Losing weight is one of the hardest things to do. The American diet isn’t nearly what it’s supposed to be. Add our fast-paced lifestyles into the mix along with fast-food and the result is extra pounds adding up way too quickly. One of the ways that some people have decided to battle this problem is through the use of meal replacement shakes. These shakes have been gaining fame in recent years.
The idea behind meal replacement shakes is pretty simple. Instead of eating the unhealthy stuff that we often reach for, grab a much healthier and nutritionally fulfilling shake. Of course, these shakes aren’t perfect, but they do offer some benefits and they really do help you lose weight.
One of the best parts about these meal replacement shakes is that there isn’t much thought required to use them. If you are trying to lose weight on the go, chances are you have been counting calories and trying to avoid certain foods, and with these shakes, this isn’t necessary. Every meal replacement shake is designed with your health in mind, so grabbing a shake will ensure that your body has plenty of energy to get through the day, keep you feeling full, and ensure the pounds stay off.
Best Meal Replacement Shakes Of 2018
Choosing the right type of meal replacement shake can be difficult because there are so many of them out there. Luckily, we have decided to make a list of a few different shakes that might be a good option for what you are looking for.
1. Vega One All-In-One
This specific meal replacement shake focuses on protein. Vega One has decided to use a 100 percent vegan hemp and pea blend of green superfood protein powders which are designed to deliver the best nutrients needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This blend is very high in fibers and protein, and at the same time, the content of sugar in the formula is pretty low. This is a win-win for anyone interested in losing weight.
Those who are interested in losing weight will greatly benefit from the shake that Vega One is offering here. Their blend is an excellent choice of ingredients which provide the right amount of hunger combating protein and nutrients while avoiding harmful sugars as much as possible. Furthermore, there is also the addition of a probiotic called bacillus coagulans, which will help with your gut health as you use this meal replacement shake.
2. Orgain Organic Protein
Not all meal replacement shakes are designed to, well, replace your meals. Some of these products are kind of sitting in the middle between being a full meal replacement shake and more of a micronutrient shake. Orgain Organic Protein falls into this category. Their shake is designed to deliver the nutrients you need to keep your overall health at an optimal level.
Yes, it has some protein to keep you from being hungry all the time, but the main ingredients mainly focus on delivering the right stuff for your system to function at 100 percent with things like rice bran, rosemary extract, and chia seeds.
Peas and hemp are key providers of the protein within this shake. Also, Orgain decided to use a few different types of emulsifiers to give the shake a specific type of texture which closely resembles milk-based shakes without actually using milk. So the overall texture and taste closely resemble milkshakes even with its sweet taste, which comes from Stevia so you don’t have to worry about consuming sugars.
3. Labrada Lean Body
Let’s start by saying that if you are lactose intolerant or simply don’t like dairy products, then, unfortunately, this shake isn’t for you. While the ingredients in Labrada’s meal replacement shake are specifically designed to target fitness fans, they are based on whey protein and milk protein. Both of these protein sources are super effective and with the addition of carefully balanced amino acids, this shake is definitely one of the best fitness shakes out there.
Another downside that some might find difficult to cope with is that Labrada decided to use corn syrup solids to sweeten their shake. Yep, that stuff is real sugar and it happens to be pretty high up on the list of ingredients. The fiber content isn’t too terrible, weighing in at 7 grams per serving, which should supply just enough for you to take advantage of it.
If you have spent time on any type of a social media website in the past year, you have probably noticed some sort of an ad for the new and revolutionary shake called Soylent. One of the biggest things that the people behind Soylent always manage to put an emphasis on letting us know that their shake isn’t just a meal replacement shake, it’s more of a food replacement shake.
These same creators have managed to squeeze as much science as possible into their shake by pretty much replacing everything that your body might need from food with scientifically created ingredients. In other words, there is absolutely nothing “natural” about this shake.
So here is one big problem with Soylent: if you are trying to use it to lose weight, the carbohydrates and sugars found in their ingredients are actually on the heavy side. In theory, if you were to replace all of your meals with Soylent, which is claimed to be completely possible, then you might end up losing some weight and getting into better shape, but this is highly dependent on how your body reacts to this shake in the first place.
One thing is certain, the concept for Soylent is definitely unique and might work well for some people, but there is no reason to try it unless you plan to drink quite a lot of shakes.
5. Slimfast Advanced Nutrition
The ever-popular SlimFast is on this list, although we couldn’t include the original SlimFast because we aren’t entirely sure if it had any nutritional value in it behind the insane amount of sugar that was used in their blend.
Nonetheless, the “advanced” formula is still one of the top-selling meal replacement shakes out there. So is there anything special in this new advanced formula? Well, honestly speaking it is a little better than the original stuff they sold, but we think it’s still way too light on quality ingredients, which are supposed to be good enough to replace your meals. Their marketing department is pretty top notch though.
Don’t get us wrong, this shake does have a pretty solid amount of protein in it. The problem which we are faced with is the sucralose, the artificial flavorings, and the caramel color. Because of this, it’s somewhat difficult to recommend this advanced SlimFast shake over others which we have seen on the market.
Now, this is a meal replacement shake! Usually, when working with top quality ingredients, companies have to spike up the prices on their products. This often makes the shakes pretty expensive. However, Idealshape managed to create their shakes with these amazing top quality ingredients and still manage to keep the cost of their shakes within the acceptable range. If you are looking to save even more, check out their seasonal deals and we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
This is one of those shakes that were created with a great amount of focus on the ingredients and not so much on the way they are put together. Their idea is that if the ingredients they put into their products are delivering on what is promised, then this means customers will be happy and will continue buying their stuff.
This shake is packed with a huge amount of multivitamins and backed up by high-quality protein which is derived from whey concentrate and isolates. The amount of fiber found in the blend is pretty acceptable, as well. Furthermore, the amount of sugar is relatively low. Overall, this is definitely one of the best shakes on the market.
7. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
If you are looking for a certified organic shake designed to help you add nutrients to your diet which you are missing, all while keeping it completely vegan, then Garden of Life has created a shake which is perfect for you. Most of the ingredients in this shake are considered to be super foods which are fully capable of delivering the boost you need to get to optimal health.
As far as the amount of protein and fiber in the shake, both are at a very good spot. The addition of probiotics also ensures that your gut health is in a good spot, too. As a sweetener, Garden of Life decided to use Stevia, which is a natural sweetener, so you don’t have to worry about extra sugars in your diet.
8. Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein and Vitamin
There isn’t much to say about this type of meal replacement shake besides the fact that its major ingredients are protein and vitamins. So it’s one of those combination shakes which are designed to keep you satiated while delivering the vitamins needed to keep your health in check. Otherwise, there isn’t anything too extraordinary that we have noticed on the ingredients list.
We have noticed that there are some probiotics as well as a few enzymes being used in this blend, and even though they should certainly help improve the quality of this shake, in the end, it’s kind of a too little too late situation. If the base of this shake was in a better condition, then we could give a lot more credit to this shake, but as it is right now it seems somewhat lacking.
9. Fit & Lean
If you are interested in getting as many different beneficial ingredients into your body as possible, then Fit & Lean is exactly what you need. They decided to pretty much blanket all the ingredients under the sun and add them to their blend in an attempt to satisfy every single nutritional need a person might have. We are talking about a variety of different superfoods with the addition of various protein blends from various sources.
While this might seem like a good idea, we are a bit worried about Fit & Lean missing the idea of meal replacement shakes. Yes, they are designed to add nutrients we need that we derive from our diet, but they also need to keep us less hungry throughout the day while boosting our energy. Because of this, choosing specific ingredients is important and the “add everything in” approach might not be the best choice.
With that said every person is different in their own way and needs specific nutrients to boost their health, so it is completely possible that this shake is exactly what your body needs as a meal replacement shake. Because of this, we decided to keep this shake on the list, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot.
10. GNC Total Lean Shake
It seems more and more companies are jumping on the whole “add vitamins and protein into a blend and sell it” wagon. GNC seems to have done the same thing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you are using high-quality products, which GNC is. They are working with dairy-derived proteins of the highest quality, which is definitely a big plus. Additionally, the fiber content of their shake is about 8 grams for every serving, which is really good.
There is one thing we didn’t like that GNC decided to do with the blend, which is adding maltodextrin which we think they used to up the carbohydrates in their shake. Maltodextrin is an artificially produced powder which is generally used as a filler and thickener.
As far as the micronutrients go, GNC did manage to get this aspect of meal replacement shakes right on the spot, but the addition of artificial flavorings and sweeteners is what makes us question the quality of this shake. Nonetheless, it might work for you, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot.
The Facts Of Meal Replacement Shakes
There is quite a bit of information out there about meal replacement shakes, and a lot of it can be somewhat misleading. We have looked at some of these facts and decided to give you a list of things that are true about these shakes. Take a look at this information and ensure you use it as you look around for the right meal replacement shake for you.
1. Satiation And Liquid Meal Replacements
One of the biggest questions that many people have been asking is whether liquid or solid foods keep you feeling less hungry for a longer amount of time. Because of how frequently this topic has been discussed, a study was done to verify this claim. The result did confirm that liquid foods did not keep adults satiated as well as solid foods, which lead to further consumptions of liquid food.
We have to take this into account if you are trying to use meal replacement shakes to lose weight. In theory, if liquid foods don’t keep you satiated as well as solid foods, then meal replacement shakes might make it somewhat difficult for you to keep the weight off. This is one of the main reasons why so many of these shakes use specific types of ingredients which are designed to keep you feeling less hungry.
2. Meal Replacements Packed With Protein Burn MORE Fat
Some studies have focused on determining the difference between different types of diets. One study focused on protein-rich food diets versus more conventional diets and the effects that both have on weight loss. In this study, all participants were partially using meal replacements in an attempt to lose weight. The results showed that both groups lost body weight without any significant difference between the two groups.
There is one little detail which is pretty important about the type of weight that was lost within both of these groups, and it’s that the group which had the higher protein diet lost more body fat than the other group. Losing body fat is a lot more important than losing other types of weight like muscle weight. Because of this, we suggest looking for shakes which are high in protein.
3. High-Stress Environments And Meal Replacement Shakes
There have been studies in the past which verified that those who are involved with working in high-stress environments, someone like a firefighter or a police officer, have been able to lose more weight than others. This is excellent news for those who have to be nimble and light on their feet while at work.
These high-stress environments usually take a great toll on your body and the result is a frequent depositing of fat in the midsection, which manifests the ever famous midsection spare tire. The reason why this happens is because of cortisol. As you continue to experience frequent stressful situations while you work, cortisol becomes a big problem because it generates that extra weight in the midsection. Luckily, you can mitigate that with the meal replacement shakes to combat that weight gain.
All of this is more than a perfect reason why people who are constantly faced with lots of stress or duress in their work environment should be able to benefit from meal replacement shakes. If you are one of these people, you should definitely consider it.
4. Meal Replacements Are Usually Packed With Two Proteins
Soy and whey are the two most commonly used proteins in meal replacement shakes, and there is a little bit of a difference between the two. Sometimes certain companies use both side by side, while others decide to focus on just one of these protein sources. The difference between the two is in the taste since both are pretty similar in effectiveness. Whey based protein has a more vanilla-like flavor which many people prefer. The soy-based protein is a lot closer to a nutty type flavor.
The other difference is that soy is slightly denser then whey. This means that whey is a lot smoother and some might find its texture more acceptable over soy. In the end, it’s all preference-based. If you like the texture then stick with it, and if not then look for something different.
5. Meal Replacements Are More Nutritious Than Your Diet
There have also been studies to try and compare meal replacement plans with conventional diets which are designed to lose weight. Surprisingly, even though many studies show that meal replacements are often a better choice if you are looking to lose weight, this specific study showed that there isn’t much difference between weight loss in participants who dieted on weight loss designed diets and those who used meal replacements.
There was one big difference between weight loss diet focused meals and meal replacements: the nutritional values. It turns out that there are far more nutrients in meal replacements than in meals which are designed for you to lose weight.
So in the end, even though both meal types will result in you losing weight, the meal replacements are a better choice because they are ultimately healthier for you than weight loss diet designed meals.
6. Blood Sugar Levels And Meal Replacements
Since previous research has pointed out that there is a difference between solid and liquid foods, more research was conducted to identify whether there was any significant difference between the effects that these types of foods have on individuals’ glucose levels.
Even though the study did show that liquid foods aren’t as good at promoting weight loss as solid foods are, there was additional information that gave us some more insight into these types of foods. The results suggested that there isn’t a clear difference between the influences that both food types have on glucose levels. This means that both foods are capable of maintaining normal sugar levels, which is actually good news for liquid foods like the meal replacement shakes.
So those who are looking to lose weight through the means of using liquid meal replacement shakes don’t have to worry too much about your blood sugar levels because these shakes are perfectly capable of maintaining those levels at the right spot. This means you can both lose weight and be worry-free when it comes to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
7. Soy-Based Meal Replacements Are Better Than Milk-Based Ones
Sorry to disappoint all of you dairy lovers out there, but research has shown that soy-based meal replacements are actually better for you than the milk-based ones. The main reason for this conclusion is that soy actually has many more nutrients in it than regular milk.
This doesn’t mean you should never drink regular milk again or stay away from milk-based meal replacements. All this means is that naturally there are more nutrients in soy than in milk, which means soy-based milk replacements can deliver more nutrients to your body to keep it healthier.
There is a slight drawback to soy-based replacements, though, and that is the taste. When compared with milk, it’s very different and sometimes might take time to get used to. Most who do switch to soy-based products eventually get accustomed to the taste and actually enjoy it, though. However, this is purely preference-based.
8. Extra Weight Doesn’t Come From Snacking
Taking advantage of meal replacements doesn’t mean you have to cut out all other food and never even as much as look at a delicious meal again. The truth is that you are still allowed to snack and eat normal meals while you are on a meal replacement diet. In fact, researchers have shown that snacking outside of your regular diet doesn’t actually affect weight gain that much while you are using meal replacements.
This is excellent because one of the hardest things to do when you are on a strict diet is making sure you stick to it and refrain from consuming other foods outside of your diet range. This isn’t a problem with meal replacements, as you can still eat when you feel hungry and you aren’t bound to specific times of the day for meals. This also offers some freedom as to what you can eat and when you can eat it, with a few reservations. Obviously, gorging yourself on a full pizza is not a good idea.
This freedom removes the idea of being tied and constantly controlled by what you are allowed to eat, which is usually hard to cope with and has a negative effect on your ability to diet and lose weight. A little bit of freedom goes a long way.
9. Meal Replacements And Herbal Addiction
Not everything is rainbows and unicorns when it comes to meal replacements. Unfortunately, there are some combinations of ingredients which are being used by some companies in their meal replacement products, especially those designed to give you boosts of energy, which can be somewhat addictive.
One example of such a combination is the use of orange peels and caffeine. So if a meal replacement is adding a bit of one of these ingredients into their formula and you end up consuming the other one alongside it without knowing, the result can be drastic. In the case of caffeine and orange peels, the peels actually act as a sort of catalyst for caffeine, which leads to increased blood pressure, which in turn leads to an increased workload for your cardiovascular system.
We urge you to carefully check the ingredients which are being used in each meal replacement product. Some companies aren’t exactly too ethical and might thread the line between what is healthy for you and what can cause higher weight loss. Don’t sacrifice your health over a few extra pounds.
10. A Glass Of Water Is Recommended With Your Meal Replacement Bar
You know all those amazing nutrients that are packed into each meal replacement bar? Well, when they are derived from veggies and fruits, they often lose quite a bit of water. That’s why most meal replacements bars are often called frankenfoods. They are basically foods which are often stripped of their vitamins, fibers, and most of their water.
So the solution to your dehydrated nutritional bar is water. It is that simple folks, just drink a glass of water whenever you find yourself munching on a meal replacement bar. This will rehydrate the content of the bar and ensure you can easily digest it without simply passing it along your digestive tract.
If you decide to skip the whole glass of water part, you might regret it. One of the things that can happen is that the bar you eat might not break down completely in your stomach and can actually become sticky, allowing it to attach itself to your colon. The result is you becoming bloated, gassy, and your health being affected in a negative way. Let’s avoid all of this and keep ourselves hydrated when eating meal replacement bars.
11. Liquid Meal Replacements Are Easier To Consume
We already know that there are two different types of meal replacements; some are solid while others are liquid. There is a little bit of a difference between these two types, even though in the end their objective is the same.
Probably the most important aspect to consider when choosing one or another type of a replacement meal is their usability. Yes, liquid shakes are a lot easier to digest, but at the same time, you can’t simply grab them with you wherever you go as easily as you can do with something like a meal replacement bar.
Another thing to consider is that even with a meal replacement bar, you still have to drink some water to help you digest it. In the end, the choice is ultimately up to you. If you are willing to dedicate the time needed to make your meal replacement shakes daily, then go for it, but if you are more comfortable with just grabbing a meal replacement bar for an on-the-go snack, then that’s fine too.
12. Deprivation Diets Aren’t Good For You, Meal Replacements Are A Better Choice
Weight loss isn’t the only benefit to using meal replacements in your diet. There have been studies concluded that determine the risk that participants have of developing disorders associated with their metabolic functions. This was done between two groups of subjects, one that used meal replacements and another which followed a more traditional fat burning diet.
Even though one would assume that a standard fat burning diet would be as healthy as any diet, it turns out that meal replacement diets are actually more likely to promote healthier levels of insulin and leptin. Furthermore, the risk of developing metabolic disorders is lower when following a meal replacement diet rather than a more conventional fat burning diet.
Put in simple words, meal replacement diets not only help you lose weight but are also healthier for you than other diets.
13. Men Might Benefit More From Meal Replacements Than Women
Recent research has discovered that men generally lose more weight when following a meal replacement diet than women. Although the study wasn’t focused on the direct effects of meal replacements on both genders, the conclusion of the study showed a clear difference between how much weight each gender was able to lose.
We do ask you to take this information somewhat lightly since this conclusion wasn’t established as a direct result of gender and meal replacement study but rather as a by chance discovery. There are many factors which weren’t considered when this information was discovered, which might have been the key influence on why men lost more weight. More specific research needs to be done to verify this conclusion.
14. Staying Fit Is Easier With Meal Replacements
One of the hardest things to do once you manage to lose weight is keeping it off. It turns out, as verified by recent studies, that keeping yourself at a target weight is actually a lot easier if you are using meal replacements. Obviously, this is a huge deal because maintaining the right weight is a key part of staying fit. Unlike with other diets, staying fit seems to be an easier achievement when using meal replacements.
Although this has been proven by a study, further research is necessary to solidify the findings of this study and ensure that there aren’t any other factors which could be influencing this information. For now, it’s safe to assume that meal replacements are actually very capable of keeping the weight you have lost off.
15. People Choose Whey
Studies have determined that whey protein is more liked by consumers. This is greatly due to its smooth texture and sweet, vanilla-like taste. Keep this in mind when you look at the protein sources that some meal replacement shakes use.
On the flip side, the taste of soy is often described as nutlike and its texture was mentioned to be somewhat tough and kind of dense. So it makes total sense that it’s not the most liked source of protein, especially in liquid meal replacements.
16. Save Money With Meal Replacements
Even though there are so many different benefits to meal replacements, one has to wonder how cost effective they really are. Luckily, there has been research done to figure this out. We think that most of you can agree with us when we say that healthy food usually comes along with a hefty price tag. On the flip side, cheaper food is usually super unhealthy and in some situations can be detrimental to your health.
Meal replacements are here to save the day. The facts state that not only are you getting the nutrients your body needs to be healthier and even lose weight along the way but the price tag when compared to traditional store-bought food is actually much lower than most people expect. So go ahead, get all the meal replacements you can, it will still be cheaper than shopping at the store for high-quality and healthy ingredients.
17. Casein Should Be Avoided
In case you don’t know, casein is a protein which is found in all mammals’ milk. Some rumors about meal replacements have stated that weight loss is easier with the help of casein, but there has been research which contradicts this and states that there is no advantage to weight loss when compared to soy sourced protein.
Furthermore, it turns out casein can actually be dangerous for you. Studies point out that casein might be capable of supporting the growth of tumors and even help with the formation of cancerous growths. This research was done on rats, so it might not be the case for humans.
18. Reduce Triglycerides With The Help Of Soy
One of the things that fat is made up of is known as triglycerides. Recent research shows that soy is capable of drastically reducing the amount of triglycerides in your body. This isn’t the same for other protein source based meal replacements, but at the very least you can try to further promote your weight loss by choosing soy-based meal replacements.
Besides the obvious help with weight loss, using soy meal replacements can also reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular issues and reduce the risks of heart attacks. All of this is due to soy’s ability to reduce triglycerides. So, the next time you are shopping around for meal replacements you should definitely consider soy-based products.
19. Labels Lie
The fact is that meal replacements are considered to be supplements. Unfortunately, this means that they are not regulated by the FDA in the U.S. as closely as you might think. In fact, it’s not uncommon for meal replacement bars to never be tested before they hit the shelves.
One of the best ways to check whether the label is more or less on point is to do some calculations on your own. You can add up the calories from carbs, fats, and the proteins in your meal replacements and then check to see if they match the claimed total calories shown on the label. This is a more accurate way to count calories.
The main thing that you need to watch out for is companies that mislead you on purpose with the information on their labels. For example, one generally assumes that a single meal replacement bar is one serving, but many companies actually have multiple serving sizes listed per bar. So if you can only have half a bar for one serving, you also have to divide all the amounts of nutrients in the bar by half as well. This means that those bars out there with an enormous 20 grams of protein in them are actually designed for two servings, not one.
While serving sizes aren’t an issue when you are looking for specific nutrients, the problem is serving sizes. Research concludes that small serving sizes aren’t nearly as satiating as larger serving sizes. So that single bar ends up being two servings and each serving ends up being too little food to keep you feeling less hungry.
The result is you eating more calories than you should because you are hungry. Pay close attention to serving sizes, and if you think they will fill you up or not, it might be the difference between weight loss and weight gain.
20. You Can Also Gain Weight With Meal Replacement Shakes
Those of you who are looking to actually gain some muscle weight can actually take advantage of meal replacement bars, as well. There are some stipulations when using protein bars and shakes, though. All those extra calories and protein have to be converted into muscle and to do this you have to work out with a carefully planned exercise routing in place. Otherwise, all you will gain is fat.
You also have to understand that gaining muscle doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect to see results on your first day. Depending on your body type, it might take a long amount of time to see any real results, but the key here is to keep to your exercise regimen and your meal replacement diet.
10 Best Meal Replacement Shakes 2018 Guide Conclusion
Meal replacements are an excellent way to lose weight and even to gain muscle mass. Paying close attention to the nutrients which are used in your meal replacements is a very good idea. In fact, it’s necessary to ensure you get the right stuff in your system.
Remember that meal replacements are considered a type of supplement, which means that your body will react to different meal replacement products in different ways. All of us are unique and there isn’t just one single product which is guaranteed to work for all.
Also keep in mind that, depending on the content, not all meal replacements are designed to substitute all of your meals, some are just there to boost your nutrient intake. Furthermore, while meal replacements are an excellent source of nutrients, nothing can fully substitute real veggies and fruits.
As always, we strongly suggest that you speak either with your doctor or a dietician to determine which meal replacements are the best for you. They know your full medical history and will be able to decide what to do to help you either gain or lose weight depending on what you need.