When it comes to weight loss solutions, the good news is that there are different routes to success. The frustrating part is figuring out the one that works best for you. How do you sort out the seemingly endless options – most of which carry zero guarantee for success – especially if you’re in need of significant weight loss? 

For example, meal replacement. Meal replacement shakes have been around for decades, but how do you know that they’ll both help you lose weight and maintain your optimum health? After all, many of the meal replacement shakes you can buy in stores and online have a long list of ingredients – many of which you may never have heard of.

According to the dedicated medical professionals at Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management, meal replacement offers a real route to success. But they also caution that it should be the right meal replacement.

“I think (meal replacements) help in multiple ways: No. 1 it gives you the right amount of nutrition that a body needs. You have the right amount of protein, right amount of fat, right amount of carbs, so you’re not denied anything, and it’s 100 percent fortified in all the other nutrients that you need,” Center for Weight Management physician Eileen D. Javellana, M.D., said. “The second is that it resets the stomach for satiety (feeling full). It shows your body how much your stomach is supposed to accommodate, so that people who are overeaters know this is the set limit now.”

However, a meal replacement that is not carefully created to provide the body with the right amount of protein – as well as other nutrients – may end up producing weight loss results that are less than ideal. For instance, if your meal replacement does not have the right amount – and right types of protein in it, you risk losing muscle mass, along with any fat decrease.

“The general guideline for weight loss is to ingest 60-80 grams of protein a day, sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less, depending on the person and disease states,” said registered dietitian Heather Felt, MS, RD, LD. “You need, No. 1, high quality protein to help maintain lean muscle mass and, No. 2, enough protein – so we aim for 20-25 grams (of protein) per meal. That’s what’s great about the right meal replacements is that you know you’re getting a high amount of real quality protein – even just using them for breakfast, because it’s hard to get in 20-25 grams of protein for breakfast.”

That’s why the Center for Weight Management offers medically designed meal replacements, shakes that meet very specific guidelines designed to produce fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.

“You can’t just go to the store and buy the type of products that we have here at Longstreet Clinic. They’re medical grade, medical controlled, and you’ve got medical providers helping distribute those,” said Sheenagh King, RD, LD, CPT, a bariatric dietitian with the Center for Weight Management. “For those people who eat out a lot, eat fast food and pizza, even eat at a restaurant every day, it’s a really easy way to get good nutrition in a small package at a reasonable price.”

It is that ease of use – as well as noticeable results – that makes meal replacement a great option for Longstreet patients.

“These meal replacements provide a fast forward into helping lose weight, as much as one to five pounds per week – and it’s as easy as mixing up a drink,” Dr. Javellana added. “Open a packet, pour it into nine ounces of water, shake it or stir it. And you can choose between a warm soup, a warm drink, or 17 different flavors of cold drinks, from tropical to chocolate, as well as three different flavors of puddings.”

However, meal replacement is not the magic solution for everyone. In fact, some people find that their stomachs cannot tolerate these substances. That is why the Center for Weight Management also offers food-based weight loss plans – which are painstakingly structured to both please the patient and produce results.

“The good thing is we’re a team; we work with dietitians as well so that we can ensure that our patients are eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. So, it’s not a requirement to use meal replacements,” said medical weight loss nurse practitioner Maria Mercedes Hall, FNP-C.

There are also meal replacement options available for those who choose not to eat certain animal-based proteins.

“There are lots of different formulations; there are pea proteins and vegetable-based proteins, so we have something to fit all kinds of lifestyles,” Dr. Javellana said. “So if someone is vegan, vegetarian, only eats fish – people who won’t eat beef or pork for religious reasons, I think we have something for everybody.”

To learn more about meal replacement options – or the proper food-based diet – or just to talk with a professional about getting your weight loss journey started, please contact the caring staff at the Center for Weight Management today. Our providers are always happy to discuss our tried, proven, and safe methods of weight loss. Call us today at 770-534-0110 or toll-free at 877-921-0110. Or you can visit our website or watch our online seminar then fill out our contact form, and our weight loss team will reach out to you. 

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