Since the dawn of diets, individuals have been looking for fast and simple ways to lose weight. One of the most commonly chosen methods is the introduction of shakes. Shake diets are simple in theory. Replace a certain number of meals per day with a specific protein or meal replacement shake. The shakes themselves have no magic weight loss powers but instead are lower in calories and lead to overall calorie restriction for the day (something necessary for weight loss). While a protein shake can be great for exercise recovery or a quick afternoon snack, many of these diets rely too heavily on the supplements and make sustainability extremely difficult!
With their latest foray into sustainable and balanced weight loss, supplement giant GNC (General Nutrition Centers) has released “GNC Total Lean 25 shakes” as well as the GNC Total Lean weight loss plan. The GNC Total Lean plan looks to help consumers reach their weight loss goals, all while being “totally you”. On the surface, this looks like a great program for anyone interested in losing weight. Resources include exercise and eating guides and supplement help, totally free! But upon further inspection, is this just another shake diet? Let’s take a look!
Be totally you…as long as you like protein shakes!
The aim of the GNC Total Lean program is to get real results while being “totally you”. This tag line looks to combat the common problem with most diets that require extreme restriction of caloric intake and drastic, undesirable lifestyle change that is not sustainable for most. Having said that, the key ingredient to this plan is the GNC Lean Shake 25. This both powdered and pre mixed shake contains 25 grams of protein and is used as a meal replacement to create a high protein, low-calorie diet for weight management.
Sustainability comes into question when diving into the 12 week eating guide that is provided by GNC. On the provided eating plan, the GNC Lean Shake 25 is used as both a breakfast and lunch replacement. Just looking at the 12 week eating plan that means you would have to purchase and consume 168 GNC Total Lean 25 shakes. Setting aside the sheer volume of shakes you would have to consume over a 12 week period, the grand total for those shakes comes in right around $400.
Despite conscious and directed marketing, this lean shake meal plan is just another shake diet that will require an extreme investment and lifestyle change in order to maintain weight goals. GNC does offer eating guides and recipes but those lose power if shakes are not consumed in place of at least two meals per day. Diets that rely on meal replacement shakes are not long term or sustainable and many followers become dependent on their shakes for weight loss and lose the ability to navigate social settings around food.
In addition to these drawbacks, the GNC lean shake diet plan’s requirement that meals be replaced with shakes for such a long period is inadvisable from a nutritional standpoint. Naming something a “meal shake” does not make it the nutritional equivalent of a real healthy meal made from whole food ingredients. Fresh, whole foods prepared in minimally processed form generally contain a broader range of more potent nutrients like vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, and more.
Some are better than others, but it’s not uncommon for a shake meal plan to contain artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and sugar to help disguise the unpleasant taste of protein powder – whether that’s plant-based protein (pea or soy protein) or milk protein concentrate (whey protein) – and added essential vitamins and other nutrients. Usually unpalatable tastes are only partially disguised in appealing-sounding sweet flavors like peanut butter, chocolate fudge brownie, and more.
GNC’s lean shakes diet is no different. A total lean shake in Cookies & Cream boasts 25 grams of protein (from whey) but take a closer look at the ingredients list and you’ll find artificial flavors and sucralose, an artificial sweetener, to boost sweetness above the 4 grams of sugar. A protein shake diet may help you limit your calorie intake and even shed weight fast initially, but at what cost to your overall health and nutrition? And it’s likely you’ll regain the weight later anyway since no one wants to rely on “whey protein isolate” for the rest of their life.
The keys to maintaining long-term weight loss are not found in any company’s lean shake diet. The foundation of healthy eating for a lifetime is learning how to identify proper proportions of essential nutrients like protein, fat, and carbs in a healthy meal, controlling the overall number of calories consumed, and changing routine behaviors to create more healthy habits around eating that fit into the way you live – so you can stick with them for the long term.
At Noom you won’t find us pushing weight loss shakes, protein concentrate or other supplements to reach your goals. We believe the most effective weight loss plan is the one that you can sustain! Something you enjoy, that comes naturally to you, and fits your lifestyle. Would buying $400 worth of shakes every 12 weeks and drinking them 2x per day be something you’d want to do for the rest of your life? If not, don’t do it! You should have the opportunity to explore habits and lifestyle changes that work for you! What are you waiting for? Meet your personalized Goal Specialist and start creating sustainable health habits today!