What is a Food Substitute?

Let's look at what a food substitute is and if we can really swap a whole meal for one of these products. Is the bad reputation of food substitutes really justified?
What is a Food Substitute?

Last update: 24 December, 2018

Food substitutes are one of the most effective ways recommended by science to control body weight. However, before starting to eat any food substitutes, it’s important to learn more about them.

With the data and appropriate information, you’ll be able to make decisions that best fit the objectives that you’re pursuing.

What is a food substitute?

A food substitute is a nutritional supplement with the objective, as the name implies, to replace one or several meals a day. Substitutes duly approved by the medical community contain all the properties that the body requires to stay healthy and strong.

In general, these types of supplements are available in different presentations. These can range from smoothies to bars and liquids, among others. With the intention of supplementing certain types of food, substitutes are especially useful if the person does not have time to eat during the day.

Woman making shakes as a food substitute.

Always remember that you shouldn’t use substitutes as the basis of your diet. Use them as what they are intended for, as a supplement to your diet. Without a doubt, a balanced and natural diet will always be the best option for maintaining good health.

Reasons to eat food substitutes

There are many reasons to incorporate food supplements into your daily diet and it is not necessarily due to desiring weight loss. Being a healthy complement makes it an ideal option to maintain your health in optimal conditions.

Health reasons

Food substitutes are an excellent option for supplementing the diets of people suffering from different health problems. Such is the case of diabetics, who can use these supplements as allies for their health.

Diabetics can substitute some of their main meals with supplements that adapt to their health situation. They can also be used as snacks because the intake of nutrients will provide diabetics with enough energy if they need to consume sugars.

It’s advisable for people who suffer from diabetes to consult with their doctor. A specialist can give them detailed instructions on the type of substitute for their situation.

Weight loss

Weight loss is one of the most important factors for the use of substitutes. Millions of people use food supplements to replace meals, for this purpose.

Woman losing weight thanks to a food substitute.

In this sense, several scientific studies have shown that it’s one of the most effective methods to lose weight or to control it.

To achieve the goal of weight loss, the substitute must be low in sugar and high in protein. In addition, if one of the main meals will be substituted, the supplement must contain at least 300 calories.

Don’t forget that low-calorie supplements aren’t able to provide to the body with the necessary energy to meet its daily requirements.


Another of the most common uses of food substitutes is to complement sports and workouts. In these cases, the supplements provide the body with all of the nutrients and energy it needs to perform much more during exercise.

It’s recommended that the athlete consume supplements with a high content of proteins and carbohydrates one hour after training. In this way, the muscles will recover much faster from the fatigue generated by the exercise.


Supplements are a convenient and ideal option for eating between meals. They can be comfortably carried to work, to college or anywhere.

These types of substitutes, in addition to supplementing the usual diet, also fulfill a goal of satiety. This is important to control the appetite and also to keep the body full of energy.

Are food substitutes effective?

Science says yes! Food substitutes are effective in addressing different objectives. For that reason, it’s important to consult with an expert and define the characteristics of the most convenient substitutes, depending on the history of the person and the objective pursued.

Man taking supplement as food substitute.

Food substitutes are convenient to control the number of calories that are consumed daily. However, it’s important to have a balanced diet and take regular exercise, so that the effects are visible and lasting.

Food substitutes are an excellent option to supplement the daily diet. They’re excellent not only for weight loss but also for controlling various diseases and as supplements in sports training.

In order for the person to be able to perceive all their benefits, it’s advisable to consult with a nutritionist. That way you can choose the type of supplement that best suits your needs.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.