A new study by Philadelphia's Children's Hospital concluded that replacement meals to may not help obese teenagers to lose weight. These replacement meals may help shed weight quickly in the initial stages of dieting. However in the long term, these meal replacements are not better than regular standard low calorie diets. Meal replacement products comprising of bars, shakes and other pre-prepared food rations help to control calorie intake because they contain determined amounts of calories and nutrition. But teenagers might have problems estimating portion sizes so meal replacement program may not be helpful for them.
For the study researchers recruited a group of 113 obese teens and split them into three groups. Every group was assigned a different diet regime. One group was supposed to follow a 1300-1500 calorie diet program for a period of 1 year. The second group was asked to have meal replacement products for 4 months and a low calorie diet for the next 8 months. The third group was put on meal replacement diet for 1 year.
On completion of the study it was noted that in the first phase teenagers on the meal replacement exhibited 6.3% loss in their BMI (Body Mass Index). Those on the low calorie diet had a 3.8% loss in their BMI. However all of them gained weight during the second phase. At the end of 1 year, the average reduction in BMI was 2.8% for the low-cal diet group, 3.9% for meal replacement plus low-cal diet group and 3.4% for the meal replacement-only group. This proved that there was no significant difference in the weight loss among all three groups. This study is published in the journal 'Obesity.'