Weighing up diet shakes - Sydney Morning Herald

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A heftier Shane Warne in 2004 and his slimmer self in May. Photo: Getty Images; AFP

A slim Shane Warne swears by them, but health experts have a different take, writes Mark Russell.

DURING his playing days Shane Warne's weight fluctuated from a relatively fit 84 kilograms - despite his chain-smoking and love of a beer - to more than 92 kilograms when he was out injured.

He now weighs 78 kilograms - having lost up to 12 kilograms in the past year - and credits his dramatic weight loss to a combination of diet, exercise and being in love with British celebrity Elizabeth Hurley, 46.

The 42-year-old is also a fan of the TAIslim diet shake, after being introduced to it by AFL player Steven Baker.

Jane Petersen with one of her Energy Slim diet shakes. Pic By Craig Sillitoe CSZ/The Sunday Age8/9/2011

Believers … Jane Petersen and her Energy Slim shake. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

But how effective are diet shakes when it comes to weight loss?

At least 15 brands of diet shakes - some promising ''a new you'' in a matter of weeks - are on the market in Australia, but nutritionists remain sceptical about their benefits.

The Dietitians Association of Australia said 95 per cent of all dieters will regain their lost weight in one to five years.

However, the weight loss industry is booming, with latest figures from IBISWorld showing it is worth $790 million a year and expected to increase to $922.5 million by 2015-16. Food, drinks and dietary supplements make up more than a third of market sales.

Weight Watchers' nutritionist Emma Stirling said the key concern for many health professionals is that meal replacement shakes are a temporary fix.

''Contrary to popular belief, there is no miracle weight-loss cure or proven fat-blasting ingredients lurking within a chocolate diet shake,'' she said.

''They are simply a combination of vitamins, minerals and other additives in a flavoured milk or water-based drink. Diet shakes are designed to be partial meal replacements, where one or two meals a day are replaced with the shake and the remaining meals made up of regular food.''

She said that eating a couple of small pieces of fruit instead of a couple of meals a day would create the same loss of calories.

Dietitian Melanie McGrice said diet shakes, when used properly, could help weight loss. ''The key is that if you're going to take diet shakes, which is an extreme measure, it should be under the guidance of a health professional,'' she said.

''If people are trying to lose a significant amount of weight, they really need to be making long-term sustainable changes, and diet shakes can be a good way to start.''

But, she said, it was essential that people met their nutritional requirements when taking meal replacements. ''If they don't they often lose protein and therefore muscle mass, which slows down their metabolism and causes a lot of weight rebound.''

Nathalie Nicole, 30, who used Energy Slim diet shakes to lose more than 13 kilograms in six months after putting on weight during her pregnancy still drinks them today.

''I was surprised at how the weight dropped off that quickly,'' she said.

Energy Slim's Jane Petersen, a former champion bodybuilder, said the shakes were a good option for people too busy to cook breakfast or dinner.

''Nutritionists are still back in the salad sandwich and yoghurt days. They say nothing beats a good diet and healthy exercise and they're absolutely correct. However … if it was that simple we'd all be thin and no one would have a weight issue. Everyone needs a hand at times and that's where these protein shakes are good.''

A Choice consumer report on meal replacement drinks found that doctors and dietitians sometimes used them in hospitals and clinics to treat obese people with serious health problems. The meal replacements were also commonly used before weight-loss surgery, such as gastric banding, and were most effective under close medical supervision and counselling on long-term diet, lifestyle, behavioural and psychological issues.

Latest World Health Organisation figures show 70 per cent of Australian men and more than 60 per cent of women are overweight or obese.

Dr Ken Harvey, senior research fellow at La Trobe University's School of Public Health, said his main concern with the diet shake industry was the unsubstantiated miracle weight-loss claims being made by several companies. He lodged a complaint with the Therapeutic Goods Administration's complaints resolution panel about Pharmacare Laboratories' Xantrax shakes after the company claimed that ''a new slimmer you is less than 30 days away - with the doctor-recommended diet shakes''. The company was ordered to drop the misleading claims.

And TAIslim - the diet popular with Warne - was the subject of a class action in the US in 2009. The lawsuit alleged false claims, misrepresentations, and false and deceptive advertising but was dropped after a settlement was reached last year.

10 Sep, 2011

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNF5suibCwEZt-aLz6hhTuSFlr-IkQ&url=http://www.smh.com.au/national/weighing-up-diet-shakes-20110910-1k30m.html
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