Meal Replacements – Secret Weapon of the On-the-Go Athlete


Whenever I’m in a convenience store these days, I’m always amazed at how many Ready-to-Drink supplement shakes are crammed into the coolers. (I’m old enough to remember when it was Gatorade or nothin’.) The other thing that amazes me is the low-quality of some of these drinks.

I may be “old school,” but I still believe that meal replacements are still the best way to go for substituting a meal. I know, I know …who has time to mix one up, when I could just blast down an RTD? But are NEW products like RTD’s really worth the price and supposed “time savings?”

The truth is, the protein profile in many RTD’s consists primarily of low-quality calcium caseinate, even though they all list other proteins in their blend. Calcium caseinate is cheap, but it doesn’t do much anabolically, so don’t kid yourself. It’s used in most RTD’s because it has a sustained shelf life. On the other hand, good whey concentrates, whey isolate, hydrolyzed whey, and casein do not hold up for long in a pre-mixed formula. If they did, wouldn’t Scott Connelly 20 years ago have made Met-RX in the form of an RTD?

History lesson: In the early 90’s Scott Connelly specialized in internal medicine, working with critically ill intensive care patients. Connelly developed products to help prevent the loss of muscle and speed up tissue healing and muscle growth via Met-RX, a special blend of bioavailable proteins, fats and carbs. Pretty much the first recognized Meal Replacement (MRP). Met-RX stormed through the bodybuilding industry in the 90’s like a freight train and in or around 2000 almost every supplement company made one or tried to.

MRP’s dominated the way bodybuilders pounded down protein shakes for over 15 years. Keeping in mind that nothing is a substitution for a real food meal, you should also know that RTD’s are usually no substitute for an MRP. Not all RTDs are bad; they’re a few good ones out there. But for my money, a relatively inexpensive and much-more-nutritionally-complete packet of meal replacement (like ProSource’s NutriPure Supreme) is ALWAYS superior to an expensive and lower-end RTD.

Just Sayin’


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One Response to “Meal Replacements – Secret Weapon of the On-the-Go Athlete”

  1. Says:

    Interesting article, I used to drink RTDs all the time. Wish I hadn’t wasted all my time on money on them knowing this.

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