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THE weight loss market is saturated with diet plans, shakes and meal replacements, which can make it difficult to choose the one that’s right for you.
The Exante diet website is stacked full of weight loss stories that range from dropping two stone to a whopping 11-stone, each story backed up with convincing before and after pictures. So, it must work, right?
As a personal trainer and qualified nutrition coach I was interested to put Exante to the test, find out how easy it is to lose weight on its meal replacements plans and trial what the food, shakes, bars and snacks taste like — all while checking exactly how healthy it actually is.
Visit the NHS Better Health website for support and information about dieting in a healthy way.
- Lots of variety of meal replacement options
- Fairly priced and there’s always offers on
- Some really tasty snack options
- Mostly healthy ingredients with added vitamins and minerals
- Most ‘meals’ are pretty filling
- Not all the ‘meals’ taste great
- Some of the diet plans are very low on calories
- Lowest calorie plans could be unhealthy long term
- Some of the ‘meals’ do still contain sugar
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Exante review: quick summary
- Get 38% off Exante using code NEW38 – here
Does the Exante diet work? The short answer is yes, it does. If you want to lose weight and have the willpower to forgo ‘real’ food and stick with meal replacement options, then the calorie deficit that comes with the Exante plans will inevitably result in weight loss.
The key is to choose a plan where the calorie allowance is less than what you get from your regular diet. There’s a super-low option of 800 calories a day, which would be hard (and unhealthy) to maintain long-term, but can work as a kick start to your weight loss journey for a few weeks before moving onto a slightly more realistic 1200 calorie plan. there’s also other plans including a maintenance option and fasting plans.
The general idea is to swap out all or some of your meals for Exante replacement meals, which include high protein shakes, breakfasts, soups, pastas and bars and low calorie savoury snacks and desserts.
The replacement meals are lower in calories than meals you would normally eat, but the high protein content means they are still pretty filling and the snacks provided are tasty and good at tackling any hunger pangs.
The meals provide a good amount of vitamins and minerals and some of them don’t taste too bad. Over time you can find out which you like the taste of and only order those meals as part of your plan.
I would say the vegan shakes (all flavours) were standout for taste, followed by the savoury snack shots, caramel meal replacement bars and the berry yoghurts. The desserts need some work, though!
Exante review: full review
What is Exante?
- Get 38% off Exante using code NEW38 – here
Exante is a diet plan company that offers meal replacements, with each meal totalling around 200 calories.
The idea is that you swap your regular meal for one of these once, twice or three times a day. The meals they send you are considerably lower in calories than the ones you would normally eat which means you’ll be taking in less energy than you usually do and will in turn lose weight.
The meals they offer are high in protein and low in carbs. They include shakes, porridge, yoghurts, high protein bars, pastas, noodles, rice dishes and desserts. All are made by mixing with hot or cold water, and a shaker is provided for the shakes.
All are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and the website explains that “each serving provides over 17 grams of protein, five grams of fibre and 27 vitamins and minerals”. In addition to this, some plans come with small snack shot packs of flavoured nuts, seeds, dried fruits and chickpeas. (These actually taste great and are around 95 calories.)
How does Exante work?
Essentially it works by making you eat less than usual, and by taking in less energy than you’re exerting.
Exante makes this easier by providing you with meal alternatives in the form of bars and packets or pots of meal replacements that you can mix with water and eat instead of your regular meals.
Once you go on to the Exante website you can follow a number of routes depending on what your current BMI is, what your goals are (weight loss or maintenance) and whether you’re willing to give fasting a go; if the answer is yes, they suggest a 5:2 approach where you eat your own healthy food for five days a week and then go on an Exante low calorie plan for the other two days.
Depending on your goals and current BMI you will be directed to the plan Exante thinks is best suited to you. This could be the rather drastic Exante 800 – just 800 calories a day, swapping all your daily meals to Exante meals.
- Exante 2 Week Diet Plan, £39.99 (saving £45.01) – buy here
This includes three meal replacements a day, plus two low-cal snacks: this could look like a shake or porridge for breakfast, a soup or high protein bar for lunch and a small Exante pasta dish such as carbonara for dinner.
The two snacks are around 100 calories each and could be something like lemon and coconut or carrot cake bites, or a savoury snack of flavoured chickpeas or fruits nuts and seeds. You can choose your own meals when you order, and eat them in whatever order suits you best.
The next plan is the Exante 1200, the premise here being that you swap in two Exante meals a day and then add in your own 600 calorie meal and 200 calories of healthy snacks (which can also come from Exante).
The company also provides a free ebook to download which is full of healthy recipes you can make at home to stay on track. The plans also come with options for vegan shakes, meals and bars.
What do Exante ‘meals’ taste like?
In general, the shakes, which come in flavours including lemon cheesecake, cherries and berries, salted caramel, mint chocolate, creamy coconut, cinnamon swirl, coffee and walnut, chocolate peanut butter, banana and strawberry are very palatable. They’re quite thick and more filling than you would think, though I preferred the taste of the vegan shakes myself, with my favourite being the vegan chocolate.
There’s two other options for breakfast in the form of flavoured porridges (just add hot water) and berry yoghurt powder (just add cold water). Both taste good, though my favourite was the cinnamon flavoured porridge oats.
Moving onto the ‘meals’, options include sweet and sour noodles, creamy Thai noodles, red bean chilli, and a variety of soups including red Thai chicken, butternut squash and sweet potato and vegetable. Here it comes down to a matter of personal taste, but I didn’t love the taste of most of these and neither did my mum who was helping out with the testing. However, we did make them tastier by adding some spices.
I would suggest playing around with the consistency of most of these meals, as some require a little more water than recommended, and this can make the meals more palatable. My preference was the soups because you can easily add some extra taste through herbs and spices that don’t affect the calorie count.
The meal replacement bars were tasty and very filling. The salted caramel and chocolate fudge are probably the tastiest and if you’re going for vegan, then the dark chocolate and orange is nice.
If you have a sweet tooth, however, you might struggle — the desserts aren’t great. The lemon pancakes aren’t really sweet enough (although you can buy an Exante liquid sweetener to add to them) and the gooey choc pudding just came out as a rubber-like mess every time I tried to make it – it was totally inedible.
I preferred to just eat a meal replacement bar or have another shake for dessert instead — the calorie count is pretty much the same.
- Get 100 Exante meals for £99 using code 99PMEAL – here
What can you drink on the Exante diet?
On the Exante diet, you can drink anything that doesn’t add calories, meaning black coffee and green tea are great. If you want to add milk to your brew, you need to lose those calories elsewhere (perhaps by missing out on a daily snack).
Exante does offer a variety of drink options to make life easier. There’s Exante Burst multivitamin drinks sachets which come in strawberry and lime, blood orange, raspberry and apple and elderflower, and can be added to water to make a cordial style energy drink.
There are also flavoured water enhancers to help you increase your fluid intake if you find straight up water a bit boring — there’s less than a single calorie in the drink once made up. Exante also offers its meal replacement high protein shakes in fruit juice form for something a bit lighter.
Unfortunately there’s no place for alcohol on the Exante diet because it adds extra calories, but you can opt for Exante’s alcohol-free, virtually calorie-free cans of pina colada and strawberry daiquiri for a night with mates.
How much does Exante cost?
There’s a whole host of plans you can choose from and you can also order the items individually, and the good news is that there always seems to be offers on. At time of writing (February 2022), the prices are:
- 2-Week Plan (contains 42 meal replacements and a shaker), £39.99 (saving £45.01) – buy here
- 4 Week Plan (contains 84 meal replacements, a shaker and one water enhancer), £69.99 (saving £90.01) – buy here
- 4 Week repeat subscription, £64.99 – buy here
A number of other plans and mix and match bundles available across the website.
Exante is currently running a deal for new customers that saves you 38% on almost everything if you use the code NEW38 when checking out — but hurry, as it’s only valid until the end of February. There’s also a ‘buy 100 meals for £99’ offer here.
Does the Exante diet work?
If weight loss is your goal and you’re ready to make some sacrifices when it comes to taste, then yes, absolutely, Exante does work.
I followed the Exante 1200 for three weeks, occasionally going 200 calories or so over the daily target, and still lost weight. I gave the 5:2 fasting option a go for a few weeks after this, and this suited me better as I found it difficult to have meal replacements every day.
Meanwhile, my mum trialled the Exante 800 and saw weight loss after the first week. However she couldn’t stay on the diet for longer than two weeks as she was missing regular food and didn’t like the taste of the savoury meals. She moved to the Exante 1200 after that for a couple of weeks and has dropped a dress size.
Exante review: the verdict
Stick to the diet and you WILL see results, but the struggle is real if you don’t like the food. The shakes and breakfasts are pretty tasty so the easiest route would be the Exante 1200, which includes adding an evening meal of your own.
The food itself is pretty rich in whey proteins and sweeteners which can cause stomach upset if you have a delicate gut, and the added sugars in some items do go against the idea of being ‘healthy’.
Overall, if you’re desperate to lose weight, Exante is a good option. My advice would be to try out a load of different meals when you start and then build your own plans using the dishes that you like – this can make the plan a lot more manageable.
- Explore the Exante range – here
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