Since I started this wee blog back in 2013, I’ve had some pretty nice opportunities and collaborations – makeup and clothes from some of my favourite brands have plopped through the letterbox over the years, and I’ve always been giddily grateful. But nothing quite got me in the feels and throwing my hands up at how #blessed I am than when I was contacted by the big dog: McDonalds. Ah, creator of my beloved McNuggets and the saviour of many a hungover morning. Of course I said yes when I was invited along to one of my local branches to find out what’s new for the brand (AND WEAR A HAT AND APRON). I mean, who wouldn’t?
Hey there you sexpots! In our borderline obsessive mission to ‘branch out a bit’, I’ve got something quite different for y’all today. I was recently given the chance to trial a week’s worth of Exante diet products, and having read a blogger review not long ago I was intrigued to give it a go.
I’ll start by saying that I’m pretty sure I’m not Exante’s target audience. I’ve got a BMI of around 21 so don’t really need to lose any weight, but I’m in the midst of a health kick and have been dedicating my life to the gym and spinach (exciting stuff, let me tell you), so I was still keen to see is a diet like this could give me an extra boost. I’ve also got to admit that I’ve always been pretty cynical about these sort of systems, so was mainly interested to see whether the diet’s claims – that you stay feeling full and receive all the vitamins and minerals you need – were true or not.
How Exante Works
Exante is a low calorie meal replacement system that consists of shakes, soups, snacks and ready meals that you eat in place of your normal meals. There are three options that you can choose from depending on how much weight you want to lose:
- Total Solution: this is the VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) option, where you completely replace your food intake with Exante products. You have three products per day, which amount to 600 calories. This is obviously an extreme diet, and is only recommended for people with a BMI of only 25.
- Working Solution: on this version of the diet – which is known as an LCD (Low Calorie Diet) plan – you have three Exante products each day, plus one low-carb, high-proten meal that you make yourself. This should be no more than 400 calories, bringing your daily intake to 1000 calories.
- Simple Solution: this is I suppose the ‘easiest’ of the diet plans – again, you have three meal replacement products a day, but you’re also allowed a meal of up to 600 calories.
I decided to go for the Working Solution option; I think as I don’t have much weight to lose I would have been advised to go for the Simple Solution, but my evening meals recently have only been around the 400 calorie mark anyway so I figured I’d chance it.
The science behind the system revolves around a state that your body supposedly enters into once a LCD or VLCD is undertaken called ketosis.The calorie deficit that’s created once you’re having less calories than you need causes you to enter ketosis, which, according to the Extante website, is “a normal metabolic state… where your body will use its fat stores to produce energy”. So rather than relying on carbs for energy, you’ll be running off your own fat (there’s a pleasant image) and thus the fat will go.
I received 21 meal replacement products to last me 7 days. These consisted of 5 shakes, 2 bars and 14 soups. I definitely would have preferred to have more shakes and bars rather than quite so much soup – it was also unfortunate that about 45of the soups were mushroom flavoured, which would definitely have made me throw up into my own lap if I’d had to eat them.
My first few days on the diet actually went brilliantly. I had a shake for breakfast, soup for lunch, a bar for a snack and then my usual evening meal (which is never too exciting anyway – omelettes and chicken salads abound).
The shakes are honestly really, really nice. They’re creamy and thick, and I liked all of the flavours I tried (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and banana). The soups are nice enough – as exciting as what are essentially cuppa soups can be anyway – though I don’t recommend blending them as suggested, as I found this made it go weirdly frothy. The bars were also really nice; quite stodgy so you felt like you were eating quite a big portion, which is much better than your standard cereal bars that can disappear in two bites.
Unfortunately with only 2 bars and 5 shakes, this dream combination didn’t last for the full week. On 2 days I had to resort back to my trusty breakfast friend porridge for breakfast, then have a soup or 2 throughout the rest of the day. It was on these days that I got a little bored of the diet and I’ve got to say, if it wasn’t for the fact that I knew I had my evening meal to look forward to then I might have given up earlier. I think the Total Solution would be fine if you had the ready meals though, as this would add some variety.
But what about my main concern, whether I’d feel full and healthy? I have to say that despite my reservations about diets like this, I was actually full and satisfied all day. I was also going to the gym most nights, and never felt at all weak or tired like I expected I might. I also didn’t find myself having any cravings, though this might have been down to the fact that I’d already cleaned my eating up a lot in the weeks before.
Considering I started out quite cynical about the diet’s claims, I have to say that the products did pleasantly surprise me in the way that they kept me full and energised. While I still think that there’s no substitute for healthy, clean eating (and that this is actually pretty easy to do once you get into the habit of it), I can see why these sort of plans could be a good option for certain people who want to kick start a new eating regime.
The Exante diet plans start from £3.87 per day, making them one of the cheapest meal replacement services on the market today. If you don’t want to commit to the full plan, then you can also buy the products separately via their shop.
Have any of you tried Exante? What do you think of Very Low Calorie or Low Calorie diet plans?