Meal replacement shakes are an incredibly effective way to improve your diet and nutrition while simultaneously saving you time and money. Most people see meal replacement shakes as a weight loss solution, and they can certainly be that, but they have so many more uses. In this review, I will be taking a look at twelve of the best meal replacement shakes in the UK.
While not all of the companies mentioned in this review are based in the UK, many of them are. Rootana, Instant Knockout, Huel, Abnormal, The Protein Works, and Purition are all UK-based companies. When it comes to meal replacement shakes, the UK certainly delivers top-quality products, with only the US giving it any competition.
10 of The Best Meal Replacement Shakes
In this section, I will take a look at our 12 best meal replacement shakes, starting with our overall favourite Rootana.
Rootana Real Food Shake (Best Meal Replacement 2023)
Rootana is a plant-based meal replacement shake that prides itself on its avoidance of complex carbs (like maltodextrin), artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and colourings. This is a meal replacement shake that prioritises natural foods over artificial or lab-created ingredients such as sucralose, stevia, or aspartame.
Rootana is more than just a natural shake, though, it is also high in plant-based fibre and high in protein, and it tastes incredible.
Rootana at a Glance
Rootana contains 400 calories per serving. There are 21 grams of protein, 7.1 grams of fibre, 44 grams of carbohydrates, and 16 grams of healthy fats. The macros differ slightly between the Original flavour and the cacao flavour (which is slightly higher in fibre and only contains 20 grams instead of 21 grams of protein).
There are only two flavours available, with cacao being particularly popular.
Rootana features and benefits
- All natural ingredients
- No artificial sweeteners
- Great creamy taste
- Plant based
- 30g of protein for muscle growth and repair
- 27 Vitamins & Minerals for a complete vitamin profile
- Vitamin A to help your skin and immune system
- Vitamin E helps strengthen your immune system
- Healthy fats Omega 3 and 6
- Chromium to raise your mood
Rootana Ingredients Review
Rootana gets most of its low GI carbohydrates and fibre from oat flour powder. A top-quality carbohydrate source that is an excellent source of beta-glucan. Oats have long been known to improve your heart health, protect against certain cancers, improve gut health, and help you to lose weight by regulating your appetite.
The main source of protein in Rootana is pea protein, which is one of the best plant-based proteins around and is what is known as a complete protein due to its full amino acid profile. Golden milled flaxseed is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fibre. It is also a source of lignans, which have been found to improve heart health and gut health. Sunflower seed oil provides healthy omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, while coconut sugars have been used instead of regular sugar as a natural and low-GI alternative.
Rootana is the perfect meal replacement shake for people looking to improve their health, save time in the kitchen, and improve their body composition (either losing weight or building muscle, or both). The shakes taste great, they mix well, and they benefit from top-quality ingredients. This is a vegan shake that suits all diets (apart from gluten-free). An excellent meal replacement shake.
Instant Knockout Complete
Instant Knockout Complete is a meal replacement shake from the company that brought you IK Cut, one of the best fat burners around. The two products were originally designed to be taken together, but they are highly effective when taken separately.
Instant Knockout Complete is the best meal replacement shake for weight loss on the market, and it contains only the finest ingredients. This is reflected in its premium price, though, as with PhenQ, the price is more than justified by the product.
Instant Knockout Complete at a Glance
Instant Knockout Complete contains 400 calories per serving. There are 35 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of dietary fibre, and 13 grams of healthy fats. There is only one flavour available (vanilla).
Instant Knockout Complete features and benefits
- 35g of protein for muscle growth and repair
- 35g of carbohydrate for energy
- 13g of fibre for digestion and slow release energy
- Benefit from Vitamin D whether you train indoor or out
- Vitamin A to help your skin and immune system
- Vitamin E helps strengthen your immune system
- Healthy fats Omega 3 and 6
- Chromium to elevate your mood
- Combines well with Instant Knockout Cut for weight loss
Instant Knockout Complete Ingredients Review
Instant Knockout Complete has a plant-based protein blend comprised of both pea protein and soy protein isolate. You also get protein from brown rice, as well as small amounts from oat flour, chia seed, and flaxseed. Oats make up the majority of the low GI carbohydrates in Instant Knockout Complete, while chia seed and flaxseeds provide a bit of everything (fats, protein, carbs, fibre).
Most of the healthy fats come from MCT oil, which is found in coconut oil. MCTs are similar to regular fats but take a little longer to digest. This helps to raise your metabolic rate slightly when compared to regular fats.
Instant Knockout Complete Review
Though there is only one flavour available, Instant Knockout Complete is a superb choice for a meal replacement shake. It is high in protein, high in fibre, tastes amazing, and it will keep you feeling fuller for long afterwards. If you are aiming to lose weight, then Instant Knockout Complete is a perfect choice. As an added bonus, try it alongside Instant Knockout Cut, as the two have a synergistic relationship.
Eve Biology has created a powerful menopause supplement that combines the benefits of a calorie controlled meal replacement with adaptogens, vitamins and minerals to aide in diminishing menopause symptoms.
Eve Biology at a Glance
Unlike other menopause supplements, such as pills, Eve Biology meal replacement replaces either your breakfast and /or your lunch so you can ditch the sandwiches and cereal.
In doing so, your body receives far more health benefits compared to a tablet alone. The formula contains bioactive ingredients such as ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, prebiotic fiber and omega 6 to start combating symptoms from day 1 and improving your body’s responses to hormonal changes.
Eve Biology Features and benefits
- Created for women in perimenopause and menopause
- Formulated to work alongside HRT
- 95% of consumer trial would recommend
- Addresses Anxiety, Brain Fog, Sleep, Hot flashes
- Aides in weight loss
- Improves energy
- Decreases bloating
- Good levels of fibre
- Suitable for those with IBS
- 26 key vitamins and minerals
- Only 209 calories per serving
- Buy all 3 flavours and get 25% off
Eve Biology Ingredients Review
This meal replacement doesn’t contain what you might call ‘typical’ ingredients you see in other meal replacements. Eve Biology have clearly considered the best ingredients for women in perimenopause and menopause.
The formula contains bioactive ingredients such as ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, prebiotic fiber and omega 6 to start combating symptoms from day 1 and improving your body’s responses to hormonal changes.
Eve Biology Review
Eve Biology is very new to the market and I am proud to say that Supplements Reviews got one of the first batches to try. It stacks up against the best of the meal replacements, but is by far the best menopause supplement on the market. Take a look at how the product compares to other meal replacements with our handy meal replacement comparison table.
PhenQ Complete Meal Shake
PhenQ has had a recent revamp of its formula, and it has completely transformed the product! This is now a plant-based shake full of healthy fats, fibre, and plant protein. It is a superb choice for anyone looking to lose weight while improving their nutrition.
PhenQ at a Glance
PhenQ contains 254 calories per serving. It has 16 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 16 grams of protein. There are three flavours available; chocolate, vanilla, and strawberries & cream. The formula has been massively upgraded recently, though the website still reflects the old formula.
Features and benefits
- Replaces 1 full meal
- Helps to shed excess weight
- Satisfies hunger cravings
- 100% plant-based & keto-friendly
- Boosts natural energy
- Increase muscle strength
- Perfect for on-the-go
- 24 key vitamins and minerals
- Low carbs
- Only 269 calories per serving
- Helps shed pounds with science-backed InnoSlim®
- Boosts energy and controls cravings
- 100% money back guarantee
PhenQ Ingredients Review
There are three protein sources in PhenQ. The vast majority of protein comes from pea protein, but there is also a small amount of brown rice protein and hemp protein. The fats come from coconut oil MCT, one of the healthiest fat sources that you can find. Linseed flour is there for its fat and carbohydrate content. PhenQ also contains ashwagandha, Panax ginseng, and reishi mushroom extract.
PhenQ has come a long way in a short period of time, and now it can compete with the best of the best. The website certainly needs updating, and the price per serving is a little high compared to Rootana or Huel, but the inclusion of 13 grams of coconut oil MCT justifies the price and really elevates the formula.
The Protein Works Diet Extreme
Diet Meal Replacement Extreme from The Protein Works is a very low-calorie meal replacement shake that is high in protein and high in fibre but very low in fat. Containing just 18 calories of fat out of 214, this makes it less than 1% fat.
The high protein content and high fibre content make it satiating, and it could be effective during an intense period of dieting. But this is not a meal replacement shake that is designed for long-term use. Whether you consider this a good meal replacement shake or not really depends on what your goals are.
TPW Diet Extreme at a Glance
Diet Meal Replacement Extreme contains 214 calories per serving. There are 1.9 grams of fats, 24 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fibre. There are 18 flavours available to choose from. The price per serving is very low, around £1.50 per serving if you buy the smallest pack, going down to £1.20 if you buy in bulk.
Best features and benefits
- 22 essential vitamins and minerals
- Complete amino acid profile
- Controlled calorie intake
- One of the best weight loss shakes
- Fast and slow-release proteins
- 12 months shelf-life
- Sustained energy release
- Under 210 calories per meal
- Uses whey protein isolate; better than whey protein concentrate
- Low in sugar/Low calorie
- High protein/Good for weight gain
- Contains fat burners for more muscle mass
- Vegan option also available
TPW Diet Extreme Ingredients Review
The ingredients in TPW’s Diet Extreme meal replacement are interesting. You’ve got soy protein, milk protein, and micellar casein protein, alongside oats and maltodextrin. But there are also ingredients such as glucomannan which indicate that there has been some thought into what goes in. If you have any allergies, then check the back of the pack because the factory which makes it also handles a number of allergens.
TPW Diet Extreme Review
Diet Extreme has some good things going for it. If you are on a very low-calorie diet, then this shake will easily fit into it. The low price point is also handy, and it is very high in protein. But it does not suit long-term dieting, as the calories per serving are very low. There are also a number of low-quality ingredients, which is understandable, but a shame.
Abnormal Complete Meal
Abnormal is a unique meal replacement shake company, and its approach is, well, abnormal. The idea is that you fill out a form and supply the company with information about your body and your goals then they create a meal replacement shake formula to fit your needs.
It’s a great idea, and while it doesn’t quite live up to the hype (there aren’t as many options as you’d imagine), this could well be the vanguard of a completely new movement.
Abnormal at a Glance
Because the formula is customisable, it is difficult to give an exact calorie and macro breakdown. It is around 350 calories per serving, 30 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat, and 38 grams of carbohydrates.
Features and benefits
- Personalised meals – Each shake has all the nutrients and vitamins required to qualify for a complete meal
- On top of that, each meal will contain a range of active ingredients tailored to an individuals’ health, lifestyle and goals.
- Vegan? Gluten-Free? Stressed? Feeling lethargic?
- Want to lose some weight? Whatever you need, abnormal. has got you covered.
- Single serve sachets – Your abnormal. meals comes in handy single serve sachets to minimise food waste.
- No wrestling with a big bag of powder, hunting for a plastic scoop or powder everywhere.
- Paper Based-packaging – Each sachet is made from renewable material that you can simply recycle as part of your normal waste collection.
Help fight World Hunger – Every time you receive your subscription box, we donate to the worldwide hunger charity, Share The Meal™, and feed a starving child for a full day.
Currently offering free trial worth £23.99, which includes 7 personalised meals, a shaker and a personal nutrition guide. Use Promo code: “FREE”
How it works
- Take the questionnaire about your diet, health and lifestyle
- Get a FREE trial – Personalised meals delivered to your door
- Receive a 30 meal smart subscription
- Update your profile and re-take the analysis and your food will sync to your lifestyle changes
Abnormal Ingredients Review
The ingredients found in Abnormal are pretty cool. Low GI oats, natural MCTs, ashwagandha, cherry extract, if you pick a non-vegan one, then you may get whey protein. There is sunflower oil (which contributes more fats than MCT does), and they use sucralose as a sweetener.
The potential is there for Abnormal to really compete with the big boys (Rootana, IKO Complete, PhenQ, and Huel). But there is a feeling that they either need to really lean into the customisation side of things or just sell a normal shake. They are sort of caught between both worlds at the moment.
Shape Shake 2.0
Shape Shake 2.0 is an interesting meal replacement shake. It is only 206 calories yet contains 25 grams of protein. Meaning that this meal replacement shake is 50% protein. This brings it closer to a protein shake than it does to a complete meal. Or should it just be seen as a high-protein meal replacement shake? The jury is still out on this one.
Shape Shake 2.0 at a Glance
Shape Shake 2.0 contains 206 calories per serving. There are 25 grams of protein, 4 grams of fats, and 11 grams of carbohydrates.
Shape Shake 2.0 features and benefits
- High quality protein from grass-fed milk
- Nutritionally complete
- Gluten free, no artificial sweeteners
- Contains digestive enzymes
- One of the best tasting
- Suitable for healthy weight gain for muscle mass
- Can replace one to two meals per day
Shape Shake 2.0 is one of the best shakes to lose weight in the UK market today. It boasts of a complete amino acid profile, has all the nutrients you want per serving, and is effectively a weight loss shake.
The team at Foodspring reworked the formula to become more of a full meal than just a simple health food or snack. They made sure it’s high protein, high fibre, low sugar, and added all sorts of helpful bits that make Shape Shake 2.0 the standard to beat in the weight loss industry.
Shape Shake 2.0 Ingredients Review
Shape Shake 2.0 has a lot of similar ingredients to many of the other meal replacement shakes on this list. It uses gluten-free oat powder as its main source of carbohydrates, sunflower lecithin as a thickener, and whey protein isolate as its main protein source.
Shape Shake 2.0 Review
A decent high-protein, low-carb meal replacement shake, which is very high in protein and fibre but quite low in calories. This may suit smaller people and women in particular, but a 100 kg male looking to lose weight would need to take 2-3 servings per meal, and they would still be able to lose weight! Making it impractical from a financial point of view.
Of course, Shape Shake 2.0 is aimed primarily at women, so this is a little unfair. Though an overweight woman would struggle to follow a diet where they only consume 200-calorie meals.
BeNu Complete Nutrition Shake
BeNu Complete nutrition shake is quite similar to Diet Extreme by The Protein Works, which is unsurprising as BeNu is made by myprotein.com, which has historical links to TPW. There are a few similar ingredients, and both have opted for a high-protein product, but BeNu has a few key differences.
For starters, it is 400 calories, rather than 200. It also contains a lot of healthy fats and a more reasonable amount of carbohydrates. This is a proper meal replacement shake rather than a diet shake.
BeNu Complete at a Glance
BeNu Complete contains 402 calories per serving. There are 14 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 9.2 grams of fibre, and 33 grams of protein. There are only three flavours available, but all three are quite unique (cereal milk, cinnamon bun, banana split).
Best features and benefits
- NEW from Myprotein
- 1 meal contains a third of your daily need of all 27 essential vitamins and minerals
- Digestion and immunity support
- Low Sugar
- Gluten Free
- 3 great flavours
- Ready in under 1 minute
- As low as £1.59 per serving
BeNu Complete Nutrition from Myprotein is a nutritionally complete meal, and one of the easiest ways to get all the nutrients your body needs.
Each serving contains a nutritionally rich formula of gluten-free oat flour, whey protein concentrate and soya protein isolate, along with essential vitamins and minerals.
BeNu Complete Ingredients Review
There is oat flour, whey protein, soya, flaxseed, sunflower oil, carb10 pea starch, and a whole bunch of artificial ingredients such as sucralose. It’s a mixture of low-quality and top-quality ingredients, and it explains the relatively low price per serving.
BeNu Complete Review
If you are on a budget, then BeNu is an excellent alternative to better meal replacements such as Rootana. But it might be worth spending that little bit extra to get a more natural meal replacement shake.
Garden of Life
There is so much to like about Garden of Life that when you see the flaw, it is actually a shock. Garden of Life has a great price per serving, is packed full of amazing, natural ingredients, and contains 20 grams of protein per serving. The catch? Each serving is only 130 calories! That is insane. This is not a meal replacement shake. With 61% protein content, it is a healthy protein shake.
You would need around three servings to constitute a proper meal (390 calories), which sadly pushes the price per serving up to over £5! It would also contain 60 grams of protein, which is a little too large for one meal.
Garden of Life works best when combined with other ingredients such as milk (or non-dairy milk), fruit, vegetables etc. It’s a great base for that, but it isn’t great as a standalone shake.
Garden of Life at a Glance
Garden of Life contains 130 calories per serving. There are 20 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fibre, and 2 grams of fats. There are four available flavours.
Some of the best features and benefits
- 40% Protein per serving
- One of the few nutritionally complete shakes
- 44 Different superfoods
- 21 essential vitamins and minerals
- 1.5 billion CFU probiotics
- Can be used to lose weight
- Gluten free, dairy free, soy free
- Safe for vegans
Garden of Life Ingredients Review
Garden of Life reminds me of Ka’Chava, it is absolutely packed full of healthy ingredients, but the dosages are so small that they make little to no difference. Think about it, there are 121 calories in a large banana, Garden of Life contains 130 calories, and there are over 50 ingredients. That’s around 1-3 calories per ingredient. It’s madness. There are 14 ingredients in the protein blend alone!
Garden of Life Review
Look, if you are looking for a healthy shake to accompany your meals, then Garden of Life has you covered. It’s very high in protein, and the taste is great. But 130 calories is nowhere near enough calories to replace a meal, and you would need multiple servings for that to work.
Benefits I think you’ll like
- 23 essential vitamins and minerals
- No Added Sugar
- One of the best weight loss shakes in the market
- 15 grams of protein per serving
- Includes a dietary plan for weight loss
- Simple, no frills, and focused formulation
SlimFast is one of the most popular meal replacement shakes due to how it’s advertised specifically to help with your weight loss goals. After all, one of the reasons why people use them is to lose weight, so going all-in on weight management is always a good marketing idea.
One of the best things about SlimFast is how it’s not a new product at all. If anything, SlimFast has been around for decades through their SlimFast Diet program.
The program involves eating two meal shakes per day plus three snacks. They also guide you into what meal to make on your own for a complete healthy diet. This way, you can start losing weight naturally.
SCI-MX Diet Meal Replacement Protein Powder
Features and benefits
- Nutritionally a great complete meal replacement
- High protein
- High quality protein source
- High fibre
- Healthy fats
- Moderate amounts of carbs and fat
- High in Zinc, Iodine, and Calcium
- 25 grams of protein
SCI-MX Diet Meal Replacement Protein Powder looks like one of those products that are serious about being a low calorie meal replacement shake. Their macro ratio is really ideal, mimicking a “balanced” meal with 25 grams of protein, 14g carbs, and 4.7g fat.
Each serving contains 30% of your daily vitamin and mineral needs, which means you can easily replace one third of your meals with their product. You can go beyond and replace one to two meals if you think you’re up for it.
It also lists green tea extract as an active ingredient. Green tea extract is one of the best fat burners in the industry thanks to its antioxidant content.Green tea extract works by increasing fat oxidation inside the body, which can lead to better than normal energy yielding metabolism.
As to why it’s ranked this low despite the good formulation, there are other premium meal replacement shakes out there that work better for the price.
Meal Replacement Comparison
I have compared the main meal replacements available in the UK with more to come. There is a mixture of the 400 calorie, high carb, high protein alongside the c.200 calorie weight loss and lighter meal replacements.
of which is Sugars
Cost / Serving
Which is the best meal replacement for me?
I have provided the main comparison for you to decide which is or are the best meal replacements for you.
If you find yourself short on meal prep time, do you just give up on your weight loss goals? Of course not! There are plenty of other methods and ways for you to plan your meals, and one of them is by taking the meal replacement shakes available in the UK.
We are living in a world where everything needs to happen fast or right away, with every minute counting towards how we manage our time. The same thing goes for fitness and wellness, with just about every new fitness or diet program claiming to help you with your weight loss goals or “gain muscle” in less than two weeks or in 30 minutes.
The thing is, there is no real fast way to becoming healthy and achieve weight loss goals. Long term weight loss goals require a lifetime of dedication and discipline with regards to what we eat, and most of the time you can solve this through eating real food. Eating real food for your weight loss goals can be done with meal prep.
A good example of meal prep is making a menu centred on a high protein healthy meal every day for muscle gain. But let’s face it: People no longer have the time to prepare their meals.
Blogs on the internet will tell you that it will “just take 15 minutes,” but that’s assuming you have everything ready and someone else will do the dishes for you.
When people don’t have their meal prep game on, their tendency is to just eat anything inside the fridge or whatever looks healthy and hope that they don’t go overboard on calories or macros to lose weight, but this lack of discipline doesn’t result in weight loss at all.
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are exactly what they sound like: Shakes or smoothies formulated to replace a meal, with all the nutrients, minerals, vitamins (especially folic acid for female consumers), and other healthy goodies you would normally find in a typical meal.
Many of them contain herbs, protein powders, and even fibre sources or carb alternatives like brown rice. They are designed to replace a regular meal to help with lean muscle growth, promote normal energy yielding metabolism, and optimal health.
Whilst some people don’t think they’re real food, they are effectively a healthy meal in a shake and keep you feeling fuller for longer. The latter can help with losing weight or if someone is on a low calorie or calorie deficit diet, and they want to reduce their sweet cravings.
Sometimes known as weight loss shakes or diet shakes, meal replacement shakes weren’t really designed for weight loss, but the fact that the calories and macros are quantified can give you a sense of control with how much you eat per meal. This can go a long way for those who are struggling with losing weight or those who want to gain weight.
The control you have over the calories you consume, and all the nutrients per serving, can definitely help your typical Joe or Jane with their weight loss or weight gain goals, especially those looking at wanting a high protein diet.
Some meal also work best for those who want the best vegan meal replacement drinks. People are starting to look more into a plant-based diet, and a vegan meal replacement shake with a complete amino acid profile (not just typical weight loss shakes) creates a huge market.
Regardless of the dietary preference, the meal replacement shakes work in tandem with a healthy diet. Nothing can replace a healthy diet, but the best meal replacement shake can augment it or fill some of the nutritional gaps.
5 Key benefits of taking meal replacements
So, why would you want to substitute something that needs to be blended or stirred over your usual lunch or snack? Well, a number of good reasons:
Some meal replacement shakes can come in the form of powdered mixes similar to protein shakes and powders, while others come in the form of ready to drink beverages, where all you’ll need to do is shake the bottle and you have a meal.
2. Can help you avoid unnecessary eating
Similar to meal prep, meal replacement shakes can be a form of self-control with regards to appetite. Usually, when you don’t plan your meals, it can lead to eating more calories per day.
You don’t have to go outside the office or your house to buy food you’re not sure fits your low calorie intake or macro requirements. Then, it also has this psychological edge where once you’re done with your shake, you’d feel full or at least no longer craving for more. No sweet cravings, no sweet tooth. Out of sight, out of mind and it’s the same with food.
3. They state the ingredients, the protein, carb, fat content, and the calories per serving or per bottle
This ties with #2 on how the consumer is fully aware of what they’re taking, unlike typical foods that don’t even list the calorie per serving. If your diet program says you only need X amount of anything per meal or per day, these diet shakes can help give you better control over those numbers. This can result in improved weight maintenance.
4. Nutritious by default
The usual office microwaveable foods aren’t exactly the prime definition of health foods or real food, and nutrient density matters highly when you’re after optimal health. What you want to do is make every calorie as healthy and nutritious as possible, and this is what meal replacement shakes do. The calorie content is kept to a minimum while the nutrient content is maxed out as much as possible.
5. Save time
Finally, the best perk of taking supplements like these is how they save us time. Imagine having a nutritionally complete meal in just 5 minutes. No more cooking, re-heating, or unnecessary dishwashing. Just mix your meal replacement drinks and you’re done.
Why Meal Replacement Shakes aren’t all good
I have highlighted some pretty solid reasons why meal replacement shakes are great for you, so now I will also have to look at the other side of the coin and see what makes them not as good as they sound.
- May contain unhealthy ingredients. Depending on what brand you buy, the formula used may contain some rather unhealthy ingredients or fillers. Normally, fillers are used to help “thicken” the shake, add flavour, or prevent powders from caking or lumping. These ingredients may not be immediately bad for our health, but due to how the shakes are taken daily, this may eventually lead to a health problem.
- They aren’t a long-term solution. Meal replacement shakes are pretty handy and can be habit-forming. The convenience, the time saved, and the way it does all the macro and calorie counting for you are huge perks for consumers. However, the idea is to eventually move towards whole foods and not be permanently reliant on what is basically a bunch of nutrients in a bottle.
- They don’t really change eating habits. If you’re fond of snacking, taking meal replacements won’t fix that. Even if you were to lose weight within the next 30 days of taking them, resuming bad habits even while you’re still ingesting this type of product will only bring the weight back and possibly even more.
What to look for in a Meal Replacement Shake
Meal replacement shakes are great when it comes to weight loss, but what exactly should you be looking for when buying a quality meal replacement shake?
The first thing you have to look for in any supplement is the ingredient list section. If a supplement doesn’t have that, then it’s an easy skip. You may think that this doesn’t happen, but there are products out there who only print ingredients lists by themselves and are not checked by any third-party system with regards to its authenticity.
Assuming the product has the ingredients list, the next part is to read the exact ingredients included per serving.
In a typical meal replacement shake, you should expect to find a long list of ingredients. After all, you are essentially replacing an entire meal’s worth of nutrients, so the list better be long!
Usually, these ingredients are separated by blends and the blends are determined based on function. The common blends include:
- Digestive aides/enzymes: These are ingredients meant to help absorb nutrients better or stimulate proper digestion to prevent digestion problems. [6,7]
- Macros: These are your carbs, protein, and sometimes even fat sources. These have to be correctly stated in both dosage and what form, as some people have food sensitivities especially with gluten and lactose and may wish to source gluten free meal replacement shakes instead.
- Vitamins and Minerals: This blend is usually the longest on the label, complete with dosage and their corresponding daily values or %DV.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 blend: This is often a separate blend from fats as the source of omega-3 and omega-6 can be either fish oil or sunflower oil, and only one of them is for vegans.
- Fibre and prebiotics: On top of being a great digestion aide, fibre can also help with weight loss as this gives your belly that “full” feeling which is important if you’re only taking a meal replacer for lunch or maybe even dinner. Some types of fibre also double as prebiotics, compounds that promote gut bacterial health which is important for immunity on top of other bodily functions. [1,2,8]
Next to zero fillers
The ingredients section will tell a lot about the quality of a meal replacement shake, especially when it comes to the things they add that aren’t supposed to be there called fillers.
Given that some fillers are necessary during the manufacturing process (i.e. anti-caking agents or powders that increase flowability), they should not be in high number or part of the key ingredients.
The fillers should be declared at the very least, especially when we’re talking about colorants, sweeteners, and other ingredients that give the shake texture.
When it comes to weight loss, you’re always aiming for the most nutrients with the least calories per serving. More than the calories, you should also be on the lookout for a macro ratio, or how much carbs, protein, and fats it has per serving.
Ideally, a meal replacement shake should be composed of:
- 50% Carbs (of which you also include fibre and sugars if any)
- 30% Proteins
- 20% Fats
The numbers can change depending on the product and your goals.
Which is the best weight loss shake?
Shape Shake 2.0 from Foodspring is the best meal replacement shake for weight loss due to its high protein content and robust formulation that promotes appetite control.
A close second would be The Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme because of how they include actual fat burners in the mix, and how the formula has fast and slow-release proteins to help curb your appetite the rest of the day or until your next meal. This can avoid snacking and intake of excess calories.
Which is the best meal replacement shake for energy?
The Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme is the best for energy due to its formula that consists of both fast and slow-release proteins. These proteins help maximise the meal replacement shake’s energy boosting effect, extending the energizing feeling throughout the whole day.
The next one would be MET-RX Original Meal Replacement because of its 35 grams of protein per serving. This protein shake makes it more filling than carbs or fat, and when you’re replacing actual meals, you want to make sure your stomach feels as full as possible.
Which is the best meal replacement shake for breakfast?
XLS Nutrition Weight Loss Meal Replacement Shake is the best not just because of the formulation, but because of how it also has an easy weight loss plan that definitely wants you to integrate exercise.
The next one would be SlimFast Meal Shake with almost the same weight loss program knitted closely with their meal shake recipes.
Which is the best meal replacement shake for overall health?
Garden of Life Meal Replacement is the best overall meal replacement shake due to how robust the formulation is, the quality of the ingredients used, the synergy of each ingredient, and they also top it all off with a good serving of probiotics.
I also think Garden of Life Meal Replacement’s reputation as a quality company further exemplifies why they’re the best meal replacement shake for overall health. Anything you will put inside your body has to be safe first and foremost, and Garden of Life is one of those companies that take the extra step for quality and safety.
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Meal Replacement FAQs
Can I only drink meal replacement shakes?
If you bought a meal replacement shake, then of course you can only drink them.
Even if you do think of using a spoon or scoop to just chew on them, this is not only hard to do (you will be doing quite a lot of chewing), but it will also be inefficient when it comes to nutrient absorption. The formulation of meal replacement shakes were designed to make ingredients easier to absorb in a liquid medium, so removing water from the computation can negatively affect the product’s efficacy.
Can I use meal replacement shakes to lose weight?
Some meal replacement shakes are formulated to help you lose weight, especially those with fat burners and lots of fibre in the formula. Generally speaking, they can only help you lose weight if:
– You’re controlling total calories consumed per day.
– You’re strict with using meal replacers to actually replace meals and not as a snack in-between meals.
– You’re using the recommended diet plans provided.
Some meal replacements are also meant to be taken as a post workout meal, so if you’re also doing your part in exercising, taking products like these should lead to weight loss.
What is in a meal replacement?
Meal replacement shakes often contain all the basic nutrients including vitamins and minerals. They also have a good source of protein and fibre. A few have fat in the form of plant oils or omega-3 fatty acids or MCT oils.
More specialised, premium meal replacements have digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics in the mix too.
What is the most filling meal replacement shake?
The most filling meal replacement shakes are those that have high protein content and high fibre content. This is because protein and fibre are hard to digest, which makes them filling.
On our top 10 list, the most filling would have to be USN Diet Fuel Chocolate UltraLean and The Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme.
How many calories are in a meal replacement?
This varies per product, but the average seems to be between 250 to 350 calories. Shakes that go higher often add more carbs with the intent of being a post-workout supplement while shakes that go lower are often shakes taken for weight loss purposes.