Meal replacement shakes are the staples of busy people and athletes who want to enjoy a nutritious meal without the cooking and meal preps. Moreover, if you consume them correctly, they can help you lose weight. With hundreds of products out there, not to mention the exaggerated claims when promoted online, it can be confusing which one you should buy.
So, don't worry. We got you covered! Whether you want to lose weight or maintain your six-pack abs, we will walk you through this article on choosing a meal replacement shake, from what to look for on the nutritional label to health benefits and ingredients to avoid. There are also some helpful tips on how to use these shakes effectively for weight loss, so let's begin!
A meal replacement shake is available in powder and ready-to-drink forms, or you may also blend it with other liquids to replace your meal — breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s ideal for busy adults and weight watchers who want to get the most macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals without the meal preps, cooking, and food logging.
Meal replacement shakes are formulated mostly for weight management. People who drink them most likely want to lose weight, while others include them in their daily nutrition for a well-balanced diet. Furthermore, meal replacement shakes have nutrients, a good and healthy alternative to processed food and unhealthy snacks.
Whether you’re on the go, don’t have time to cook, or looking for a one-stop meal shake for weight loss, here are the things you should consider before buying one.
Macronutrients, referred to as “macros,” are nutritional compounds that your body needs to function properly every day. These are carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Whether you follow a SAD lifestyle or the Standard American Diet, low carb, paleo, vegan, pescatarian, or ketogenic lifestyle, you need to consume the right macros daily.
The percentage may differ from one person to another, depending on the lifestyle, diet, and goals. For example, if you are on a keto lifestyle, you can consume 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day. Otherwise, if you're following American Dietary Guidelines, the recommended daily value in a regular 2,000 calorie-diet is around 250 to 300 grams per day.
Consuming food with high protein helps curb your appetite and helps you reduce weight naturally. Fortunately, premium brands that sell meal replacement shakes have about 15 to 28 grams of protein per serving. For reference, 25g of protein is equivalent to three ounces of chicken breast, and that's packed in a single shake.
According to a study, consuming low-carb food helps you lose weight and is beneficial for people suffering from obesity, diabetes, and PCOS because it reduces insulin levels. So, ook for meal shakes with reduced carbohydrate content, ideally less than 10 grams per serving especially if you are on a keto and low-carb lifestyle.
Look for about 10 to 13 grams of fat per serving since the daily recommended 2,000 calorie-diet requires 25 to 35 percent of fat in your macros, which is around 44 to 77 grams of total fat per day.
Consume healthy fats that come from olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, to name a few, and be aware of processed meats and unhealthy fats like refined vegetable oils. Remember to check the ingredients list before purchasing the shake.
Ensure the shake has a good dose of fiber of at least three grams or more. Fiber not only helps in relieving constipation, but it is also good in building a healthy gut, helps you have regular bowel movements, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
Ideally, you should consume 25 grams of fiber per day, so consider a meal replacement shake with high fiber content or supplement it with vegetables and fruits during your lunch or dinner.
Check the micronutrients or essential vitamins and minerals on the nutritional facts. Some brands include 10 vitamins and minerals, whereas premium ones offer you more than 20, including vitamin A, C, E, potassium, and sodium to name a few.
Know the daily recommended dose of vitamins and minerals that you need for a healthy lifestyle. You can't get all the calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin D that you need from a single meal. Still, some commercial shakes also include these per serving, which you can consume together with your supplements and other meals.
If you want to lose weight, one of the key elements is to have a calorie deficit. That said, your meal replacement shakes shouldn’t exceed 400 calories. The fewer the calories, the better. Science has proven that for weight loss to happen, regardless of how you play around with macros, cutting about 500 to 1,000 calories per day is a good range.
Avoid those with artificial flavors, added sugars, and food coloring. These are the unhealthiest as artificial flavors such as methyl cinnamate mimic the original flavor and smell of fruits like strawberries. These are not the real deal as they are cheaper compared to real strawberries and chocolates, for example.
Also, watch out for shakes with high fructose, corn syrup, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Sugar must at least be only 10 grams per serving, as excess sugar forfeits weight loss goals, resulting in weight gain and may increase the risk for obesity-related diseases.
Check for sweeteners such as aspartame and maltitol as well as thickeners like maltodextrin, which are usually added in most shakers. They can spike up blood sugar because of their high glycemic index. If you have diabetes, you might want to steer away from them and look for natural sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit.
If you have a soy, nut, grain, or gluten allergy, to name a few, check the ingredients and labels before purchasing the shake to avoid allergic reactions. Premium brands are made of organic ingredients and will disclose how the product was manufactured.
Also, check if the shake is gluten-free, vegan, kosher, or plant-based to ensure that you don't spend your money on a product that doesn’t match your lifestyle and eating habits, whether you're a vegan, low-carb eater, or paleo dieter.
There are many weight loss and health supplements in the market, and sometimes it can be confusing which one to choose in terms of their effectiveness and health benefits. That said, check unbiased reviews of customers as well as third-party and clinical reports.
You may also watch reviews by fitness trainers, nutrition experts, and doctors on Youtube and other third-party sites that are not sponsored. Keep in mind that these meal replacement products are not formulated equally, and even if they are promoted for weight loss, it doesn’t mean that you can also get the exact same results.
Drinking meal replacement shakes are better than binging on processed food, so here are the 10 best products you can check online, suitable for low-carb dieters, keto dieters, vegans, weight watchers, and more.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 13g, Protein 9g, and Fat 1g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 21 Vitamins, Minerals, and Essential Nutrients|
|Calories Per Serving||90 Calories per 2 Scoops (Without Milk)|
|Sugar Per Serving||9g|
|Other Ingredients||Contains Milk and Soy|
|Flavors||Pralines and Cream, Orange Cream, Banana Caramel, Dulce de Leche, Café Latte, French Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Wild Berry, Cookies 'n Cream, Mint Chocolate, Piña Colada, Mango Pineapple|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 10g, Protein 28g, and Fat 2g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 10 Vitamins and Essential Nutrients|
|Calories Per Serving||170 Calories per Scoop|
|Sugar Per Serving||Less Than 1g|
|Other Ingredients||Organic Vanilla Flavor, Organic Erythritol, and Organic Stevia Extract|
|Flavors||Original, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Coffee|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 11g, Protein 20g, and Fat 3g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 17 Vitamins and Minerals per 2 Scoops|
|Calories Per Serving||150 Calories per Scoop|
|Sugar Per Serving||2g|
|Other Ingredients||Fruits and Veggies, Probiotics, and Omega-3|
|Flavors||Decadent Chocolate and French Vanilla|
Fudge Brownie Batter Mix
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 9g, Protein 8g, and Fat 15g|
|Micronutrients||up to 24 Vitamins and Minerals Per 2 Scoops|
|Calories Per Serving||190 Calories|
|Sugar Per Serving||0g|
|Other Ingredients||MCT Oil Blend, Protein Blend, Cocoa, Erythritol, Stevia Leaf Extract, Monk Fruit|
|Flavors||Fudge Brownie Batter, Vanilla Cake Batter, Creamy Coffee Cappuccino|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 27g, Protein 20g, and Fat 4.5g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 11 Vitamins and Minerals per 2 Scoops|
|Calories Per Serving||230 Calories per 2 Scoops|
|Sugar Per Serving||2g|
|Other Ingredients||Organic Beans, Sprouts, and Vegetables|
|Flavors||Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Vanilla Bean|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 14g, Protein 25g, and Fat 3.5g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 7 Vitamins and Minerals per Scoop|
|Calories Per Serving||170 Calories per Scoop|
|Sugar Per Serving||2g|
|Other Ingredients||Grass-Fed Protein, Fiber and Superfoods Blend, and MCT Oil Powder|
|Flavors||Chocolate, Vanilla, Cinnamon Churro, Cold Brew Coffee|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 2g, Protein 10g, and Fat 3.5g|
|Micronutrients||Iron, Potassium, Sodium, and Chloride per 1 Scoop|
|Calories Per Serving||80 Calories per Scoop|
|Sugar Per Serving||-|
|Other Ingredients||Hydrolyzed Collagen Powder, Mct Oil, Cocoa Powder With Alkali, Stevia Extract|
|Flavors||Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Toast, Chocolate, Unflavored, Vanilla, Salted Caramel|
Pack of 8
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 33g, Protein 9g, and Fat 6g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 27 Vitamins and Minerals per 237ml Serving|
|Calories Per Serving||220 Calories per Bottle|
|Sugar Per Serving||15g|
|Other Ingredients||Water, Corn, Soy Protein Isolate, and Milk Protein Concentrate|
|Flavors||Vanilla, Strawberry, Dark Chocolate, Coffee Latte, Milk Chocolate, Butter Pecan, and Banana Nut|
Pack of 6
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 16g, Protein 10g, and Fat 9g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 26 Vitamins and Minerals per 237ml Serving|
|Calories Per Serving||180 Calories per Bottle|
|Sugar Per Serving||4g|
|Other Ingredients||Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Glycerin, Fructose|
|Flavors||Rich Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Creamy Strawberry, Classic Butter Pecan, and Chocolate Caramel|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 4g, Protein 30g, and Fat 3g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 24 Vitamins and Minerals per Bottle|
|Calories Per Serving||160 Calories per Bottle|
|Sugar Per Serving||1g|
|Other Ingredients||Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, and Cocoa Powder|
|Flavors||Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Roll, Cafe Latte, Cookies and Cream, Strawberries and Cream, Bananas and Cream, Peaches and Cream, and Pumpkin Spice|
Garden of Life
RSP Clean Active Nutrition
Formula 1 Nutritional Shake
Raw Organic Fit Powder
Organic All-in-One Nutritional Supplement Shake
Keto Meal Shake
Organic Meal All-in-One Nutritional Powder
Original Milk Chocolate Nutrition Shake
Protein Shake Rich Chocolate
Cookies & Cream Protein Shake
A Low-Calorie, Great-Tasting Shake for Balanced Nutrition
High-Protein Non-GMO and Vegan-Friendly Nutritional Shake
100% Plant-Based Shake Packed With 27 Fruits and Vegetables
Tasty Sugar-Free Meal Shake for Keto and Low-Carb Dieters
Premium Plant-Based Organic Meal Shake While On-the-Go
Made of Grass-Fed Whey With Beneficial Probiotics
Keto-Friendly and Low Carb Shake With Collagen Peptides
A Complete Balanced Nutritional Shake for Weight Gain
Meal Replacement Shake for Diabetics
Excellent Source of Protein for Athletes and Active People
|Price Starts at||₱1,069||₱4,195||₱1,450||₱1,080||₱2,770||₱1,650||₱1,235||₱1,299||₱748||₱169|
|Macronutrients||Carbohydrates 13g, Protein 9g, and Fat 1g||Carbohydrates 10g, Protein 28g, and Fat 2g||Carbohydrates 11g, Protein 20g, and Fat 3g||Carbohydrates 9g, Protein 8g, and Fat 15g||Carbohydrates 27g, Protein 20g, and Fat 4.5g||Carbohydrates 14g, Protein 25g, and Fat 3.5g||Carbohydrates 2g, Protein 10g, and Fat 3.5g||Carbohydrates 33g, Protein 9g, and Fat 6g||Carbohydrates 16g, Protein 10g, and Fat 9g||Carbohydrates 4g, Protein 30g, and Fat 3g|
|Micronutrients||Up to 21 Vitamins, Minerals, and Essential Nutrients||Up to 10 Vitamins and Essential Nutrients||Up to 17 Vitamins and Minerals per 2 Scoops||up to 24 Vitamins and Minerals Per 2 Scoops||Up to 11 Vitamins and Minerals per 2 Scoops||Up to 7 Vitamins and Minerals per Scoop||Iron, Potassium, Sodium, and Chloride per 1 Scoop||Up to 27 Vitamins and Minerals per 237ml Serving||Up to 26 Vitamins and Minerals per 237ml Serving||Up to 24 Vitamins and Minerals per Bottle|
|Calories Per Serving||90 Calories per 2 Scoops (Without Milk)||170 Calories per Scoop||150 Calories per Scoop||190 Calories||230 Calories per 2 Scoops||170 Calories per Scoop||80 Calories per Scoop||220 Calories per Bottle||180 Calories per Bottle||160 Calories per Bottle|
|Sugar Per Serving||9g||Less Than 1g||2g||0g||2g||2g||-||15g||4g||1g|
|Other Ingredients||Contains Milk and Soy||Organic Vanilla Flavor, Organic Erythritol, and Organic Stevia Extract||Fruits and Veggies, Probiotics, and Omega-3||MCT Oil Blend, Protein Blend, Cocoa, Erythritol, Stevia Leaf Extract, Monk Fruit||Organic Beans, Sprouts, and Vegetables||Grass-Fed Protein, Fiber and Superfoods Blend, and MCT Oil Powder||Hydrolyzed Collagen Powder, Mct Oil, Cocoa Powder With Alkali, Stevia Extract||Water, Corn, Soy Protein Isolate, and Milk Protein Concentrate||Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Glycerin, Fructose||Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, and Cocoa Powder|
|Flavors||Pralines and Cream, Orange Cream, Banana Caramel, Dulce de Leche, Café Latte, French Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Wild Berry, Cookies 'n Cream, Mint Chocolate, Piña Colada, Mango Pineapple||Original, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Coffee||Decadent Chocolate and French Vanilla||Fudge Brownie Batter, Vanilla Cake Batter, Creamy Coffee Cappuccino||Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Vanilla Bean||Chocolate, Vanilla, Cinnamon Churro, Cold Brew Coffee||Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Toast, Chocolate, Unflavored, Vanilla, Salted Caramel||Vanilla, Strawberry, Dark Chocolate, Coffee Latte, Milk Chocolate, Butter Pecan, and Banana Nut||Rich Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Creamy Strawberry, Classic Butter Pecan, and Chocolate Caramel||Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Roll, Cafe Latte, Cookies and Cream, Strawberries and Cream, Bananas and Cream, Peaches and Cream, and Pumpkin Spice|
Let's face it, meal replacement shakes are an investment for your health, meaning they also cost a lot, especially if you're going for premium brands. That said, make sure you make the most out of each serving to achieve your weight loss goals.
Whether you're in a low-carb, keto, or standard diet, the key to losing weight is reducing your caloric intake. Replacing your regular meals with a healthy and nutritional meal shake of one to two servings per day can help speed up your weight loss and reduce body fat. Furthermore, these shakes also help you feel full, especially if they are high in protein.
Meal replacement shakes are not formulated equally, so make sure you watch for added sugars when you mix them with other liquids. Science has proven that eating less sugar is linked to weight loss. Also, pay attention to what you mix your replacement shakes such as like milk, coffee, and creams.
You might be consuming hidden calories that could sabotage your weight loss journey in the long run, like the calories from your coffee creamer or additional sugar from the milk that you mix with your shake. If these can't be avoided, go for low-fat or low-sugar variants.
You may also consider intermittent fasting (IF) to help you consume fewer calories as you drink water, black coffee, or tea during a 16-hour fasting window. Dr. Jason Fung, author of the book Obesity Code and a proponent of IF, recommends fasting and adopting a low-carb diet to help treat type 2 diabetes.
On top of that, according to a study, combining meal replacement shakes with intermittent fasting leads to healthier weight loss. When combined with healthy meals and regular exercise, these good habits will surely help you reach your fitness goals faster!
Whether you want to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, here are some of the products worth checking out that we have reviewed so far.
Now that you know what to look for in nutritional labels on meal replacement shakes, it's time to buy the one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Keep in mind that diets don't actually work, but having a mindset that you're going to change your habits for a healthier lifestyle is more sustainable. Happy shopping!
Author: Maria Krisette Capati
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