Meal Replacement

Reporter: Georgia Main

Just over a year ago, 26 year old Melody Rosse was nearly too big to fit into size 30 pants.

With a lifetime diet of junk food and a weakness for chocolate, both mother and daughter ballooned. Melody even had to order her clothes from interstate as most clothing stores only go up to a size 26.

Finally mother and daughter made a pact -- they tried meal replacement diet , Celebrity Slim. "I never thought in 16 months I would come half of my size, over half actually, it's just amazing", Melody said.

Biggest loser contestant, Cat White is the Celebrity Slim poster girl. She tipped the scales at 157.8 kilos and has lost nearly 60 kilos with a diet of determination and meal replacements. "Obviously a lot of my weight loss was accelerated through excessive training and things like that with "The Biggest Loser", but since finishing "The Biggest Loser" I'm maintaining and continuing to lose weight", Cat said.

Meal replacement diets are designed to replace two meals a day with a flavoured shake containing nutrients like green tea extract, calcium caseinate, whey and soy protein, reducing the amount of carbohydrates and kilojoules in your diet. Dietician Dr. Tim Crowe says, "These products do just as well, if not better than the traditional diets. For some people they love the rigid advice of only drink one shake or a bar for one or two meals a day and that's it".

While Marilyn and Melody say they find their new diet easy to stick to, it has meant a huge adjustment. They have gone from a days intake of junk food - chips, pizza, McDonalds to Celebrity Slim daily diet fruit, shakes and water. "There's no more takeaways or anything, no more cakes, chocolates", they said.

Australians are in a constant battle of the bulge spending $500 million every year on various diets. The meal replacement market has a huge slice of that pie with $300 million spent on programs such as Tony Ferguson, Sure Slim and Optifast.

Dr. Crowe says it's the convenience of meal replacements that makes them popular but, while they contain all the nutrients you need to be healthy, it's not all good news. "With these products some of them can be expensive, they don't actually teach you how to eat properly. Eventually you are going to have to stop eating these products and eat normal food again", he said.