prepare and eat hefty meals containing protein which is practically not possible on a daily basis.

  • Delivers a highly bioavailable protein source into your system.

  • More varieties of powders (plant protein and dairy protein) are available to suit the individual need.

  • Particularly beneficial for vegetarians and vegan, for whom it can be difficult to pack enough protein into their daily meals.

  • Benefits in building lean muscles, and in quick recovery of muscles post- workout.

  • Takes only around 30 minutes to reach the muscles after drinking.

Your muscles need adequate protein to grow and recover from training. Low protein intake leads to muscle loss and slow recovery.

Protein powders are something low in calories, but gives you the protein and amino acids needed for your active lifestyle needs.

Something is made clear, now the difference between replacement and supplement is what you’ve got to know…

 

Difference Between Meal Replacement & Protein Supplements

Both, in their own way, are products which differ in nutritional composition and are designed for different goals, hence as a consumer, it’s important for you to choose the right one for your specific goals.

A meal replacement doesn’t focus on one macronutrient but rather contributes to a healthy balance of macros and micronutrients that your body needs.

Protein powders intend to deliver and add extra protein to your diet, not replace a meal altogether.

 

Let’s compare the core differences between meal replacement and protein supplement below keeping in mind that every brand has its own set of ingredients and nutrition facts.

 

After having read and understood this bit, there may arise this final question in your mind…

 

Can Protein Shakes Be Used As Meal Replacement?

           

A clear answer to this would be NO, protein supplements cannot be used as meal replacements. As the very name suggests, protein shakes supplement a meal and not replace a meal. Here is the justification…

A meal is typically a mixture of different foods that lend themselves to a moderate to high-calorie count made of a mixture of macronutrients and micronutrients. Meal replacements help you cut down calories but are still high on nutrition to make it count for a food source.

The main purpose of using a protein supplement is to get enough protein to repair and strengthen your muscles after your workout. The simplest reason upfront, why you shouldn’t use protein supplements as meal replacement is because they do not contain other nutrients required to match the nutritive and caloric value of a meal, so you’ll still need to eat regular, healthy meals.

Protein supplements, on their own, cannot be used as a meal replacement. You may think of replacing your meals with protein shakes for effective weight loss results, but this is not a safe option. You may replace either breakfast, lunch or dinner with a protein shake for a couple of days a week, but it should not be your plan for the entire week.

 

You need not use protein shakes as a meal replacement but incorporating protein shakes into your low-calorie diet supports weight loss and in building lean muscles…

Now that the difference is laid out, you may find it easier to choose the best suitable product for your need…

 

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