Meal replacements are very popular in US adults trying to lose weight. According to a telephone survey, 15% of women and 13% of men were using meal replacements for weight loss . There are various reasons for this popularity. Meal replacements help people lose weight by providing a controlled amount of calories and fat in a prefixed portion. They are convenient, easy to purchase, easy to store, and require little preparation. They are available nearly everywhere and reasonably prized. Meal replacements reduce the number of decisions people have to make daily about what to eat and reduce their exposure to tempting foods that might result in overeating. Two meals are replaced, but the one remaining meal offers the opportunity to maintain a normal life, reduces barriers to dietary adherence, and helps to instill regular eating patterns. In addition, the remaining meal may increase the accuracy of calorie estimation and estimation of portion size, provides a simple guide for healthy nutrition, and positively affects self-monitoring. Meal replacements incorporated in the diet provide the nutrient composition necessary for long-term weight maintenance and healthy nutrition.
Within the weight management programs the meal replacement plan is allowing varying degrees of flexibility and variety in eating. The intake of one or two meals per day with a nutritionally balanced formula means a strong structure and the self-selection of additional meals and snacks means sufficient dietary variation. The meal replacement plan is a logical and easy-to-use plan for patients to follow, as supported by strong evidence.
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