How Many Meal Replacement Shakes a Day Should U B Drinking?

How Many Meal Replacement Shakes a Day Should You Be Drinking

Meal replacement shakes could be your ideal source of nourishment if you’re always on the go and have no time to prepare regular meals. They’re also popular food alternatives if you’re looking to lose weight. If you’re new to meal replacement shakes, you may wonder how many times in a day you can take them.

Experts recommend using meal replacement shakes once or twice per day. Numerous studies have acknowledged meal replacement shakes as effective for losing weight and providing adequate nutrients as long as you consume them appropriately.

Keep reading as I take you through this article, where you’ll learn the benefits of meal replacement shakes, how they contribute to weight loss, and their side effects.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes

With the increasing rates of obesity globally, experts recommend a well-balanced and nutritious diet to promote healthy lifestyles. Various studies have revealed that meal replacement shakes are effective for curbing obesity and health-related complications.

What you can use meal replacement shakes for:

  • Weight loss
  • Nutritional adequacy
  • Better health outcomes
  • Convenience

I’ll explain further why you should consider adding meal replacement shakes to your diet.

Meal Replacement Shakes Assist With Weight Loss

If you’ve been having problems losing or maintaining weight, incorporating meal replacement shakes in your diet could be a perfect idea.

According to a 2012 study, adults with excessive weight and obesity lost weight significantly after consuming a meal replacement beverage twice a day for 12 weeks. So, how do meal replacement shakes help you to lose weight?

They Create a Negative Energy Balance

A meal replacement shake has fewer calories; hence, it contains a low energy content. The energy restriction in meal replacement shakes helps maintain a long period of negative energy balance, leading to weight loss.

They Enhance Your Metabolism Towards Weight Loss

Most meal replacement shakes are protein-enriched. And we know that proteins help in building the muscles. Meal replacements help the body reduce the fat mass while retaining the muscles (lean body mass).

Maintaining the lean mass will consequently increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR then enhances the energy your body utilizes, hence helping in weight loss.

You Can Avoid Unhealthy Foods

Grabbing a pack of fries is the easiest thing to do when you feel hungry on the go. However, it’s unhealthy as it contributes to weight gain. So, choosing a meal replacement shake (especially the protein-rich ones) will help you feel full for several hours. Therefore, you’ll have a lesser urge to eat fast foods when you have no time to prepare healthy meals.

They Help You Maintain a Healthy Routine

Since meal replacements have calorie restrictions, they’re ideal for weight loss routines. Most people find them easier to use than other weight-loss diet plans. Hence, they’re most likely to consume the shakes for an extended period, resulting in significant weight loss.

Meal Replacement Shakes Offer Nutritional Adequacy

Meal replacement shakes follow strict dietary requirements as authorities approve them, including the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA). They contain most macro-and micronutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Therefore, meal replacement shakes are nutrient-dense foods as they contain a high nutrient content and few calories.

You’ll Experience Better Health Outcomes

Due to their contribution to weight loss, meal replacement shakes are an effective treatment for overweight and obesity. Results from a study showed that the replacements also lead to better biochemical and health outcomes. For instance, meal replacement shakes help in reducing blood pressure, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

Therefore, they aid in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Meal Replacement Shakes Are Convenient

Most meal replacements are ready to consume. Others are in powder form, and you only have to mix them with water or milk before taking them. Hence, they’re more convenient to prepare than traditional meals.

You can grab a meal replacement shake when you’re having a busy day, working out, or on a road trip without worrying about missing out on essential nutrients.

What To Look For in a Healthy Meal Replacement Shake

Many meal replacement brands have flooded the market, and you’re probably stuck on the best one to buy. Some manufacturers are not so honest about their products, causing you to potentially purchase a sugar-based or high-calorie replacement.

To help you out with this uncertainty, here’s a list of what you should look for before buying a replacement shake:

Nutritional Composition

An ideal meal replacement shake should have a substantial serving of essential nutrients. These include:

  • Proteins: 10-20 grams/0.02-0.04 lb. per serving
  • Vitamins and minerals: 33% of a daily serving – vitamins include A, B, C, D, E, and K, while mineral examples are magnesium and potassium.
  • Fats: less than 5 grams/0.01 lb per serving – choose a replacement shake with unsaturated fats and omega 3s.
  • Fiber: 3-5 grams/0.006-0.01 lb per serving

Moreover, the replacement shake should have low-calorie content and less sugar (10 grams/0.02 lb or less) per serving.

List of Ingredients

The best shakes contain more natural ingredients. Therefore, if the replacement shake you’re thinking of buying contains several chemical names that you can’t even pronounce, don’t buy it. That shake likely has several artificial ingredients.

How Many Meals Can You Replace With Meal Replacement Shakes?

Replacing all your meals with a meal replacement shake sounds like a good idea, especially if you’re determined to cut down on the calories. However, experts think otherwise.

According to nutritionists, it’s best to take partial meal replacement shakes with your daily meals. Nutritionists and dieticians argue that the meals should be well-balanced to achieve ideal weight loss milestones.

A study on the effect of a meal replacement beverage on weight loss revealed that the smoothie was effective when subjects took it twice (for breakfast and lunch) per day.

You should replace one or at most two meals with a replacement shake daily. However, consult a doctor before embarking on the replacement journey. This is because you need to determine your health condition and nutrient requirements first.

How Much Weight Can I Lose With Meal Replacement Shakes?

Research findings confirm that meal replacement shakes are effective in facilitating weight loss. But how much weight can you lose?

If you’re obese, consuming 1,000 kilocalories with 5 meal replacement shakes a day could help you lose 12.3% of your initial body weight in 16 weeks. However, everyone’s weight loss journey will be different, as factors like one’s health condition or eating habits can impact weight loss results.

I’ll explain in more detail what can influence your progress, so read on.

Current Health Condition

If you’re obese or overweight, you should first consult a dietician to determine your daily calorie intake before taking a meal replacement shake.

In a study, adults with obesity and consuming approximately 1,000 kilocalories per day had a 5 meal replacement plan with well-balanced carbohydrate, protein, vegetable, and fat portions. After 16 weeks, they had lost 12.3% of their initial body weight.

For diabetic patients, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends replacing 1–2 meals with meal replacement shakes for efficient weight loss. However, the patient should follow the guidelines of medical nutrition therapy.

Dietary Plan

A weight loss journey can only be successful if you religiously adhere to the recommended dietary plan. Since losing weight results from restricting your calorie intake, you should stick to a plan that ensures that you’ve not bypassed the maximum calorie limits.

In a certain study, respondents consuming 1,200–1,500 kilocalories and replacing 2 meals of their 3 meals per day with meal replacements lost 7.8% of their body weight after 3 months.

If the dietician advises you to replace one or two meals per day, be sure to follow those guidelines. Hence, you shouldn’t do the following:

  • Exceed the recommended meal replacement times by either snacking on high-sugar or high-calorie foods.
  • Drink beverages with high-sugar content.
  • Choose meal replacement shakes with high-sugar and low fiber contents.

Eating Habits

Even though meal replacement shakes help maintain a negative energy balance, they don’t influence your eating choices. You’ll only lose weight successfully if you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you fall back to unhealthy eating habits, you’ll most likely add more weight than you initially had.

A study showed that participants regained weight after increasing their calorie intake after initially losing weight on a meal replacement program.

Type of Meal Replacement Shake

Since meal replacement shakes vary with the nutrient content, you may consider trying a protein-rich shake if weight loss is your ultimate target. Research evidence shows that meal replacement shakes with a high protein composition are effective in facilitating weight reduction.

For instance, a study on protein-enriched meal replacement shakes showed that the subjects lost approximately 3.72 kg (8.20 lb.) to 4.19 kg (9.24lb.) in 12 weeks.

There wasn’t any significant difference between participants who took high-protein shakes and those who took standard-protein replacement shakes. However, those on high-protein replacement shakes lost more body fat mass and had lower bad (LDL) cholesterol than their counterparts.

A protein-rich meal makes you feel satisfied for some hours, and you normally won’t have serious cravings afterward. Also, proteins contribute to increasing your lean body mass; thus, they help in weight loss and maintenance.

How Long Can You Drink Meal Replacement Shakes For?

Generally, you can drink meal replacement shakes as long as you want. Drinking them once a day, 2–3 times a week is recommended. Make sure you take them with other nutritionist meals as well. However, since everyone’s bodies are different, it’s always best to consult a dietician for guidance.

I’ll explain what to consider when deciding how much of these shakes you should drink and for how long.

Determine Why You Need Meal Replacement Shakes

If you’re on a weight management program, you might take the shakes for an extended period until you achieve the target weight. In most studies on the effectiveness of meal replacement shakes on weight loss, participants consumed the products between 12 and 40 weeks.

However, since you require professional support on weight loss, it’s preferable to consult a dietician to determine how long you should drink the meal replacement shake.

If you’re taking meal replacement shakes due to their convenience, you can take them indefinitely, but occasionally. It can be once per day, and twice, or thrice per week. Moreover, you should also incorporate other whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts, into your diet.

Consider Your Current Health Condition

Your health status may also determine how long you consume meal replacement shakes. Authorities, including ADA, recommend that diabetic patients consume meal replacement shakes by strict adherence to their weight management therapy.

Hence, if you have an underlying health condition, regular visits to your dietician will help you plan the duration that you consume the meal shakes. The professional will occasionally monitor your progress and advice on the best time to stop or continue with the shakes.

Choose the Right Type of Meal Replacement Shakes

Your purpose will influence the type of meal replacement shake you’ll consume and, eventually, the duration. For instance, if your target is to lose weight, you’ll probably drink low-calorie shakes. Since losing weight entails reducing calories in your body, replacing all your meals with such meal replacement shakes will have you lose 1–2 lb. (0.45-0.90 kg) in a week.

If you’re consuming a nutritionally complete meal replacement shake, you can take it for as long as you need it. However, it’s not advisable to consume such shakes indefinitely due to possible negative health implications.

Can You Live on Meal Replacement Shakes Alone?

Forget about the eye-catching adverts you’ve seen on social media or mainstream media about meal replacement shakes being the ultimate solution to your weight problems. While they’re effective in treating obesity and preventing unnecessary weight gain, research has shown that meal replacement shakes may not be a long-term remedy.

You can’t live on meal replacement shakes alone because they can’t fully replace traditional nutrient-rich foods. Certain nutrients, such as phytonutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, are only available in certain leafy vegetables and berries, which mainly help the body fight inflammation.

Therefore, relying on meal replacement shakes will deny your body essential micronutrients that aid in keeping chronic illnesses at bay.

Moreover, though some meal replacement shakes contain fiber, they can’t beat whole meal foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Consequently, you’ll suffer from indigestion or constipation as your belly lacks enough fiber and microorganisms from traditional whole foods.

Another reason you can’t live on shakes alone is that they can cause an imbalance in your digestive system. You see, the digestive process begins in the mouth, where teeth crush (grind) food, resulting in a release of digestive enzymes. The journey continues as more enzymes are released in the stomach and the intestines.

Therefore, if you rely only on meal replacement shakes (liquid), your teeth will lose their function. Moreover, your body will have no stimulation to produce and release some digestive enzymes.

Hence, as mentioned earlier, you might experience constipation and other gut problems. For instance, you may suffer from diarrhea as your body will get rid of liquid-like foods faster than solid foods.

What Are Some Side Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes?

Despite having minimal or zero adverse effects, meal replacement shakes have some side effects. For example, they can promote a negative energy balance. However, energy levels that are too low can physiologically affect some people negatively. Plus, they may cause constipation in some people.

As noted earlier, meal replacement shakes are more efficient as supplements or partial replacements of regular foods. Therefore, most side effects of meal replacement shakes will come about due to consuming them inappropriately.

The side effects of meal replacement shakes mainly include:

Energy Restriction

Since most meal replacement shakes have low-calorie content, they help maintain a negative energy balance. However, severely low energy levels can lead to some negative physiological effects on some people. It generally varies from person to person, though.

Digestive System Problems

As mentioned earlier, liquid meal replacement products can cause an imbalance in your digestive system. You may experience indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. This is because some meal replacement shakes have low fiber amounts.

Health Implications

Meal replacement shakes differ in their nutrient composition. Hence, you may find some with high protein content, while others may have extra sugar. If you’re taking a protein-rich shake for an extended period, your kidneys may experience some problems.

Kidneys help in filtering out toxins and reabsorbing essential minerals. If you consume too many proteins, your kidneys will overwork, leading to kidney complications.

Moreover, relying on specific types of meal replacement shakes and leaving out regular whole foods will deprive your body of essential micronutrients, including phytochemicals and phytonutrients. Hence, it’ll be difficult to fight inflammatory and chronic illnesses.

Unhealthy Components

Since they’re artificially produced, some meal replacement shakes may contain unhealthy ingredients. For instance, they may have extra sugar to enhance their taste, chemical preservatives, and artificial products. These ingredients do not add any nutritional value to your body and can even be harmful in excess amounts.

Allergic Reactions

Most meal replacement shakes contain different types of proteins. They include whey (milk), casein, egg white, soy, plant, and beef protein. You might experience discomfort or allergic reactions after consuming meal replacement shakes with these components if you’re lactose or gluten intolerant.


There’s no doubt that a meal replacement shake is an effective and convenient way of losing weight. However, how you consume the shakes should be based on your health condition and your ultimate goals.

Experts recommend taking a meal replacement shake once or twice per day. It’s also safe to consult a doctor or dietician before you start taking a specific meal replacement shake.

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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