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Recommendations Summary

Adult Weight Management (AWM) Meal Replacements

Click here to see the explanation of recommendation ratings (Strong, Fair, Weak, Consensus, Insufficient Evidence) and labels (Imperative or Conditional). To see more detail on the evidence from which the following recommendations were drawn, use the hyperlinks in the Supporting Evidence Section below.

  • Recommendation(s)

    AWM: Meal Replacements

    For people who have difficulty with self selection and/or portion control, meal replacements (e.g., liquid meals, meal bars, calorie-controlled packaged meals) may be used as part of the diet component of a comprehensive weight management program. Substituting one or two daily meals or snacks with meal replacements is a successful weight loss and weight maintenance strategy.

    Rating: Strong

    • Risks/Harms of Implementing This Recommendation


    • Conditions of Application

      Recommendation applies to people who have difficulty with self selection and/or portion control.

    • Potential Costs Associated with Application


    • Recommendation Narrative

      • Eight RCTs (3 positive-quality and 5 neutral-quality), three neutral-quality nonrandomized clinical trials and a positive-quality meta-analysis report equivalent or greater weight loss in subjects receiving a diet containing 1 – 3 daily meal replacements (Ahrens et al, 2003; Allison et al, 2003; Ashley et al, 2001; Ditschuneit et al, 1999; Ditschuneit et al, 2001; Flechter-Mors et al, 2000; Hannum et al, 2004; Heber et al, 1994; Heymsfield et al, 2003; Mattes, 2002; Noakes et al, 2004; Rothacker, 2000; Rothacker et al, 2001; Winick et al, 2002)

    • Recommendation Strength Rationale

      • Conclusion statements were grade I
      • Consistent findings among a variety of study designs

    • Minority Opinions

      Consensus reached.