Weight Loss Meal Replacements Work

The recent BBC programme "The Big Crash Diet Experiment" follows 4 obese volunteers following an 8 week extreme diet plan.

There has long been mixed views on if meal replacement plans for weight loss are effective.

'Crash diets' have been bad mouthed for a long time but recent research suggests they should be revisited as an effective way of losing weight.

In the recent BBC programme 'The Big Crash Diet Experiment' experts suggested that they may be a good way to diet because of the following reasons:

  • Meal replacement Ingredients have improved considerably over the years.
  • In certain instances meal replacements are more likely to contain all of the  vitimins and minerals that are needed and probably more so than if you tried to assemble a meal from food yourself.  
  • Meal planning is made simple as you don't need to think as much about what you are going to eat or how to make the meal.
  • These low calorie diets have very clear rules to stick to
  • Weight loss can occur quite quickly 

Dr Javid Abdelmoneim worked with some of Britain's top scientists 2 of which were Professor Susan Jebb and Professor Paul Aveyard from The University of Oxford in an interesting experiment that puts the most recent research on crash dieting to the test.  It centred on 4 obese volunteers with real health problems that are related to being over weight.  Conditions such as; liver disease and type 2 diabetes.  The 4 candidates were assessed at the beginning of the 8 week experiment and the end.

Click here to view episode

What were the results?

The candidates saw well themselves shed well over 10% of their body weight each in a mere 8 weeks 1 of volunteer lost a massive 18% of his body weight.

The weight associated medical concerns improved over the 8 week timeframe:

  • The individual with diabetes type 2 has seen it go into remission 
  • The candidate with liver disease saw the fat in their liver reduce by 30% 

According to Professor Jebb the final phase is the most important phase of a meal replacement diet. This phase includes the introduction of real food back in to your diet.  This is because making food choices and decisions for yourself can be very difficult as well as deciding on portion sizes and ensuring old habits do not re-emerge.

Reintroducing food into your diet can be tricky here are a few pointers:

  • Have a list of what you are permitted to eat and what you are not permitted to eat
  • If you do cheat don't let it ruin your diet, get back on plan as soon as posible 
  • Plan each meal make sure you carry replacements with you so you're not caught out.

Dr Javid Abdelmoneim stated that "I'm a convert, our experiment has shown that when done properly crash diets can work and those results are backed up by large studies".

"I'm still impressed because I've seen it work with our volunteers."

"The big fear with crash diets is that once the diet has ended people will just put the weight back on, but 4 months on the volunteers on our experiment have switched to solid food and continued to lose weight."


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