The Benefits & Cautions of Weight Loss Drinks

Weight loss drinks make up a significant part of the diet business and are sold in drug stores, grocery stores and on the Internet.  Here is a closer look at the benefits and cautions of weight loss drinks.

Diet Shakes

Diet shakes, such as Slim-Fast, have been around for decades. These shakes provide a pre-portioned meal substitute containing protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. They are readily available and portable. Diet shakes come either premixed for ultimate convenience or in a powder. The powder is generally more affordable and can be mixed with milk or water.

Benefits

Dieters who lack a morning appetite can start their days with a diet shake for breakfast. Premixed diet shakes are shelf-stable and can be stored at work or brought on trips for emergency snacks or meals. For some dieters, the chocolate flavor can satisfy cravings.

Cautions

Diet shakes contain sugar and are highly processed. Liquid meals tend to be digested rapidly and some dieters can feel hungry soon after drinking a shake. Dieters who replace more than one meal a day with a shake may not consume the minimum daily recommended amounts of calories, fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes can provide more protein per serving than diet shakes, but, depending on the brand, also contain fewer carbohydrates and vitamins. These shakes are designed to supplement an overall diet rather than replace meals.

Benefits

Depending on the brand, protein shakes can help dieters increase their daily protein intake for a calorie bargain. Vegetarians in particular can benefit from this meat-free protein source, although vegans should be aware that most protein shakes contain whey. Hemp and soy protein shakes provide a vegan alternative. Weightlifters often benefit from having an easily digestible source of protein available after each exercise session.

Cautions

Too much protein can cause kidney stones to form for some dieters. Some protein shakes are tastier than others. Reputable nutrition shops offer samples, so taste a few to find one that is most palatable for you. Also, be sure to read the labels. Some protein shakes contain as many calories as 6 fried chicken nuggets per serving.

“Cleansing” Drinks

Various recipes for concoctions of lemon, cayenne, maple syrup and vinegar abound on the Internet. These so-called “cleansing” or “detox” drinks are purported to rid one’s body of toxins and waste buildup.

Benefits

There are no benefits to consuming a “cleansing” or “detox” beverage. The human body is capable of removing waste via skin, liver, kidneys, lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. Any reduction on the scale that occurs with these products is temporary water and solid waste weight loss that will return as soon as a healthy diet is reinstituted. For fat loss, an overall diet consisting of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats is far more effective.

Cautions

Long-term use of these “detox” drinks in lieu of real food can cause the human body to break down muscle and other tissue. In addition, frequent consumption of highly acidic beverages can cause tooth enamel to erode.

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