Diabetes is a very common health condition and a major health concern in the US. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, type 2 diabetes is more common, and approximately 95% of diabetes patients in the US suffer from this condition.
Diabetes conditions lead to sudden spikes in blood sugar levels in patients. It means that diabetes patients must make major lifestyle changes concerning their food intake. Quick and easy-to-prepare meals are the type that these patients are looking for.
Meal replacement shakes are ideal as they provide adequate nutrition and the convenience people need. However, the question is whether meal replacement shakes are safe for people with diabetes?
Let’s look at how these shakes can impact diabetes patients and if they should be drinking these shakes, if at all.
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are a convenient method of giving your body the necessary nutrients. It is an alternative to traditionally prepared meals; you can drink them instead of a meal or as part of a meal.
These shakes are ready to drink and are ideal if you’re in a hurry. They consist of a mix of vital micro and macronutrients, which you find in a traditionally prepared meal.
Apart from shakes, meal replacements also come in pre-packaged meals and frozen entrees.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe For Diabetics
Diabetic patients might have a concern about the safety of meal replacement shakes. These patients need to be extra cautious when selecting a meal replacement shake as some of these shakes could have very high sugar levels.
Even if you are a diabetes patient, you can still enjoy the convenience of drinking meal replacement shakes if you opt for the right ones.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Meal Replacement Shakes For Diabetics
Keep an eye out for the following factors when choosing the best diabetic meal replacement shakes.
- Sugar level: Sugar level is the main concern for diabetes patients. Choose shakes that have no more than 10g for each serving.
- Protein content: Protein is essential for muscle building and helps you feel full for longer. Therefore, go for shakes with high protein content. Ideally, your shake should have 20g of protein for each serving of 45g.
- Fiber content: Fiber is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Choose meal replacement shakes with high fiber content for the best results. Ideally, 5g of fiber for each serving of 45g is optimal.
- Calorie count: Meals with high-calorie counts are unsuitable for diabetes patients. Choose meal replacement shakes that have less than 200 calories per serving.
- Artificial coloring and flavoring: These substances can harm your health in the long run, so it is best to avoid them as a diabetes patient.
Benefits Of Meal Replacement Shakes For Diabetics
Following are the benefits you gain by drinking meal replacement shakes.
- Weight loss: Individuals with diabetes tend to gain weight. Since meal replacement shakes are low in calories, they promote weight loss in diabetic patients.
- Obtain essential nutrients: Meal replacement shakes have adequate amounts of nutrients that you need to stay healthy. It contains protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that substitute for a balanced diet.
- Manage blood sugar level: Meal replacement shakes for diabetics have the right amount of calories to help manage blood sugar levels.
- Easy to use: These shakes are ready to drink and convenient, making it easy for you to get the required amount of nutrition even when you’re in a rush.
Ingredients Found In Meal Replacement Shakes
You must ensure to buy meal replacement shakes containing healthy and nutritious ingredients. These include fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants,
Avoid drinking meal replacement shakes that contain the following ingredients.
- Added sugar
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame
- Artificial flavoring
- Chemical preservatives such as carrageenan
- Thickening agents such as maltodextrin
- Stabilizers including xanthan gum
How To Use Meal Replacement Shakes
You can drink meal replacement shakes instead of one or two meals or as part of a meal per day. Meal replacement shakes also complement other foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole-grain crackers, yogurt, and fat-free milk.
You can replace your breakfast with a meal replacement shake to help you keep full for longer. It will also prevent you from snacking before lunch.
Similarly, replacing lunch with these shakes will keep you feeling full for longer and prevent you from snacking in the evening or right before dinnertime.
Meal replacement shakes are safe to consume for anyone, including diabetics. They can be excellent replacements for traditional meals. In addition, they contain many of the essential nutrients your body requires.
When choosing meal replacement shakes for diabetics, you need to look at the ingredients. Diabetes patients should avoid drinking meal replacement shakes that have added sugar.
You must also avoid choosing shakes with artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives. Once you choose the correct meal replacement shake, you can enjoy it with great convenience.
How Often Should I Drink Meal Replacement Shakes?
You can replace one to two meals with meal replacement shakes and use them for a period as directed in the product.
Will Meal Replacement Shakes Spike My Blood Sugar?
The correct meal replacement shake can help manage blood sugar levels and provide complete nutrition. However, you need to read the labels to ensure that it contains the correct type of carbohydrates, such as low glycemic carbohydrates, suitable for diabetes patients.
What Will Happen If I Only Drink Meal Replacement Shakes?
Replacing all three meals with meal replacement shakes will not provide enough nutrition that you can get from traditional meals. Insufficient calorie intake could lead to fatigue, decreased metabolism, and muscle loss.
Can I Take Metformin With A Meal Replacement Shake?
Yes, you can take metformin with a meal replacement shake. Meal replacement shakes have no interactions with the intake of metformin.