Diet shakes for weight loss generally come in powdered form. They are mixed with either water or nonfat milk to create a drink that is similar to a milkshake. However, these diet shakes are typically low in calories. Many of them incorporate a healthy amount of protein (usually around 15 grams), which is digested slowly. Because the shakes are digested slowly, they keep hunger at bay for longer than typical snacks or light meals. Some shakes contain fiber as well, which helps you feel full longer, and many are fortified with vitamins, minerals, and calcium so that you don't miss out on nutrition when you use them as meal replacements.

How Do Diet Shakes for Weight Loss Work?

People use weight loss shakes to occasionally replace meals, or to replace snacks as part of their weight loss plan. For example, a person working in a busy office who didn't find time to eat a healthy lunch might have a weight loss shake for lunch rather than buying fast food or vending machine food. As another example, after a healthy lunch, a person may choose to have one of these shakes mid-afternoon to counter the mid-afternoon slump and satisfy hunger until they can get home to make a healthy dinner.

What Should You Look for in a Weight Loss Shake?

Weight loss shakes usually contain protein and many of them contain fiber. Protein and fiber help you feel full longer and help decrease cravings for unhealthy foods. You can find yummy flavors like chocolate mint, mocha, and vanilla. Most have around 90 to 100 calories and are low in sugar, fat, and carbohydrates. Many are free of trans fats, gluten, gelatin, and wheat and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Basically, a diet shake should give you a broad range of nutrients while remaining low in calories and containing enough protein to help you feel satisfied.

What Weight Loss Shakes Can't Do

Weight loss shakes can't do it all. They're not "extras" or desserts, but should be used to replace other foods in a healthy overall diet. You shouldn't try to replace all your meals with weight loss shakes, because you would miss out on vital nutrients that come from fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Don't expect weight loss shakes alone to cure your weight problem. They are supplements and should be a part of a healthy eating and exercise plan.

How to Incorporate Shakes into Your Weight Loss Program

Keeping a few weight loss shakes at your desk at work is very convenient for occasionally replacing your lunch with a healthy alternative. Another approach may be having a weight loss shake made with nonfat milk as a quick and easy breakfast on a day when you know you'll have a healthy lunch and dinner. They are also great when you find your last meal didn't fill you up and you don't want to load up on unhealthy snacks before your next meal. Basically, a diet shake is great for filling in gaps when you need a low calorie, low fat, low sugar snack or meal that provides a healthy range of vitamins and minerals.

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