Best Meal Replacement Shakes UK 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Meal replacement shakes are promoted as a healthy quick solution for weight loss. They’re packed with protein and superfoods in the convenient powder. But what does the weight loss research say about these shakes? Let science it. We will be digging into the science around shakes for weight loss.

First, what are these shakes? There’s a bunch available on the UK market right now. Generally, they are a high protein powder with other nutrients from juice extracts, freeze-dried plants or synthetic vitamin and mineral mixes. These powders you can blend them with ice and water or with other add-ins like milk, fruits and veggies. Many shakes are promoted to help lose weight and keep it off.

Generally, they’re recommended to replace one to two meals a day with a third of low-calorie meal plus physical activity. If you browse through websites and social media, there are tons of before-and-after pictures with testimonials of weight loss success. However, the anecdote is not evidence. Not many of the current brands have been clinically studied. But we can gain some insight from research using a similar approach with Slimfast product.


Best Meal Replacement Shakes UK






How to Use Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss

Compiling many studies together, science says that partial meal replacement programs can yield slightly more weight loss than low-calorie meal plans in the short term in the range of 1 to 3 months. Sounds pretty good?

Many people join weight watchers program still they fail. Short term weight loss is one thing, but the far more important question is long-term weight maintenance. It’s easy to follow a restrictive program for a few months, but what about a year or two or more down the line.  A new study was published in late January 2019 that came to different conclusions but that just how science works. Here’s our analysis based on the latest evidence.

Researchers asked whether partial meal replacement programs were more effective for weight loss than diet alone? They addressed this question by compiling 23 studies together. These partial meal replacement programs included shakes but also bars and pre-portioned whole food meals. Most of these studies had an active weight loss phase of 3 to 6 months with more stringent use of meal replacements followed by a weight maintenance phase where meal replacements were generally recommended to be used once per day.

Partial meal replacement programs yielded more weight loss than diet alone after one year, but here’s what we think are the most striking findings. Significantly more subjects achieved clinically meaningful weight loss with partial meal replacement programs plus additional support. Weight loss greater than five to ten % of total body weight is considered clinically meaningful because it’s associated with improved health outcomes, like blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity.

What about that additional support? This included both individual and group weight-loss sessions with dieticians and health educators. These sessions focus on weight-loss strategies and motivational support.

Our takeaway from this analysis is that partial meal replacement programs can yield more weight loss than diet alone when used as one tool among many within a supported weight-loss program. This interpretation was supported by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who stated that partial meal replacements can be helpful for adherence to a low-calorie diet through convenience, portion control, restricting dietary variety and reducing problematic food choices.

But what about longer than one year. Specific shakes haven’t been evaluated at this extended time frame. But there are some other studies that can help address whether meal replacements, in general, are important in the long haul. The look-ahead study investigated a comprehensive weight loss program that introduced many different strategies for weight loss and maintenance. Over eight years some people maintain their weight loss while others regained. Both the maintainer and the regainers said they use the meal replacement shake the same amount, suggesting that shakes aren’t the key to long-term weight maintenance.

The maintainers did report more physical activity, self-weight monitoring and more frequent low-calorie food intake. Suggesting that these strategies may be more important for keeping the weight off.

Our conclusion, when making major dietary changes, you should consult a registered dietician for individualized advice. It’s difficult to come to strong conclusions for the shakes on our social network feed today because they haven’t been individually studied. The best evidence we have shows that partial meal replacement programs which include shakes but also bars and pre-portioned whole food can enhance weight loss at one year.

If you’re looking for meal replacement shakes to lose weight, make sure to incorporate it with other healthy behaviours, like physical activity and nutrient-dense food like these recommended vegetables for weight loss. Solely relying on shakes isn’t sustainable in the long haul. 

You can also follow the paleo diet which encourages us to eat less processed food, less high-fat and high-sugar foods and more fruit and vegetables. Remember that reducing high-calorie foods will reduce calorie intake and help you lose weight faster.

All in all its very important to research your options and know what result you want. Our recommended best quality shakes are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and low in artificial flavouring & colour and sugars.

What is the Difference Between Meal Replacement Shakes, Diet Shakes and Weight Loss Shakes?

Specifically, meal replacement shake is designed to reach your weight loss and weight maintenance goals act as diet shakes or weight loss shakes. Most meal replacement shake contains a high amount of calories on the other hand diet shakes or weight loss shakes are low in calories, while still being rich in nutrients.

In addition, healthy weight loss shakes and diet shakes should have little to no added sugar. Instead, they are sweetened with plant-based sugar alternatives that won’t negatively affect your blood sugar levels.

Meal replacement shake contains high-quality protein for a which is one of the factors affecting healthy metabolism, fibre for good digestion & satiety, healthy fats, and a variety of whole food nutrients for optimal health.

What to look for when buying weight loss shakes

You should take into consideration the general characteristics of each shake you buy, such as the quantity of protein, calories per serving, taste, and price. You should also take into account specific nutrition and ingredients information, such as carbohydrates, fibre, probiotics, sugar & artificial sugar substitute.

Protein Quality

All proteins are not created equal whether it’s protein shakes or protein powders. Some of them are cheap and some are expensive. Some of them act fast; others act more slowly. Some are mixed with fillers; others are pure.

The types of protein matter a great deal, when it comes to meal replacement shake. There are many meal replacement shake on the market using a wide variety of different protein types; from animals, from plants, and from soy. Depending on your dietary restrictions, find your option.


The cost of a protein shake is often, an indicator of the quality of the ingredients. A common rule of thumb is to avoid low-cost protein shakes as they usually have soy fillers, artificial sweetening agent, and other controversial additives. All these are very counter-productive to weight loss. Nonetheless, price is a major point to consider – and is highlighted in all shake ratings.

Protein Amount

Some of these shakes actually “overdue” it, as they are loaded with more protein than the human body can absorb — around 10 to 25 grams at a time. (Excess protein gets eliminated from the body and can cause weight gain.) We look for the best types of single protein shakes or blends and note their value on each description.

Appetite Suppressing, Natural Ingredients

Ongoing studies bolstered by everyday experience have proven that if you’re still hungry after drinking a shake, you are more likely to snack and lose any weight loss benefits the shake may have offered. The ability to effectively suppress appetite is worth its weight in gold.

We prefer natural ingredients that have been clinically studied and proven to be the most effective in staving off hunger. Our highest ratings go to those formulations with natural ingredients that perform best. We have found that a blend of ingredients works better than any single supplement.

Taste, Sweeteners and Sugar

It is well known that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Taste is very much the same. Not everyone prefers the same flavours, and not everyone has the same preferences for “sweetness” when it comes down to protein shakes. Research shows that if you don’t like the taste of a protein shake you will not continue to use it, thus rendering it worthless as a weight-loss tool.

On the other hand, a shake that tastes great because of high amounts of sugar and other artificial sweeteners isn’t going to help with long term weight loss. This is why you must consider both taste and sweeteners as part of your evaluation.

The Best Meal Replacement Shakes to Buy in the UK 2020

Nutrition Facts Comparison

Brands1. THE PROTEIN WORKS2. USN Diet Fuel3. SCI-MX4. Pharmtect5. SlimFast Advanced
Serving Size60g54g54g35g40g
Calories 213kcal200kcal200kcal217kcal235kcal
Suitable for VegetarianNoNoNoYesYes




  • Multi-sourced protein formula (soya, whey protein concentrate & milk protein)
  • Slow releasing carbohydrates and fibre to keep you satisfied and fuller for longer
  • Tri-protein blend to provide a complete amino acid profile
  • Contain weight loss super ingredients like match green tea, carnitine and CLA
  • Over 20 different vitamins and minerals to support the nervous system, gut health and immune system.
  • Outstanding in flavour, texture and taste
  • 12 months shelf life
  • Scoop is included
  • More than 10+ flavour available
  • Just add water and ready to drink. No prep required
  • Wheat-free
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USN Diet Fuel Ultralean Review



  • High in fibre
  • High biological value protein from various sources to triggers a natural weight-loss hormone
  • Formulated with chromium to maintain blood sugar levels
  • Contains tolerase pH-stable lactase to help lactose digestion
  • Loaded with 25 high levels of micro-nutrients
  • maintain lean muscle and promote weight loss
  • Available in 5 great flavours
  • Comes with a scoop
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SCI-MX Nutrition Review



  • Packed with an impressive macronutrient profile as well as minerals, fibre and vitamins
  • Folic acid and niacin contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • 60mg of high concentration premium grade green tea extract, CLA and VIT-MX Trim to support your diet
  • Includes chromium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels
  • Each serving includes 30% RI of Niacin and 101% biotin to contribute normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • High in zinc to supports the normal metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
  • Added 31% of your RDA of iodine which contributes healthy thyroid function
  • Available in three delicious flavours
  • It comes with a scoop
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Pharmtect Review



  • Carefully formulated ingredients that includes vitamins, minerals and proteins that are 100% nutritionally complete for optimal health
  • Delicious and satisfying thick and smooth shakes.
  • Free from GMO’s and artificial preservatives
  • Great product and tastes amazing
  • Suitable for vegetarians but not vegans
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SlimFast Advanced Review



  • Scientifically proven to work, simple and easy to stick to
  • High in fibre and with green tea extract
  • 23 vitamins & minerals per serving, no added sugar and gluten-free
  • Chromium to maintain normal blood glucose levels
  • Contains iron for the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Biotin to contributes normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • Suitable for vegetarians
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Is There Any Side Effects

It’s rare, but they could occur. Read the label carefully and allow time for your body to adjust first. Shakes are typically harmless. They’re an easy way to ensure you receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals depending on what product you buy. Some common reaction can be vitamin excess, as it is likely you get everything you need for healthy and balanced diets. Water-soluble vitamins like B and C unlikely to have issues if taken in excess as they are excreted in the urine. Fat-soluble vitamins – D, E, A, K – can hang out in your body much longer, and excess can cause a variety of issues like irritability, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

  • October 22, 2020