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Can low carb protein powders be used as meal replacements?

Low carb protein powders may be used as meal replacements for weight loss, as they can help promote satiety and reduce overall calorie intake. However, it is important to note that a balanced and varied diet is necessary to meet all nutritional needs.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared a high-protein meal replacement (containing 25% protein, 45% carbohydrate, and 30% fat) to a conventional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet in overweight and obese individuals. After 12 weeks, both groups lost weight, but the meal replacement group lost more body fat and preserved lean body mass compared to the conventional diet group. The meal replacement group also had greater reductions in waist circumference and blood pressure.

Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming a high-protein meal replacement shake (containing 35% protein, 45% carbohydrate, and 20% fat) for breakfast helped to reduce hunger and increase satiety compared to a high-carbohydrate breakfast. This led to a reduction in overall calorie intake throughout the day.

It is important to choose a low carb protein powder that is also nutritionally balanced and contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Additionally, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using protein powder as a meal replacement for weight loss, particularly if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medications.


  1. Heymsfield, S. B., van Mierlo, C. A., van der Knaap, H. C., Heo, M., & Frier, H. I. (2003). Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies. International journal of obesity, 27(5), 537-549.
  2. Astbury, N. M., Taylor, M. A., & Macdonald, I. A. (2014). Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of nutrition, 144(1), 138-144.
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