Meal replacement shakes are nutritional milkshakes that people use as a meal substitute. The purpose of meal replacement shakes is to reduce caloric intake and increase vitamins and minerals. With that said, not all meal replacement shakes are the same.
Between Shakeology and Idealshape (now Exante), Shakeology is the clear winner. Shakeology offers dairy-free options, uses quality natural ingredients, and its flavors are highly rated. Idealshape normally tastes “chalky,” contains several different chemicals, and has no non-dairy option.
In this article, we will break down both Shakeology and Idealshape and compare the pros and cons. Read on to learn more.
Shakeology vs. Idealshape
There are plenty of meal replacement shakes to choose from. Shakeology and Idealshape, now Exante, have become some of the biggest in the game, and for a good reason. From here, we will break down what makes them unique so that you can make an informed decision for your dietary health.
Now called Exante Mreal Replacement, Idealshape is a lifestyle brand that sells shake pouches, energy boost powders, and supplements. You can buy them in bundles, with options for general vitamins, immune system capsules, and fat burners.
The meal replacement shakes are usually seen as an affordable alternative to more expensive programs, costing an average of $59.99 per 28 servings.
|Exante Meal Replacement Pros||Exante Meal Replacement Cons|
|Comes in eight different flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate mint, mocha, birthday cake, salted caramel, and cookies, and cream.||Despite having various flavors, they have not tested as well as other brands. The taste has a touch of chalkiness, likely because the powder doesn’t mix as well as some brands.|
|Contains twenty-six vitamins and minerals.||Has a low number of natural ingredients, taking its nutritional value from artificial sources rather than whole foods.|
|Low calorie and high in protein.||Received all protein from whey, and does not have a non-dairy option.|
|Lower cost than many other replacement shakes.||Seems to have focused less on getting food nutritional sources from whole foods and more on encouraging users to purchase additional products to get more from their brand.|
Back when under the name Idealshape, these shakes had a large fanbase. That popularity has been diminishing since they changed their recipe and renamed their brand Exante. Many claim there is less vitamin content, in spite of costing more.
Users also say the aftertaste is due to the inclusion of more artificial sweeteners to reduce the sugar content.
Made by Beachbody, Shakeology was originally created for the founder by his wife. He was an avid fitness buff, and he wanted to eat clean. The only problem? He hated vegetables, and his wife was adamant that she could come up with a solution. The result: a whole foods-based meal replacement shake that provides a balanced meal in a cup.
|Shakeology Pros||Shakeology Cons|
|Comes in both Vegan and non-Vegan varieties. Shakeology flavors include: chocolate, café latte, cookies and cream, vanilla, strawberry, and tropical strawberry||Not all flavors are gluten free.|
|Uses whole food ingredients for all nutrition, including vegetables, super greens, fruits, and legumes, in order to build a complex macro and micronutrient profile.||Shakeology is not as high in vitamin and minerals as Idealshape shakes. Mainly due to relying on whole food ingredients.|
|Costs approximately $4.50 per serving, making it cheaper than what many spend on coffee per day.||More expensive than some brands, so might not be as accessible for those on a lower budget.|
|Focuses on overall nutritional balance, but is still appropriate for people who are on specialized diets, such as keto, thanks to its low net carb count.||Might be too high in sugar to allow those who are more sensitive to glucose to remain in ketosis. However, Shakeology is safe for diabetics.|
Shakeology is most notable for its ingredients list. Using whole foods, it is full of antioxidants to fight against free radicals, various sources of plant-based proteins like quinoa and flax, and utilizes globally harvested, high-quality matcha powder, maca root, Lycium berry, and more.
Rather than use chemicals and sweeteners for their effects, it relies on what nature has to provide.
Shakeology or Idealshape (Exante Meal Replacement): The Verdict
Shakeology is the clear winner. It is true that Idealshape manages to pack in more nutrients, and its 25%+ of minerals like iron, folate, and magnesium are impressive figures.
However, because it is a nutrient dense shake that makes use of whole food ingredients, the taste may not always be for everyone. Personally, the chocolate flavors are the best tasting flavors. While the cookies and cream flavor is the biggest disappointment.
On the other hand, Shakeology is packed with clean nutrition, with all-natural ingredients that use plenty of superfoods. You will feel better and be more satisfied thanks to the body naturally leaning towards the macronutrients it needs. You will get plenty of protein, with a good amount of fat and carbs for energy without overdoing either.
Yet, some people may get sticker shock from the Shakeology price. Shakeology costs an average of $130 per month.
But given how much you will be potentially saving by using it to replace a meal a day, it is worth it. Besides, how many of us buy junk that gives us nothing but empty calories and sugar as we chase that energy boost and crave satisfaction?
Why Use Meal Replacement Shakes?
We have to ask ourselves: why try meal replacement shakes? There is no single answer; these dietary supplements have a number of uses. The ultimate benefits come down to the user themselves and what they are aiming to accomplish.
People choose meal replacement shakes to lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, to add protein for fitness gains, or to maintain proper nutrition. Some choose shakes as a convenient alternative to unhealthy foods, to break through cravings, or follow a plan provided by a coach or nutritionist.
There may be other reasons, but these are the most frequent things I hear when speaking to fellow shake fans.
What Makes a Meal Replacement Shake “Better?”
Not all meal replacement shakes are created equal. Some have even been vilified as being full of sugar, lacking in solid macronutrient counts, or not containing the vitamins and minerals that we need when we aren’t getting them from solid foods.
A good meal replacement shake should contain macronutrients including carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. In addition, it should include vitamins and minerals like C, D, A, B6, B12, calcium, iron, folate, zinc, and magnesium. Finally, the shake should be convenient and easy to sustain within a diet.
Macronutrients are the three primary nutritional categories that we all need to live. They are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Carbohydrates are processed in the body as glucose. Carbs are used for quick energy and fuel. If you need a fast little pick-me-up, a carb-heavy snack provides an efficient, if temporary, boost.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean grabbing a candy bar is a good idea. Simple sugars will not nourish but instead cause a crash within an hour or less.
Occurring in the body when we have too much energy, we store fat that can be used later for slower-burning energy. As in what we find in food, dietary fat can also be used for energy in the same way as carbs.
The difference is that it does not digest as quickly, making it longer-lasting, as long as healthier fat options are chosen. Greasy, unhealthy fats will make the body feel slow and sluggish.
Nature’s building blocks, our bodies use proteins to repair and run our internal systems. When you lift weights, for instance, you will cause microscopic tears within the muscles. Eating protein before and after gives us what we need to fix those tears by developing new muscles.
Protein cannot be used as an energy source as it is. Instead, we have to convert excess protein to carbohydrate through a process known as gluconeogenesis.
Though some people will choose a higher or lower diet in one or more macronutrients, none are inherently evil. We need each one to remain healthy, so finding a meal replacement shake that has a good balance of all three is critical.
Vitamins and Minerals
Everyone is different and will have unique needs when it comes to their vitamins and minerals. But we do have a general blueprint we can follow to make sure we give ourselves everything we need to stay healthy when choosing a meal replacement shake. If you are cutting out a more significant number of calories, you may want to consider a multivitamin, especially if you have a deficiency.
However, most high-quality shakes have a good concentration of the most crucial vitamins and minerals that we should be consuming daily. Vitamins C, D, A, B6, B12, Calcium, Iron, Folate, Zinc, and Magnesium are some examples of what we should all be aiming to get enough of.
Some of these are found in meal replacement shakes, though not all of them. If you are using these shakes, make sure you are eating plenty of foods that are high in the others. You may also consider adding a multivitamin to your routine to ensure you have your daily recommended minerals.
As for shakes, check the label and find one with a nice percentage of as many nutrients as possible. It doesn’t have to be the end-all factor, as there are plenty of ways to get those same vitamins and minerals into your diet.
But you have to ask yourself: if it lacks in all of them, what exactly is in the shake? How many whole and superfoods could it contain without the numbers to back it up?
This is not a reference to eco-friendly sustainability, though, of course, that is important. Instead, it refers to our ability to be consistent in our diets. Most of us have had some success with more extreme diet plans for a little while. But as time goes on, we find our results slowing and our resolve dwindling.
We all need something sustainable over time. Replacing a single meal a day with a shake is an easy compromise. It isn’t a requirement that we give up all of the foods we enjoy. If you restrict yourself while on a diet, you might find that it’s difficult to maintain—this often leads to failure.
Besides, most higher-quality meal replacement shakes taste great and have various flavors to choose from. It makes things easier to stick to if we aren’t sick of what we are drinking by the middle of the week.
When looking for the right meal replacement shake, you should be honest about the taste and how you feel when you drink it.
Can you see yourself having this for breakfast or lunch every day, most days of the month? Would you get sick of it or find yourself choking it down? How many meal replacement shakes a day are you planning on drinking? If you can’t imagine yourself enjoying it for the long term, you will want to keep looking until you find the one you can.
It is one o’clock in the afternoon, and you haven’t had time to grab lunch. Now you finally have a free moment. Your stomach is growling, you smell the french fries Linda is eating from three desks away, and you are struggling hard.
That fast-food drive-through is calling. It would be so easy to hop in the car and grab a burger and something delicious and fried. But it would ruin your entire day, and you know it.
Meal replacement shakes can be taken with you anywhere, prepped ahead of time, or made in a matter of seconds. They are designed to be put together on the fly. Once you are halfway through it, you will find those cravings for junk food subsiding. It removes the temptation with next to no effort.
Both Idealshape and Shakeology are well known meal replacement shakes. They have a high concentration of nutrient-dense ingredients, taste good, and easily fit into most lifestyles and budgets.
When you look a little closer, however, you’ll see that Shakeology comes out on top. Shakeology is a nutrient dense shake made with whole food ingredients the includes several different nutrient groups:
- Digestive Enzymes
- Prebiotics & Probiotics
- Vitamins & Minerals
- Omega-3 From ALA
Plus, with several flavor options, it’s easy to see why Shakeology has become such a powerhouse in the fitness world.
Our Top Recommended Meal Replacement Shakes
|Shakeology is our most recommended meal replacement shake because it's a nutrient dense shake that includes:
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.
|Ample Meal is an interesting meal replacement as it focuses more on healthy fats. Ample Meal includes:
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.
|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:
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.