Meal replacements vs nutritional supplements – what’s the difference?
In practice, it is not very complicated to distinguish meal replacements and meal supplements. The Government of Canada regulates the labelling of foods for special dietary use. For example, products called "meal replacement" or "meal supplement" must meet many legal requirements.
However, the two types of products do not meet the same standards. Their composition and use in everyday life vary. It is important to choose a product that corresponds to one's lifestyle and diet.
Meal supplements: Definition and recommended use ☝️
Meal supplements, also known as nutritional supplements, are a food used as a supplement to a regular diet. The possibilities are varied, but the products are necessarily integrated into a healthy and diversified diet.
In some cases, they are useful for people whose diet lack in calories, energy or nutrients. In other situations, an individual might seek to increase his daily intake of food to improve his athletic performance or according to the doctor recommendations.
Meal replacements: Definition and recommended use ✌️
Meal replacements are defined as a food that can replace one or more meals. On the market, there are two categories: substitutes for all meals and substitutes for a single meal.
These foods provide enough nutrients to represent a complete meal. On the other hand, it is unrecommended to include them daily in your diet without the advice of a health professional. However, it can be very convenient when you need to eat quickly or when you don't have time to cook, but their use is not suggested over an extended period of time. Some exceptional situations allow this, such as difficulty chewing solid foods or after a surgery. Thus, it is important to note that meal replacements are a temporary solution.
The distinction between meal replacements and supplements must be obvious, as they do not provide the same energy intake.
What should meal supplements contain? 💁♀️
Nutritional supplements normally provide more than 150 calories per serving and some more than 225 calories. For foods containing between 150 and 225 calories, there are no restrictions on the fat content. On the other hand, products with more than 225 calories must have a fat content of 35% or less of the total calories. Products labelled as meal supplements must also have 15-40% protein content. In addition, a minimum threshold is determined for vitamins and minerals.
What should meal replacements contain? 🤷♀️
To be classified as a meal replacement, products must provide more than 225 calories and 15-40% of calories must come from protein. Meals come in the form of ready-to-eat and meet minimums of vitamins and minerals. Regarding the carbs content, restrictions are divided according to the type of substitute. For those for all meals, 30% or less of calories may come from fat and 10% or less can be saturated fat. For substitutes replacing a single meal, 35% or less of calories may come from fat. Both types of meal replacements must also contain linoleic acid and linoleic acid n-3 in defined proportions.
Examples of products 😋🍴
Meal supplements include shake mixes, bars, oatmeal and soups. ProtiLife offers many options for breakfast, snack or lunch. It is important to remember that these products are a supplement to a diet and do not contain enough calories to act as a meal for itself. For example, fresh fruit and a slice of whole wheat bread without butter are a great accompaniment to ProtiLife's breakfast oatmeal.
For meal replacements, they come in the form of nutritious beverages, bars, puddings, soups, oatmeal and whipped milk preparations. Let us remember that meal replacements should never become a daily habit and their consumption is limited to exceptional occasions.