Registered diabetes educator and dietitian, Tammy Jardine, tells us all we need to know about Shape Diet Meal Replacement Shakes.
Shape Diet Meal Replacement Shakes should be used as a meal replacement and not as a supplement (addition to a meal).
When meal planning in diabetes, the priority is the total carbohydrate content since this is the macro-nutrient that most affects blood glucose.
As a basic rule of thumb principle, it’s recommended to limit total carbohydrate in a meal to no more than 45g, and to no more than 10g in a snack for optimal blood glucose control.
Water vs milk
Shape shakes provide 21,8-24g per serving when made up with water. This means that a small fruit or a green salad could be eaten with the shake if you still feel hungry, without compromising the carbohydrate limits.
If it’s made with milk then the carbohydrate will increase to 32,8-35g per serving which will still fall within the carbohydrate limits.
Monitor your blood glucose
When substituting the shake for a meal, it’s good practice to monitor blood glucose to see what affect the shake has on your blood glucose.
Since the shake is relatively low in carbohydrates, it’s a good idea to have a healthy snack, like a small fruit, available in case your blood glucose level drops.
If you find that the shakes do decrease blood glucose then instead of having food to increase them, which would contradict your weight loss efforts, try mixing the shake with skim milk. Alternatively, speak to your healthcare provider about adjusting your diabetes medications.
The fibre content is a little low when considering that the requirements for fibre is 25g a day. One shake provides between 0,2g and 1,3g per serving. Therefore, it is not recommended that the shake provide the sole source of nutrition for a day. Include some fresh veg to boost your fibre intake.
Protein, fat and energy
Shape Diet Meal Replacement Shakes are high in protein which helps you feel satiated. It’s low in fat and not high in energy, at less than 845kJ per serving, which is why it will be beneficial for weight loss.
Any meal replacement shake should have added vitamins and mineral so that micro-nutrient requirements are met. No additional multivitamin supplements are necessary when replacing meals with fortified shakes.
The non-nutritive sweeteners, sucralose (in the shakes), and sugar alcohols (xylitol) are safe to use for people living with diabetes. They don’t cause a rise in blood glucose levels.
There will always be controversy about sugar substitutes since they require processing to achieve final product. The debate is not whether it’s natural (since sucrose sugar is natural), but rather about the process and the chemicals required to process the product. In studies, there is no scientific reason to avoid sugar substitutes in diabetes.
Frequently asked questions
Can I replace all three meals and just have some fruit or salad to add fibre?
The shake can be used to replace one to all three meals a day. The reason for using a shake will determine how many meals are replaced and the length of time it will be used.
Some people may want to use the shake as a meal replacement to replace a meal that they don’t have time to prepare, like breakfast and/or lunch. Some will use it as an alternative to a meal for weight loss. The benefit being that it’s calorie controlled and fortified with added vitamins and minerals.
If three meals are replaced, it’s advised to add vegetables to the daily intake to ensure a better fibre intake. Replacing all meals would be considered a low-calorie diet. There is some evidence that a low-calorie diet for six-12 weeks can decrease weight and improve insulin resistance. These improvements have been shown to have a positive effect on diabetes since blood glucose levels improve. If this weight loss is maintained, it’s possible that the improvements in blood glucose can be more long-term and can even possibly ‘reverse’ diabetes. You should speak to a diabetes dietitian if this interests you. A low-calorie diet should be undertaken under the guidance of a dietitian.
Do I only use Shape until I have lost the required weight?
If the aim of using a meal replacement is for weight loss, then you can use the shake for the time that it takes to lose the weight. Then use the shake less frequently to transition to a normal diet and prevent weight regain.
Could you substitute two meals and still have one cooked meal a day? Or would that upset the plan?
There are various ways to use the shake. This is probably the most common way (as mentioned in the question) of using the shake. The cooked meal should still be well-balanced, high in vegetables with a portion of lean meat, high-fibre starch and a small amount of fat.
If I don’t need to lose weight, can I still use the shake for an easy convenient midday meal?
Yes, you can use the shake to replace a meal if you don’t have time to prepare a meal.