Best meal replacement shakes for men, strength gains, fat loss and muscle mass…
People are looking for alternatives that will enable them to live the healthiest life possible; enter meal replacement shakes, which have become an increasingly popular option among men who don’t want to spend all their time calorie counting but who want to achieve a great physique and improve their overall health and quality of life.
What are meal replacement shakes?
Unfortunately staying healthy the traditional way can often be time consuming and unpractical. Super busy people don’t have the time to shop for different ingredients before spending even more time on cooking and meal prep.
This is where meal replacement powders come into play: they can be used to replace one or more meals and are a great way to get all of the nutrients your body needs from an easy to digest drink.
Health-conscious and busy consumers can save those precious hours whilst obtaining all the nutrients that they need; having enough vitamins and minerals in your diet is essential to prevent nutritional deficiencies which can cause a range of health problems.
Why Do Men Take Meal Replacement Shakes?
Let’s face it, men and women are different. Men have different nutritional needs and, therefore, should avoid buying typical weight loss shakes at the grocery store that is usually aimed at women.
Because men are generally more muscular, they require more calories and protein compared to women in order to maintain their muscle mass.
To help make the most out of your workouts, vitamins such as Zinc, Iron and magnesium are required to prevent fatigue and maintain the energy levels required to optimise your physical performance when exercising.
Whilst some men try to achieve their nutritional targets by overeating, meal replacements allow guys to obtain more nutrients in less meals making it easier to increase your protein intake and gain muscle.
Alternatively, dudes trying to shred their fat will be pleased to know that they can achieve the six pack that they always dreamed of without having to resort to intermediate fasting, by taking meal replacements regularly to stay full and obtain all the nutrients they need.
Our list of the top 10 meal replacements
Rootana – Best meal replacement shake for all natural ingredients – Shop Rootana
Plenny Shake – Best meal replacement shake on a budget
Huel – Best flavoured meal replacement shake
Exante – Best-unflavoured option to combine with your own recipes
1. Instant knockout complete – the best meal replacement shakes for six-pack abs
Instant knockout complete is a vegan meal replacement that offers the whole range of important vitamins and minerals. Golden flax seeds, chia seeds, oat flower, and organic brown rice are among the incredibly nutritious and natural components in this recipe.
Official website: https://www.instantknockout.com
- Complete nutrition
- Easy to digest – no upset stomach
- Useful for building muscle and burning fat
- Contains all the vitamins and minerals that you need
- Amazing taste
- Premium price
- Lack of options for flavours
Each scoop is 50 grams; for every two scoops, you will get:
- 400 calories, 35 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbs, 13 grams of fat.
Ingredients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Zinc, which have been proved to aid weight loss, reduce exhaustion, and enhance energy levels, are included in their science-backed formula
The high fibre content helps to speed up digestion and absorption, making you feel fuller and reducing your hunger. This meal replacement was created for MMA fighters to help them burn fat and build muscle.
Our verdict on Instant Knockout: 10/10
Originally created for MMA fighters who are obsessed with getting their bodies into fighting condition, this tasty shake can help you stay healthy and in shape without having to spend time cooking different foods or grocery shopping every day.
Whether you’re struggling to put on weight or just want a little help with your diet, Instant Knockout Complete is perfect for you. It has all the key ingredients to keep nutritional deficiencies at bay and help burn fat without sacrificing muscle.
We conclude that Instant knockout Complete is the best overall meal replacement shake.
2. Rootana – the best meal replacement shake for natural ingredients
Rootana is a little different to the majority of meal replacement shakes on this list in that it prioritises real-food ingredients above all else. Unlike others, Rootana abstains from the use of artificial sweeteners in any of its shakes.
Using natural ingredients such as coconut sugars to help their shakes taste great. If you want six-pack abs, but don’t want to use sucralose or stevia to achieve this, then Rootana is the ideal meal replacement shake for you.
Official website: Rootana: https://www.rootana.com/en-gb/
- High in protein
- High in fibre
- No artificial sweeteners
- Natural real-food ingredients
- Great taste
- Only two flavours are available so far
- You can only purchase from the Rootana website
Each serving is 100g; you will get:
- 400 calories, 21 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of fat
Our verdict on Rootana: 9.4/10
Rootana is the perfect meal replacement shake for anyone who wants to consume real-food ingredients without having to put up with artificial sweeteners, colourings, or flavours. It tastes great and is excellent for weight loss. It only loses out on the top spot due to Instant Knockout Complete having higher protein and fibre content per serving (both protein and fibre being crucial for satiety).
3. Plenny Shake – the best meal replacement shake for men on a budget
Whether you want to lose weight or maintain your current weight; whether you want more energy throughout the day or whether you need extra protein because of an active lifestyle, Plenny Shake has got you covered.
This meal replacement shake offers the consumer a range of important minerals and vitamins and includes 10 meals per bag – great for dudes that don’t want to spend their time on tedious calorie counting.
Official website: Plenny Shake
- Complete Nutrition
- Higher fat content
- The recommended daily intake (RDI) percentage of each vitamin and mineral is very low
Each scoop is 47 grams; for every two scoops you will get:
400 calories, 27 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat
Our verdict on Plenny Shake: 7.2/10
Plenny Shake is an all-round decent meal replacement, that allows consumers to benefit from a range of ingredients. That being said we were not impressed with the low RDI% per meal. This will mean the user will either have to consume more meals to meet their nutritional requirements or they will have to shop for and cook foods that help them reach their RDI, which isn’t ideal.
4. Huel – the best flavoured meal replacement drink
Huel is a nutritionally complete powder that has been around since since the beginning of the meal replacement era. It has come a long way since its first introduction in 2015 and the brand now offers consumers a range of flavours including chocolate, banana and vanilla.
This product aims to provide a complete diet solution for busy people.
Official website: https://huel.com/
· Simplifies calorie counting
· Low GI (glycemic index)
· May cause bloating in some individuals
Each scoop is 100 grams scoop contains:
29 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbs and 13 grams of fat
Our verdict on Huel: 7/10
Huel is a decent and well formulated meal replacement that offers consumers a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals per meal. The major con of this product is that some people have reported experiencing acid reflux and bloating issues after consuming Huel. Overall however we consider this one of the top healthy meal replacement products.
5. Kachava – the best option for men with a slow metabolism
Unlike the other meal replacements, this product is only suited to easy gainers that want to lose a few pounds. This is because it has a low amount of calories and fat in each serving, allowing the consumer to obtain all the vitamins and minerals that they need without having to overeat.
· Contains a range of nutrients
· Not suitable for weight lifters wanting to gain muscle whilst burning fat
Each scoop is 30 grams; for every three scoops you will get:
360 calories, 37.5 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbs, 10.5 grams of fat.
Our verdict on Kachava: 6.8/10
Overall this is a great product for those looking to lose weight although, we would not recommend this to the average male gym goer.
6. The Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme – a great option for men over 65
Sarcopenia is an age related condition involving atrophy of muscle fibres which eventually leads to a decline in muscle mass and muscle strength. Sarcopenia is prevalent amongst 15% of people over the age of 65 yesrs (Zembroń-łacny et al, 2014).
A loss in muscle strength and function has been linked to immobility, disability and death (McLean et al, 2014, Landi et al 2013, Arango-Lopera et al 2013).
Furthermore, due to decreased appetite and energy levels, nutritional intake declines with ageing. Nutritional intervention such as protein supplementation has been shown to work synergistically with resistance exercise to increase muscle mass, strength and function (Phillips SM, 2015).
Therefore a meal replacement for the elderly should ideally contain a high amount of protein to prevent and combat the effects of muscles loss.
· Contains a high amount of protein
· Only contains 22 minerals and vitamins
Our verdict on The Protein Works meal replacement powder: 6.8/10
7. Exante – best unflavoured option to combine with your own recipes
Exante is most suited for those who want to experiment and combine their meal replacement powder with other ingredients. This flavourless option give you the opportunity to customised your shake by including your own natural ingredients such as chi seeds, bananas and blueberry powder. Alternatively you could add coco powder to create a chocolate flavor.
On the other hand this product is not suited for more busy people that want a great tasting drink and don’t have time to combine ingredients.
· Consumers can create their preferred flavour by combining other ingredients.
· Busy people that don’t have time to add other ingredients may prefer other products.
Our verdict on Exante meal replacement powder: 6.8/10
8. Drink Wholesome – best option for people with stomach issues
Drink wholesome only contains a handful of ingredients and therefore might be suitable for people with sensitive stomachs that have issues like acid reflux and nausea.
On the other hand people that are worried about vitamin deficiencies may need to use multivitamins with this product, therefore we don’t consider this a complete meal replacement solution.
· Less ingredients reduce the likelihood an upset stomach
· Only contains a handful of ingredients – not suited for people prone to nutritional deficiencies
Our verdict on Drink Wholesome meal replacement powder: 6.7/10
9. Premier Protein Shakes with oats – best option for people with diabetes
Although this ready to drink shake is marketed as a protein drink, it actually contains an optimum ratio of macros thanks to the combination of oats and milk protein.
When combined with a multivitamin, this shake may be a great option for people looking for a ready made meal replacement drink.
Each bottle comprises of 20 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fat and only 1 gram of sugar.
· Convenient – comes in a bottle
· Not for vegans or people with lactose intollerance
Our verdict on Premier Protein shakes with oats: 6.7/10
10. Purition dairy free – best keto option
This product has a high fat low carb ratio – perfect for people that find it easier to lose weight on a Keto diet. Because the formula contain Tree Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Almonds consumers benefit from consuming mostly unsaturated fat and Omega 3, however some people with nut allergies may not be able to drink this shake.
· Natural ingredients
· Not suitable for people with nut allergies
· This meal replacement shake isn’t recommended for extremely active people due o the low carb content.
Our verdict on Purition: 6.7/10
How we decide the best meal replacement drinks
The nutritional needs of different people can significantly vary. For example Athletes might want more carbs, and bodybuilders may require more grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Men and women with a family history of osteoporosis need to ensure that they consume enough calcium and Vitamin D to prevent bone fractures in the future.
Before choosing your next meal replacement shake, you should examine the ingredients label to decide if it’s right for you.
When making a purchase decision, the macronutrient composition of the meal replacement shake is really important. Macronutrients include protein, carbs, and fat. All meal replacements will contain the three types of nutrients, however the proportions will vary in terms of the percentage of calories that each nutrient takes up. A meal replacement shake with 200 calories or less is considered to be a weight loss shake.
When it comes to building muscle, men need meal replacement with enough protein. Protein has also been found to aid in weight loss. The number of grams of protein needed depends on the individual. For regular people the amount of proteins needed in one day is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Just find out how much you weight in kilograms and times this value by 0.8 to find out how much grams of protein you need per day.
For people that do weight training on a regular basis and want to know the optimum amount of protein to build muscle, the amount is 1.67grams of protein per kilogram. Protein levels above this amount does not result in increased muscle mass and strength. This information is based on a 2018 meta study done by the British Journal of Sports Medicine 
Therefore to find out how much protein you need as a regular weight lifter, times your bodyweight in kilograms by 1.67 to find out how much grams of protein you need every day.
Medical experts recommend NOT to consume more than this amount because having too much protein powder can increase the risk of kidney stones.
If you’re a regular weight-lifter looking to make some consistent strength and muscle gains, protein powder is a great supplement to ensure that you always consume the optimum amount of protein for your body weight. Protein powders can be in the form of whey protein isolate or can exist as pea protein powders.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of the diet and are especially useful for men that want to maximise their physical performance during workouts.
According to The Dietary Guidelines, carbohydrates should account for 45 to 65 percent of total daily calories. Since the recommended daily calorie intake for men is 2500, men that consume this amount of calories need around 1125 to 1625 of their calories to be from carbohydrate sources per day.
How do we separate the good carbs from the bad?
The glyemic Index (GI) seperates the good carbs from the bad. Carbs on the GI scale range from 0 to 100. Pure glucose has a GI of 100. Ideally you should avoid foods with a high GI number as these foods have high amounts of sugar.
Why are high GI foods bad?
High GI foods only provide a short-term form of energy; this is because high GI foods are released into your bloodstream and used up quickly. On the other hand foods with a low GI doesn’t lead to a sudden spike in blood sugar levels which can be dangerous for diabetics.
High blood sugar levels can also damage the vessels that supply blood to organs. In response to this the body tries to prevent further damage by depositing cholesterol in the blood vessels .
This leads to a build up of plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis) which could lead to heart disease or a stroke. Damaged blood vessels can also increase the risk of kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
Meal replacements should ideally contain low GI ingredients such as oats, this will allow the person to consume enough carbohydrates in their diet without consuming too much sugar.
Limiting your sugar is one of the best things that you can do for your health. The sugar in the meal replacement should ideally be less than 3 grams per serving.
Fats are used by the body for growth, development and energy storage and play an important role in facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins into the body.
The total amount around fat should make up around 25-35 percent of calories according to the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association. Fats can be divided into good and bad types.
HDL (high-density lipoproteins) are considered healthy. This is because they do not cause cholesterol to build up in your artery walls; therefore HDL is better for your heart health.
LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cause cholesterol to build up in the walls of your arteries. This reduces blood flow which prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching vital organs in the body. Having high cholesterol levels is a risk factor for different cardiovascular diseases.
What are good sources of HDL foods?
Avocado and almonds are great sources of fats because they are high in HDL and very low in LDL
Even HDL fat in large quantities can lead to you gaining excess fat and becoming unhealthy, the trick is having a balance; meal replacement shake should not contain too much fat.
Omega 3 and 6: The essential omega fatty acids
When taken in the right proportion, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can optimise your health. The amazing benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include (but are not limited to) anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects, improved sleep and a reduced risk of heart disease. 
Greens are a good source of micronutrients and make an ideal addition to meal replacements. Organic greens are preferable for your replacement drink as they are high in oxidation. Greens will assist manage oxidative stress for people who want to stay active all day at work.
Vitamins and minerals
A good meal replacement shake will have at least 18 vitamins. Getting enough vitamin in your meal replacement will reduce levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and will subsequently increase satiety.
Look out for minerals in your next meal replacement shake. An important feature is the inclusion of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, salt, and magnesium. They increase muscle mass and help the brain focus more easily.
Fibre is another important competent of a healthy diet or meal replacement shake and helps promote weight loss whilst aiding the body’s digestive process.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume daily (around 38 grams for men). 
How to Use Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
Weight loss can be achieved with the use of meal replacements. Fast and effective weight loss strategies can be as simple as adding exercise and meal replacements to your daily routine.
Because they are such a significant departure from regular meals, meal replacements might be tough to drink at first. But your taste buds will adapt to it and you will no longer crave regular food as a result. These special beverages are packed with protein and nutrients, so they’ll keep you full and energised all day.
Best Time to Drink Meal Replacement Shake
Drinking a meal replacement shake at a specific time may be best for one person and not for another, depending on the individual. But in general, it should be taken within an hour of exercising, shortly after breakfast, or just before dinner. The shake should be consumed at least two hours before eating, if not longer, if taken at lunchtime.
If you are attempting to lose weight, you should have it for breakfast because it will replace the calories you would regularly consume in the morning if you were not on a diet. This will help you feel less hungry throughout the day and prevent you from consuming too many calories in the early stages of the day.
How do meal replacement shakes work
Simply replacing unhealthy meals with a high quality meal replacement shake can help suppress your appetite and aid in the weight loss process. Of course there are also multiple other factors such as exercise and what you choose to eat alongside the meal replacement shake.
Different meal replacements provide specific functions; for instance a high calorie meal replacement shake might be great for bodybuilders wanting to optimise their workouts and induce strength and muscle growth as fast as possible. When combined with Whey protein isolate, high calories meal replacements can help bodybuilders put speed up their gains.
On the other hand men that want more “clean” muscle growth might want to consider choosing high protein meal replacements with a lower calorie content per serving.
Do I need to fast in order to lose weight?
A meal replacement shake with whey protein bars is better than a full fast. Whey protein bars can be taken during the day, and provide that feeling of having solid food, whilst the meal replacement shake provides the minimum amount of protein and everything else to help push you through your workouts.
How Much Weight Can I Lose with Meal Replacement Shakes?
Weight loss shakes can help you drop 20 pounds in a month. You don’t have to give up anything in order to lose weight because weight loss smoothies are convenient and delicious.
How much weight you lose with meal replacement shakes, on the other hand, is mostly dependent on your own efforts and willpower. To lose more weight with meal replacement shakes, you may need to use them as substitutes for meals.
Are meal replacement shakes good for fat loss and muscle gain?
It has been discovered that some meal replacements have the optimum amount of calories and fat for guys who are trying to grow muscle while also losing fat.
Are meal replacement shakes suitable for everyone?
Meal replacement shakes, in general, are suitable for everyone to consume.
However, it is important to remember that sometimes having a combination of solid and liquid food will help your stomach feel more full.
Is it ok to only drink meal replacement shakes?
No one advocates replacing all of your meals, however taking them for one or two meals per day can help you lose weight. They can be handy as a quick and healthy meal option for busy people.
Can I just drink meal replacement shakes?
No one recommends replacing all meals with shakes, but using them for one or two meals every day can help you lose a few pounds. Long term, they can be useful as a quick and healthful dinner option.
Are there meal replacement shakes for vegans?
Yes some of the meal replacements that we have listed are 100% vegan
How much do meal replacement shakes cost?
Keep in mind that a low-cost meal replacement powder may end up costing you more than intended if you go through tubs quickly due to a high serving size. Most powder tubs or sacks cost between $40 and $70, though there are some great deals available online.
If you’re looking for a tried and tested meal replacement shake used by professional athletes that can help you make significant fat loss and muscle gains then you may want to consider replacing some of your daily meals with Instant Knockout.
It contains the optimum ratio of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and includes minerals and vitamins that have been shown to prevent nutritional deficiencies and increase fullness, reduce cravings of unhealthy foods and improve energy levels for workouts.
At the end of the day each person has different needs and should adjust their diet accordingly.
If you’re serious about achieving a more defined and “fat free” muscular look, don’t settle for a low quality meal replacement shake; the scientific literature supports Instant Knockout’s claims over other products and we have hundreds of reviews from real customers who have experienced these benefits themselves.: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3 : https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/fiber : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28698222