A meal replacement shake provides a quick and easy meal, including all the necessary micro and macronutrients to replace a full meal.
It is often used by individuals who are trying to lose weight since it’s low-calorie and provides you with other hunger-reducing components your body needs to shed fat.
With a meal replacement shake, it’s important to know:
- Meal replacement shakes should include fiber and other key ingredients, such as Sledesta, to help reduce your appetite and make you feel full and satisfied.
- Meal replacement shakes require protein to help reduce food cravings, help with weight loss, and promote proper muscle and skeletal repair.
- Meal replacement shakes should contain a wide variety micronutrients, which are critical for your body and brain to function at optimal capacity.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the best meal replacement shakes of 2020, researched and reviewed by Besthealth.org’s expert health panel.
- Best overall: Organifi
- Best keto meal replacement shake: Ample K
- Best meal replacement shake for weight loss: IdealShake
- Best tasting meal replacement shake: Premier Protein
- Best meal replacement shake for women: Organifi
- Best meal replacement shake for men: Legion Athletics Atlas
1. Organifi: Complete Protein
This meal replacement shake is made with real superfood ingredients, including pea protein, quinoa, pumpkin seed, coconut, vanilla bean, monk fruit, real whole-food vitamins, and digestion-soothing enzymes.
Ogranifi contains high amounts of protein and micronutrients to support a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s purity, delicious taste, and whole food ingredients is why it’s our #1 choice.
Idealshake has Sledesta, a special ingredient dedicated to satisfying cravings, as well as fiber, and 18 nutritious vitamins and minerals.
This shake only contains 110-120 calories making it ideal for weight loss.
3. Legion Athletics Atlas
This supplement is made from 100% natural ingredients and whole foods, containing more than average amounts of high-quality protein made from dairy farms in Ireland.
4. Ample K
Made with over 70% calories from premium fats and added C8 and C10 MCTs, this shake is the ideal ketogenic shake. It’s made from real foods and contains no fillers, artificial sweeteners, gluten, soy, or GMOs.
5. Orgain Organic Meal Powder
This plant-based meal replacement shake has 20g of organic plant-based protein, 6g of organic dietary fiber, and is made of organic fruit and veggie blends.
Packed with 34g of protein, this supplement is ideal for promoting muscle growth and recovery. It also contains 4 billion CFU of probiotics from 6 strains and 10g of fiber and prebiotics to support digestion.
7. Premier Protein
Made with all essential amino acids from its 30g of protein, this meal replacement is perfect for building muscle and quieting hunger levels. It’s smooth and creamy vanilla and chocolate flavors are mouth-watering.
8. SlimFast Advanced Energy
Coming with 24 essential vitamins and minerals, SlimFast Advanced provides your body with the nutrition for long-lasting energy. Aside from the extra energy caffeine gives you, caffeine blunts your appetite for hours.
9. Orgain Organic Shake
This meal replacement shake is certified organic and free of gluten, carrageenan, antibiotics, hormones, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. It’s made of 10 fruits and vegetables making it a great source of various vitamins and minerals.
10. Kirkland Signature Complete
This shake has 24 essential vitamins and minerals and is gluten-free. It’s made for people who are lactose intolerant.
Best Keto Meal Replacement Shake (Our Winner)
1. Ample K
This supplement has delicious flavors crafted from rich coconut, nutty macadamia, and hints of vanilla and cinnamon.
Ample K takes the top spot for the best keto meal replacement shake because it only contains 3g net carbs and is filled with over 70% premium fats, including C8 and C10 MCTs,
Best Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss (Our Winner)
Because this shake contains high doses of healthy fiber, it strays aways hunger by slowly moving through your digestive system.
IdealShake takes the top spot for the best meal replacement shake for weight loss since it only contains 110-120 calories, while still being extremely filling and satisfying.
Best Tasting Meal Replacement Shake (Our Winner)
1. Premier Protein
You can enjoy this shake as a meal replacement, satisfying snack, or workout fuel since it contains adequate amounts of protein and deliciously smooth and creamy vanilla flavor.
Premier Protein takes the top spot for best tasting meal replacement shake because it has been granted the American Master of Taste Gold Medal for superior tasting ready-to-drink protein beverages in a national test by Chefs in America in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Best Meal Replacement Shake for Women (Our Winner)
1. Organifi Complete Protein
This supplement aids healthy skin, bone health, energy metabolism, and muscle health and gives you digestive health and immune health support.
Organifi takes the top spot for best meal replacement shake for women for the reason that it contains a nutrient blend that is critical for helping women look and feel their best.
Best Meal Replacement Shake for Men (Our Winner)
1. Legion Atlas
Legion Atlas contains no chemicals, fillers or artificial sweeteners, making it one of the purest products on the market.
It takes the top spot for best meal replacement shake for men because it is stored with 38g of protein, which makes it superior to other meal replacement shakes for packing on muscle and mass.
Who Should Use a Meal Replacement Shake?
Since meal replacement shakes often contain low amounts of calories, they are great for people looking to lose weight. That’s because the number of calories you consume from a meal replacement shake is much lower than conventional meals. Also, many meal replacements often contain ample amounts of protein, which is very satiating. It also reduces your body’s secretion of ghrelin, which is responsible for increasing your appetite.
Although meal replacement shakes are magnificent for helping you lose weight and providing your body with key nutrients, they should not replace whole foods completely. It’s difficult to get every nutrient from a single food source alone, so it’s best to combine a meal replacement shake with a balanced diet.
Pregnant women and children should speak to a doctor before consuming a meal replacement shake to see if it safe for them. Diabetics should be extra aware as many meal replacement shakes contain blood sugar spiking ingredients. People currently taking any medication should check the ingredient label before consuming a meal replacement shake to ensure no ingredients will interact negatively.
Calorie count: A good meal replacement shake should be lower in calories, since their main job is to help you manage or lose weight. This is why our top ranked meal replacement shakes aren’t heavy in unnecessary calories. Some like, IdealShake, are as low as 110-120 calories per serving and packed with crazy amounts of fiber, making you shed weight quickly.
Adequate protein: The best shakes have ample protein since protein is important for killing hunger. The lower your appetite is, the easier it will be for you to avoid junk food. That’s why supplements like Ample and Atlas made the list, counting up to 38g or high quality protein per serving.
Fortified with vitamins and minerals: Conventional diets are filled with unhealthy ingredients and flavors which is why the meal replacement shakes with essential vitamins and minerals made our rankings. Even better, meal replacement shakes that used whole food extracted vitamins, helped improve bioavailability and absorption.
Added digestive aid: Probiotics and digestive enzymes were an important factor when ranking the best meal replacement shakes because they helped break down food and nutrients, allowing your body to absorb more while consuming less. in addition, they helped support a healthy gut microbiome, which has been proven to positively influence every area of your body – a main reason why Organifi took top spot, alongside its combination of high-protein and hunger reducing ingredients.
Meal replacement shakes may help you lose weight long term. Many meal replacement shakes only contain a couple hundred calories or less, helping support healthy and positive weight loss. One study showed that consuming a meal replacement shake twice a day leads to significant decreases in weight in overweight and obese adults (1).
Moreover, a meta-analysis of 6 studies examining the effects a meal replacement shake had on weight management demonstrated long-term weight loss in people (2).
Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes that is caused when the body becomes resistant to insulin. Being overweight and sedentary is the primary cause of this type of diabetes. However, a 2012 study found meal replacement shakes to help people with type 2 diabetes ward off the weight after 6 months of consuming one (3).
Many meal replacement shakes are rich in protein, and some research is suggesting that diets rich in protein are enhancing weight loss for individuals with metabolic syndrome. 67% participants that completed a year long study concluded that high-protein diets are more effective for weight loss than traditional protein diets (4). That’s because protein makes you fuller off less calories and helps increase muscle tone and fat loss. So meal replacement shakes don’t only help you lose weight, they help build you a better looking body.
Meal replacement shakes can support rapid weight loss. Modern-day food alone can make it hard to lose weight. That’s because it’s stuffed with processed ingredients, and high calories. To make matters worse, healthy food is often no where near as pleasant as the best-tasting meal replacement shakes, which is why they are so powerful.
Of course, the faster you start to lose weight, the more motivated you will be to stick to your weight loss plan long-term. If it takes too long for you to start seeing results, that can be deflating, and you may end up giving up and never reaching your health and fitness goals.
Not only are meal replacement shakes demonstrating to help individuals lose weight in a 6 month or one year time period, but they’re also proving that they can help you lose substantial weight in as little as 3 months.
The Journal of Obesity published a 2018 article showing that after 12 weeks of taking a meal replacement shake both males and females improve their body composition (5). A better body composition doesn’t only mean you’ve lost weight, but it also means you’ve built muscle and have reduced your body fat.
Furthermore, a study of 90 obese adults was randomly assigned to one of two weight loss programs for 16 weeks. After analyzing the patients, weight loss was significantly greater in the people who had a meal replacement compared to the ones who ate food (6).
Taking a delicious meal replacement shake may be just the thing you need to kick-start your weight loss journey.
Meal replacement shakes may make you more satiated. If you want to make hitting your weight loss goals much easier and sustainable, controlling your appetite is indispensable. Cutting out calories isn’t fun nor a good strategy to use for long-term weight loss if you’re always ravenous.
Meal replacement shakes contain certain ingredients, such as protein and fiber, which control your hunger levels. One study shows that “Protein plays a key role in body weight regulation through satiety related to diet-induced thermogenesis (7).”
Another study issued in 2015 investigated the effects whey protein had on satiety on 10 male athletes. These athletes performed resistance training and had their subjective appetite sensations measured periodically during the day and after consumption of a protein supplement. Researchers concluded that athletes showed a significant decrease in their hunger levels after consuming the protein supplement (8).
The hunger hormone, ghrelin, is responsible for stimulating your appetite, however, after a high-protein breakfast, it’s secretion decreases (9). Put frankly, consuming more protein will decrease your appetite, so you’ll eat less.
Meal replacement shakes could enhance muscle growth. Protein is the most important macronutrient for muscle growth. Many resources claim that you want to take up to 0.82g/lb of body weight for optimal muscle growth (10). After weightlifting, taking a protein shake increases protein synthesis, which is imperative for building muscle (11). Since numerous meal replacement shakes are loaded with high amounts of protein, they’re an excellent supplement to take to build muscle.
Having more muscle also encourages weight loss because it increases your metabolic rate, the number of calories you burn at rest. Therefore, increasing your muscle mass will allow you to burn more calories even when you aren’t doing any physical activity.
Meal replacement shakes are convent and easy to consume. Meal replacement shakes are very portable and travel well, allowing you to have proper nutrition on the go. This is especially true if you’re traveling, as powders won’t cause a bug mess or get flagged at the airport.
Meal replacement shakes could help you recover from nutrient deficiencies. Most people aren’t getting enough micronutrients from their diets alone, which are responsible for an array of bodily functions, such as energy, adequate blood flow, and a strong immune system. Processed foods and inadequate intake of nutritious food are a common cause of this.
Thankfully, taking a proper meal replacement shake can fix your nutritional deficiencies, therefore, improve your overall health. A 2012 study examined 144 women between the ages of 18-50 years old for 3 months. Researchers concluded that just partial intake of a meal replacement shake is enough to provide you with recommended micronutrient intake (12).
As aforementioned, meal replacement shakes are great for weight loss, and a big reason to that is because of how nutritious they are (13). Nutrient-dense foods contain fewer calories than processed and refined foods. Also, they’re more satiating, so they help you feel fuller with fewer calories.
Vitamin D is among the most prevalent vitamin deficiencies in people and is insufficient in almost 50% of people worldwide. However, meal replacement shakes like Orgain Organic is packed with vitamin D as well as a host of other necessary vitamins.
Meal replacement shakes can help reduce blood triglycerides. Meal replacement shakes can help protect against hear disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. One of the main avenues it does this is by reduce triglyceride levels. Specifically, meal replacement shakes that contain soy or fiber, have been shown to help reduce blood triglyceride levels (14).
As such, people who want to improve their overall metabolic health status, should strongly consider a meal replacement shake.
Meal replacement shakes can help you eat healthier. Eating a healthy diet can be hard to do and can be time-consuming. In addition, traditional food contains many additive ingredients and substances that can become addicting to many people leading them to become obese.
In fact, studies show that food and drug addiction have a similar effect on the brain’s reward neurotransmitter, dopamine, in obese individuals (15). Dopamine is released every time you reward yourself with something pleasurable, like a tasty piece of chocolate cake. However, if you do this too often, you risk addiction and can create imbalances in your brain. Another study showed “that obesity and drug addiction may share common molecular, cellular, and systems-level mechanisms (16).”
Adding a superior meal replacement shake to your diet will decrease your risk of developing a dependence on unhealthy foods. Furthermore, a meal replacement shake gives you all the nutrients you need and saves you the hassle and time of cooking a healthy meal.
Meal replacement shakes can manage blood sugar levels. Glucose, also known as sugar, is your body’s primary fuel source, and it’s responsible for providing your body with energy and key nutrients. If your blood sugar gets too high, you’re at risk for developing serious health problems, such as hyperglycemia.
Protein can reduce your blood sugar levels, and since meal replacement shakes have protein, individuals who consume them will reduce their blood glucose (17). Also, liquid meal replacements can improve glucose levels in people that are obese with type 2 diabetes (18). Just make sure that the meal replacement shake you choose, does not contain tons of sugar.
Meal replacement shakes can help save you money. When dieting, healthier food is often required – which comes at a high cost. This often leads people to discontinue healthy eating in favor of cheaper, less nutritious alternatives. Furthermore, the time to cook healthy food.
Meal replacement shakes offer a good middle ground or healthy nutrition at an affordable price (19).
Meal replacement shakes are good for athletes. Meal replacement shakes contain all the vital macro and micro nutrients to help support an athletes performance. Furthermore, the inclusion of protein helps repair muscle breakdown, while healthy carbs restore glycogen levels quickly.
Probiotics found in meal replacement shakes can also support gut health, which can lead to better nutrient absorption, recovery and improved hormonal output. One thing to note if you are an athlete, make sure to pick brand that doesn’t contain any banned substances, or derivatives of banned substances, as this may cause issues down the line.
A meal replacement shake is an incredible supplement to take combined with eating balanced whole foods to lose weight and supply your body with powerful nutrients. They contain adequate amounts of protein and other appetite reducing ingredients to control raging hunger levels and promote rapid weight loss.
Meal replacement shakes also contain probiotics and other digestive enzymes to further enhance your gut microbiome, supporting overall health.
For Besthealth.org’s #1 recommended meal replacement shake, click here.