Dietician Danette Allen breaks down the popular grab-and-go diet drinks.
With claims like “don’t waste your work out,” “healthy sustained energy,” and the promise of a “shake for breakfast and lunch with a sensible dinner will help you loose weight,” what diet drink do you choose?
The question to be asked is: Do these diet drinks (EAS, Slim Fast, Atkins, and Muscle Milk) do what they claim? Do they give you sustained energy all while helping you loose weight?
Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic state that manufacturers of protein shakes may claim that their products decrease body fat or promote weight loss. But there is no evidence that this is true. Eating a source of protein as part of a meal or snack is a good idea. You’ll likely feel satisfied longer, which means you’re likely to consume fewer calories overall. Occasionally having a protein shake with added vitamins and minerals as a meal supplement is better than skipping a meal. However, these types of shakes — even if the labels shows added nutrients — do not replace all of the benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
Also, the down fall of these drinks is that nutritional supplements can be marketed without FDA approval of safety or effectiveness. Athletes who choose to ingest these supplements should be concerned with the safety of long-term use. They are low-nutrient, low-fiber, highly-processed, high-calorie “foods,” whose consumption reduces the phytochemical density of your diet.
The diet drinks studied contain large amounts of protein. Ingesting more protein than your body needs is not a small matter. It ages you prematurely and can cause significant harm. The excess protein you do not use is not stored by your body as protein; it is converted to fat or eliminated via the kidneys. Eliminating excess nitrogen via your urine leaches calcium and other minerals from your bones and breeds kidney stones
By not consuming diet drinks you are saving money, saving your health by eating real foods versus processed foods, and you may cut back on fat/ meal. So if you are going for weight loss and increased energy there are better alternatives. Instead of purchasing a drink, grab a precut fruit bowl, a yogurt, string cheese and an apple, or grab a grilled chicken breast from the deli.
Danette Allen is the owner of Action Personal Training in Salt Lake City. She has been a dietician and fitness professional for the past 11 years. Danette has a huge passion for health and speaks to local and national groups about ways to feel your best. For more information about her personal training services or fitness retreats, visit www.bodyheartmindsoul.com.