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Nutrition News: Meal Replacements for Weight Loss

Charlyn Fargo on

Meal Replacements for Weight Loss

Since the 1970s, Americans have gained weight -- and lots of it. As of three years ago, 68.5 percent of U.S. adults and 31.8 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to statistics from the National Weight Registry.

It's a result of an abundant food supply that is affordable and jobs that don't require many calories to perform.

Most would agree losing weight is an uphill battle, but so rewarding when accomplished.

"Managing weight is a long term, lifelong endeavor, " said Corby Martin researcher with Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He spoke recently at a class I took to become certified in Adult Weight Management (level 2) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

One of the surprising findings was to include meal replacements if you're trying to lose weight. Meal replacements can be anything from a smoothie, protein bar, bowl of cereal or protein shake. It can also be a frozen meal. The idea is something that is calorie and portion controlled.

It worked for Hazely Lopez of Tampa, Fla. She's the new spokesperson for Slimfast and was sharing her story at the recent Food and Nutrition Conference of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago.

"In November of 2015, I was 154 pounds and 5 foot 4 inches," she said. "I started Slimfast in January 2016 and 26 weeks later, I lost 30 pounds and 16 inches. I knew I had to do something when I realized I couldn't wear what I wanted or keep up with my two kids (ages 7 and 11). I didn't feel pretty anymore."

Her plan involved a shake or smoothie for breakfast and lunch, bars for a snack and a regular meal at dinnertime. She also worked out daily to a 25-minute video (at home) or hot yoga.

"When I couldn't do either, I walked around the soccer field when my kids were playing," said Lopez. "I made sure dinner was 500 calories or less."

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