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  • Writer's pictureJames Dickson

Best Weight Loss Shakes. Meal Replacement Reviews.

Updated: Apr 21


Best Weight Loss Shakes. Meal Replacement Reviews.


Weight Loss Shakes seem all the rage at the moment but there are hundreds of them to choose from so how do you pick the best one? Some of them are celebrity endorsed, and some are crammed full of artificial ingredients that your body just doesn't need.


We have tried and tested every weight loss shake we know that exists, spoken with hundreds of people who have used them, and here are our top recommendations (note, the best weight loss shakes are probably not what you think).


So, here we go! We will cover:



 

A woman measuring her waist with a weight loss shake
With some many to choose from, what are the best weight loss shakes?


How do Weight Loss Shakes Work?


When you're looking to shed some pounds, the attraction of weight loss shakes is undeniable. They promise a quick and convenient solution – a meal in a glass. But, do they really work, and how do they fit into a healthy weight loss plan overall? 


How Weight Loss Shakes Function

The foundation of weight loss shakes lies in these core mechanisms:

  • Calorie Control: Most shakes are designed to be low in calories. For instance, they might clock in around 200-300 calories per serving compared to a typical meal that can easily range from 500-800 calories.

  • Portion Control: The pre-packaged nature of shakes eliminates the guesswork with portion sizes, helping you stick to a defined calorie intake.

  • Some Nutritional Value: Weight loss shakes often contain a blend of protein, some fibre, and fortified vitamins and minerals. This offers a slight nutritional edge over simply skipping a meal altogether.


Potential Short-Term Benefits

In some scenarios, weight loss shakes might offer a temporary assist:

  • Jumpstart: They can help kickstart weight loss efforts, especially for individuals who need a structured routine to get started.

  • Convenience Factor: For busy people, a grab-and-go shake might be a healthier option than a fast-food meal when time is short.


Limitations to Consider

  • Sustainability Matters: Relying solely on shakes for weight loss is often not a sustainable solution for the long term.

  • Missing Out on Real Food: Shakes don't teach you healthy eating habits or how to prepare balanced meals yourself, which is crucial for maintaining weight loss.

  • Satisfaction Factor: Liquids can be less satisfying than whole foods, potentially leading to increased hunger later on.

  • Quality Varies: Not all shakes are created equal. Some are loaded with added sugars, artificial ingredients, and lack sufficient nutrients.


Where Shakes Might Fit In

  • Occasional Meal Replacement: Using a shake as a substitute for a single meal per day might be a viable option for some, alongside healthy whole food meals.

  • Supplement Your Efforts: If you're actively focusing on healthy eating and exercise, adding a quality shake occasionally could be considered.


The Healthy Weight Loss Mindset

While shakes can be a tool in a toolbox, true weight loss success hinges on lasting lifestyle changes:

  • Whole Food Focus: Center your diet around fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

  • Mindful Eating: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, and practice mindful eating habits.

  • Regular Exercise: Include physical activity in your routine to boost calorie burn and overall health.

  • Talk to a Professional: A registered dietitian or doctor can offer individual guidance for sustainable weight loss.


Weight Loss Shake Ingredients


Weight loss shakes promise a simple, convenient path to achieving your goals. But what's inside that scoop? Let's demystify the usual suspects found on the ingredients list and understand what they aim to do.


Core Players:


  • Protein Power: Protein is the star of most weight loss shakes. Common sources include whey, casein, soy, or plant-based proteins. Protein contributes to satiety (feeling full) and helps preserve muscle during weight loss.

  • Fibre Fill-Up: Both soluble and insoluble fibre are often included. Fibre slows digestion, enhancing fullness, and contributes to gut health. Sources may include psyllium husk, flaxseed, or oats.

  • Vitamin & Mineral Mix: Shakes are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals. This combats potential nutritional deficiencies that can occur with calorie restriction.


Supporting Cast:

  • Sweeteners (Sugar-free and Otherwise): Calorie-free options like stevia or monk fruit are common. However, some shakes use added sugar, contributing to their calorie count.

  • Thickeners: Ingredients like xanthan gum or carrageenan provide a thicker, more shake-like texture.

  • Fats: Some shakes include small amounts of healthy fats from seeds, nuts, or oils, boosting satiety.

  • Flavourings: Both natural and artificial flavorings often create the vanilla, chocolate, and fruity options.


Watch Out For:

  • Artificial Sweeteners: While low-calorie, some artificial sweeteners may have potential drawbacks for gut health. Consider choosing shakes with natural sweeteners in moderation.

  • Mystery Ingredients: Long lists of unfamiliar chemicals can indicate overly-processed shakes with questionable benefits.

  • Excess Added Sugar: Certain shakes pack a surprising amount of sugar, counteracting their weight loss purpose. Always check the nutrition label!

  • Our recommendations on this page are all natural and contain superfoods.


Making Sense of the Blend

The effectiveness and quality of a weight loss shake depend on its overall formulation:

  • Balanced Macronutrients: Look for a shake with a good amount of protein, moderate fibre, and minimal unhealthy fats.

  • Limited Added Sugars: Ideally, the majority of sweetness should come from natural sources like fruit.

  • Clean Ingredient List: Choose shakes made with whole-food ingredients that you can recognise and pronounce.


The Takeaway

Weight loss shakes can be a double-edged sword. Understanding common ingredients will help you make informed choices. Opt for high-protein, fibre-rich, minimally sweetened shakes made with known ingredients. Remember, they can be a tool, but a balanced diet focused on whole foods remains the cornerstone of a healthy weight loss journey.


​The Best Weight Loss Shakes



Three glasses of juice
The top three weight loss shakes and supplements

We have done all the hard work for you and can recommend the below, These have been scored on


  • Weight Loss Effectiveness - they genuinely work

  • Cost - these will not break the bank like a lot of common mainstream ones often endorsed by celebrities

  • Reviews - must have high scores (minimum 90% approval) from people that have used them

  • Number of Reviews - only listed are ones with a minimum of 10,000 positive reviews

  • Ingredients - no harsh ingredients, no nasty additives



 

1. Over 125,000 people use this every day for fast, effective, safe weight loss. It's a combination of eight natural superfoods and specifically targets belly fat. You can get free global shipping as well.



 

2. This weight loss shake is more like a juice but it fills you up, helps keep hunger away, and it's great for weight loss.



 

3. This one is hugely effective if you like coffee. It's not a weight loss shake as such, it's a supplement that you add (or dissolve) into your coffee. Works like a dream.



 

These are the best meal replacement shakes on the market and at the time of writing they are all on sale with discounts and free global shipping.


 


Common Side Effects


The Hidden Risks: Potential Side Effects of Weight Loss Shakes with Artificial Ingredients


While weight loss shakes promise quick and easy results, some formulas packed with artificial and dubious ingredients could trigger a variety of unwanted side effects. Here's what to watch out for:


Digestive Distress:

  • Artificial Sweeteners: Substances like aspartame, sucralose, and others can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhoea in sensitive individuals.

  • Too Much Fibre, Too Quickly: A sudden fibre increase from shakes, without simultaneously increasing your water intake, can lead to constipation, stomach cramps, and other gut discomfort.

  • Intolerances and Sensitivities: Fillers, flavourings, and certain protein types (like lactose in whey) can cause digestive problems for those with sensitivities.


Beyond the Gut:

  • Headaches: Certain artificial sweeteners and additives have been linked to migraines and headaches in some people.

  • Nutritional Imbalances: Relying predominantly on shakes can create nutrient deficiencies if they lack a balanced spectrum of vitamins and minerals.

  • Blood Sugar Swings: Shakes loaded with added sugars can initially spike blood sugar, followed by a crash, leading to increased hunger and cravings.

  • Allergic Reactions: Artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives might trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.


The "Nasty" Ingredient Factor

  • Unfamiliar Chemicals: Long lists of unpronounceable additives may signal a highly processed product, with potential long-term health implications that are not yet fully understood.

  • Cheap Fillers: Bulking agents, used to make the shake thicker or sweeter, often offer little nutritional benefit and might contribute to side effects.


What Can You Do?

  • Read the Label Meticulously: Don't be fooled by marketing claims. Pay close attention to the ingredients list and watch out for red flags like numerous artificial sweeteners, flavourings, and unidentifiable chemicals.

  • Start Slow: To assess your tolerance, begin by replacing just one meal a day with a shake and monitor how you feel.

  • Whole Foods First: Always prioritize whole, unprocessed foods as the foundation of your diet, and use shakes sparingly, if at all.

  • Listen to Your Body: If you experience persistent digestive issues, headaches, or any concerning symptoms after consuming weight loss shakes, stop using them immediately and consult your doctor.


Choosing Wisely

Not all shakes are created equal. If opting for shakes, look for:

  • Minimal, Recognisable Ingredients: Choose options with short, clean ingredient lists.

  • Natural Sweeteners: Opt for those sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, or limited amounts of real fruit.

  • High-Quality Protein: Seek out shakes with protein sources like whey isolate, plant-based blends, or minimally processed options.


The Takeaway

Weight loss shakes can be tempting, but those packed with artificial and unnecessary ingredients might cause discomfort or even hinder your weight loss efforts.  Always eat a whole foods diet and speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian before heavily relying on shakes for weight management. Your body deserves the best fuel for optimal health and sustainable results. Our top recommendations are on this section.


​Further Reading


From Medical Origins to Mainstream: The Evolution of Weight Loss Shakes

The modern weight loss shake / meal replacements market seems like a recent phenomenon, but its roots stretch surprisingly far back in time. Let's journey through the history of this convenience-driven weight loss tool.


Early Beginnings: Medical Malts

  • The Predecessor (1920s-1950s): The great-grandfather of weight loss shakes was the "blenderized diet."  Doctors prescribed patients needing weight control a mix of blended whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and even raw eggs, delivered through a tube or as a drink.

  • Metrecal's Market Splash (1960s): The concept shifted towards convenience with Metrecal, one of the first commercially available meal replacement shakes. It was marketed primarily for medical weight management under a doctor's supervision.


Mainstream Boom:

  • The SlimFast Era (1970s-1980s): With catchy advertising, SlimFast brought meal replacement shakes to the masses.  While they initially touted weight loss benefits, the focus later shifted to being a quick and convenient meal option.

  • Diversification and Expansion (1990s-Present): The market exploded with numerous brands, flavors, and varieties catering to different needs and preferences.  We saw variations like high-protein shakes, plant-based options, and even specialty shakes marketed for specific health goals.


The Ongoing Debate

The rise of weight loss shakes also brought scrutiny and debate within the health community:

  • Medical vs. Mainstream:  Initially used as a medically supervised tool, the widespread availability of over-the-counter shakes raised concerns about their use without professional guidance.

  • Balanced Nutrition Question: Can a powdered shake adequately replace the nutrients and satisfaction of whole foods? This remains a central question in the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of shake-based weight loss regimens.

  • Marketing and Misconceptions:  The aggressive promotion of weight loss shakes sometimes oversimplifies the complexities of weight loss and perpetuates the search for quick fixes rather than sustainable lifestyle changes.


Where We Stand Today

Weight loss shakes continue to hold a place in the weight management market, offering convenience and portion control. However, there's increased awareness of their limitations:

  • A Tool, Not a Solution:  Shakes are best viewed as a potential tool to be used alongside healthy eating habits and exercise, rather than the sole foundation of a weight loss plan.

  • Importance of Quality: Choosing shakes with clean ingredients, balanced macronutrients, and minimal added sugars is crucial.

  • Personalisation is Key:  Consulting with a doctor or registered dietitian can help determine if, and how, weight loss shakes might fit into an individual's weight loss plan.


The Future of Shakes

The evolution of weight loss shakes likely isn't over. We may see:

  • More Targeted Formulations: Shakes designed for specific dietary needs, health conditions, or fitness goals.

  • Emphasis on Whole-Food Ingredients: A potential shift towards shakes incorporating more recognisable, less processed ingredients.

  • Technological Integration: Shakes could be paired with apps or personalised plans for enhanced support and guidance.


The Bottom Line

The history of weight loss shakes mirrors the changing tides of diet trends – a  search for convenience with the enduring need for sustainable health solutions. Their best use lies alongside a healthy lifestyle, not as a replacement for one. A healthy diet is a key way to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Weight loss shakes containing whey protein, essential nutrients may be a convenient option for weight loss, but regular meals with fewer calories can only help if you use this in conjunction with weight loss supplements. 


If you are looking at muscle mass, building muscle, increase your diet with extra grams of protein (note that even some of the best protein shakes don't contain enough protein that your body needs if you are looking to build muscle). A higher protein intake is absolutely fine if you want to increase muscle mass, but remember, muscle weights more than fat so bear that in mind when looking at the scales.


For weight loss, these shakes may seem like an easy way to achieve your ideal body weight, but many of these shakes haven't passed the relevant drug administration guidelines and can contain nasty ingredients. That's why we prefer all natural weight loss supplements - they still work! And if you eat a healthy diet with solid food, get some exercise, and do a systematic review of your body weight every week whilst on a diet, you should achieve excellent results. Whatever weight loss shake that you choose, make sure that you get the total item count that you ordered. Sometimes, manufacturers do make errors, so double check when unwrapping!


And weight loss isn't an instant fix, don't expect overnight results as these things often take time. Being in calorie deficit or on a calorie-restricted diet, using diet pills and supplements will help, but eat healthy meals and get some exercise as well! Your body has nutritional needs so make sure that these are kept and maintained whilst trying to lose weight. Weight loss programs can also help, but speak with your healthcare professional before signing up to them.


Find our what are our best weight loss shakes here.

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