MRE meal replacement is a whole food meal replacement shake from Redcon1, a big name supplement company known for its powerful pre-workouts and high-quality protein shakes. If you would like to find out whether it ranks in our five best meal replacement shakes of all time article, then you can check it out here.
In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at Redcon1 MRE meal replacement. We will take a look at the ingredients, assess some of the claims made by MRE, and help you to decide whether MRE meal replacement is the right supplement for you.
What are Whole Food Meal Replacement Shakes?
MRE meal replacement shakes market themselves slightly differently from most meal replacement shakes. They do this by describing the product as a whole food meal replacement rather than just a meal replacement.
This is to signify that the ingredients contained within are all from real foods. This is debatable. For example, MRE uses acesulfame potassium as an artificial sweetener. This clearly not a whole food ingredient, and of all the artificial sweeteners out there, acesulfame potassium probably has the most controversial past.
But this is just one ingredient, and it is perfectly legal to use. Almost all meal replacement shakes use at least some form of artificial sweetener or artificial flavors. Rootana being the exception to this rule (it uses coconut sugars and real food flavorings).
What MRE is referring to is the whole food protein blend. Instead of relying on whey protein, MRE uses a large variety of whole foods: beef protein isolate, brown rice protein, chicken, pea protein, albumin, and salmon protein.
Related article: Best meal replacement shakes for fat loss and muscle gain
Redcon1 MRE Meal Replacement Ingredients
There are a lot of ingredients contained in this meal replacement shake, varying protein sources, carbohydrate sources, fats, and a few ingredients that are used for natural and artificial flavors. Milk creamer, for example, is used to thicken the consistency of the shake.
Redcon1 MRE meal replacement contains 530 calories per serving, 47 grams of protein, 75 grams of carbohydrates, and just 4 grams of fat.
There are some ingredients in Redcon1 MRE that don’t fit into the three categories below. Dehydrated goji berry, pea starch, dehydrated blueberry fruit, cellulose gum, and coconut water powder.
Whole Food Protein Blend 47 grams
When you first read about this whole food protein blend it can seem quite exciting. Getting your protein from chicken protein, egg albumin and beef, salmon, brown rice, and protein isolated from peas, sounds a lot more interesting than the usual whey or soy protein.
But we’re not convinced that it’s really that necessary. You could get the exact same amino acid profile from pea and brown rice, which would be less expensive and would make the product vegan friendly.
That being said, the fact that MRE has 47 grams of protein per serving is amazing! Most dietary supplements that are similar to MRE contain around 20 grams. Are 47 grams of protein necessary? Probably not. Unless you are trying to build muscle and struggle to get protein from other sources.
This much protein is going to cause some digestive issues, but it will also help to fuel muscle tissue development and to recover muscle tissue. It can also help with raising your metabolic rate (protein is the hardest macronutrient to digest).
Instant Knockout Complete has a more reasonable protein content, with 35 grams of protein per serving, all from plant-based sources. This is more realistic, will be easier to digest, and is more than enough for muscle protein synthesis.
MRE is clearly aimed at bodybuilders though, and in that context 47 grams of protein is appropriate.
Carbohydrate Blend 75 grams
While the protein blend is obviously going to get the most attention, the carbohydrate blend is arguably more interesting. Redcon1 have used a combination of rolled oats, dehydrated yam, and dehydrated sweet potato to create a high-quality source of carbohydrates.
Considering how high the protein content is, the carbohydrate content is surprisingly low. To put it into context, the protein content is 94% of your daily value, while the carbohydrate content is just 27%.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, if you are following a high-protein diet then it is ideal. It also makes it easier to eat more whole foods alongside these shakes. One issue that could be looked at is the fiber content.
Considering the fact that there are 530 calories contained in each serving, the 8 grams of fiber per serving is quite low. Compare that to Instant Knockout Complete, which contains 13 grams and only 400 calories.
Still, what little carbohydrates there are, are all from good sources. The use of yams and sweet potatoes is a smart move, they are low GI carbs with more vitamins and minerals than regular potatoes.
Rolled oats are a classic carbohydrate source, they are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, and even some protein. They are also easily digested which is why they are so popular in dietary supplements.
The low amount of carbohydrates may allow you to add some fast food or other high carbohydrate treats into your diet, while still remaining within your macro targets.
MCT Oil Powder 4 grams
Redcon1 gets its fats from Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) sources. The label just says medium-chain triglyceride oil powder, but the website hints at it coming from coconut oil. There are a lot of benefits to using MCTs, and they have become very popular in the food supplement industry.
MCT oil can help to promote weight loss when it is used instead of long-chain triglycerides. It does this by increasing hormones that can regulate appetite . They may also allow you to train harder by reducing lactate build-up in the muscles during long bouts of exercise .
There is also evidence that MCTs can help to protect your heart and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are a lot of benefits, and MCT oil is a smart choice, but we can’t work out why Redcon1 has only added 4 grams of fat per serving. This is minuscule. Just 5% of your daily value. We’re not sure what the reasoning behind such a low amount of fat is.
Possibly, like carbohydrates, Redcon1 believes that having such low amounts makes it easier to stay within your macro targets, meaning you can have more high-fat foods in your other meals. Even so, many meal replacement shakes contain 10-15 grams of fat per serving.
It’s a shame because you won’t get many of the benefits of consuming MCT oil with such a low amount in each meal.
The ingredients in this shake are interesting. The first thing that anyone comments upon is the very high protein content, and this is clearly a major selling point. But the macronutrient ratios are almost bizarre. Very high protein, low carbohydrate, and very low fats is an odd combination.
It’s good for weight reduction, but not particularly good for athletic performance or for hormone levels. It can certainly fit into most diets, but you would have to pick your other meals carefully.
It’s very rare that meal replacements shakes get criticised for having too much protein, but the formula just doesn’t feel balanced. 530 calories are quite a lot for a meal replacement shake, but that’s no bad thing, particularly if you are male. But perhaps having so many calories coming from protein (188 calories) influenced the decisions on carbohydrate and fat content?
How to Take Redcon1 MRE Meal Replacement
A typical serving size is four scoops (130 grams), but Redcon1 says that you can use two scoops instead if you have different goals. This might not actually be a bad idea, it would reduce the cost per serving, and you would still be receiving 23.5 grams of protein, which is decent.
The MRE can be made with water, but it also mixes nicely with milk or dairy alternatives such as almond milk or oat milk. Remember though that this will increase the calories, and will also alter the macro ratio.
Other than that, it’s fairly standard usage instructions. Grab a shaker, pour in some water, add in your scoops of powder, place the lid on tight, and then shake for 10 seconds or so until it is fully mixed. You can also blend it instead if you have a decent blender.
Is Redcon1 MRE Meal Replacement Safe?
It is always a good idea for healthy adults to talk to a professional before embarking on a new diet or trying new supplements. But it should be said that this is a very safe product. All of the ingredients are checked by the food and drug administration (FDA) and none are banned.
There are some ingredients that some people may be allergic to. MRE contains milk, egg, fish, and tree nuts (coconuts). So if you are allergic to any of these then you should avoid this product.
Overall, this is a very safe product that utilises whole foods and provides added dietary protein. It is a lot more likely to provide positive health outcomes than negative ones.
Is Redcon1 MRE Meal Replacement Expensive?
Whether you consider MRE expensive or not kind of depends on what your meals usually cost. MRE is certainly more expensive per serving than most meal replacements. But when you consider the number of real whole foods contained within each serving you may consider it a bargain.
The first thing to note is that each pack contains 25 meals, and the average cost for a pack is $80 (this can vary depending on where you get it from). That means that the cost for each serving is around $3.20. Most meal replacements are around $2.50 or even lower.
Is $3.20 per meal expensive? Yes, when compared to other meal replacements. Yes, if you are providing meals for a family of six. But no it isn’t expensive if you usually eat alone, where a typical meal that contained this much protein would be $4 or more.
Redcon1 MRE Meal Replacement Alternatives
There are lots of good alternatives out there, but considering the audience that Redcon1 is targeting (bodybuilders and athletes) Instant Knockout Complete is the most obvious answer. Not only does it have a similar number of calories (400) it also has very high protein (35 grams).
It also uses real whole food to supply its carbs, protein, and fats but uses vegan-friendly sources rather than meat, eggs, and dairy. It also has more fiber and fewer sugars.
Another interesting alternative would be Rootana. While it is not as high in protein or calories, it is similar in its use of whole food protein sources but goes a step further. Rootana is completely free of artificial sweeteners and uses natural flavors instead. If you are looking for a more natural meal replacement then Rootana is a perfect choice.
What Do the Reviews Say?
Many of the reviews talk about how well the replacement shakes mix with water, and how well they have found it to digest. There are also a lot of comments about the taste. Banana nut bread gets quite a few mentions as does the Dutch apple pie flavor.
There are a few reviews that talk about the fact that it uses whole food protein, and that it has stopped them from reaching for fast food which is a big plus. A couple of people have claimed that it is now their favorite beverage and one of the best fuel choices they have in their cupboards.
A couple of reviews have claimed that it is a little expensive, and there are a few complaints about the lack of fats and the low carbohydrates. But on the whole, reviews are good.
Redcon1 MRE Meal Replacement Review
This is an interesting supplement, and it certainly raised some eyebrows when the ingredients list came out. The use of real foods is great, and the large selection of different protein sources is laudable, but the balance of the macros just feels a little off.
We know that many people do not want to follow standard diet recommendations, but a product that contains 94% of your recommended protein intake but only 5% of your total fat intake and 27% of your carb intake is certainly going to make things difficult for you.
Many bodybuilders and athletes consume much more than 47 grams of protein per day, so it won’t be too much of an issue for them, but less protein and more fats would probably elevate this formula slightly.
It’s great if you want to follow a high-protein, low fat and low carb diet, or if you are using it to build muscle. But there are better options out there, particularly for regular gym-goers. Check out our article on the best 5 meal replacement shakes to find your perfect fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many calories are in Redcon1 MRE meal replacements?
There are 530 calories. Roughly 188 calories come from protein, 300 calories come from carbohydrates, 36 calories come from fats. The calorie calculations don’t sync up perfectly with the macros (they equal 524 calories) but it is close enough.
How much protein is in Redcon1 MRE meal replacements?
There are 47 grams of protein in each serving, which represents 188 calories. This is about 36% of total calories (530). Carbs make up 57%, and fats make up the remaining 7%. This is a very decent protein to calorie ratio.
What is the difference between Redcon1 MRE and MRE LITE?
MRE LITE is much lower in calories (130 rather than 530), contains half the protein (24 grams rather than 47 grams), and contains almost zero carbs and fats. MRE LITE is more of a protein powder than a meal replacement shake.
Is Redcon1 MRE meal replacement healthy?
MRE can be incorporated into a healthy diet and has many health benefits, but there are healthier meal replacements out there. There are some interesting ingredients such as the dehydrated goji fruit, and sweet potato pea starch, but it is quite low in nutrients compared to Instant Knockout Complete or Huel.
What Flavors of MRE Meal Replacements are Available?
Oatmeal chocolate chip, blueberry cobbler, banana nut bread, Dutch apple pie, fudge brownie, peanut butter cookie, and a number of other options. Luckily, the real whole food ingredients don’t have a taste. Oatmeal chocolate chip tastes a lot nicer than salmon, egg, sweet potato, and beef!
Is MRE Vegan Friendly?
Absolutely not! It contains beef, chicken, salmon, egg, and milk. Check out vegan alternatives such as Instant Knockout Complete or Rootana if you want similar results while staying plant-based.
Which Flavor of MRE is Best?
A lot of people really like oatmeal chocolate chip, while fudge brownie also gets a lot of love from reviews. Banana nut bread is another strong contender, as is Dutch apple pie. Our personal favorite is oatmeal chocolate chip.
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