Meal replacements, known in the industry as total diet replacements (TDR), are meant to help weight loss by substituting meals with low-calorie shakes, smoothies and bars.
According to scientific research, they can help lose weight and maintain a healthy weight in the long term. This, according to the industry, has positive impacts on obesity-related non-communicable illnesses such as diabetes, knee injuries, and cardiovascular diseases, and constitutes a public health benefit.
In 2015 the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) issued a scientific opinion to raise the fatty acids and protein content of meal replacement.
TDR products must contain “all indispensable nutrients” to be “safe and suitable when consumed as a sole source of nutrition, for several weeks to months, by overweight or obese adults in the context of energy-restricted diets for weight reduction.”