Shape Up: Stick to real, healthy food

At the risk of upsetting a few people, I feel compelled to have a little rant this week. 

Ditch the diet shakes and protein powders and stick to whole foods, writes Amy Holmes.

Ditch the diet shakes and protein powders and stick to whole foods, writes Amy Holmes.

There’s something that has been bugging me for some time now, so it’s time to vent. 

Apologies to those who truly believe in diet shakes and protein powders, but I’m about to give these products a bad rap. 

Having a meal replacement “shake” is NOT healthier than eating real food! 

Even if the product claims to be organic, packed with nutrients, cleansing, and so on, a manufactured, powdered creation can never fully replace the nutrition found in regular everyday real food. 

Nature made our food to meet the needs of our bodies. It only ever goes wayward when man intervenes. And by that I mean via processing. 

So how do you think the shakes, powders and “amazing, life-changing potions” are made? 

Generally they are the end product of processed and manufactured food items, anyway. I can’t understand why someone would pay a fortune to consume the powdered form of “nutrients” via a shake (to replace a real meal) when you could just eat the food in its natural form. 

For one, it’s far less expensive. And secondly, real food is way too enjoyable to exchange for something less than satisfying.

And if you decide to down a shake because you are hoping to lose weight, try eating clean, natural food (being mindful of portion size) in combination with exercise and you will achieve the same thing.

Actually you will achieve more because you are making a lifestyle change away from processed foods. Bringing real change to your weight in a sustainable fashion – not a passing fad diet. 

Fad diets rarely work long term, because when you can no longer stomach the idea of another liquid meal, you will inevitably fall off the wagon and go back to old eating habits. Ones that may not have served you well in the past. 

And I don’t blame you – who could live on diet shakes forever? Not me, that’s for sure. Real food will never go out of fashion. 

OK, so at this point I must admit that I’m a fan of making smoothies. And some might argue that this is also liquid food. And yes, it is. 

The difference is that I know exactly what is going into the smoothie because I have made it myself – from real food.

I love nothing more than downing a banana, date and spinach smoothie as means of recovery after exercise. It contains a good carbohydrate and protein hit and has the added benefit of minerals (including magnesium). 

There are no hidden nasties in a homemade smoothie. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for some readily available post-workout protein powders.

In April year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a recent study revealed about 10 per cent of post-work out supplements tested contained banned products such as steroids.

Although 10 per cent might not seem like much, can you really be sure that the other 90 per cent of products on the market are OK for your body?

 Sometimes the products can have upward of 30 different ingredients listed. 

And they’re not just spelled out as regular words, they are usually printed in scientific terms – so unless you are a sports scientist, it’s highly likely you won’t recognise the ingredients, anyway.

Real food generally doesn’t need a nutrition label. Imagine a banana with an ingredients list printed on the side - Ingredients: Banana, Serving size: 1.

Just eat whole foods. Rant complete.

Amy Holmes is the owner of Shape Health and Fitness. Follow her blog at 


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