The biggest issue standing between many bariatric patients and their weight loss goals is adherence. Luckily, a number of tools are available to help them stay on track. From registered dietitians to bariatric support groups, these resources can make a huge difference when incorporated into a patient’s post-op lifestyle.
There’s another tool that research indicates facilitates adherence while maximizing weight loss: Meal replacement products. Here’s a closer look at growing demand for meal replacement products, along with four ways in which meal replacements offer tremendous value to post-op bariatric patients.
The meal replacement market is booming with an anticipated compound annual growth rate of 6.83 percent between 2017 and 2012, according to Research and Markets’ Global Meal Replacement Market 2017-2021.
Says the report: “The modern lifestyle has led to considerable changes in the dietary habits of people across the world. Consumers are becoming more health conscious and seeking food products with more nutritional content. The hectic lifestyle of consumers is also increasing the demand for meal replacement products.”
The report continues: “Also, an increase in the number of working women globally has reduced the amount of time women spend cooking. Moreover, the rise in the number of fitness centers and clubs also has a positive impact on the demand for meal replacement products with high protein content, which helps to repair muscles.”
For weight loss patients, meanwhile, meal replacements represent a profound adherence tool. In fact, the Look AHEAD Study, which was published in the academic journal Obesity, identifies meal replacements as a lifestyle intervention that significantly increased weight loss compared to isocaloric diets. Isocaloric diets are typically moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-fat diets that allows dieters to eat whatever they want as long as they consume the same amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats daily consisting of conventional foods.
This is backed by research from the University of Kentucky published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The research also speaks to the efficacy of meal replacement products in the context of two diets: one consisting solely of meal replacement products (“Medically Supervised”) and one consisting of meal replacement products and fruits and vegetables (“Healthy Solutions”).
“This study showed a loss of 16.4 percent of initial body weight in the Medically Supervised group and a loss of 15.8 percent of initial body weight in the Healthy Solutions group, both well above the gold standard the health community considers successful and when health improvements are seen,” says study co-author Dr. James W. Anderson.
Obviously, meal replacement products aren’t magic. Nor is bariatric surgery, for that matter. However, both can have a significant impact on a patient’s health and wellness. Which begs the question: Why do bariatric meal replacement products work so well?
According to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who are obese may underestimate their daily calorie intake by as much as 50 percent when eating conventional foods. This occurs for several reasons, including estimating calorie content, portion sizes, and macronutrient composition. Concludes the Look AHEAD Study, “Meal replacements appear to decrease these difficulties and simplify food choices.”
No one sets out to make bad choices. However, when time is tight and hunger strikes, poor choices are sometimes the easiest. Many meal replacement products eliminate this issue. Specifically, those that are portable and shelf-stable ensure that weight loss patients always have a healthy alternative to a trip through the drive-through window.
Not all meal replacement products are created equal. In steering patients toward meal replacement options that taste good,as well as providing the necessary macronutrients, such as Achieve from Rational Foods, dietitians can help them keep cravings at bay yet still feel satisfied.
Eating right after bariatric surgery isn’t just about limiting calorie intake or portion size. It’s also about maximizing nutrition. Meal replacement products like Achieve contain 20 grams of protein in just one 5-ounce, 160-calorie pouch. Thanks to ingredients like apple, squash and yogurt, they’re also nutrient dense — a major factor in helping patients meet their nutritional requirements.
A new generation of meal replacement products is changing the face of dieting by helping post-op patients eat well while remaining compliant.