Newly published review supports effectiveness of meal replacement for weight loss

Posted On: 25th February 2019

Newly published review supports effectiveness of meal replacement for weight loss

A new review[1] of trials has added more support to the science behind meal replacements products (MRPs) for weight control and their effectiveness in helping people lose weight.

Published in Obesity Reviews – the official journal of the World Obesity Federation – this paper describes the findings of a systematic review with meta‐analysis of randomised controlled trials which compares the effectiveness of weight loss programmes that included MRPs with those that did not, in adults with overweight or obesity.

The main findings show that programmes incorporating MRPs as part of their dietary intervention, resulted in greater weight loss at one year than those not incorporating MRPs. Specifically, those participants who had included MRPs in their diet had lost an additional 1.44 kg at one year compared with those participants whose diet did not.

The review also showed that this greater weight loss achieved was maintained over the longer term with data being reported after four years follow-up showing a more significant degree of weight loss maintenance in participants who had undertaken programmes incorporating MRPs. Additionally, the results showed that including MRPs into a behavioural weight loss programmes improved their results by an extra 2.22 kg at one year.

This review further supports the increasingly widely held views of a both medical professionals and nutrition experts as well as that of the industry who believe that MRPs should be provided and included as an option in national health guidance for those overweight and obese individuals looking to lose weight.

As the review states, MRPs are  currently neither  recommended nor even included in the national clinical guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity, despite mounting evidence of their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. TDMR Europe continues to work towards the recognition of both MRPs and TDRs to be recognised as an economical, healthy and effective solution for weight loss. The recent UK National Health Service decision to launch a trial programme supporting TDRs for obese people with type 2 diabetes is a step in the right direction. This decision, and the growing number of research studies provide even more evidence for the effectiveness and safety of these products and, should be a sign to other European countries that TDRs and MRPs represent the future in the fight against obesity and related diseases.


If you’d like to be part of the conversation, please get in touch with us via


[1] Astbury NM, Piernas C, Hartmann‐Boyce J, Lapworth S, Aveyard P, Jebb SA. A systematic review and meta‐analysis of the effectiveness of meal replacements for weight loss. Obesity Reviews. 2019;1–19.