Sales of liquid nutrition products are booming. Here’s what you need to know—and forget.
By Julie Stewart
You’re not imagining it: From cold-pressed juices to protein shakes, everyone really is drinking their nutrition these days. Sales of liquid nutrition products like Kate Farms shakes have skyrocketed 67 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to the market research firm Mintel.
Many people turn to liquid nutrition products to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but not everyone uses them for the right reasons—and some shy away for the wrong ones. It’s time to set the record straight.
Myth #1: Liquid nutrition shakes couldn’t possibly be satisfying
Sure, chugging down a meal replacement may not always be as gratifying as digging into a steak dinner. But liquid meal replacements reduce your hunger and cravings more than a glass of water would, and even affect the brain regions involved in your perception of fullness, says a Wake Forest University study.
In addition, many meal replacements like Kate Farms Komplete taste delicious especially straight from the refrigerator, says Lucille Beseler, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N., C.D.E., president of the Family Nutrition Center of South Florida. They’re a perfect way to refuel quickly during a busy day or after a workout. And if you want some extra flavor, you can always mix in pureed fruit.
Myth #2: You already get everything you need from regular meals
Beseler hears three words from her clients all the time: I eat healthy.
The problem? “Healthy” is highly individualized, and people have a ton of misconceptions about how to build a balanced diet, Beseler says. Sometimes this leads to nutrition gaps; for example, research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests about 40 percent of Americans don’t consume enough vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium. Each Kate Farms Komplete shake provides more than a third of the daily recommended value for each, along with a host of other nutritional benefits.
When you can’t get all you need from regular meals, supplemental nutrition can be a game changer, says Beseler. But don’t quit cooking altogether. “We still need to prepare and consume healthful meals when possible,” she says.
Myth #3: You have to use them long-term
For people with certain health conditions, nutrition shakes may be a long-term, everyday solution. But if you’re mostly healthy, you can consider these products as stopgap measures during tough nutritional times, says Beseler.
Say you had a dental procedure and your teeth hurt, making it hard for you to chew food. Or maybe you have a cold that saps your appetite. Drink a meal replacement, and you can supply your healing body with the nutrition it needs.
That said, many Kate Farms customers drink our shakes every day, because they’re a delicious way to consume 29 fruits and vegetables—plus get a healthy dose of plant-based protein and fiber—in one sitting.
Myth #4: Meal replacements contain slimming properties
In a study in Appetite, some women using meal replacements believed the products could help them compensate for overeating and negate the need for exercise. (We wish!) If you swap in a shake for one big meal per day, you might lose weight, but there’s no magic to it.
When meal replacements aid weight loss, it’s not the supplement itself that’s making you lose weight. “It’s replacing things that may be high in calories and fat with a good, well-balanced meal replacement like Kate Farms,” says Beseler.
Myth #5: All meal replacements are essentially the same
Hardly. Well-formulated meal replacement lines have different mixes of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, some include artificial sweeteners or food allergens that you may be sensitive too. Kate Farms products are made from organic ingredients and have no artificial sweeteners or allergens—they truly are created with all good things.
This is especially important for people with certain medical conditions who consume some or all their calories from liquid nutrition products. Like Kate Laver, after whom Kate Farms was named, these folks are often highly sensitive to different ingredients and have specific nutritional needs.
For example, a patient with cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may need extra calories, vitamins, and minerals, says Beseler. Meanwhile, a patient with diabetes likely needs fewer simple carbs and more complex carbs than the average healthy person does. If you’re unsure about what’s best for your body, consult a registered dietitian.