Meal Replacement Shakes VS Protein Shake: A Noob's Guide

Monday, April 03, 2017
If you have been following me on Instagram, you'd know that I've already instigated changes in my life. Although healthy living has always been on my list of new year's resolutions every single year, it's only this 2017 that I've actively taken control of several facets in my life. One of which is fitness and nutrition.

There were times in the past that I would subject myself to dieting -- from liquid fasting, half-cup rice diet, no-rice diet, low carb high fat diet, juice cleanse, paleo, etc. While most of these diets took a few pounds off me, it wasn't really sustainable. (Okay, some of these diets can actually be sustainable, but just not for me.) And without regular exercise, I just found myself getting lighter, but becoming skinny fat -- looks pretty slim, but actually has a high body fat percentage, and without much muscle mass.

meal replacement and protein shakes
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Did I like how I look? During that time when I lost weight, yes. However, when the pounds started to accumulate again, I found myself further back than when I started. I gained fat in places I previously didn't have issues with. I look worse than before.

And that's when I did a lot more researching and reading on how I'd efficiently lose body fat, become fit, and be on a healthy but sustainable lifestyle. This led me to keeping active, regularly exercising, closely tracking my daily macro-nutrient intake, and discovering the world of meal replacement shakes and protein shakes.

What I used to know

Meal replacement shakes and protein shakes can easily be thought of as one and the same by someone who hasn't really been oriented much about them. Yes, I speak for the me of 2016 and beyond.

However, although meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are both used by many to assist in fitness efficiency and body structure objectives, they have very clear differences. Depending on your goal, you may only need one or the other to include in your meal plan.

Meal Replacement Shakes VS Proten Shakes: The Differences

The major distinction between meal replacement and protein powder are essentially the components. In general, protein powders primarily contain whey protein. Protein powder by itself doesn't contain enough quantity of carbs, dietary fiber or even natural vitamins in order to sustain energy within the body in the manner a well-balanced meal can.

On the other hand, meal replacement powders are made to be taken in place of meals, so it contains carbs, proteins, fat and other micro-nutrients, in varying ratios depending on your needs.

Protein Content

Protein shakes usually offer about twenty-five (25) grams of protein for every serving. Meal-replacements intended for general health can have lower protein content at about ten (10) grams per portion, while those intended for weight-loss and also muscle mass-building may include up to forty (40) grams.

Fat Content

Protein shakes are typically low fat, with approximately three (3) grams or lower, while the fat in meal-replacements varies. Meal-replacements which are low carbohydrate normally have greater fat content, which could nevertheless be valuable if you’re in a reduced carb food plan. Higher carb meal replacement shakes on the other hand, normally consist of lower fat.

You may need to buy a good meal replacement which contains omega-3 fats, as research recommends that omega-3 fats can assist in muscle mass gain as well as fat-loss.

Carbohydrate Content

Generally, protein shakes consist of carbs lower than five (5) grams, given that they aren’t intended to be complete meals. To help make its dietary profile much like an actual meal, meal replacement shakes normally consist of a number of carbs.

Meal-replacements which are beneficial for weight-loss will contain dietary fiber, a nutrient which is good for the digestive tract and can also assist in keeping one full for longer.

Minerals and Vitamins

Protein shakes mainly does not consist of any kind of extra vitamins and minerals aside from those gotten from the protein source. For example, shakes made from whey protein that is a dairy product, will consist of a specific amount of calcium.

Although not every meal replacement shake consists of extra vitamins and minerals, several essentially do.


Meal-replacements are made to be a little more filling because they are comprised of much more healthy calories as opposed to protein shakes. Although the calories in meal-replacements are greater than protein powder, they nonetheless possess lesser calories when compared to whole foods, which could assist weight-loss.

Protein shakes which contain whey protein isolates typically offer the smallest calorie, which can be around 100 calories for every portion, with some others containing up to 120 calories.

On the other hand, meal replacement shakes usually consist of roughly 250 to 400 calories per serving.


Although it is certainly not recommended to replace each one of your meals, should you be accustomed to skipping meals or if you're likely to go 5 to 7 hours without eating, then the meal replacement powder can be a good addition to your diet to sustain energy levels as well as body metabolism until you have the time for a well-balanced meal.

If you need to boost your protein intake on the other hand, protein powders can come in handy as a more economical source of protein, in addition to protein-rich whole foods.

In the end, understanding which to choose between the two demands you to know what you want and what you really need in your diet. Whichever it is, high quality meal replacement shakes or protein shakes will both be beneficial in keeping your body energized, fighting off cravings and sustaining your metabolism, whilst helping restore torn muscle tissues after working out.


  1. This is one of those diet stuff that I wanted to follow but I haven't tried yet hehe :) Will try this year siguro :)

    ♥ Chai Chen ♥ @chenmeicai

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