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Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe When It Comes to Bulking Up?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 18, 2022

Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe When It Comes to Bulking Up?

When it comes to building muscle and gaining weight, people have a lot of choices available to them. One of the most common are the various meal replacement shakes for weight gain.

You’ve probably seen these types of shakes sold at health supply stores. You might have even seen some being sold online as supplements to help build muscle and gain weight.

But what exactly are in these meal replacement shakes, and are they really that effective? Let’s find out.

What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?

Meal replacement shakes are shakes that contain all of the nutrients that your body needs. They come in powder form that is ready to mix with water.

There are different types of meal replacement shakes, and each serves a different function. Doctors may prescribe these meal replacement shakes for people who are sick, and who are unable to chew or swallow food. This makes feeding them easier, since these types of meal replacement shakes are essentially already a complete meal.

Doctors could also prescribe them for weight loss in obese or overweight people. This helps with portion control, and ensures that they are not eating more than they should.

Some manufacturers also created meal replacement shakes to help with weight gain, and building muscle. These are readily available at health food stores, and are very popular with bodybuilders, weightlifters, athletes, or anyone who wants to gain weight, bulk up, and gain muscle.

Meal replacement shakes for weight gain usually contain a lot more protein compared to other types. They could also contain other vitamins and minerals designed to work in conjunction with each other to improve muscle growth. They also contain carbohydrates to help provide energy for working out.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Gain

The main benefit to using meal replacement shakes is that they are very convenient. All you need is to mix the powder with some water, and you have a complete meal in drink form.

Because these shakes contain only the essential nutrients your body needs, there is usually no added fat or sugar. Meal replacement shakes designed for weight gain also have more calories, which means that you can gain weight faster.

You can also drink these shakes in conjunction with eating more fruits and vegetables, which is a healthier alternative to simply eating more food.

Some meal replacement shakes are also vegetarian or vegan. For people with dietary restrictions, these types of meal replacement shakes are very useful.

Another great thing about these shakes is that they keep you fuller for longer. This means that if you pair it with exercise, you will not run the risk of gaining too much weight and becoming unhealthy.

How Safe are Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Gain?

Generally, meal replacement shakes are healthy, and there should be no problem if you decide to use these shakes for weight gain. However, there is a risk to using these shakes, especially if the product you buy has not been accredited, or does not meet safety standards.

In the past, there have been some problems with protein powders and meal replacement shakes that contain harmful chemicals. The reason is that these powders are considered as food supplements, and not medicine. This means that the standards by which they are checked are much more relaxed compared to that of other products.

This is why it is very important to always check the label, and only purchase products from reputable brands. Try to avoid buying meal replacement shakes that have been repacked, seem too cheap, or are produced by an unknown manufacturer.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that you are not putting anything unsafe in your body.

meal replacement shakes for weight gain

Other Risks

Before using meal replacement shakes for weight gain, you need to be aware of these possible risks:

  • Being underweight can sometimes be caused by an underlying medical condition. If this is the case, then undergoing treatment for your condition would be better than just drinking meal replacement shakes.
  • Try to avoid drinking just meal replacement shakes for all your meals. It would be better to add some vegetables and fruits for a balanced diet.
  • Be sure to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Drinking shakes will not be effective if not paired with proper exercise.
  • If you experience any dietary problems, like an upset stomach, stop drinking meal replacement shakes.
  • Meal replacement shakes can contain a large number of calories, so be sure to drink only enough for your daily needs.
  • Only buy meal replacement shakes from reputable, licensed brands, and try to look for reviews online to learn more about the product you are buying.
  • Meal replacement shakes are not the only way to gain weight, eating a balanced diet and daily exercise can also help with weight gain.

Key Takeaways

Another important thing to remember is that when it comes to your diet and health goals, it would be best to consult your doctor first. It is generally not a good idea to change your diet all of a sudden, because it could cause adverse effects to your health.

A doctor or dietician can also guide you on what to look for in a meal replacement shake.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 18, 2022

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