AS A COSTCO SHOPPER, you most likely have come across container after container of meal and snack replacement options. From shakes to bars, these products can be marketed to do everything from help you to build muscle, lose weight, and even better control your blood glucose levels. But do they really do what they claim? Are meal replacements such as these products necessary for those with diabetes? Let’s take a closer look.
What are meal replacements?
Meal replacements are liquid shakes or bars that are eaten alone or in combination with foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables to replace a standard breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Meal replacements typically contain a high percentage of protein along with carbohydrates and fats to replicate the nutrients that would be found in a meal. These products are also typically fortified with vitamins and minerals.
The calorie content and nutrient profile of the replacement determine whether it should be used as a meal, a snack, or as part of a meal with fruits and vegetables added. For instance, a shake with only 100 calories would not be substantial enough alone to be counted as a meal. However, this shake could make a light snack or it may be paired with a garden salad and fresh fruit for an easy meal option.