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Are meal replacements an effective clinical tool for weight loss?

Garry Egger
Med J Aust 2006; 184 (2): 52-53.

Clinical trials show partial meal replacement products to be safe, acceptable and effective when used as part of an overall low-energy diet

Overweight (body mass index [BMI] > 25 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) are now major health concerns, being causally related to a number of metabolic disorders, and affecting at least one in two adult Australians.1 However, the long-term evidence on treatment of these conditions is disappointing. A strategy recommended in the recent clinical guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council is the use of low-energy meal replacement products.1 These have been marketed for many years, but have only recently been considered seriously in large clinical trials. If effective, this strategy offers promise as:

  • Garry Egger

  • Centre for Health Promotion Research Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: 

Competing interests:

I have used several meal replacement products in clinical settings. I am not employed by, and do not receive benefit from, any companies producing these products.

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