Manage Your Food Cravings with Meal Replacement Powders

Admit it — you’ve probably had your share of food cravings. There are times when you have this uncontrollable desire to feast on something that you just know you shouldn’t, and before you realise it, it’s done. After which you’re probably pretty stressed enough to feel hungry again. Thus, the endless cycle begins.

There is no need to beat yourself up about it, as food cravings are as natural as you wanting to rest and take a breather when you are tired. However, it becomes problematic when it interferes with your diet, especially if it leads to unmanageable weight gain. But how do you take control over food cravings?

There are many ways to do it, but there’s one which is showing special promise lately — meal replacement powders.

What are Meal Replacement Powders?

Meal replacement powders, also called MRPs, are foods that can replace an entire meal or a small snack. Packed with all the right nutrients your body needs, MRPs are considered the healthier alternative compared to other meals that often come with high calorie and fat content. Due to this, MRPs are favored by bodybuilders and professional athletes, as well as people wanting to lose weight safely.

Meal replacement powders are also popular with people who are always on the move; simply prepare a smoothie, add some fruits or a salad, and you’re good to go!! Why settle for unhealthy oily foods when you can have a better, more nutritious option?

How MRPs can help you with food cravings

Apart from being handy, meal replacement powders have a number of other benefits, one of them being their ability to help you manage your food cravings.

Back in 2003, a 40-week trial involving participants who showed symptoms of obesity was done by Dr. Steven Heymsfield and his colleagues to test out the effectiveness of MRPs. It was indeed effective, as those who consumed meal replacements were able to shed weight faster than those who ate other types of food. The study also showed that meal replacements were effective in calming down the ‘hunger hormones’ of the participants, effectively decreasing their cravings, further complementing their weight loss diet. This claim was backed by the University of Ulm’s research back in 2010 stating that meal replacements, coupled with the right diet and exercise, can help an obese person control their hunger pangs and get back in shape in a relatively short period.

So what did the researchers find out when they did this study, exactly? What makes meal replacement powders so effective in satiating the participants’ food cravings?

Researchers found out that MRPs pack a lot of protein, a necessary nutrient to suppress one’s appetite. While protein can be found in other food sources, most of these foods contain high amounts of fat and calories — a rather bad combination, especially if you are looking to shed those extra pounds. Protein directly influences dopamine, one of the many hunger hormones inside your body. Protein also helps in increasing serotonin, a hormone that influences your mood, making bouts of irritability less frequent. By adding more protein to your diet, you not only get leaner muscles, but also increase your dopamine and serotonin levels in the process, making you crave food less. Having a breakfast with foods rich in protein can help in cutting down unwanted food cravings.

Meal replacements also contain high amounts of dietary fiber — a vital nutrient that helps you to achieve your ideal weight and more. Dietary fiber helps in regulating your blood sugar levels, which play a crucial role in controlling your hunger. Studies show that people with low blood sugar levels often experience bouts of extreme stress and irritability, inadvertently making them want to eat sweets and other sugary treats. Besides helping you manage your sweet cravings, dietary fiber helps the digestive system to function properly, which again helps in promoting weight loss. It also significantly reduces the risk of you becoming obese, as well as lowering your chances of contracting life-threatening diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and others.

What MRPs lack

Quite a surprise that meal replacements can do so much good for your body, right? However, it is important to note that there are a few downsides for choosing meal replacement powders.

Sustainability is one of the major downsides of taking meal replacements. MRPs are just not as effective in the long run, when compared with other methods of weight loss. Sure, they can help you cut back on food cravings and shed extra weight in the process, but once you stop taking meal replacements, your appetite comes back with a vengeance. In other words, discipline is still key to maintaining a healthy diet.

It is true that MRPs can help you meet your body’s nutritional needs, but they cannot be considered a complete and healthy meal. They lack antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for the body’s growth — all of which can only be found by eating fruits and vegetables. This is the main reason why dietary experts suggest taking meal replacement powders and shakes with fruits and/or a vegetable salad in order to have a complete and balanced diet.

Should I take MRPs?

Like with everything else, it is important to let your doctor or a registered dietician know about your decision to take MRPs. While meal replacement powders are safe for consumption, there are some people who suffer from whey and protein sensitivity, effectively barring them from taking any sort of MRPs. Some medical conditions also impede the effectiveness of meal replacements, making them less potent than they should be. Seek the advice of your doctor before you opt for any meal replacement powders.


Sandy-GetzkySandy Getzky is the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus. Sandy is also a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild.