Are Meal Replacement Shakes Worth It?
They advertise the benefits of having complete nutritional value and helping you feel fuller for longer so you’re less likely to snack. The question is, are meal replacement shakes worth it or are you better off just having a normal meal?
A couple of years ago, maybe a little bit longer, meal replacement shakes became very popular. Brands like Huel, Soylent if you’re in the US, Foodspring, and now some protein supplement companies as well, all offer meal replacement shakes.
What Is A Meal Replacement Shake?
Let me clarify on definition slightly here first. When I talk about meal replacement shakes, I’m talking about moderate to high calorie, nutritional shakes that give you the nutrition that they say your body needs.
This is not the same as the very low calorie shakes that a lot of slimming companies offer that are normally 150 to 200 calories and offer just a little bit of nutrition.
The meal replacement shakes I’m talking about probably have two to three times as many calories as that, and also much higher nutritional value.
Every brand and every formulation of meal replacement shakes is a little bit different. And I’m just going to run through the ones that I’ve tried and let you know my thoughts on them.
Huel Ready To Drink Review
If you’re in the UK, Huel is probably the best known and probably the biggest name in meal replacement shakes.
I’ve tried their ready to drink normal version.
And also the black version which is a higher protein, lower carb variation.
The ready to drink one was okay. It wasn’t great tasting, but it was all right. It had a consistency, which I don’t really know what to equate it to. Like custard, but maybe a little bit more liquidy and having a more oaty texture. I didn’t dislike it.
It wasn’t exactly the best-tasting thing I’ve ever had.
I also don’t think it made me feel full because I was hungry again an hour later.
Plus if you buy a single bottle in a shop, it can be £3-4.
It’s slightly cheaper if you buy in bulk, directly from Huel, but that’s still, you can get a lunchtime meal deal from most supermarkets for less than that.
And it’s about 400 calories, which is the standard serving for pretty much every Huel variation.
Huel Black Review
Huel Black was probably worse for me.
They swap the oats, which they use normal Huel for tapioca, or at least that’s what the recipe was when I tried it and it just left the kind of weird aftertaste.
And it didn’t taste that nice in the first place.
I’m not expecting the same enjoyment or contentment as actual food when I have these, but I also don’t want to not enjoy what I’m having as much as I did.
It is also 400 calories, but I didn’t feel that full from it – Probably slightly more full than I did from the ready to drink version. But not by much. I was probably hungry again an hour and a half later.
MyVegan Whole Fuel Blend Review
Next, I tried the whole fuel blend from MyVegan.com or MyProtein.com.
And that one is cheaper than Huel. It’s about 360 calories per serving compared to 400 calories for Huel.
And it has a similar nutritional value.
I tried the vanilla and I tried the chocolate version as well.
The vanilla one, I did not like. It tasted and had a texture kind of like under-baked bread, which is really hard to explain, but if you imagine a sweet bread, that’s just slightly doughy in the middle still. That’s kind of what it tasted like to me.
The chocolate one was a tiny bit better because I like chocolate anyway, but not by much.
I did find it a bit more filling than the Huel variations I had. I was probably hungry a couple of hours later which is later than what happened with Huel, but probably still earlier than what I would want given that I’m trying to treat this like a meal.
PhD Nutrition Life Complete Blend Review
The last one I tried was the PhD Nutrition Life Complete Blend.
Out of all the ones I tried, it’s probably the best tasting. It tasted more like a normal protein shake, which I’m familiar with and I can work with that.
And it’s lower in calories per serving. It’s got 250 compared to 360 from MyVegan and 400 from Huel.
It took me about the same amount of time to feel hungry later on from the PhD shake as I did from the Huel ready to drink shake but given I had 150 fewer calories, I wasn’t as bothered about wanting to snack on something else later on because I could still get the same overall number of calories.
So Are Meal Replacement Shakes Worth It?
Talking about whether they’re worth it or not – for me, they weren’t.
If I look at the ones that I’ve tested and tried, I feel like if I was to take a protein shake, add some fine oats or some oat flour, and a vitamin powder or greens powder, I can get to the same thing, but tailored a bit more to my own tastes and preferences.
And probably cheaper too.
You do lose a little bit of the convenience of having it ready from a single packet.
But if you can use a scoop and just portion what you’re putting into a shaker, it’s not that much different.
But don’t let my experience stop you. Most companies do allow you to purchase sample packs.
I know MyVegan does. I believe PhD does. Huel however, does not. They insist you buy two bags or two packets on your first purchase, which were a lot of people that’s a big commitment.
But sometimes, and I mean, pretty much constantly, if you look somewhere like eBay, you’ll see someone who’s bought Huel in bulk, they’re batching that up into small sample packs you can buy and try.
So, yes, you’re not getting it directly from Huel, but you’re getting the same thing and you’re getting to try before you invest in buying two bags of it.
That’s my opinion on meal replacement shakes. I don’t think they’re worth it. I think there are better options out there, which you can make yourself. But it’s always worth trying it for yourself and seeing if it works for you.