Meal replacement shakes have become popular options for diabetic patients searching for healthy substitutes for meals or snacks. However, with so many meal replacement shakes in the market, finding one that suits your unique nutritional needs can be a bit of a challenge. So what are some of the best diabetic meal replacement shakes?
Some of the best meal replacement shakes for diabetic patients include:
- Vegan Beachbody Shakeology
- Ample K
- Glucerna Shake
- Almased Meal Replacement Shake
- Slimfast Diabetic Weight Loss Shake Mix
If you’re still reading, chances are you want to know more about meal replacement shakes and whether they’re suitable for diabetic patients. Luckily, we’ve got you covered! Read on as we review some of the best diabetic meal replacement shakes, discussing their main features, pros, and cons.
Best Diabetic Meal Replacement Shakes
In this section, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the best diabetic meal replacement shakes, paying special attention to their features, pros, and cons.
1. Vegan Beachbody Shakeology
The chocolate-flavored Plant-Based Vegan Shakeology by Beachbody is available in a 30 serving bag or as 24 single-serve packets.
The meal replacement shake contains 16g (0.56 oz) of protein that supports lean muscle, 250 mg (0.008 oz) of omega-3, super-greens, adaptogens, and super-fruits, making it among the healthiest shakes for diabetic patients.
It also contains 6g (0.21 oz) of fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics that promote gut health and smooth digestion.
The presence of fiber, beneficial carbs, and protein in the Vegan Beachbody Shakeology help reduce cravings, effectively helping you avoid the temptation of eating junk food or eating more than you need.
Team Beachbody describes the Vegan Beachbody Shakeology as low-glycemic index food, which means it releases carbohydrates slowly, thus allowing for a healthy blood-glucose response.
The Vegan Beachbody Shakeology retails at $129.95 on the Team Beachbody website and contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners.
- It contains proteins and fiber that help reduce cravings.
- It contains super fruits, adaptogens, and super-greens.
- It comes packed with probiotics, fiber, prebiotics for improved gut health.
- Allows diabetic patients to lose weight healthily.
- Helps in muscle recovery.
- It is plant-based.
- Reduces sugar cravings.
- It contains vitamins and minerals for improved overall health.
- Costs a bit more when compared to standard meal replacement shakes.
- Tropical Strawberry isn’t very smooth. It’s more of a watered down flavor.
2. Ample K
Not too many meal replacement shakes compare to Ample K when it comes to nutrient value. The gluten, soy, and sugar-free meal replacement shake come packed with key electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals that help promote overall health.
And because Ample K is primarily tailored for ketogenesis, its ability to increase the body’s fat-burning rate makes it a great option for diabetics. It blends monosaturated and saturated fats to keep you in ketosis while also acting as an immediate energy source.
The presence of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in the Ample K formula helps you to enter fat-burning mode, which allows you to lose weight healthily. It also contains coconut oil and macadamia nut oil that reduce LDL cholesterol while improving cardiovascular health and overall immune system performance.
Ample K’s main protein source is pea protein and grass-fed whey, which contain nine essential amino acids that improve overall health and stimulate protein synthesis in the muscles.
You’ll also love the presence of three key fibers, acacia fiber, organic guar gum, and chicory root fiber, in the formula. These fibers help to lower cholesterol levels and keep your blood sugar firmly in check.
Ample K also contains a rich blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants that improve blood flow and boost your gut health for smooth digestion.
You can get the Ample K shake in both powdered and ready-to-drink forms. The Ample K canister is priced a bit higher than most meal replacement shakes, while the ready-to-drink shakes retail higher for the bottles.
- It contains a rich blend of insoluble and soluble fiber for improved digestion.
- It comes packed with 6 strains of probiotics for improved gut health.
- It prevents ketones and blood sugar from spiking.
- It contains antioxidants that fight free radicals.
- MCTs help your body burn fat.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- The canister doesn’t contain very many servings.
3. Glucerna Shake
Glucerna has established a solid reputation as one of the leading producers of meal replacement shakes for diabetic patients. Besides shakes, they also offer a wide range of nutritious bars to cater to the unique needs of its patients.
The Glucerna shake is designed for use as a meal replacement or a snack and features slow-release carbs that help to manage blood sugar. It comes in various flavors, from rich chocolate to creamy strawberry, homemade vanilla, chocolate caramel, and classic butter pecan.
As one of the most nutritious shakes in the market, the Glucerna Shake comes packed with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin E
You’ll also appreciate that the shake is full of minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, iron, and phosphorous that help improve overall health.
The Glucerna shake costs less than other ready-made shakes that are sold in packages of 24 (8 oz) bottles and contains 10 grams (0.35 oz) of protein per bottle.
Some of the main ingredients include water, canola oil, and milk protein concentrate, making the shake among the best for diabetic patients.
- Specifically designed for diabetes management.
- The complete profile of minerals and vitamins.
- It is affordable.
- Features slow-release carbs that minimize spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Available in a variety of flavors.
- Some people don’t like the taste.
4. Almased Meal Replacement Shake
If you’re looking for a meal replacement shake with high protein content, then you may want to consider the Almased Meal Replacement Shake.
Every serving of the shake contains 27 grams (0.95 oz) of quality protein, which is significantly higher than other products that contain an average of 10-12 g (0.35-0.42 oz) of protein per serving.
The high protein content allows you to burn more calories while also reducing your cravings significantly.
Yogurt, honey (enzyme-rich), and non-GMO soy protein are some of the main ingredients that are fermented in a 2:1 ratio (protein-to-carb) that provides minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and trace elements to keep your body nourished.
You’ll also appreciate that the meal replacement shake contains no preservatives, artificial flavors, or added sugars.
This gluten-free, diabetic-friendly shake is ideal for vegetarians and is backed by 30 years of scientific research, making it a safe bet when transitioning to meal replacement shakes for the first time.
In addition to 27 g (0.95 oz) of protein, the Almased dietary supplement also contains 15 g (0.52 oz) carbs and 180 calories per serving, which allows you to attain your weight loss goals with relative ease.
- It contains a high protein content.
- It contains no artificial flavors.
- Rich in vitamins and amino acids.
- It has a low glycemic index.
- It is ideal for diabetics.
- Not available in a variety of flavors.
5. Slimfast Diabetic Weight Loss Shake Mix
As the name suggests, the Slimfast Diabetic Weight Loss Shake Mix is specifically tailored for people with Type II diabetes and has been clinically proven to help in weight loss.
The meal replacement shake by Slimfast comes in two flavors, vanilla, and chocolate, and contains sunflower oil, inulin, gum arabic, and cellulose gel as the main ingredients. It contains 10g (0.35 oz) protein, 10g (0.35 oz) fiber, 2 vitamins, and 0g (0 oz) added sugar, making it one of the safest meal replacement shakes for diabetics.
Slimfast’s 12.8 oz (345.29 g) canister is priced competitively and produces approximately 14 servings.
- Available in different flavors
- Specifically designed for diabetics
- It contains no added sugar.
- Affordable compared to other diabetic shakes.
- Not recommended for people with milk allergies.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Good for Diabetics?
Meal replacement shakes are good for diabetics. They are low-calorie beverages that are mostly formulated to help in weight loss and management, while some are designed to boost vitality and strength.
And although meal replacement shakes mostly contain proteins, vitamins, and carbohydrates, the ingredients included in a shake tend to differ from brand to brand.
Due to their ability to assist in weight loss, meal replacement shakes have become increasingly popular for people with type 2 diabetes, as this condition usually results from reduced insulin sensitivity or production.
And since excess adipose tissue reduces insulin sensitivity, diabetic patients are often advised to begin weight loss programs, which can lead to adipose tissue reduction. This, in turn, improves insulin sensitivity and the body’s glucose control, thus allowing patients to manage diabetes.
So how do meal replacement shakes help diabetics maintain their sugar levels?
Well, before we even discuss the effectiveness of meal replacement shakes, it’s important to note that these products aren’t meant to treat diabetes but rather to help manage the condition.
Meal replacements usually contain fewer calories than you would find in a typical meal.
And since they’re designed to replace breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’ll be consuming fewer amounts of calories, which in turn helps prevent weight gain regardless of whether you’re physically active or not.
Meal replacement shakes tend to have high protein content, which helps in appetite management. Therefore, by consuming these shakes once or twice a day, you will feel full despite not eating half as much as you would on a normal day.
Despite their undeniable effectiveness in weight management, not all meal replacement shakes are ideal for people with diabetes, so you’ll need to dig a little deeper to find products that are better suited to your unique nutritional needs.
You also don’t want to use meal replacement shakes as permanent substitutes to regular meals as they don’t contain all the necessary nutrients for a balanced diet.
Instead, you should use these products to reduce your overall caloric intake and achieve your weight loss goals.
A good meal replacement shake for diabetics should be high in proteins, contain little sugar, and low amounts of calories. Additionally, most diabetic shakes contain a wide range of minerals, vitamins, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and probiotics for improved overall health.
Why Should Diabetics Consider Meal Replacement Shakes?
Diabetics should consider meal replacement shakes because they come with several advantages not only for people looking to lose weight but also for patients diagnosed with diabetes who are looking to lower overall caloric intake.
Consuming meal replacement shakes specifically meant for diabetes allows patients to reduce their caloric intake without compromising on other nutrients.
This is because most meal replacement shakes meant for people with diabetes come packed with the right protein, mineral, vitamin, and fiber levels, which, when combined with healthy diets, can help patients maintain a healthy, risk-free diet.
Below are some reasons why diabetic patients should consider including meal replacement shakes as part of their diets.
Meal Replacement Shakes Allow for Safe Weight Loss
Meal replacement shakes are usually rich in fiber and protein, which allows you to feel fuller for a lot longer than when consuming typical meals.
As a result, you’ll end up consuming fewer calories throughout the course of the day, allowing you to lose weight in a safe, gradual way without your blood sugar levels dropping or spiking.
As Marisa More, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian nutritionist, says, replacing breakfast or lunch with shakes is a great way for people with diabetes to lose weight healthily. Moreover, a study by the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that liquid meal replacements are more effective in weight loss than reduced-calorie diets.
By adding meal replacement shakes to your diet, you’ll increase the chances of healthy weight loss, especially if you remain consistent enough.
Meal Replacement Shakes Help Manage Your Blood Glucose Levels
All diabetics should monitor their blood sugar and insulin levels, so you need to keep a close eye on the foods you eat. This means avoiding high-carb foods, trans fats, and a wide range of junk foods that do more harm than good when consumed.
Meal replacement shakes allow you to replace one or two meals a day, which reduces the chances of consuming high-carb diets or other unhealthy meals.
And while healthy foods can still increase your blood sugar levels, skipping some meals helps maintain your blood sugar levels, helping you manage the condition.
Great Alternative to Dieting
Although effective, dieting can prove unhealthy in the long run, especially for diabetic patients who need to consume perfectly balanced meals. But by adding meal replacement shakes to your diet, you’ll lose weight gradually and healthily, helping you manage the condition effectively.
The good thing with meal replacement shakes is they come packed with proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which ensures you skip main meals without missing out on nutrition.
Not only do meal replacement shakes eliminate the uncertainty of various types of food to consume, but they also reduce your appetite as you’ll feel full, which helps reduce the urge to snack or cheat with unhealthy foods.
Ideal for Busy Lifestyles
Preparing three healthy meals with the right levels of nutrients every day of the week can prove taxing, especially for diabetic patients with busy schedules.
While it’s possible to prepare one major meal with the right quantity of ingredients, preparing three different meals is another story altogether, more so if you don’t have the time on your hands.
But by incorporating meal replacement shakes into your meal plan, you’ll be able to eat healthy despite not having the time to whip up all the main meals.
This helps you to keep your weight in check despite your busy schedule.
How To Use Meal Replacement Shakes as a Diabetic
Meal replacement shakes, as the name suggests, are specifically designed to act as replacements for meals. And although effective when used correctly, they should never be used as complete substitutes for meals.
Below are recommended ways to use meal replacement shakes as a diabetic patient.
Skipping breakfast is a common mistake made by most people who want to lose weight through dieting.
While this method might work for some, the chances of success are very slim, especially since hunger attacks tend to creep in towards mid-morning, thereby increasing the chances of cheating with a “small” snack at the vending machine.
According to Jaime Mass, a Florida-based registered dietitian, substituting breakfast with meal replacement shakes is a great way to lose weight and keep your blood sugar at good levels throughout the day.
Doing this not only allows you to save time when in a rush but also fills you up, especially if you consume a high-protein shake. Being fuller for longer means you won’t feel the need to junk or consume unhealthy foods when the hunger pangs strike.
Your resolve to eat healthy foods will mostly be tested during lunch hours when your body starts craving that delicious slice of pizza or the extra spicy chicken wings at the closest drive-thru. Therefore, if you must overcome the temptation of cheating with junk or potentially unhealthy foods, then you must plan for your lunch.
Meal replacement shakes make lunch preparation a breeze as you won’t need to think about balancing or measuring your nutrient levels. Instead, you’ll just need to scoop a shake mix in a baggy or shaker bottle, and you’re good to go.
You’ll feel fuller for longer when consuming meal replacement shakes compared to when you head out to the nearest fast food joint for those cheat foods.
It’s normal for hunger to strike towards the end of a workday.
But with a diabetic meal replacement shake, you’ll be able to overcome the temptation of unhealthy eating. And since powder meal replacement shakes are pretty straightforward to prepare, you won’t have to wait too long before satisfying your cravings and urges.
Therefore, if you’re the type that feels hungry, say, two to three hours after having your lunch, drinking a meal replacement shake will help you feel full, effectively eliminating the need to snack or cheat until dinner time.
Before Working Out
You can use a meal replacement shake as a pre-workout meal.
Replacement shakes also work well when taken as post-workout meals as they make you feel full, which can go a long way in helping you fight the urge of snacking or consuming more calories than needed.
Not only will meal replacement shakes make you feel full, but they’ll also supply your muscles with amino acids that aid recovery while also helping you lose weight. You can even add fruits and veggies to your meal replacement shake to meet your nutrient and energy needs for the day.
Living with diabetes comes with its restrictions, but you can add some excitement to your diets by replacing dessert with healthy meal replacement shakes.
Adding these shakes to your meal plan gives you the chance to break the monotony of strict diets while also keeping you full enough to resist the temptation of that midnight snack.
Since meal replacement shakes come in a variety of flavors, you can choose one that best suits your taste buds and preferences. Snacking on diabetic meal replacement shakes is a great way to keep you full and satisfy your cravings without consuming unhealthy foods and snacks.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Meal Replacement Shakes for Diabetics
Not every meal replacement shake is ideal for diabetics as some products come with additives or ingredients that might do more harm than good. In this section, we’ll take a look at some crucial factors to consider when looking to buy meal replacement shakes.
It goes without saying that diabetics need a low sugar intake to keep their condition in check. Ideally, diabetic patients shouldn’t consume more than 36 grams (1.26 oz) of sugar in a day, which highlights the need to choose a meal replacement shake with low sugar content.
Ideally, meal replacement shakes recommended for diabetes should not have more than 10 g (0.35 oz) of sugar per single serving. The best brands will have little to no sugar, so you will need to keep an eye on the sugar content of each product before making a purchase.
High Protein Concentration
Since excess weight is thought to be the primary cause of diabetes, it’s crucial to regulate the foods to keep your weight in check and manage the condition. Most meal replacement shakes contain high levels of proteins as they help keep you full for longer while also burning more calories.
Therefore, when buying a meal replacement shake for diabetes, it’s advisable to choose one with high amounts of proteins. Shakes with around 20-40 grams (0.70-1.41 oz) of protein per serving work best for diabetics, as they’ll help ease your cravings, especially if you come up with a good enough meal plan.
Low Caloric Count
As a diabetic patient, you’ll need to lose weight to manage the symptoms and keep your blood sugar within the recommended levels. Therefore, the meal replacement shakes you buy for diabetes should have as few calories as possible.
Most high-quality shakes for diabetics contain less than 200 calories per serving, which significantly reduces the chances of gaining weight without compromising your energy levels. Therefore, before buying a meal replacement shake, be sure to check on the overall caloric count per serving.
When purchasing a meal replacement shake for diabetic patients, it’s crucial to check on the type of ingredients included in the formula. As a good rule of thumb, you should steer clear of meal replacement shakes that contain artificial colorings and flavorings.
Instead, try going for shakes made of high-quality natural ingredients and a good amount of fiber to aid digestion. Some shakes also contain probiotics and prebiotics that help improve gut health and overall digestive health, making it a lot easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.
You’ll also want to look for meal replacement shakes that contain high amounts of vitamins and other helpful nutrients like amino acids. Such shakes help improve your overall health, thereby keeping the potentially adverse symptoms of diabetes at bay.
This is why I highly recommend the Beachbody Shakeology shake as it is a nutrient dense, whole food shake that contains:
- Digestive Enzymes
- Prebiotics & Probiotics
- Vitamins & Minerals
- Omega-3 From ALA
There is little room for error when dealing with diabetic meal replacement shakes.
This is because, unlike other types of shakes used for weight loss and workouts, shakes for people with diabetes must contain the right type, and amount, of ingredients.
Therefore, to reduce the chances of buying an unsuitable shake, it’s best to buy from trusted brands that have been around for several years. You should also check customer reviews to get the hang of what other clients think about the products.
Can I Use Meal Replacement Shakes as a Substitute for All Meals?
While it’s not recommended, you could temporarily use meal replacement shakes for all meals. They are widely used by people looking to cut weight or gain some lean muscles. However, although these products are designed to substitute meals, they should not be used as the main diet.
Experts advise that meal replacement shakes should be used to substitute some but not all meals.
Ideally, you should whip up a quick shake or grab a ready bottle either for breakfast, lunch, or a snack when you don’t have the time to prepare wholesome, nutritious meals.
The trick is to consume at least one complete meal to ensure your body gets the nutrients it requires. This explains why most people add veggies, fruits, and some extra plant protein to their shakes to make the drink more complete.
Now that we have looked at some of the best meal replacement shakes for diabetics, the ball is now on your court to ensure you get a product that perfectly meets your needs.
Remember to always check the ingredients list to know more about the formula and whether or not it’s suitable for people with diabetes.
The higher the protein content, the more the shake will keep the hunger pangs away, thus allowing you to resist the urge of unhealthy snacking or consuming unbalanced diets.
- Harvard Health: A Good Guide To Good Carbs: The Glycemic Index
- Healthline: What Are Trans Fats, and Are They Bad for You?
- National Library of Medicine: Biochemistry, Ketogenesis
- Healthline: 11 Foods and Drinks To Avoid With Diabetes
- exante diet: The Best Times To Take Meal Replacement Shakes
- Diabetes UK: Meal Replacement Diet Plans
- Everyday Health: The Skinny On Shakes For People With Diabetes
- Diet Shake Reviews: How Many Meal Replacement Shakes Should I Have A Day
- Jimmyjoy: What Is Diabetes?
- Women’s Health Mag: The RIGHT Way to use Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss
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- Webmd: Diet Shakes Sipping To Slimness
- Medical News Today: What to eat in the protein shake diet for weight loss
- Webmd: What To Know About Meal Replacement Shakes