Meal Replacement Shake vs. Protein Shake

Many people think that meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are the same thing, I used to be one of them! Meal replacement shakes are different from protein shakes and the two are used for different purposes. 

Protein shakes are very popular for post-workout drinks as you are trying to replace protein that your body needs to grow and repair muscle tissue. Many guys will drink protein shakes when they are trying to bulk up. Simply put - they are protein drinks. They are high in protein and contain low or no carbohydrates or other nutrients. These are not designed to replace your meals. 

Meal replacement shakes, on the other hand, are designed to actually replace a meal or two. This meals they are much more focused on providing you essential vitamins and nutrients. Meal replacement shakes are also more for those people who are trying to lose weight. ​These shakes are designed to give you a huge range of essential nutrients in a low calorie meal substitute. Meal replacement shakes are usually rich in proteins and low in carbohydrate and sugar. 

Meal replacement Shakes​
  • Replaces a complete meal
  • Blend of proteins, carbs, and essential nutrients.
  • Designed for fat reduction and weight loss
  • For those people to lose weight
Protein Shakes
  • NOT a complete meal, just a high protein supplement
  • Little or not carbs. Protein sources could include: hey, eggs, soy, and casein
  • Supplement to be added to your diet plan
  • For people looking to gain muscle

What's a Good Meal Replacement Shake? 

A good meal replacement shake is 300 or less calories and contains the following ingredients: 

  • Protein: This is important as protein will help you build lean muscle. It will also help make you feel fuller. It's important for increasing your metabolism, and maintaining your muscles
  • Low Carbs: Low carbs is important because too many carbs can make weight loss difficult. Meal replacement drinks will limit the amount of carbs so that they can maximize your body's fat burning potential. 
  • Low or No Sugar: The less sugar the better. Added sugar is not your friend if you are trying to lose weight. Adding sugar can cause your blood glucose and insulin levels to spike which will inhibit fat burning. 
  • Fiber: Many meal replacement drinks will contain fiber to help suppress your appetite and control hunger and cravings. 
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Since you are replacing a whole meal, your shake should be high in the variety of vitamins and minerals it contains. The more the better. 

The meal replacement drink that I found to fit all this criteria and also be affordable is IdealShake. This has been my go-to meal replacement drink for years and I still love it! 

What's a Good Protien Shake? 

The sole goal and purpose of protein shakes is to gain muscle. It is widely agreed that if you are actively building muscle you should be getting 1gram of protein per pound of body weight. ​There are several types of protein shake you can get:

  • Whey protein: (most popular choice) very high in protein and made from dairy so it's not the best choice for those who are lactose intolerant 
  • Egg protein: This is another good source of protein but the taste is not good!
  • Caseinate: This is another protein that comes from dairy. This is a slow-releasing protein ideal for nighttime use
  • Soya protein: Not as good of a protein source as whey protein but it's good for vegetarians 
  • Pea and rice protein: this is a more expensive type of protein but also good for vegetarians. 

If you are building muscle you should ideally be consuming protein throughout your day. Popular time of the day to consume protein drinks are before, during and after a workout. Drinking before a workout will minimize muscle break down during training. Drinking it during your workout will help start the the repair rebuilding process. Drinking a protein shake after a workout will help speed up recovery.