What is the best shake meal replacement

What is the best shake meal replacement
Fact Checked

How we rate weight loss shakes

Try as we might, no matter how hard we sweat at the gym, or how fresh and healthy we eat, those last few kilos just seem to stick around. And with summer never far away, many Aussies will be feeling the squeeze – literally – of trying to fit into our old swimmers. When it comes to losing weight, there are plenty of options to choose from, from the traditional blood, sweat and tears approach, all the way through to the questionable – and potentially unsafe – practices. With so many dieting fads around, narrowing down which one to pursue is almost as tough as losing weight.

One option that many people turn to is weight loss shakes, with plenty of brands making the promise to help you get your ideal body in no time – and they can even taste nice! While some consumers may be suspicious about dietary supplements – and sometimes rightfully so – many offer an easy way for Aussies to safely lose weight quickly, provided they still put the work in! But when it comes to finding the right weight loss shakes for your lifestyle and tastebuds, it’s important to do your research, and that’s where we come in. Canstar Blue has compared the top brands in the market.

Canstar Blue surveyed 964 Australians for their feedback on the weight loss shakes they’ve purchased from a supermarket or pharmacy (and consumed) in the last six months. Note: This refers to shakes that are used to replace meals to lose weight.

  • The outcomes reported in these ratings are measured via accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics.

Respondents rate their satisfaction with their weight loss shake brand(s) from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:

  • Overall satisfaction: measures consumer satisfaction with a weight loss shake brand as an individual score NOT a combined total of all criteria.
  • Perceived effectiveness: the weight loss shake was satiating and effective in assisting in weight loss and weight management.
  • Value for money: the weight loss shake price was reasonable given the quality of ingredients and quantity of each serving/multipack.
  • Taste: the weight loss shake tasted authentic, matched the flavour description on the box, and was made with quality ingredients.
  • Variety: the weight loss shake brand offered a wide variety of flavours, serving sizes, multipacks, replacement meals options, etc.
  • Texture & consistency: the texture/consistency of the weight loss shake was as expected for its type (i.e. milkshake was creamy, smoothie was thick and icy, etc.).
  • Packaging convenience: the packaging was functional and allowed for easy dispensing and storage.

The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.

  • Overall satisfaction is asked as a specific question and represents an individual measure, not a combined total of all criteria.
  • When we cannot determine a clear winner from the criteria for the Overall satisfaction rating, we will then look at the other criteria measured in the rating.
    • The brand with the highest number of five-star ratings within the supporting criteria will become the five-star recipient in overall satisfaction, and thus win the award. If a clear leader still cannot be determined from the supporting criteria, joint winners will be declared.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.

1. ALDI Slim & Trim 2. BSC 3. The Man Shake 4. Slim Right 5. Optifast 6. FatBlaster 7. Atkins 8. Rapid Loss 9. Musashi 10. Optislim

11. The Lady Shake

ALDI Slim & Trim trimmed the fat and became the number one pick for weight loss shakes, after being the only brand to earn five stars for overall satisfaction and in several more categories like perceived effectiveness, value for money, taste, texture and consistency, and packaging convenience. The man shake was rated best for variety, and achieved top marks for packaging, similar to Optislim.

The majority of brands featured scored three stars for overall satisfaction, which suggests that narrowing down your options can be just as tough as shedding a few kilos, especially considering that two in five survey respondents (43%) have tried more than one brand of diet shakes.

Find more detailed information on our ratings methodology.

What is the best shake meal replacement

ALDI Slim & Trim offers Aussies several types of weight loss shakes and protein supplement options for those looking to kickstart a new diet. While it may not have the range that other brands have, ALDI’s Slim & Trim Essential Health line does still have some classic flavours like chocolate, coffee, strawberry, and vanilla. Each meal replacement shake comes in individual serving sachets (55g) for $2.49, so you can buy exactly as many of each flavour as you like and need and can avoid getting stuck with a whole box or tub full of a flavour that doesn’t end up taking your fancy. They’re also handy to chuck in your bag or keep in your work drawer so you’ve always got a meal replacement shake on hand.

  • ALDI’s Slim & Trim weight loss shakes rated five stars for perceived effectiveness, value for money, taste, texture and consistency, packaging convenience, and overall satisfaction. The supermarket brand finished on four stars for variety.

If you’re looking to lose a few kilos before summer starts – or you’re just interested in how weight loss shakes actually work – read on to find out what the big brands in our comparison have to offer. And we’ll also do our best to answer the questions you may have, starting with the most important of all… do weight loss shakes really work?

Do weight loss shakes work?

What is the best shake meal replacement

Yes, weight loss shakes can work. That’s the short answer, but only if you follow the guidelines properly and really commit to the challenge. However, weight loss shakes are not a magic solution or magic diet pill that will see you shedding kilos in no time. Losing weight requires patience, dedication, and willpower.

The weight loss shakes you buy can help you along the way, but their success or failure will – ultimately – be determined by you. Stick to the advice of your chosen weight loss program – this will typically involve replacing one or two meals per day with shakes – and supplement your shakes with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Ultimately, the best weight loss shakes should keep you full and satisfied between meals, to avoid naughty temptations. The danger of consuming shakes with very few calories (usually between 50-200 calories per serve) is that you could end up more prone to snacking or even turn to the sort of meals you are supposed to be replacing.

When asked whether they have lost weight using diet shakes, survey respondents told us:

  • Yes, I have lost some weight: 60%
  • Yes, I have lost all the weight I intended: 12%
  • No, I have not lost any weight: 26%
  • No, I have put on more weight: 3%

It’s important to note that getting results from meal replacement shakes is contingent on adhering to the recommended program. A quarter of Aussies we surveyed (25%) also found that exercising regularly could support their weight loss shake/dietary regime. Excessively snacking on foods in addition to your recommended daily intake could hamper your weight loss efforts.

Do weight loss shakes work long term?

What is the best shake meal replacement

As most weight loss shakes are designed for short-term success, once you’ve achieved your desired weight, you’ll often be left to your own devices, meaning it’s on you to keep the weight off and to avoid going back to old habits. And while many brands offer programs made for weight management, these are not necessarily intended to be used for long-term weight management. After all, there are only so many vanilla diet shakes you can drink in a lifetime.

However, there is some suggestion that weight loss shakes can be an effective way to lose a few kilos in the short term, with many programs specifically designed to last about 12 weeks, helping you to lose weight in a structured way.

Overall, when used properly, weight loss shakes can be a useful stepping block for weight management due to the low-calorie, structured and convenient diet plans that come with them. It’s also one way to make sure you’re getting the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body functioning properly. But as with anything to do with fitness and your health, you’ll have to put in the hard yards if you want to see the results.

What’s in weight loss shakes?

What is the best shake meal replacement

Weight loss shakes are claimed to be made with a combination of different fibres, proteins, vitamins and minerals, plus some other additives and flavours depending on the brand.

Keep in mind that it’s important to check the sugar content of weight loss shakes, which can vary significantly across different products. It’s the same case with protein bars. Some products are packed with over 20g of sugar per serve, while others include less than 2g. Not only is consuming an excessive amount of sugar bad for you, but it’s also unlikely to suppress your appetite for long. If you want a weight loss shake that keeps you full for as long as possible, it could be worth looking at those with a large amount of protein.

How much do weight loss shakes cost?

Using diet shakes to replace one or two meals each day can prove to be an expensive way to drop the kilos. Our survey revealed Aussies are spending an average of $70 on diet shakes per month.

A useful way to judge whether it’s worth trying diet shakes, at least in terms of cost, is to work out how much you would normally spend on the meals that you’re replacing. However, there can be a significant difference in price between brands, so make sure to check how many servings you’re getting for your money. Generally speaking, buying meal replacement shakes in bulk is the cheapest way to go. Some diet drinks also come in sachets – which makes it easy to work out how many you will need for a week or month – while others come in large tubs, requiring a little more brainpower to determine how much you’ll need.

Which weight loss shakes should you use?

Used correctly, weight loss shakes may help kick-start your dieting journey, but experts suggest they are unlikely to take you all the way there, meaning you won’t be able to solely rely on them to help you get the body of your dreams. Here are a few things to think about when choosing which diet shake to get:

  1. Consider shakes with above-average protein content to help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Make sure to read the nutritional information on various weight loss shakes to see which products have more protein and less sugar.
  2. If using meal replacements ─ try opting for products designed to replace just one meal per day, rather than multiple meals. This may help you become less reliant on diet shakes once the program is over, potentially reducing the chances of putting the weight back on.
  3. Check the sugar content of weight loss shakes. The fact that diet shakes are low in calories doesn’t necessarily mean they’re low in sugar, so do your research before buying something you think is ‘healthy’ but could be loaded with sugar.
  4. Look for brands that offer support through tailored meal and exercise plans. These plans are often developed by a team of experts, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of all the free recipes, wellness articles, exercise guides and more.

Ultimately, which weight loss shakes you decide to go with – if you decide to use them at all – will come down to your circumstances and goals, as the weight loss brand that suits one person may not suit another. To ensure that you end up with the best dieting brand for your needs, our ratings provide a helpful, high-level guide, but it’s also worth asking around your friends and family to get their views. And be sure to consult your GP before making any drastic changes to your diet.

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Meet our consumer experts

What is the best shake meal replacement

Megan is Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Editor, leading the team that focuses on consumer products and services, ranging from supermarkets and groceries to home and personal appliances and retail stores. She interprets Canstar Blue’s bespoke research on the thousands of brands that we compare, rate and review, to help shoppers make better purchasing decisions.

Meet the Editorial Team

Samantha Howse: Consumer Research Specialist

What is the best shake meal replacement

Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.

Meet the Research Team

Photo Credits: Verca/shutterstock.com, Rostislav_Sedlacek/shutterstock.com, Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com, Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock.com.

Each brand offers a number of shakes within its range. We’ve taken a comparative shake from each brand in regards to flavour to help you compare their nutritional information:

Shake Fat Carbs Sugar Protein kJ Serving Size
ALDI Slim & Trim Chocolate Shake 2.3g 25.2g 23.4g 18.2g 858 55g
Optifast VLCD Chocolate Flavour Pack 4.5g 18.2g 9.5g 20g 840 53g
Nature’s Way SlimRight Chocolate 375g <1g 18.7g 16.1g 6.2g 507 35g
FatBlaster Ultimate Chocolate Shake 50% Low Sugar 1.9g 19.3g 8.6g 6.3g 520 33g
Optislim Chocolate VLCD Meal Replacement Shake  3.4g 17.4g 13.7g 17.7g 692 43g
Celebrity Slim Rapid Chocolate Shakes 840g 1.2g 13.7g 13.6g 14.2g 568 40g

Information sourced from respective brand websites, November 2022.

Here are the past winning brands from Canstar Blue’s weight loss shakes review:

  • 2021: The Man Shake
  • 2020: ALDI Slim & Trim
  • 2019: ALDI Slim & Trim
  • 2018: ALDI Slim & Trim
  • 2017: Celebrity Slim
  • 2016: IsoWhey
  • 2015: ALDI Slim & Trim
  • 2012: Optifast