By Kath Ross, PhD.
For most of us, losing weight is an insanely difficult task. While there are some people who don’t have any issues shifting excess body fat, the majority of us need a helping hand. As we have all heard time and time again, the key to successfully shedding those excess pounds is simple – just burn off more calories than you consume.
The whole idea of meal replacement shakes is to completely remove the headaches of conventional dieting by offering consumers an easy way of placing themselves on a caloric deficit diet, without having to rigorously plan out meal schedules, and spend hours in the kitchen cooking up low-calorie meals.
As the name suggests, these shakes are designed for replacing meals – by consuming them for your breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ll be crashing your daily caloric intake to the point where weight loss is practically guaranteed (provided you aren’t snacking in-between the shakes).
With sustained correct usage of meal replacement shakes over the long term, the majority of users can expect excellent results. As a consumer, it has never been more important to shop smart and to educate yourself on these products so that you don’t end up with something that doesn’t work. To help guide you towards a more effective purchase, we’ve created this top 10 list of the best products we’ve found:
1. Burner Shake
Burner Shake is a powerful, nutritionally-complete meal replacement shake with added fat burning ingredients, produced by Astral Nutrition.
We have placed this product in the top position of our list because we believe it will produce fast, hard-hitting weight loss results for the vast majority of those who use it.
Burner Shake is designed to be used as a replacement for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each serving only contains 98 Kcals (all-the-while containing all your daily required vitamins and minerals, and being almost free from sugar), meaning that you’ll be consuming a total of just 294 Kcal per day, which is low enough to guarantee weight loss results provided you stick to the directions of usage.
While you may think that eating just 294 Kcal per day may leave you feeling extremely hungry, Astral Nutrition have added a whole host of clinically-proven appetite suppressing ingredients into the formula to counteract this.
To further help hasten the consumer’s weight loss results, Burner Shake also contains all-natural “fat burning” ingredients, that are designed to increase metabolism speeds, thus causing the body to burn calories at a faster rate.
When it comes to getting your hands on a 1-month supply, you shouldn’t have too much trouble; Burner Shake is available in most supplement stores and supermarkets – the price is also excellent value for money too considering this is essentially a 3-in-1 product.
The bottom line: this is a very powerful weight loss product with added fat burning ingredients to speed up results. It’s nutritionally-complete, can also help improve your energy levels and metabolic rates, and is free from any side effects. Highly recommended by us.
2. Atkins Meal Replacement Shakes
Atkins Shakes are meal replacement drinks for weight loss produced by Atkins Nutritionals.
These shakes find themselves in position #2 of our top meal replacement shakes because of the nutritionally-complete formula.
Whether you pick the ready-made or powder option, one serving of Atkins Shake is high in protein, low in carbs and full of dietary fiber.
When used for breakfast, lunch and dinner, these shakes can help bring your daily caloric intake down to the point where you’ll start to naturally lose weight.
The bottom line: these shakes are affordable, loaded with vitamins and minerals and will not cause any negative side effects. If you’re planning on sticking to the Atkins Diet, this product is a perfect low-calorie meal option.
3. SlimFast Shakes
SlimFast’s high protein meal replacement finds itself in position #3 of our best rated list because of the nutrition-packed formula, value for money and excellent protein macros.
In addition to the premium protein blend, the SlimFast formula also contains a full vitamin and mineral complex (27 in total), meaning dieters don’t need to worry about becoming deficient in vital nutrients.
The bottom line: SlimFast have loaded with their meal replacement shakes with lots of vitamins and minerals – there’s also some metabolism-boosting compounds thrown in for good measure. When used for a sustained period of time, these shakes will very likely help users lose weight.
4. AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes
If the name wasn’t already a giant give-away, this is a line of meal replacement shakes produced by AdvoCare.
We’ve placed this product in position #4 of our best meal replacements list because they’re nutritionally-complete, very affordable and are a fantastic product to use for the purposes of weight loss.
Perhaps most importantly, one full serving only contains a mere 90 kcals, and if used correctly (i.e. consumed in place of breakfast, lunch and dinner, with no snacking in-between) it will produce quick weight loss results over a period of 8-12 weeks, as you’ll be consuming just 270 Kcals per day.
Most of us know that while dieting, it can be somewhat difficult to ensure we consume our daily required nutrients, luckily the AdvoCare meal replacement shakes contain an extensive vitamin and mineral complex that provides the consumer with 100% of their daily required nutrients.
The bottom line: this product contains all your required daily vitamins and minerals and is based on a premium whey protein blend. It’s low in calories, carbohydrates and has good protein content too – perfect for those who are looking to tone up.
5. Plexus 96 Meal Replacement Shake
96 (also referred to as P96) is a high-protein meal replacement shake produced by Plexus International.
This product finds itself right in the center of our best rated list because it’s a high in protein and nutritionally-complete shake to use for losing body fat. It also contains appetite-suppressing ingredients too.
Firstly, as this is a weight loss product, Plexus have ensured that each P96 sachet is extremely low in calories – only containing 100kcal.
It’s important to note that it’s not the ingredients within P96 formula itself that’ll trigger weight loss, it’s the directions in which Plexus direct you to use them.
By consuming one serving of the 96 shake for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and not eating anything else in-between them) you’ll be placing yourself onto a VLCD diet – only consuming a grant total of 300 Kcals per day.
In addition to being low in calories, Plexus have also made their P96 meal replacement shakes to be both high in protein and very filling – this has been achieved by adding large amounts of dietary fiber and a premium whey-based protein blend into the formula.
The bottom line: while P96 isn’t Plexus’ most popular weight loss product, you shouldn’t look past it. These high-protein meal replacements are a low calorie meal option that can genuinely help you drop the excess weight (provided you stick to the directions carefully of course).
6. MRE Meal Replacement Powder
Redcon1’s MRE Meal Replacement powder find’s itself in position #6 because it’s unlike anything else on our list.
Unlike the vast majority of meal replacement shakes that use a whey-based protein blend to provide the majority of the macronutrients per serving, Redcon1 have opted to completely prohibit the use of any protein powders in their product.
This product is what’s referred to as a “real-food formula”. Essentially, what consumers are getting with Redcon1’s MRE Meal Replacement is a bunch of ground-up organic food powders – nothing more, nothing less.
While Redcon1 don’t actually directly state their MRE is intended for the purposes of losing fat, this product is highly effective for the purposes of weight loss.
By replacing your three daily meals with Redcon1 MRE, you’ll be lowering your daily caloric intake down to around 660 Kcal, which is low enough to almost guarantee gradual weight loss results when sustained over a period of 8-12 weeks.
The bottom line: this whey protein-free product is formulated entirely with real whole food sources. It’s reasonably minimal in calories, loaded with nutrients and is perfect for those who are weight training. It’s not exactly cheap, but considering this product only uses powdered real-food, we believe the price is acceptable for what you’re actually getting.
7. Usana Nutrimeal Meal Replacement Shake
Nutrimeal is a meal replacement shake for weight loss made by USANA Health Sciences.
This meal replacement drink is at #7 of our best rated roundup list because it’s full of nutrients, low in calories and overall is a very useful weight management tool.
While USANA are a relatively new company, they certainly have not made any compromises when it comes to Nutrimeal.
These meal replacements for weight loss are extremely low in calories, and when the directions are followed precisely, will very likely produce noticeable fat loss results for consumers.
In addition to being a good weight management supplement, Nutrimeal is also fortified with vitamins and minerals, contains added probiotics to support a healthy gut, and has added dietary fiber to help keep the user feeling full.
The bottom line: each serving of Nutrimeal is low in calories and contains a decent amount of protein. USANA have also added a full multivitamin and mineral complex to each serving, as well as topping it off with added natural dietary fiber.
8. Opti-Lean Meal Replacement Powder
Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Lean Meal Replacement Powder finds itself in position #8 of our top meal replacement shakes roundup because it can help to reduce the user’s body weight when used correctly for a sustained period of time (8-12 weeks).
By replacing your breakfast, lunch and dinner with single servings of Opti-Lean Meal Replacement powder, you’ll be dropping your daily calorie intake down to exactly 615 Kcal, which is a significant enough caloric deficit to trigger slow and steady fat loss (provided you aren’t eating in-between the servings of course).
This product is also great for those who are weight training or are concerned about losing muscle while dieting, as Optimum Nutrition have packed in 20g of premium, slow-release protein into each serving.
The bottom line: as you’d expect with an Optimum Nutrition product, Opti-Lean is packed full of protein, is very affordable, contain all your daily required nutrients and also has 7.3g of appetite-reducing dietary fiber in each serving.
9. Complete Meal Vegan Meal Replacement
Complete Meal (formerly known as Phood) is a plant-based meal replacement shake for weight loss made by PlantFusion.
We have placed this highly popular product in at position #9 because it’s a best-rated meal replacement shake with a vast amount of legitimate, highly-positive customer feedback.
As you’d expect, Complete Meal is a great product to use for the purposes of weight loss – being low in calories, high in protein, and low in saturated fats. When used as a replacement for your three daily meals, this product should cause reliable weight loss results.
What makes this product somewhat unique to the rest is that it uses a vegan-friendly protein blend of Pea Protein Isolate, Artichoke leaf and Algae Protein Isolate as its base, and contains an added “ModCarb” proprietary blend of whole foods to top off it’s nutritional content.
In addition to being effective for weight loss and suitable for vegetarians and vegans, Complete Meal contains a whole host of ingredients that support general health. The formula is fortified (i.e. it’s infused with a multivitamin and mineral blend), contains flax and algae oils, which provide essential fatty acids, and it even contains digestive enzymes to aid gut health.
The bottom line: this amazon best-seller contains a high quality vegan protein blend and is perfect for those looking for a 100% natural, allergy-free meal replacement option. These shakes will help improve your energy levels, build and repair muscle, and of course lose weight (when used three times daily as meal replacements while sticking to a low-cal diet).
10. Almased Meal Replacement Powder
And finally, in position #10 we have Almased, a powdered meal shake created by a company of the same name.
This product finds itself onto our top 10 meal replacement shakes list because of how easy it is to stick to, the excellent manufacturer reputation and the highly-positive customer feedback it has.
By replacing your three daily meals with this servings of product, you’ll be placing yourself onto a significant caloric deficit which will cause healthy weight loss over a period of 8-12 weeks. Almased is fortified with vitamins and minerals and contains adequate fiber content to help stave off your hunger cravings too.
The bottom line: Almased is another product that offers users a low-calorie meal option that contains all their daily required vitamins and minerals. While it has no fat burning ingredients, It’s low-cost, is easily-found and is perfect for those who are just starting out.
Meal Replacement Shake FAQ
Below you'll find a list of the most commonly asked questions.
Meal Replacement Shakes work by, yep you guessed it, replacing your daily meals.
The concept is extremely simple – by replacing your solid-food meals with a low-calorie, nutrient-dense shake, you’ll be lowering your daily caloric intake.
While you don’t necessarily have to use meal replacement shakes for the purposes of weight loss, that is the most common reason to use them.
As we stated above, these products easily allow you to lower your daily caloric intake without needing the consumer to stringently plan out and stick to a low-calorie foods list – simply mix it up with some water or milk and you’re good to go – thought you should remember that for the best results, you should use water due to milk adding extra calories to the shakes.
When used for a sustained period (usually around 6-12 weeks), they typically produce excellent weight loss results for consumers, as the general concept is pretty much foolproof.
Meal Replacement Shakes are not something you should consider while pregnant, in our opinion. This is because some products can contain thermogenic ingredients, which could potentially prove to be harmful.
Of course, you should always consult with your doctor as they’ll know best.