Joslin Diabetes Center experts answer commonly asked questions about diabetes monitoring, treatment, self-care, meal planning, and more.
Topic: Weight Control
Question: I need to lose weight and thought I'd try a liquid meal replacement. Are these products safe for people with diabetes?
Answer: A liquid meal replacement product can be an option to help people control calories and reduce temptation when trying to lose weight. In fact, they're often used to give people a "jump start" when beginning a weight-loss program.
However, liquid meal replacement products are intended to be used for only one or two meals a day-such as at breakfast and lunch-with the expectation that you would add your own vegetables and a piece of fruit for a little more bulk. Dinner should be a low-calorie, balanced meal and can even be a portion-controlled, lower-calorie frozen meal-again, rounded out with some extra vegetables, a piece of fruit, and perhaps a glass of milk or cup of yogurt.
A variety of meal replacement drinks are commercially available, including those geared for people with diabetes. Some have a little extra fiber in them, for example, and some are a little lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein.
The best advice is to read the label and see how the product will fit into your meal plan. Most important, if you're interested in trying a liquid meal replacement product, find one you think tastes good-otherwise, you're less likely to continue using it.
Keep in mind that these products are fine for getting started on a new eating plan. But, over time, it's best to learn new, healthy eating habits and to eat smaller portions of foods.
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