Can Meal Replacement Shakes Cause Weight Gain?

Can Meal Replacement Shakes Cause Weight Gain

While most people use meal replacement shakes to lose weight, some use them to gain weight, especially if they are underweight or need additional nutrition. If your doctor has told you that you need to gain weight, you might be tempted to get extra calories from meal replacement shakes. However, can they help you gain the weight you need?

Meal replacement shakes can cause weight gain when used with an unbalanced diet or in addition to a meal. Some meal replacement shakes are meant to put weight on, while others are meant to take the weight off. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to balance them with a proper diet.

To learn more about the differences between shakes that help you gain or lose weight, and to find out how to avoid gaining too much weight with them, keep going.

Are There Meal Replacement Shakes Meant for Weight Gain?

While most meal replacement shakes are meant for weight loss, there are other shakes meant for weight gain.

The shakes meant for weight gain have more calories, protein, and carbohydrates than those meant for weight loss. When you want to gain weight, you need to do it healthily, or you will have several issues later in life that might be traced to unhealthy ingredients.

Choose a shake that is high in protein, with moderate healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Shakes that contain sugar, fructose, or any other types of sugars can cause you to gain weight too fast, and it can create health issues like inflammation or sore joints, among other things.

Healthy weight gain comes from lean muscle mass, and high protein shakes work to build lean muscle mass, as long as you are working out and assisting the shakes in building muscle mass.

However, if you do not work out while consuming shakes meant for weight gain, your body will store the extra calories as fat rather than muscle.

Why You Would Need to Gain Weight

With so many people needing to lose weight, it seems rather strange that some people need to gain weight instead.

Whether people are purposely underweight or underweight due to diseases or metabolism, meal replacement shakes can help people put on some weight gain carefully. Most of the time, however, most people take these shakes under a doctor’s supervision to ensure they gain the right amount of weight.

Older adults are another group that typically need meal replacement shakes because of either dental issues or lack of interest in eating. Also, they might lose weight unintentionally due to medication for cancer or other diseases and need extra nutrition in addition to their regular meals.

You Are Underweight

If you weigh less than what you should and are unable to gain weight for one reason or another, meal replacement shakes in addition to your regular meals might be able to help you gain weight.

If you are worried that your child is not gaining weight as they should, talk with your pediatrician about how to help your child gain weight healthfully. Check out Daily Sunshine for a healthy kid’s shake.

If you or your child enjoys eating nutrient-rich foods, you might not need meal replacement shakes.

One condition that needs a doctor’s intervention is when someone is anorexic and needs to put on some weight before killing themselves. Anorexia is a serious condition where someone refuses to eat because they think their body is very overweight or grotesque for one reason or another.

Meal replacement shakes might be a part of their recovery process under a doctor’s supervision, with therapy sessions to help them overcome body image issues.

You Are Weight Training

Weight training for competitions or to put on extra muscle requires that you use meal replacement shakes to gain lean muscle mass while burning fat.

Bodybuilders train long and hard to shred the fat and put on muscle. When low in carbs, meal replacement shakes assist them with that, as they help create lean muscle.

You Have a Disease That Causes Massive Weight Loss

Several conditions can cause massive weight loss, including cancer and muscle wasting diseases.

Celiac disease, heart disease, and an adrenal disease named Addison’s Disease are some of the conditions that cause weight loss. People with these issues need extra nutrition, and they can’t always tolerate solid food. In those cases, meal replacement shakes can keep them from completely wasting away.

The shakes can also build lean muscle and give them extra energy to go through their day while fighting their conditions and getting healthy again.

What Is the Effect of an Unbalanced Diet With Meal Replacement Shakes?

If you need to gain weight, you want to do it in a healthy way while avoiding putting on too much weight at once, and you need to have a balanced diet while avoiding highly processed food that offers little to no nutrition.

Nutrient-rich foods like leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower, yogurt, meats, eggs, and dairy will help you be healthy while creating a slow, healthy weight gain.

If you eat too many unhealthy foods like chips, candy, and pastries, you could end up gaining weight too quickly while not having the energy to get through your day.

It could affect your immune system, which means you could get sick more often. Vitamins and minerals boost your immunity and lessen the likelihood of severe symptoms.

A balanced diet, in addition to meal replacement shakes, will give you the right amount of weight gain while building your health at the same time.

How to Balance Meal Replacement Shakes With Diet to Avoid Gaining Too Much Weight

While most people usually have one or two meal replacement shakes per day in addition to a full meal, those who need to gain weight need to eat up to six times a day.

However, preparing six meals per day can get tiresome and take a lot of time that you might not have.

Follow these tips in order to be successful in gaining weight healthily:

  • Start by getting plenty of quality sleep because when you are well-rested, you make better decisions or choices about your diet and everything else.
  • Focus mainly on having balanced meals at least three times per day.
  • Have up to three meal replacement shakes, timed halfway between each meal.
  • While you want to gain weight, you will need to exercise at least 30 minutes per day to build lean muscle.
  • Ensure that the shakes you choose are high in protein so that your body builds more muscle than fat.
  • Aim to keep your additional calories to only 500 more than what you need for weight maintenance per day.

Remember that just because you are using meal replacement shakes to gain weight, it does not mean that you can stop planning your meals.

As with weight loss programs, proper weight gain depends on planning not to pick up something that doesn’t add to your health.


If you need to gain weight for one reason or another, meal replacement shakes can help if you are eating a healthy diet and don’t gain weight too quickly. An unhealthy diet combined with these shakes could cause too quick weight gain.

However, if you do not want to gain weight and are looking to lose weight, try to find meal replacement shakes formulated for weight loss, such as keto meal replacement shakes.

Also, if you want to lose weight using these shakes, try reducing your meals to two per day, and replace one meal with a shake.

Finally, if you’re looking for a nutrient dense shake that can help you with weight loss, check out this Beachbody Shakeology Shake Review

Our Top Recommended Meal Replacement Shakes




Beachbody Shakeology


Shakeology is our most recommended meal replacement shake because it's a nutrient dense shake that includes:

  • Protein
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Prebiotics & Probiotics
  • Adaptogens
  • Superfoods
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins & Minerals
  • Omega-3 From ALA

Thus, making it perfect for weight loss, increased energy, digestive health, reduced cravings, and overall better health.

Plus, Shakeology has stood the test of time as it has been around since 2009 without compromising its whole food ingredients. Instead, Shakeology has improved their flavors in taste and potency, and has even added vegan and gluten free options.

Learn More About The Clinically Tested Shakeology Shake Here


Ample Meal

Ample Meal

Ample Meal is an interesting meal replacement as it focuses more on healthy fats. Ample Meal includes:

  • Healthy Fats with Coconut & Macadamia Nut Oil
  • Prebiotics & Probiotics
  • Antioxidants
  • Electrolytes

With Ample Meal, you can get a nice fulling 400 calorie meal with 2 scoops or do a single scoop of 200 calories if your goal is weight loss. Similar to Shakeology, it’s free of all the artificial junk that most meal replacement shakes have today.

Learn More About Ample Meal Here


Macro Meal


MacroMeal is another interesting meal replacement shake as it contains a blend of fast, medium, and slow digesting protein that delivers sustained energy. MacoMeal also includes the following core ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil Powder
  • Antioxidants
  • Probiotics
  • Multivitamins & Minerals

Although not technically a meal replacement as it’s low in carbohydrates, people have found it to be filling because of the MCT oils and slow digesting proteins.

Learn More About MacroMeal Here



Before using meal replacement shakes and exercising, I was obese and on track to having high blood pressure at the age of 25. I'm glad to say I lost 50 pounds and am living a healthier lifestyle than before. Now I like sharing what I learned when I first researched what meal replacement to drink and the best way to lose weight. Learn more about me here...

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