Guidelines for Meal ReplacementsPosted: March 18, 2013 in Obesity Medicine by Craig Primack MD FACP
We are often asked how long one should stay on a full meal replacement diet. You may be concerned you won’t lose weight if you start adding in a meal. You may also wonder when snack bars (also known as partial meal replacement bars) should be integrated into your plan.
Here are a few guidelines:
- Full meal replacement (FMR) leads to the most rapid weight loss, averaging 1-4 pounds each week. Because the plan is nutritionally complete, there is no limit to how long you can you stay on FMR. The average is 12 weeks. FMR requires close medical monitoring. This is the quickest way to get off of blood pressure and diabetes medications.
- Many people are fearful of adding food into their plan. You might worry that eating whole food will sabotage your success. That is why we add food GRADUALLY. Start with one meal and stay on that for several weeks. We call this partial meal replacement (PMR). You may stay on a one meal plan (and the rest of the day OPTIFAST) until you reach your goal, as you’ll continue to lose weight on this type of program.
- Snack bars (partial meal replacement bars) have similar protein and calorie content as does FMR products, but they do not provide complete nutrition, such as vitamins, electrolytes, essential fatty acids and trace elements. As a result, these are generally limited to one a day. Ask your doctor if these are appropriate for you. Since these foods are higher in protein and lower in sugar than many junk food treats they are also great snacks for your family. Unlike FMR products, they do not need a doctor’s prescription to purchase.
- When you reach your goal weight, we will gradually add more whole food and reduce the number of meal replacements. Slowly adding whole foods allows you to learn long-term weight management tools.
Transitioning to whole food can be a straightforward and easy process when done with support of your Obesity Medicine Specialist. We are here to help make this process stress free.