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7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023)
Updated on July 26, 2023
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Diet / Weight Loss
Meal Replacements
7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023)

Meal replacement shakes are lifesavers when you don’t have the time (or the ingredients) to prepare food or do groceries.

All you need to do is grab your favorite ready-to-drink bottle or mix your meal replacement powder with water, and you’re good to go.

A meal replacement is designed to replace a nutritious meal and provide the nutrients you need for energy, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Unlike a typical meal, which potentially contains up to 700 calories (or more if you’re not eating healthy), a meal replacement shake contains fewer calories per serving.

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 8

When taken with a calorie-restricted diet–that is, a diet that is low on calories but doesn’t deprive you of nutrients–it can help you lose weight.

Maintaining a calorie deficit is one of the keys to losing weight. This means that your energy expenditure should be higher than your caloric intake from food. For those calorie-counting, a calorie deficit of 3,500 loses about 1 kilogram of weight.

We know how hard it is to pick the right meal replacement shake for you, given there are so many options on the market. So we rounded up the five best meal replacement shakes for losing weight.

Everything We Recommend

Why Trust Us

KnowYourDNA is dedicated to providing readers with reliable information on products that help them achieve their health goals. 

We pick products based on:

  • Brand reputation
  • Product quality
  • Safety for consumption
  • Customer reviews

Our in-house medical experts ensure the accuracy of our information.

7 Best Meal Shakes for Losing Weight Compared

Best Meal Replacement ShakesType of meal replacementCalories per servingProteins (g)Carbohydrates (g)Fats (g)Fiber (g)Sugar (g)Number of NutrientsNumber of Flavor Options
SoylentRTD shake25030101330261
HuelPowder mix1102051.52< 0.5271
KaChavaPowder mix2402520766265
PhenQPowder mix180 to 19016 to 1721 to 223 to 3.542133
SupergutPowder mix18015406200266
Keto ChowPowder mix120 to 13025 to 357 to 9< 16 to 8≤ 12640+
310 NutritionPowder mix1101562.550256

Soylent Chocolate High Protein Nutrition Shake

Best Ready-To-Drink Meal Replacement

Soylent Powder
Nutritional InformationSoylent Chocolate High Protein Nutrition Shake
Calories per serving250 calories
Protein30 grams
Carbohydrates10 grams
Fats13 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar0 grams

Why We Recommend It

Don’t let its namesake scare you. Soylent isn’t made of people. The brand produces a range of meal replacement products to nourish people.

Our top pick is the Soylent Chocolate High Protein Nutrition Shake because it’s rich in protein and uses high-quality ingredients.

The meal replacement drink is also vegan and doesn’t contain any gluten, dairy, or nuts.

Soylent Pros

  • Low-carb, high-protein, and zero-sugar formula
  • Uses plant-based protein and fats (e.g., soy protein and canola oil)
  • Has more healthy fats than unhealthy fats
  • Contains 9 essential amino acids
  • Contains dietary fiber (e.g., cellulose and soluble corn fiber)
  • Provides 26 vitamins and minerals
  • Uses natural flavors (e.g., cocoa powder)

Soylent Cons

  • Ready-to-drink shake only has one flavor (chocolate)
  • Low fiber content (3 g per serving)
  • Vitamins and minerals only provide 15 percent of your daily recommended intake
  • Uses artificial sweeteners (e.g., maltodextrin and allulose)
  • Contains soy, which triggers allergies and intolerance in some people

Read our full review of Soylent nutrition shakes here.

Huel Complete Protein Shake

Best Meal Replacement Powder Mix

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 9
Nutritional InformationHuel Complete Protein Shake
Calories per serving110 calories
Protein20 grams
Carbohydrates5 grams
Fats1.5 grams
Fiber2 grams
SugarLess than 0.5 grams

Why We Recommend It

Huel has an extensive range of meal replacement powders and shakes, including gluten-free alternatives for most of its products. 

In terms of weight loss, Huel’s Complete Protein Shake is the best option from their lineup.

You can drink up to two servings without exceeding your daily caloric limit or the recommended intake for proteins, fats, and carbs.

It’s a vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and soy-free powder which makes it suitable for people with dietary restrictions and intolerances to gluten and soy.

Huel Pros

  • Low-carb, high-protein, and low-sugar formula
  • Plant-based protein sources (e.g., pea powder, faba, and hemp)
  • Derives its fat from plant-based ingredients (e.g., flaxseed oil)
  • Protein makes up 76 percent of total calories
  • Fats and carbs only make up 10 to 11 percent of its calories
  • Contains soluble fibers
  • Rich in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6)
  • Complete amino acid profile with 20 amino acids
  • Two servings provide 20 percent or more of your daily needs for 27 nutrients
  • Available in 6 flavors, including an unflavored & unsweetened option
  • Uses natural flavors (e.g., cocoa powder)

Huel Cons

  • Primarily designed as a protein powder, not a meal replacement
  • Low in fiber and fats, providing only 1.5 to 2 g per serving
  • You need two servings to nutritionally replace a meal
  • Has artificial sweeteners (e.g., sucralose)

Read our full review of Huel protein shakes here.

KaChava Powder

Best Meal Replacement for Healthy Weight Loss

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 10
Nutritional InformationKachava Meal Replacement
Calories per serving240 calories
Protein25 grams
Carbohydrates20 grams
Fats7 grams
Fiber6 grams
Sugar6 grams

Why We Recommend It

KaChava is perhaps the healthiest meal replacement shake we could find. It has fewer calories than your average meal but is packed with nutrients.

Not only is it infused with essential vitamins and minerals. It contains ingredients with many proven health benefits, such as:

  • Omega fatty acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Adaptogens
  • Super greens
  • Probiotics and prebiotics
  • Digestive enzymes

To top it off, KaChava is a vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free option. 

Unlike many meal replacement shakes, most of its ingredients are organic, which makes it a healthier option overall.

KaChava Pros

  • Provides a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
  • Vegan protein source with 5 different ingredients
  • Derives its fats from plant sources (e.g., oats, flaxseed, and chia)
  • Provides more fiber per serving than Huel and Soylent
  • Contains 9 antioxidants, 6 adaptogens, and 17 super greens
  • Has a clinically-supported blend of probiotics
  • One serving provides 6 to 250 percent of your daily needs for 26 nutrients
  • Digestive enzymes promote good digestion and nutrient absorption
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners
  • Doesn’t contain preservatives
  • Choose from 5 unique flavors

KaChava Pros

  • Has more sugar and sodium than Huel and Soylent
  • Costs more than the competition

Read our full review of KaChava protein powder.

PhenQ Meal Shakes

Best Meal Replacement On A Budget

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 11
Nutritional InformationPhenQ Meal Replacement Shake
Calories per serving180 to 190 calories
Protein16 to 17 grams
Carbohydrates21 to 22 grams
Fats3 to 3.5 grams
Fiber4 grams
Sugar2 grams

Why We Recommend It

PhenQ is a budget-friendly alternative to Ka Chava. It's gluten-free and has all-natural ingredients.

Unlike most meal replacement shakes which derive proteins from plants, PhenQ isn't shy about using whey protein isolate—an animal protein.

It provides a complete amino acid profile that promotes satiety and curbs appetite. It also has a blend of digestive enzymes to help break down food.

PhenQ Pros

  • Complete meal replacement shake for vegetarians
  • Digestive enzymes help you digest and absorb nutrients from food
  • Only uses natural flavors, colors, and sweeteners
  • Available in three flavors

PhenQ Cons

  • There are no vegan or dairy-free alternatives
  • Doesn't offer as many vitamins or minerals as its competitors

Supergut Fiber Shake

Best High-Fiber Meal Replacement to Lose Weight

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 12
Nutritional InformationSupergut Meal Shake
Calories per serving180 calories
Protein15 grams
Carbohydrates40 grams
Fats6 grams
Fiber20 grams
Sugar0 grams

Why We Recommend It

Supergut is a nutritionally-complete meal shake that's loaded with fiber. Getting enough fiber is not only good for your gut and overall health. It's also proven to help you lose weight.

Most studies show you need 30 grams of fiber daily to lose weight. Supergut shakes can supplement your diet with 20 grams of fiber per serving.

There are six flavors, including two vegan options that are both dairy-free and allergy-safe.

Aside from meal replacement shakes, Supergut has a high-fiber meal bar with three flavors.

Supergut Pros

  • High-fiber and zero-sugar formula
  • Choose from meal powders with animal-sourced or plant-based proteins
  • Provides 35 to 100 percent of your daily needs for 26 nutrients
  • Only uses natural flavors, colors, and sweeteners
  • Has six flavors, which include vegan, dairy-free, and allergen-free flavors

Supergut Cons

  • Contains a moderate amount of protein (15 g)
  • Has more carbs per serving than most meal replacements
  • Produced in a facility that processes wheat, so there's no gluten-free option

Keto Chow Shakes

Best Keto Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 13
Nutritional InformationKeto Chow Meal Powder
Calories per serving120 to 130 calories
Protein25 to 35 grams
Carbohydrates7 to 9 grams
FatsLess than 1 gram
Fiber6 to 8 grams
Sugar1 gram or less

Why We Recommend It

Keto Chow is great for people who want some variety in taste. The gluten-free meal replacement is available in sweet and savory flavors.

It should work for anyone who wants to lose weight with a ketogenic diet

While the calorie distribution slightly varies depending on the flavor, Keto Chow usually contains very few carbs and more protein in comparison.

One key difference between Keto Chow and other items on our list is that it derives its proteins from animal sources, like milk isolate and beef powder.

Keto Chow Pros

  • Low-carb, high-protein, and low-sugar formula
  • A good option if you prefer animal-based proteins
  • Provides 26 vitamins and minerals
  • Doesn’t have maltitol, trans fats, soy protein, and added sugars
  • Has about 40+ flavors, including limited and seasonal flavors

Keto Chow Cons

  • Not vegan-friendly and dairy-free
  • Most flavor options contain sucralose, an artificial sweetener
  • May contain nuts depending on the flavor (e.g., peanut butter)
  • Some Keto Chow flavors go out of stock

Read our full review of Keto Chow shakes.

310 Nutrition Meal Replacements

Best Low-Calorie Meal Replacement Shake

7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss (2023) 14
Nutritional Information310 Nutrition Shake
Calories per serving110 calories
Protein15 grams
Carbohydrates6 grams
Fats2.5 grams
Fiber5 grams
Sugar0 grams

Why We Recommend It

310 Nutrition is a cross between Keto Chow and KaChava and has some of their best features. But there’s a reason why it’s our top pick for keto dieters.

Unlike Keto Chow, it’s not just keto-friendly and gluten-free. 

310 Nutrition also has a vegan meal replacement formula that doesn’t contain any soy, dairy, sugar, or artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners.

310 Nutrition Pros

  • Low-carb and zero-sugar formula
  • Gets protein from plant sources (e.g., pea protein)
  • Rich in healthy fat sources (e.g., chia seeds)
  • Provides 2 to 250 percent of your daily needs for 25 nutrients
  • Proprietary blend of fiber, superfoods, and probiotics
  • Contains digestive enzymes to aid digestion
  • Only uses natural flavors and plant-based sweeteners
  • Available in six flavors

310 Nutrition Cons

  • Each serving contains a moderate amount of protein (15 g)
  • Produced in a facility that processes milk, soy, peanut, tree nut, wheat, egg, fish, and shellfish ingredients

Read our full review of 310 Nutrition shakes.

Do Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?

Yes. It’s possible to lose weight with a meal replacement shake. 

When paired with a low-calorie diet, a good meal replacement can help reduce the calories you consume and lead to weight loss.

Studies show that meal replacement can help you lose more weight than a food-based diet that provides the same amount of calories.1,2

It’s also more sustainable for long-term weight loss. 

After a year of dieting, more people who followed the reduced calorie diet (RCD) dropped out compared to people on partial meal replacement (PMR).2

Before you replace meals or try weight loss diets, be sure to talk to a licensed nutritionist or a registered dietitian who can:

  • Assess your current health and lifestyle
  • Determine the number of calories you need to eat per day
  • Help you create a healthy meal plan
  • Ensure that you lose weight safely and steadily
  • Suggest lifestyle changes for sustainable weight loss

How We Picked The Best Meal Replacement Shakes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently doesn’t regulate meal replacements. So we used European guidelines as a baseline for choosing.

We also asked the help of our in-house nutrition expert, Dr. Rizza Mira, to create a list of criteria for the best meal replacement shakes for losing weight.

“The best meal replacements provide at least 15 grams of protein and contain about 50% of the daily requirements for essential vitamins and minerals,” says Dr. Mira.

Our team compared products based on these standards:

  • Calorie Content – the number of calories per serving
  • Protein Distribution – the percentage of proteins vs. total calories
  • Fat Distribution – the percentage of fats vs. total calories
  • Fiber Content – the amount of fiber it contains
  • Other Nutrients – the variety of nutrients included
  • Product Quality – the type and source of ingredients used

These criteria helped us narrow down the best meal replacement powders and ready-to-drink (RTD) shakes for weight loss.

Calorie Content

According to the European Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1413, a meal replacement that’s intended for weight reduction must meet these qualifications:3

  • Has at least 200 calories per serving
  • Shouldn’t exceed 250 calories per serving

This calorie limit ensures you meet your body’s nutritional needs while reducing the number of calories you consume per day (also known calorie restriction).

Calorie restriction is important because it helps you lose weight by ensuring you consume fewer calories than you would normally eat without depriving yourself.4

“Too much deprivation of calories can lead to malnutrition, including essential vitamins and mineral deficiency. This can lower immune system response and make one prone to infections,” says Dr. Mira.

Protein Distribution

Proteins must make up 25 to 50 percent of a meal replacement’s total calories.3

Studies show that high-protein meals can control one’s appetite and promote satiety or a feeling of fullness. In turn, this reduces your food intake.5

Fat Distribution

Fats should not exceed 30 percent of the product’s total calories. While fat isn’t as effective as protein at suppressing hunger, it does produce satiating effects.5  

Fiber Content

Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. Men and women typically require 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day.6

With only seven percent of American adults meeting their daily fiber needs, something packed with fiber, like a meal replacement shake, is a great option.6

Good meal replacements should contain at least 3 grams of fiber.

While it’s best that you eat fiber-rich foods, alternative sources (like meal replacement supplements) can still make up for any deficit in your daily fiber intake.7

Other Nutrients

A meal replacement replaces a complete meal. So it should reduce your overall calorie intake without depriving you of essential nutrients.

According to the Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1413, a meal replacement should contain these 22 nutrients:3

Vitamin A
Vitamin CCalcium
Vitamin DCopper
Vitamin EIodine
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)Iron
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)Magnesium
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)Manganese
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)Phosphorus
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)Selenium
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)Sodium
Vitamin B9 (Folate)Zinc
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

A meal replacement doesn’t need to have all the nutrients mentioned above. But meal replacements that provide more vitamins and minerals, especially in higher amounts, are better.

Product Quality

Not all meal replacements are created equally. Some meal replacements are, unfortunately, packed with sugar, sodium, additives, and unhealthy fats (saturated fats).

These ingredients increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other health problems. Too much sugar is also detrimental to weight loss.

Foods high in sugar cause your blood glucose levels to suddenly rise and fall. A “sugar crash” can leave you hungry and cause you to eat more.8

The addition of certain fats and fibers to a meal replacement may also be beneficial for weight loss. 

“Fats help you feel full for a longer time because they release the hormone cholecystokinin. This hormone decreases the time it takes for one to empty the stomach. Fiber adds bulk to the diet. That’s why there is a feeling of fullness when one consumes more fiber,” says Dr. Mira.

For example, linoleic acid has been shown to reduce appetite, decrease food intake, and suppress weight loss.9 Soluble fiber slows digestion, increases satiety, and helps control your appetite.10

That’s why we carefully examined each product’s ingredients before coming up with a list. Ideally, meal replacements should: 

  • Contain more healthy fats than they do unhealthy fats. Examples of good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like linoleic acid.
  • Use natural sugars (e.g. cane sugar) or contain little sugar. Shakes with fewer amounts of sugar per serving are better options.

European regulations add that while the addition of amino acids isn’t required, it can help improve the quality of the proteins used in a meal replacement.3

Remember that if your goal is to reduce the number of calories you consume per day, you should look at the overall quality of a product and not just its calories. 

Updated on July 26, 2023
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Updated on July 26, 2023
Dr. Rizza Mira
Dr. Rizza Mira
Medical Reviewer
Dr. Rizza Mira is a medical doctor and a general practitioner who specializes in pediatrics, nutrition, dietetics, and public health.

As a pediatrician, she is dedicated to the general health and well-being of children and expecting parents. She believes that good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and prevention of illness are key to ensuring the health of children and their families.

When she’s not in the hospital, Rizza advocates and mobilizes causes like breastfeeding, vaccination drives, and initiatives to prevent illness in the community.
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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