No matter how strict you are when following your diet plan, sometimes the desire to binge eat might prove challenging. Especially as a beginner in the weight-loss journey, many people suffer from this problem.
A full meal seems to be the solution, but what if we already had our diet meal? And, even if we think of having a snack, deep down we realize snacking is the reason we have ended up with excess weight.
Not only that, but our meal plan for the day might also get interrupted if we do so, and those unwanted calories come along too. So, what is next? Well, that is where meal replacement shakes come into the picture.
What are meal replacement shakes? As the name suggests, they are an alternative to your full course meal. These shakes provide enough calories to sustain you, and they are also twice as low in calories as a full course meal, which means fewer chances of you gaining weight.
With that aside, it can be hard to choose between each meal replacement shake displayed in the store. However, we are here to help you out.
We have compiled all of the necessary information one should have before buying a meal replacement shake. Also, to save you time and money, we have listed the three best meal replacement shakes for weight loss currently on the market.
Top 3 Best Meal Replacement Shakes:
- PhenQ – Overall Best & Editor’s Preference
- HLTH CODE – Best Keto-Based
- Ample Meal – Best Plant-Based
#1. PhenQ – Overall Best & Editor’s Preference
#1. PhenQ – Overall Best & Editor’s Preference
The following are the prominent features of the product:
• 100% plant-based
• May increase energy levels
• May promote weight loss
• Contains healthy fat
• Rich in vitamins
PhenQ is a product of Wolfson Brands (Europe) Limited, which is a supplement manufacturing company. It runs its headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland, and the company is known for its extensive research approach.
PhenQ became popular a few months back when customers were introduced to its weight-loss supplement. Great results were observed, as its consumers were able to lose weight in a matter of six months. Another reason for PhenQ’s popularity is that they use plant-based ingredients in contrast to others, making it a good option for vegans. You can go through this review on PhenQ if you wish to read more about the brand.
After its massive success in manufacturing the best fat burner in the market, it has recently launched its meal replacement shake. So, let us have a detailed look at the main features of it.
- Organic, plant-based, and easy to use
- Gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free
- Sugar-free and keto-friendly
- No artificial flavors have been added
- Provides 24 key vitamins and minerals, 16 grams of protein (plant-based), and healthy fat
- May help shed fat and gain muscles in a short span
- Over 190,000 customers have tried and tested PhenQ
- Produced by top weight-loss specialists and nutritionists, making it safe and reliable
- Free workout guides with each order
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Free worldwide shipping
- Might seem expensive, as one bag costs around $41.67 USD
- International orders may take time to ship
Like PhenQ’s weight-loss supplement, this meal replacement shake is 100% plant-based, making it just the right choice for a vegan-friendly diet routine.
It is a promising product manufactured by a team of nutritionists who work day in and day out to produce a formula that can satisfy a person’s nutritional needs while burning that extra fat.
- May lower appetite and calorie intake
- May help in fat burning by contributing to metabolism and igniting a healthy AMPK response
- Clinically known to amp up muscle strength
- May help in reducing emotional eating by decreasing stress level
- May improve endurance level
- It is sold as a “mushroom of immortality” and may reduce fatigue, keeping productivity up all day long
- May builds up cognitive functions
- May aid in controlling blood sugar levels
Moreover, they offer delicious flavors that do not taste like bits of chalk. One of their customers reported their chocolate flavor tastes a lot like “chocolate cake in a cup,”
They currently offer Rich Chocolate and Vanilla Bean ice cream flavor, but we might be seeing one of the following flavors as well: Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Spice, Cookies n Cream. So, if you like having different flavor options, this one would be a great option for you.
Consumers seem to be satisfied, as they were able to maintain their health and get rid of unwanted fats.
PhenQ does not happen to have any adverse side effects due to it being purely plant-based. Many customers have already tested out other meal replacement shakes, and they found PhenQ has the best taste among the other options.
Considering the weight-loss properties, one of the customers lost 10 lbs. In her review, she mentioned her energy levels had been boosted, and she was really happy with the outcome.
Overall, consumers appreciated the product and thought of it as a great value for money. However, there have been a lot of reviews about its taste, and the average response was that it tastes fantastic.
#2. HLTH CODE – Best Keto-Based
The following are the prominent features of HLTH CODE:
- Contains Egg albumins
- Balanced quantity of healthy fats
- Good for gut
- No artificial flavors used
- Contains no additives
- Ideal for those who follow keto diets
- Manufactured in the U.S.
HLTH is a new venture founded in 2020 by two highly experienced brothers in the respective industry. Ben Bikman, PhD., a leading metabolic scientist, and Joel Bikman, a nutrition executive, both faced health deterioration issues along with their family members.
To overcome their own problems, they formulated this product, and since then, it also has been providing optimal health to its consumers.
It is a privately held small business with its headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas. The company claims to have created the world’s healthiest meal replacement shake.
The following are the features of this meal replacement shake.
- Comprises 27 healthy fats alongside essential vitamins and minerals
- Tastes fantastic with two flavors offered — Chocolate Macadamia and Creamy Vanilla
- Offers extra ingredients like apple cider vinegar and enzyme blend, which helps in breaking down fats and aids in ketosis
- May also work for diabetic patients
- No artificial flavoring or ingredients and no added sugar
- Discounts offered on subscriptions
- One bag contains 15 meals.
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Very easy to make
- Some users complained of the aftertaste of stevia or monk fruit used as artificial sweeteners
- Not vegan friendly, as it uses whey protein derived from milk
- Expensive at $59.95 USD per bag
- International orders may take time to reach you
This keto-friendly meal shake was reported to be one of the best keto shakes out there. But, it is not solely made for the people who are on the keto diet. It might also prove to be a suitable option for diabetic people since it may help with the stability of insulin levels.
It is significantly nutritious, as it contains 50% of DV in micronutrients. It is also high in protein, which is uncommon in keto shakes. HLTH CODE works to provide plenty of macros beneficial for your day-to-day health.
The manufacturers focus on providing their consumers with everything they need and nothing they do not in their weight-loss journey. Therefore, there is nothing you need to be concerned about when it comes to its ingredients.
HLTH is backed by 936 verified customer reviews. All we could see were five stars, which shows the consumers found it beneficial. They also reported that it tasted better than other keto shake mixes, which is a massive plus.
Being natural and GMO-free, it suited their gut, which helped them carry on with their weight-loss journey without the risk of any health conditions.
However, the only drawback they faced was that it is not as popular; but, the ones who actually tried it out had everything positive to say about this meal replacement shake.
#3. Ample Meal – Best Plant-Based
The prominent features of Ample Meal are:
- Perfect balance of fats, proteins, and fibers
- Rich in antioxidants
- Offers best-quality components
- Convenient and easy preparation
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Keeps users satiated
- Comes with high-quality, all-natural formula with no additives
Connor Young, CEO and founder of Ample Meal, started his venture in 2015 with a mission to provide people with the most healthy and nutritious yet convenient replacement for all of their weight-related problems.
The brand has established certain standards in the market with its all-natural and balanced approach, which may make you feel energized and fresh for a long period without causing any digestive disturbance and providing optimal nutrients at the same time.
The company offers three different meal types — Ample O, which is the original meal, Ample K, which is keto, and Ample V, which is vegan. All three meals have their peculiarities, as they all aim to provide maximum benefits without compromising on taste.
Ample meal shakes are available in three sizes — a canister, a 400 calorie bottle, and a 600 calorie bottle. In addition, they have debuted two exotic flavors, chocolate and vanilla, with additional flavors on the way.
The brand envisions itself setting the highest standards in the modern food industry by incorporating the latest techniques of s
• Free from any artificial flavors and saturated with fiber and probiotics
• May help decrease the chances of inflammation
• Contains an all-natural, nutrient-dense vegan formula
• Comes with super convenient packaging
• Comes in reusable, environmentally friendly bottles
• Quick two-step method
• Simple yet healthy approach to keep you energized and full
• Comes in three different meal sizes to suit your budget and your desired requirement
• Lacks in fulfilling all of your vitamin requirements
• It may be a bit expensive for some
• Quantity of antioxidants is not mentioned
Ample Meal is a completely natural, low-carbohydrate diet that may help you stay energized and focused for up to four hours. In addition, it is a well-balanced blend of probiotics, electrolytes, antioxidants, and fibers that may contribute to the support and maintenance of your muscle growth.
The brand collaborated with different nutritionists and food experts to provide scientifically-proven formulas and a sound nutritional foundation. In addition, the company uses real, top-notch components that are GMO-free to bring a healthy and wholesome substitute for your cravings.
The distinguishing feature of Ample Meal is its convenience, as it takes hardly a minute to make this healthy drink. Its natural product formula can keep your body nourished, helping you function the whole day.
Moreover, there are no saturated fats or added sugars in their recipe. Each meal is dense in fiber and proteins, which work in complete harmony with our probiotics to promote a healthy gut microbiota.
The company truly thinks customers should not be forced to choose between flavor and nutrition. Therefore, they have perfected their recipes consistently in the last several years to ensure they are nutritionally sound and give healthier alternatives to fatty diets that are great in taste and admired by their clients.
With the latest advancement in nutritional science, they aim to create optimal nutrition that is easy and accessible for all. And to achieve this goal, the company is continuously improving the quality of products they sell and the services they provide.
Based on many customer reviews, we can conclude Ample Meal replacement shakes can prove to be a great value. Out of the several reviews we read, many of the customers appreciated the tastefulness of the shakes and their authenticity of containing no artificial flavors.
Many wrote about how it helped them lose weight and achieve their dream body without extreme changes and side effects. Furthermore, it has aided in improving people’s physical health, but it has also facilitated their mental well-being, making them feel more confident.
Additionally, people have acknowledged how this product works equally efficiently on men and women of all ages. Everyone agreed on how it keeps them full until the next meal without any digestive discomfort.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Meal Replacement Shake
Meal replacement (MR) products are liquid, powders, or bars, which are nutrient-dense yet quite low on calories. They aid us in our fast-paced lifestyle when we are too rushed to sit for a proper lunch or dinner. They also come in handy in our weight-loss journey, as they provide daily nutrients in very few calories.
Finding the best meal replacement shake might be a real challenge for you, as there are dozens of options available in the market. Especially if you are using them for the first time, it might become an overwhelming task for you to find the right shake.
A quick piece of advice, though, is to never choose a meal replacement shake just because you are enthralled by false commercial claims. Instead, look for the ingredients and their nutritional value. Alternatively, you can compare ingredients of different brands and then choose the healthiest one.
Remember that your meal replacement drink is not a protein shake. That is why it should contain all important nutrients along with protein. We have compiled a list of few things which should be considered while buying.
Sugar and artificial flavors are added in many MR shakes and bars to make their taste pleasant. They not only increase the calories but also tend to affect your health and skin severely. Excessive sugar consumption is not good overall while you are trying to lose weight.
High sugar can promote hunger pangs and can give rise to blood sugar levels, which are not an ideal state of affairs. That is why your meal replacement drink should contain 10 grams or less of sugar. Please have a look at the labels and see the amount of sugar in them before making the final purchase.
Meal replacement shakes are usually low on calories. Ideally, they should provide 33% of the recommended daily dose. The ideal number of calories in an MR would be 200 to 400.
So, make sure the calorie count is perfect for you. It will depend on the fact of whether you are using it as a meal replacement or merely as a snack. So, make a choice accordingly.
Protein is extremely important for our overall well-being. More protein means more energy, as it makes us feel satiated and reduces our cravings significantly. Protein helps curb your hunger and makes you feel full for longer as well.
So, it is extremely important you choose shakes that are high in proteins to stay energetic until the next meal, as they take more time to digest. Proteins in your shake should be 10 to 20 grams per serving.
This is the most important factor when it comes to buying meal replacement shakes, so pay close attention to the details before making the final purchase.
A healthy meal replacement should contain minimum levels of saturated and trans-fat. However, unsaturated fat is healthier than the two, and there should be 10 to 15 grams of fat per serving.
Some quality meal replacement shakes also contain essential fatty acids like omega 3, which are highly beneficial for health.
Fiber not only helps in digestion but also keeps you full for longer. It is extremely important that you take enough fiber throughout the day in order to avoid constipation.
Meal replacement shakes might be low on fiber due to being liquid. But, always look for 3 to 5 grams of fiber. Moreover, you can pair it with fresh vegetables and fruits to increase the fiber ratio.
Look for as many micronutrients as you possibly can, including vitamins and minerals. Your meal replacement shakes should contain a good amount of calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamin D. They should constitute at least one-third of our entire daily dose, as these elements are present in our regular meal too.
Going through the reviews of the product you are about to buy is very beneficial, as knowing about other customers’ experiences provides you with much-needed insight. There are many real customer reviews to give you an idea of the product and what to expect.
At the same time, choosing the brand is also important, as things coming from a recognized brand are more trustworthy than the cheaper and unknown ones. Usually, the reviews have such details and information, so do give them a read beforehand.
A cheap meal replacement shake might attract you, but make sure not to fall for any such traps, as quality comes at a cost. And, if a brand offers you high-end qualities at a low cost, it might be a scam.
Also, it is definitely not wise to invest in a low-quality product just to save a few bucks. Remember, your health matters the most.
Before buying any meal replacement shakes, you always need to make sure these shakes offer all of the necessary nutrition your body needs.
Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes
They offer countless benefits to a large group of people. Some of them are as follows:
They cut down the energy, time, and effort required to cook the meal. They are either ready to use or just need a little mixing. They can be mixed in hot or cold water, milk, or any other beverage of your choice, and they come in a number of flavors to soothe your taste buds.
Carrying MR shakes or energy bars is effortless and casual. We can consume them comfortably at our workplace, school, college, or on a trip. That is why they are the favorite of youngsters, students, dieters, bachelors, and people living in hostels.
- Best Alternative to Junk Food
Meal replacement shakes save us from unhealthy food choices, as they are way better than any junk food available. So, take your meal replacement shake with you, and you will not have to worry about your lunch or dinner. Moreover, they provide some relaxation to those always looking for healthy food.
- Fewer Calories Per Serving
These shakes can make an ideal option for people who want to keep their calorie count in check. MRs help you in portion control, weight loss, and management.
Due to restricted outdoor activities, we are keener to consume fewer calories. These shakes are also good for those who are not gym people or do not find time for physical activity and workouts.
They provide all necessary nutritional ingredients required by an average person daily. In addition, they are applauded for containing vitamins and minerals which may not be present in our regular meals.
In meal replacement shakes, some additional fiber is included, which works as a natural laxative to avoid feeling constipated or bloated. So, always look for more fiber while purchasing an MR so you may not experience any stomach issues.
According to research, MRs do help in shedding those extra pounds. So, by replacing your one or two meals with MRs, you can give your weight loss process a boost. However, stick to a healthy routine and active lifestyle to help sustain the results.
Growing Popularity of Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacements are quite popular now because they provide a modern-day solution to modern-day problems. According to modorintelligence.com, “Americans spend half of their food budget on convenient food,” choosing, “small and time-saving food.”
Therefore, these nutritious bars and shakes are in high demand because they offer a “portable, convenient, and often healthier choice for a quick on-the-go meal or an immediate consumption choice.”
The current pandemic has left folks more mindful of their food choices. They prefer a low-calorie diet due to the restriction of outdoor activities.
China, the birthplace of Covid-19, has experienced a great behavioral change, as people there have become more conscious of food choices, obesity-related issues, and immunity. Thus, the trend of meal replacement has gone manifold and is yet to expand more.
FAQs: Meal Replacement Shakes
Q1. Are Meal Replacement Shakes Good for Weight Loss?
They are found to be excellent in aiding weight loss, as they provide better results than any calorie-strict diets. However, the results may be temporary.
As soon as you go back to solid food choices, you may gain weight. Still, there is evidence consumers have been able to sustain their weight on an ideal level through steadiness.
Q2. Why Are Meal Replacement Shakes Bad for You?
Apparently, they are not bad at all, and they seem to have more benefits than drawbacks. However, an excess of anything is bad. So, try to have them only once a day to obtain maximum benefits.
Otherwise, they may cause bloating, diarrhea, and other discomforts. Sometimes, the calories per serving in there are too low for us and leave us hungry and unsatisfied. To get the best out of your meal replacement shakes, pair them with fresh veggies and delicious fruits.
Q3. How Long Do Meal Replacement Shakes Keep You Full?
Shakes that are high in proteins and vitamins and minerals can keep you full for three to six hours. Instead of full meals, they can also be used up as snacks, especially if you follow a five meals a day regime. You may take fruit salad and fresh veggies along with a meal replacement.
Q4. Are Meal Replacement Shakes the Same as A Protein Shake?
No, they are not the same as protein shake, as the latter contain only protein. While MR has most of the micro and macronutrients, protein shakes are not intended to replace a meal.
Instead, they are for bodybuilders and for those willing to gain muscles. Therefore, they cannot substitute for a whole meal as meal replacement shakes do.
Q5. What Is the Best Time to Have a Meal Replacement Shake?
The time varies from person to person. Some people eat it for breakfast, and it works for them. However, some have time for a proper breakfast but not lunch and dinner. So, they prefer to take it at their feasible time.
Q6. How Much Weight Can I Lose with a Meal Replacement Shake?
Meal replacement helps you in your weight-loss journey. If you solely depend on these shakes, it will take more time.
However, complementing them with workouts and healthy lifestyles gives you better results.
Q7. Who Should Be Using Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes were once confined only to athletes and bodybuilders. However, this is not the case anymore, as businessmen, nursing mothers, diabetics, and sick and elderly people seem to be equally benefitting from MRs. They are also a favorite option for people trying to lose weight.
However, one should consult a doctor before trying meal replacement shakes, especially for those who are suffering from a complex medical condition.
Q8. Are There Homemade Meal Replacement Shakes?
It is possible to make a homemade meal replacement shake that can be healthier and more satisfying than the packaged ones. They can even provide more variety as you get to play around with the ingredients of your choice.
You can add any ingredient, e.g., protein powder, oats, almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, yogurt, chia seeds, flax seeds, and honey. Blend your favorite combination and enjoy a delicious homemade meal replacement smoothie.
Q9. Are Protein Powders/Shakes Good for Meal Replacement?
Protein powder contains proteins and no other elements of nutritional value. On the other hand, in meal replacement shakes, protein, fiber, fat, and all other nutrients are added. Apparently, they have different goals to achieve. So, it would be wise not to substitute one for the other.
Moreover, many meal replacements are so high in protein that they can easily be considered a protein shake. Some of these include fats, fiber, and carbohydrates, and they conform to the concept of meal replacement.
Conclusion – Which Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss Should You Buy?
To summarize, all brands mentioned in this article provide great value for quality. However, if you are looking for a vegan-friendly option, you may opt for PhenQ due to its high-quality and pea-based protein. Although HLTH CODE proved to be more keto-friendly and has many customers following the particular diet, it is not 100% vegan.
To conclude, there are many other factors to consider, such as underlying medical conditions and how regularly you use the meal replacement shake. The brands we chose to review are all transparent in their operational functions, and you can get more information on their respective websites.
We are not related to any medical organization or claim to be affiliated with one. So, before trying out any of the products listed above, please get them approved by a doctor, dietician, or medical organization.
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