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The ULTIMATE Guide to the Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Keto

Updated on August 12, 2021
Written by
Adam Andrewjeski
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Why Use Meal Replacement Shakes on a Keto Diet?

Keto Diets can be difficult, but you’ve probably already experienced that. You’re here because you’re hoping that maybe you can do the keto diet on meal replacement shakes.

But first, let’s talk about why…

Dr. Perlmutter of Giga Brain, a best-selling Keto book, explains, “These pre-made products help you get the right mix of fat, protein, and carbs, taking the hard part out of the keto diet....it’s a shortcut that actually optimizes your results.”

Whether you are a busy executive or doing keto as a stay-at-home mom, meal replacements are an extremely efficient and worry-free way to encourage weight loss, get vitamins and minerals, and stay in ketosis.

When it comes to eating, I find that if I take the decision-making out of meal planning - especially on keto - I’m more likely to find success.

My Keto Meal Replacement Lifestyle

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What do I define as “success”?

During that month doing a 100% meal replacement shake diet, I lost 12 lbs. I’ve lost almost 150 lbs total on keto over the last year and a half. 

I couldn’t have gotten these weight loss results without being on Team Keto. 

I’ve spent that last year making every possible adjustment I could think of to make keto easy. Using shakes is one major part of my keto body transformation, and it made my life a lot simpler.

It’s been a journey. I’m excited to talk about all the big tips and tricks for keto that I’ve learned over the last year. I’ve made the mistakes so that you don’t have to.

The Keto Friendly Food Struggle

We all know that finding an easy low-carb meal without preparing it ahead of time isn’t easy! 

You can’t just walk into most convenience stores and find something that will go well with a keto diet. This, however, is changing. Places like Walmart and Amazon sell Quest, Slimfast, Premier Protein, and other brands that make keto products that jive with a keto diet.

But we’re looking for more than just protein shakes to get you through the day. The problem with most brands of ketogenic meal replacement shake is that they are basically just that...protein shakes. 

Some advertised major-brand keto projects actually have enough carbs that if you only ate them, they would put you over your daily keto carb limit and will knock you out of ketosis.

Keto shakes are more than just low on carbs, though! Let’s talk about what exactly I would consider a good meal replacement for a keto diet.

What Makes A Meal Replacement Shake Keto-Friendly?

Let me explain macronutrient ratios for a second. If you’re a keto expert, you can probably skip this section! 

Here are the things you need to keep in mind:

Most Meal Replacement Shakes Have Too Many Carbs/Sugar

The ingredients of most mainstream meal replacements like Soylent, Huel, Jimmy Joy, etc contain too many carbs to be considered keto-friendly. You have to be careful, the carb limit varies, but most people say 20-30g of carbs daily is the max for an efficient diet.

A keto meal shake will substitute sugar for alternatives like sugar alcohols, stevia, sucralose, etc.

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The Macronutrient Ratio is Key

An ideal ketogenic diet should have a ratio of about 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% or less carbs. My keto macros generally work out to be about 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs. But your results may vary.

Most Keto Shakes Have Too Much Protein...

Some doctors and nutritionists say that too much protein in your diet will be converted to sugar. So to stay in ketosis, you can’t just drink protein shakes and expect to be successful. There’s no such thing as “keto protein” but many keto shakes are marketed this way.

Just because a “keto meal shake” is low in carbs doesn’t mean it is “keto-friendly.” Many shakes like 310 Nutrition, Keto Chow, Slimfast, etc MUST be amended with something like heavy cream or butter to sustain ketosis.

Things to Keep in Mind for Meal Replacements

Net Carbs

Low carb ingredients don’t mean “no carbs.” You have to subtract sugar alcohols from the total, along with fiber. A low-carb meal plan is essential to keeping you in ketosis.

Net Carbs = Carbs per Serving - Fiber - Sugar Alcohols

Fat Content

A Keto Meal Replacement Shake should be high in fat. Check the source to make sure it’s high-quality fats. Examples would be: Coconut Oil, MCT oils, Avocado Oil. Vegetable Oils are generally lower quality for ketosis.

Best Keto Meal Replacement Shakes

Meal Replacement BrandMacros (Fat/Pro/Net Carbs)Calories per servingNeed Added Ingredients?Cost Per serving size (powder only)Rating
310 Shake (w/ heavy cream)45/15/6510Yes$1.82
Ample K Shake28/25/4400No$5.27
Keto Chow Shake44/28/4530Yes$3.33
Ketologie Keto Shake25/15/0300No$2.75N/A
Sated Keto Shake34/18/1.5400Yes$2.40N/A
Huel Black Shake17/40/18440No$1.80Not Keto Shakes
Slimfast Keto Shake15/5/8190No$1.50

310 Nutrition

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310 Nutrition is one of the largest brands making a low-carb “hunger” solution for keto diet fanatics. It isn’t marketed for ketogenic diets necessarily, but you can use it for keto.

The only problem that I have with this shake is the same problem that I mentioned before. This product is basically a protein shake with some vitamins and additives.

To make this a true keto shake with all the macronutrients (especially fat) you need on keto - you have to add ingredients like butter, cream, oil, etc. to your bottle.

You can check out my 310 Nutrition Review here.

Ample K

Ample K is one of the few shake companies offering a VEGAN keto shake solution. It’s pretty unique in that the fat comes from coconut and macadamia oil, with the keto protein coming from pea and brown rice.

But it’s also one of the most expensive and hardest to find in stock. Ample K sells their meal replacement powder in bags and in bottles - but the last time I wrote about Ample K in this article - they were almost out of everything.

Ample K is a solid shake with high-quality ingredients but it isn’t nutritionally complete as a meal shake. You wouldn’t want to do a 100% keto meal replacement diet on Ample K without adding a multivitamin and amino acids. 

Amazon.com carries Ample K from time to time if their website is out of stock.

Keto Chow

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A Salted Caramel Keto Meal Shake, ready to be drunk!

Keto Chow is one of the best options for keto meal replacement shakes I’ve found so far. The only negatives are the price and the fact that you have to add your own fats.

The flavors are great (especially salted caramel and snickerdoodle). Their keto products are thick, filling, and have the highest volume out of any keto shake I’ve encountered so far. It’s a complete meal replacement solution with all the ingredients your body needs to stay healthy.

Ketologie Keto Shake

Ketologie Collagen Keto Shake is an extremely popular ketogenic meal replacement shake. And it’s one we haven’t done a meal replacement review on yet. I talk about the benefits of collagen protein later in this article.

But is it the best keto meal replacement out there? I would say no - because it contains an ingredient called soluble corn fiber that has a high glycemic index. This means that it’s more of a carb than a fiber - not really a low carb per serving meal.

It also doesn’t have enough nutrients to be considered a meal replacement. Like other shakes I mention, you’d have to add vitamins and minerals.

You can check it out here on amazon.com

Sated Keto Shake

Sated is another great keto meal option with a lot of protein and is low carb. Like Keto Chow and almost all keto shakes, you have to add fat to get your keto macros. 

The main protein source is a whey protein isolate. These shakes have great flavor and low net carbs per serving. Check it out here if you don’t mind adding cream, oil, or butter to your keto meal replacement shakes. 

SlimFast Keto Shakes

Slimfast brand keto shakes come in both the ready-to-drink and powdered forms. As far as I know, this is one of the only ready-to-drink keto shakes in existence at the moment.

I could see myself drinking maybe one or two per day.

The problem is that the carbs per serving are pretty high, and the calories per serving are low. Doing a full keto shakes diet with these products would basically be impossible, and there are a lot of processed ingredients in it.

Huel Black for Keto

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Well, let’s get this out of the way first thing - Huel Black isn’t made for keto. It has a high amount of carbohydrates and is probably only suitable for an athlete doing keto. 

The carbs per serving are just too high to make it something you can use in a 100% meal replacement diet. It does contain a lot of fat, but it wasn’t built for ketogenic diets.

What is the Best Keto Shake of 2021?

My top keto shake for 2021 is Keto Chow. Sated comes in a close 2nd place.

Keto Chow really has the best flavors in my opinion, and one serving size is 22 oz which really helps keep me full. 

The problem with Keto Meal Replacement Shakes is that I haven’t found any that offer complete nutrition. Some shakes like Ample K have the fat you need but not all the vitamins and minerals. Others like Keto Chow require you to add heavy cream. Slimfast has too many carbs.

Remember, your favorite keto shakes will depend on what flavors you prefer and the type of nutrition you are looking for.

It would be great if more keto meal replacement shakes came in a ready-to-drink form, but for now, you’ll have to make your own. Brands are constantly releasing new products, and the new best keto meal replacement shake could arrive at any moment.

The Keto Shake Meal Replacement Diet Plan

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Many of you are probably here because you are wondering if you can get insane weight loss results quickly by drinking only meal replacement shakes.

I completed almost 2 months drinking nothing but keto shakes to lose 15 lbs, finish off my weight loss, and achieve the body I’ve always wanted. But it wasn’t easy.

To avoid catastrophic results, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to attempting a keto meal replacement diet:

  • Getting enough calories - fats and keto protein (at least 60g)
  • Essential ingredients like electrolytes, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Meal Timing - What does your day look like?
  • How many calories you need - AT LEAST 1200 for women, 1500 for men

Like I mentioned, there aren’t a lot of mainstream shakes that offer complete nutrition.

You have to do the math to make sure your net carbs are lower than 20-30g per day, that you get enough protein, and that your daily intake of calories from fat is higher than what you get from protein.

There are diets like a protein-sparing fast, but it is challenging to maintain. Our goal here is to keep you healthy AND happy.

Here’s what I did:

I recommend using keto shakes where you can control the addition of fat - the best keto shake will depend on your needs, though. Keto Chow, Sated, and 310 nutrition all accomplish the same goals. I used heavy cream as my fat and never tried butter. You could also add plant oil or MCTs. 

Schedule

12 PM: I have my first shake of the day. I generally made 1 serving so that it worked out to 400 calories. With these keto shakes, I also take a heaping scoop of keto electrolytes. It also helped to add extra powdered psyllium husk to keep me full longer.

4 PM: Another shake. During the day, I’m drinking a lot of extra water or tea.

8 PM: I have a double shake. That’s about 800 calories. I added extra salt to this one to keep the keto flu away and allow me to sleep better in a few hours.

So as you can see, in total this worked out to about 1600 calories of keto shakes. It also follows another diet template called intermittent fasting.

If you haven’t heard of intermittent fasting, it’s when you try to consume all your calories within an 8 hour period. I never tried my keto shakes diet with OMAD - One Meal a Day. The problem is that drinking 4 keto shakes in one sitting is almost impossible because of the amount of liquid.

Here are the things I think you need for your body to make a keto shakes diet successful:

  • High-quality keto shakes with a lot of volume like Keto Chow
  • Keto Electrolytes and Salt. I used at least 1 scoop of electrolytes and 1g of extra salt spread out between the shakes. You need to get more salt than you think!
  • A fibre supplement like Metamucil. Be careful, sometimes they have sugar!
  • A meal schedule

Keto Meal Replacement Shake Additions 

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The most popular keto shake additions are fat (like cream)

Almond Milk

Almond milk CAN be a decent addition to your shake and contributes some protein and fat. But you have to worry about the net carbs. In fact, most brands have added sugar. Go for the “sugar-free” versions of almond milk.

Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream is a cheap, easy, and tasty way to keep your macronutrient ratio in line. Almost all the meals I have on a keto diet have used heavy cream.

It’s full of fat (especially saturated fat, which is great for a keto diet). For myself, my problem was generally that I was taking in too much protein in my diet and needed more fat content. 

If you are on a budget, you can easily make your own meal replacement shake by mixing protein powders and heavy cream.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is full of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, plus it tastes delicious.

The problem is that it just has too much sugar to be something I would use in my diet on a daily basis. If you’re an athlete burning many carbs, you may be able to fit it in.

But be very careful! It may knock you out of ketosis.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is a great oil to add to your meals. You can cook with it or simply add coconut oil or coconut oil powder to your keto meal replacement shakes to get more fat content per serving.

What’s so great about coconut oil? Well, it’s full of MCT oils per serving and has saturated fat. (Yes, remember, saturated fat is a good thing on ketogenic diets!)

Collagen Protein

Collagen powder is a great additive for healthy skin, especially if you don’t eat a lot of meat. I took a scoop of Collagen Peptides every day during my dramatic weight loss to help reduce stretch marks and loose skin.

Some people debate the usefulness of adding this - but I say collagen powder can’t hurt, especially for getting more protein into your keto macros.

Fiber

Fiber is part of my holy trinity for keto additives: Fiber, Electrolytes, and Vitamins.

What is fiber good for?

  • Eliminating toxic waste from your body through your digestive system
  • Regulating your hunger levels/keeping you fuller longer
  • Reducing Heart Plaque
  • Keeping your bowel movements regular in the early stages of keto
  • Fostering the growth of healthy gut bacteria

I highly recommend adding psyllium husk fiber to your diet if you are getting less than 30g of fiber per day. Watch out; regular Metamucil and other brands can contain carbs and sugar. 

MCT Oil and MCT Oil Powder

MCTs and MCT oil powder are for running efficiently on keto. Contrary to popular belief, they are not needed for ketosis - especially for the average human in ketosis.

There is some evidence that it helps with appetite and energy - but I would say from my own experience - getting your calories from real, filling food is the better option than MCTs.

If you’re a keto athlete, you can use MCT oil and raspberry ketone products to give you a boost before, during, or after a workout.

Protein Powders

Protein Powder is essential if you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet. If you exercise, it’s also great for muscle repair after your workouts. 

What is a keto protein powder? It’s just a protein supplement with little or no carbohydrates per serving. But beware because many protein powder products have added sugar or carbs for taste. Not paying attention to the label could quickly turn your keto shake into a diet ruiner.

Types of Protein Powders:

  • Whey Protein: Standard protein derived from milk
  • Grass-Fed Whey Protein: Protein extracted from grass-fed cows has slightly better ratios of macronutrients/micronutrients. Some people consider grass-fed whey to be healthier.
  • Pea Protein: A vegan protein source. Some people don’t like the taste.
  • Brown Rice Protein: Common vegan protein source

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower Oil is a good way to get more fat in your shakes - but it doesn’t taste quite as good as heavy cream or coconut oil.

Final Thoughts

Doing a diet like this is going to be incredibly difficult at first. I was very hungry the first week. I recommend that you ease into it with 1 shake per day to avoid stomach problems. My opinion is that this isn’t the best diet long-term, but I’ve been in your shoes before. You want it now. Take things slow and achieve your dream body with sustainable, gradual changes.

FAQ

Can you do meal replacement shakes on keto?

Of course! It all depends on which shake and how many carbs it has, though. Some keto meal shake ingredients are better than others for ketosis. See here to return to the section on it. Meal replacement powder is an easy way to get all the macros you need for ketosis.

What is the best keto shake for weight loss? 

A good keto shake is one that keeps you full. For this purpose, I’ve found that Keto Chow is the best one I’ve tried to date. They also have really good flavors. Other shakes like SlimFast, 310, and Ample K are great too if you add fats, vitamins, and minerals.

How can I speed up weight loss on keto?

The only way you can increase weight loss on keto is to eat less or do intermittent fasting. At the end of the day, the keto shake you choose only helps you get the macros you need. You have to reduce your calories and eat less frequently to lose weight faster.

You can try a Keto Shakes Meal Replacement Diet, which I mentioned above, but it’s not easy.

Can you drink protein shakes while on a keto diet?

Yes, you can! But be careful; many of them have sneaky carbs. You also want to be consuming way more fat than protein when it comes to net calories per serving. 

Are SlimFast Keto Shakes really Keto?

Yes! But you have to watch the amount of carbs you are ingesting per serving for ketosis. The net carbs in SlimFast keto shake products are pretty high, despite being high in fat. 

They are “low carb” but if you have more than 4 shakes a day, that is 20+ carbs. The ingredients are also pretty processed. They are convenient, though, being one of the only products that is ready-to-drink for ketosis diets.

Adam Andrewjeski
Content Contributor
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