Best Protein Shakes – Weight Loss

best protein shake weight loss - feature

Best protein shakes – weight loss. Why the weird post title? Most advertising you see today label all different types of shakes as protein shakes.

This is due to the mass spending of advertising companies shouting the benefits of post-workout protein shakes over the past few years.

The money was spent wisely. Almost everyone in the world now knows what a protein shake is. As a matter of fact, I bet you are probably imagining one in your head right now.

In all honesty most meal replacement shakes available today are really just protein powder shakes that have been re-branded and marketed to a new audience of breakfast shake drinkers.

While there is nothing wrong with substituting a pure protein shake for a meal, you are missing out on the added vitamins and minerals that a true meal replacement shake can offer you.

If you are considering adding a meal replacement shake to your weight loss program then you should consider the following.

best protein shake weight loss - table


As you can see, you can receive very different benefits depending on which type of meal replacement shake you choose. Before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on meal replacement shakes, you should take the time to decide what type of shake will help you achieve your overall fitness goals.

Before I get in to the review of what I believe are the top 3 products, or best protein shakes – weight loss category as the marketing industry would like to call them, I want to let you know that it is not recommended to replace all of your daily meals with a shake.

Your body needs the additional nutrients that are found in the foods you eat, and you would be doing more harm than good by weeding out whole foods. They are not meant to be a work around or fast way to lose weight without any effort.

Use replacement shakes wisely, eat healthy meals, and continue an exercise program that matches your fitness goals. You have heard me say this time and again. Hard work and dedication are the only true methods to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


The Products


Product: GNC Leanbest protein shake weight loss - gnclean

Price: $32 per container (note this is a 2 week supply)

Place to Buy: In store or Online, GNC website, Amazon

Shakes per Container: 16

My Rating: 3.5






GNC Lean meal replacement shake is a fairly new product from the extremely popular GNC brand of nutritional and fitness supplements. This product has become very popular due to its branding with GNC, and the fact that it is readily available in all GNC locations.

As meal replacement shakes go it isn’t the worst out there, but it definitely falls into the bottom of the big three.

As you can see, the way that GNC packaged the product is not very economical. Yes, you can get a container of GNC Lean for around $30, but this container will only last you for 16 days using the recommended serving size.

I really didn’t like the way this was marketed, but that really isn’t why I rated the product so low.

What really surprised me about GNC Lean is the addition of Acesulflame potassium and Sucralose, both artificial sweeteners have come under intense scrutiny recently for containing ingredients considered to be carcinogens.

I realize that a new cancer risk is found every other day, and there is no such thing as a totally risk free world, but I don’t think it is too much to ask to keep this stuff out of our everyday food and beverages.

This product does contain a healthy protein mix of milk, isolate, and whey protein which is important in dietary needs, but the inclusion of controversial ingredients weighs down the overall benefit of this product.

Product: Shakeologybest protein shake weight loss - shakeology

Price: $129.95 per container

Place to Buy: Online only, Shakeology website, Amazon

Shakes per Container: 30

My Rating: 7.5





Shakeology easily provides the most nutrient packed meal replacement shake on the market today. This shake boasts a whopping 75+ ingredients and can provide roughly 50% of your daily intake for most of the vitamins a human body needs.

The downside to this is that most of the ingredients are over kill and can be easily gotten in the other meals you eat throughout the day or an inexpensive multi-vitamin.

Another noticeable consequence of packing one shake serving with an extreme amount of vitamins is the taste. Shakeology products are the worst tasting of the big 3 in my opinion.

One glaring downside of this shake is the cost. Shakeology shakes are more than 4 times the cost of similarly valued products. This product is NOT for the budget minded!

While Shakeology meal replacement shakes also rank high in hunger curbing affects (the best of the 3), the way they go about it creates another downfall.

This product contains A LOT of fiber! Fiber is important to our daily digestion, but it is also used to create a “full stomach” feeling.

After mixing up my very first Shakeology meal replacement shake, the first thing I noticed is how thick the shake was.

It felt like I was drinking half melted ice cream or one of those extra thick ice cream shakes you have to eat with a spoon.

Once you drink the shake you will immediately feel full. The fiber sits in your stomach like hardening concrete and should prevent hunger for the next few hours. This can be viewed as a benefit, but I personally didn’t like the way it made me feel like I had just eaten a huge meal.

I give this product pretty high rankings because of the effort to provide vitamins and minerals that the body needs in a daily meal replacement shake, but I feel the groggy full feeling, poor taste, and the expensive nature of this product bring down the benefit to the average consumer. 


Product: Herbalife Formula 1best protein shake weight loss - herbalife

Price: Approximately $40 per container

Place to Buy: Online or Local Herbalife Agent, Herbalife website, Amazon

Shakes per Container: 30

My Rating: 9.0






First things first. Forget all of the hype over the Herbalife Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) scheme.

This product gets a bad reputation due to the many agents that try to force an entire suite of nutritional products on you. (think Avon sales rep)

You can avoid all of that mess by heading on over to Amazon and just buying the product you want without any upsell or follow up sales calls.

Herbalife Formula 1 meal replacement shakes are my go to for a quick, nutritious breakfast shake.

It doesn’t score highest in any one category of taste, hunger blocking, or nutrition, but it scores high enough in all categories AND is the best value for the money.

You can pick up a month’s worth of meal replacement shakes for roughly $40. That works out to be about $1.33 per shake.

This product contains about 25% of your daily vitamin intake for most vitamins that your body needs. If you read my review of Shakeology’s product above you will understand the significance of this.

There are just enough vitamins and minerals to give you a head start on your daily vitamin intake without creating a bad tasting breakfast experience.

Please note that you will need to eat a balanced meal for lunch and dinner in order to get the remaining nutrients you need on a daily basis.

The only real negative I found with Herbalife’s product is the hunger busting ability. When mixing the powder with water, I found that it didn’t help to keep me full until lunch.

This is definitely a downside, but I found that mixing the powder with skim milk, half a banana, and a handful of frozen mixed berries solved this problem for me, and made a very tasty shake!

My overall rating for Herbalife Formula 1 meal replacement shake is based on the value for your money. Of the big 3, it is the cheapest, best tasting option available.

In Conclusion

Most families today do not have the time to go through a sit down breakfast throughout the week. The options left to us are limited to microwaveable frozen processed meals, fast food (don’t do it!), or a quick meal replacement shake.

I personally have been drinking breakfast shakes for over a year, and they are my go to option for a quick way to get my day started.

There are many different types of shakes available to you, but you should remember to consume the correct type of shake that compliments your fitness program.

I hope that I have helped you wade through the marketing waters and made it easier to understand what you are actually purchasing when looking for a meal replacement shake in today’s nutritional supplement world.

Just remember a protein shake isn’t always a meal replacement shake!

I would love to hear from you! Please drop a comment below, and as always..

Cheers to your health!




  1. Nice review, definitely something to think about. But I want to ask you: isn’t it true that the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn? … and doesn’t protein help build and preserve muscle? So if all this is true, then why wouldn’t a protein shake also help to increase weight loss?

  2. Meal Replacements are great options for busy people who wants quick meal with all the vitamins and nutrients in just a drink. I don’t think it is good for me who likes rice in every meal. If I drink this I would still feel that I still need rice. I might try it someday.

  3. So these products are replacement for breakfast. If I have the budget, I’ll definitely try them. I will choose Shakeology cuz it tastes like ice cream and the servings is 30, which is a lot.

  4. Shakeology makes you feel full while Herbalife makes you want to eat more cuz you are not full. That’s what I understand about this blog. I prefer Shakeology then. Why is the ranking so different? Herbalife has high rating than Shakeology. I beg to disagree.

  5. The shakes sound like a good idea if you don’t have time to prepare yourself a proper breakfast in the morning. I still think it’s good though to be mindful that breakfast is very important to start your day and waking up a few minutes earlier to have a real meal won’t kill you.

  6. “powder shakes that have been re-branded and marketed to a new audience of breakfast shake drinkers.” What I think that, sometimes, re-branded products are main for another type of consumers and let consumers have another choices.

  7. You mention that the Shakeology taste like eating an ice cream. I’ll definitely try that then. Drinking protein while feeling like eating an ice cream is a cool to experience hehe.

  8. this is an eye opening topic for me. its like a trend now all these protein shakes but so far i didn’t fall for it, yet. I will still try to eat my food the way it is/supposed to be. tried the herbalife kind once, too much hassle. thank you for your write up

  9. I always thought that cooking a full breakfast is bothersome so I skip right through it and just go grab a brunch. This would be the first time I heard about meal replacement shake.I definitely have to try it!

  10. “Hard work and dedication are the only true methods to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.” — I couldn’t have said it better.

    I’ve never thought much about protein shakes, much less meal replacement shakes. Thanks for the new information and for the options available out there.

  11. Looking at the chart you have on this page I’m a little confused. I always knew that meal replacement shakes had different benefits than just protein shakes.

    But how is that protein shakes help with muscle repair after a workout, meal replacement shakes don’t? After all most meal replacement shake contain protein.

    • Hi Chris, and thanks for stopping by.

      I can understand the confusion around protein benefits. This is one of the main reasons that people tend to consider all protein shakes to be a meal replacement method.

      The difference is the amount of protein. Protein naturally increases the healing of muscle mass in your body, and that is the reason that many athletes and body builders drink pure protein shakes many times throughout the day. Each protein shake designed for post workout consumption contain 20 grams or more of actual protein per shake. This amount of protein will aid in the recovery and development of stressed muscles, but the downside is that it will load you up with additional calories as well. The calories are needed as additional energy for the body to repair muscles after a work out.

      I am not saying that post work out shakes are bad for you, just that the average person who doesn’t exercise with weights to build a lot of muscle will be getting more protein (and calories) than the body needs. Meal replacement shakes still contain protein, but they normally consist of 5 to 10 grams. This is enough to provide your body with the protein benefit and not the additional calorie intake.

      Hope this helps!

      • I see what you’re saying Allan, and see where the confusion was. There are many different kinds of meal replacement shakes.

        While there are shakes that are lower in protein as you mention, I was thinking of a protein shake as in just a whey protein powder vs. the meal replacement shakes that are meant for post workout and bodybuilding, like the ones by EAS.

        Some of those shakes actually have more protein than just a protein shake alone, along with other supplements, and a lot more calories than either a whey protein, or a meal replacement that’s not meant for post workout.

  12. I really enjoyed this review. I have been wanting to shed a few pounds, but I also want to ensure that I’m doing it in a responsible manor and not just starving myself. These shakes seem like it may be what I’m looking for. I’m curious, how do these compare to the likes of Slim Fast or Ensure?

    • Hi Kevin, and thanks for the comment.

      I would definitely not recommend any weight loss program that includes not eating or skipping meals. Numerous studies have shown how depriving your body of nutrients will do more harm than good.

      I am glad you are looking in to ways to change your diet instead of cutting out meals all together!

      There are many different types of meal replacement shakes available today, and all have different ingredients designed for a different purpose. You can literally spend days researching each product and what they are designed to do.

      Ensure has been around for a long time, and it is a quality product, but it was actually designed to replace a full meal for people that had problems eating. For this reason, it is loaded with sugars! The purpose of Ensure originally was to make it easier for someone who couldn’t eat whole foods to get vitamins and nutrients into their body and add calories. I would avoid this product for weight loss.

      Slimfast has also been around for many years, and it was the first product that was marketed as a weight loss alternative to meals. This is another decent product, but it does contain sugar (see above) and aspertame, which has been proven to cause a craving for carbohydrates. This would be another product I would stay away from if the goal was to lose weight.

  13. Great read.
    I was really interested about the point you made on most meal replacement shakes. Is it really true that most of them a made up of the same sort of stuff you are covering here?
    I have many friends who buy and use them and I’d love to inform them about this!

    • Hey Chris, thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, most meal replacement shakes today are made very similar to the 3 I have discussed here. I chose these 3 specifically because they are the top products being marketed right now.

      Shakes created for meal replacement will contain some form or mixture of protein, fiber, and a percentage of daily vitamins. If your friends are using pure protein powder shakes, otherwise known as post workout shakes (think muscle milk) then they are not getting the full benefit of a meal replacement shake.

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