11 Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Diabetics (2024 Updated) 

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 15, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Having tried meal replacement shakes for my diabetic clients, I can attest that finding the right one feels like discovering a hidden gem in a vast desert.

From my experience, many of these shakes led to unexpected blood sugar spikes in my clients. At the same time, pure protein shakes often don’t provide a good enough energy boost for people with diabetes.

Some of my clients grappled with this challenge, sharing their frustrations and concerns with me. Driven by my client's needs, I collaborated with an expert dietitian for three weeks and researched, tried, and evaluated the top meal replacement shakes for people with diabetes.

The Best Meal Replacement Shake for Diabetics

Editor's Choice
Instant Knockout Complete
Instant Knockout
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Taste
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
Ample K
Ample K
Ingredients
5.0
Price
4.9
Taste
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Click For Best Price
3rd Best Choice
Glucerna Shake
Glucerna Shake
Ingredients
4.9
Price
4.8
Taste
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Check Current Price

Our Top Meal Replacement Shakes For Diabetics (March 2024)

1 - Instant Knockout Complete (Best Overall & Vegan Option)

Instant Knockout Complete
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Taste
Overall Score 5.0
Click For Best Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 26 essential nutrients for complete daily nutrition
  • No added sugars for diabetics
  • Vegan whole foods ingredients with Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pre-measured scoop means preparation is only within 30 seconds

Cons

  • Highest calorie count among all options
  • Calories : 400
  • Protein : 35g
  • Fat : 13g
  • Carbs : 35g

This wholesome, balanced, 100% nutritionally entire meal replacement shake is specifically designed for people with diabetes. It has 26 essential nutrients, a powerhouse of calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

The best part is its BCAA content, promoting muscle growth while reducing muscle wasting [1].

Instant Knockout Complete has no added sugars but is packed with calories to keep you feeling full throughout the day. This might not be ideal if you want to lower your caloric intake to better digest food and consume specific nutrient options daily.

The best part is the fiber content ensures digestion and slow energy release [2].

Four of my clients with Type 2 diabetes tested this whole foods product during their cutting phase, substituting it for one meal. It reported it effectively curbed their hunger cravings and helped them reveal well-defined muscle while preserving muscle mass.

2 - Ample K (Best Low Carb Meal Replacement)

Ample K
5.0
Ingredients
4.9
Price
4.9
Taste
Overall Score 4.9
Click For Best Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Contains only 2 grams of sugar for less impact on blood sugar
  • Low carbs
  • Added probiotics to help with digestion
  • Available in a bulk container to save money

Cons

  • Only available in chocolate and vanilla flavors
  • Calories : 180
  • Protein : 10g
  • Fat : 9g
  • Carbs : 16g

This is another meal replacement shake designed with careful consideration and specifically made with diabetics in mind.

At first glance, the carbohydrate content might seem high. However, based on my observations and the company's assertions, these carbs are designed to release slowly, aiding blood sugar regulation.

I found that preparing this meal replacement is a breeze, taking just 30 seconds or even less. A quick fill, a shake, and you're good to go with a convenient meal. The flavor is good, though not great, depending on the added liquid.

Its creamy texture and portability stand out as a plus.

3 - Glucerna Shake (Best Tasting)

Glucerna Shake
4.9
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.9
Taste
Overall Score 4.9
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Contains only 2 grams of sugar for less impact on blood sugar
  • Low carbs
  • Added probiotics to help with digestion
  • Available in a bulk container to save money

Cons

  • Only available in chocolate and vanilla flavors
  • Calories : 180
  • Protein : 10g
  • Fat : 9g
  • Carbs : 16g

This is another meal replacement shake specifically made with diabetics in mind.

It may look like it’s quite high in carbohydrates, but the company claims they are slow-releasing to help manage blood sugar, acting like insulin when digested.

Two of my clients who have prediabetes said that having this product as an after-dinner drink had been a game-changer for curbing their late-night sweet cravings. Numerous diabetic users also share their success in using this product to effectively manage cravings.

4 - Atkins Gluten Free Protein-Rich Shake (Cheapest & Gluten-Free)

Atkins Gluten Free Protein-Rich Shake
4.9
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.7
Taste
Overall Score 4.8
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Almost zero sugar to not impact your blood sugar levels
  • Decent amount of protein to make it suitable for athletes
  • Gluten-free to reduce chances of stomach upset

Cons

  • Might not be large enough for a breakfast replacement
  • Calories : 160
  • Protein : 15g
  • Fat : 9g
  • Carbs : 7g

Atkins supplements are generally quite popular with people trying to lose weight and achieve a healthy diet thanks to their proven effectiveness and nutritional balance.

This best meal replacement shake, in particular, made our list because I found that it is filling and could boost energy levels throughout the day.

5 - Boost Glucose Control Nutritional Drink (Best for Glycemic Control)

Boost Glucose Control Nutritional Drink
4.9
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.6
Taste
Overall Score 4.8
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low glycemic and slow-releasing carbs for better blood sugar levels
  • Very low in saturated fat for better heart health
  • Provides a lot of vitamins and minerals to support overall well being

Cons

  • May contain some artificial sweeteners or flavors
  • Calories : 190
  • Protein : 16g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Carbs : 16g

At first, I wasn’t sure about this best meal replacement shake, but my dietitian reviewed it and verified that the ingredients were indeed low-glycemic with slow-digesting carbohydrates.

You might also like that incorporating meal replacement shakes with this brand means having lower blood glucose levels due to the lower saturated fat content.

While testing this product, I noticed that my energy level was more stable throughout the day without crashes, and was able to engage in daily activities with less fatigue.

6 - Garden of Life Meal Replacement

Garden of Life Meal Replacement
4.8
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.8
Taste
Overall Score 4.8
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Suitable amount of protein for athletes
  • Low net carbs to help you controlling blood sugar levels
  • One of the lowest amounts of fat we could find
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • More suitable as a snack replacement
  • Calories : 115
  • Protein : 20g
  • Fat : 1.5g
  • Carbs : 8g

Some of my bodybuilding clients have successfully used this best meal replacement product for weight loss during a cutting phase.

These meal replacements are also deficient in fat, which should suit most diets.

By using this product, I noticed a significant reduction in my energy dips and an increased sense of fullness.

7 - Slimfast Diabetic Weight Loss

Slimfast Diabetic Weight Loss
4.7
Ingredients
4.6
Price
4.8
Taste
Overall Score 4.7
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No added sugar to make it suitable for people with diabetes
  • Contains one of the best selections of minerals and vitamins
  • Mixes easily into a smooth shake

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain enough protein for athletes
  • Calories : 100
  • Protein : 2g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Carbs : 12g

Slimfast and weight loss are synonymous, and this one has supposedly explicitly been formulated for a diabetes control healthy diet.

We liked the significant list of vitamins and minerals that may support your overall well-being [3].

I noticed a suppressed appetite for at least two hours from taking this meal replacement.

8 - 310 Plant-Based Meal Replacement Shakes

310 Plant-Based Meal Replacement Shake
4.6
Ingredients
4.6
Price
4.7
Taste
Overall Score 4.6
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Good blend of plant protein to provide a full range of essential amino acids
  • Many positive reports about the flavor and texture
  • Dairy, soy, and gluten free option

Cons

  • Only available in small pouches
  • Calories : 90
  • Protein : 15g
  • Fat : 1.5g
  • Carbs : 7g

While this might be quite a low-calorie option more suitable as a snack, I would highlight the decent boost of protein. It's an important consideration if you want to take this meal replacement product as an energy source for your workouts.

It's one of the best options if you want to get the most nutritional value for your vegetarian diet.

I noticed a significant improvement in my energy levels when using this meal replacement as my breakfast choice. It effectively provided me with the boost I needed to kickstart my day without causing any feelings of heaviness or undesirable blood sugar-induced fluctuations.

Additionally, the flavor of the supplement is quite pleasant, and not overly protein-tasting.

9 - Almased Meal Replacement Shakes

Almased Meal Replacement Shake
4.6
Ingredients
4.5
Price
4.6
Taste
Overall Score 4.6
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Might be the best option for a high-protein boost
  • Positive comments about it making you feel full
  • Claims to be easy on the stomach

Cons

  • Based on only soy protein which limits branched-chain amino acids
  • Calories : 230
  • Protein : 27g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Carbs : 15g

This product is also popular with my clients who have got to a weight management stage.

I has worked well to keep my hunger cravings at bay that otherwise result in unhealthy snacking.

10 - Purely Inspired All-in-One Meal Meal Replacement Shakes

Purely Inspired All-in-One Meal Meal Replacement Shake
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Price
4.5
Taste
Overall Score 4.5
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low in net carbs due to a decent amount of fiber
  • May provide health support from vitamins and minerals
  • Positive reports that it keeps hunger at bay

Cons

  • Limited flavor options could become boring
  • Calories : 140
  • Protein : 20g
  • Fat : 2.5g
  • Carbs : 9g

From my hands-on experience, this protein shake stands out for its rich nutrient profile and emphasis on healthy fats over saturated variants.

And with the fiber content, the powder may also improve your digestive system [4].

After consuming this product, I found that my hunger remained satisfied for a considerable amount of time, and I retained good energy. However, I must admit that the flavor and texture of the product were not particularly impressive.

11 - IDLife Meal Replacements

IDLife Meal Replacements
4.4
Ingredients
4.5
Price
4.4
Taste
Overall Score 4.4
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low in net carbs due to a decent amount of fiber
  • May provide health support from vitamins and minerals
  • Positive reports that it keeps hunger at bay

Cons

  • Limited flavor options could become boring
  • Calories : 130
  • Protein : 23g
  • Fat : 2g
  • Carbs : 7g

Our final recommended product comes from IDLife.

The carbohydrates are mainly fiber, and its 23 grams of protein could be necessary for many athletes for better recovery.

I found that this product effectively curbed my cravings and didn't lead to any intestinal discomfort. However, it's worth noting that it falls on the slightly more expensive side.

How We Picked the Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Diabetics

In our quest to find the best meal replacement shakes for diabetics, we conducted a focused evaluation based on several key factors:

Carb and Sugar Content
We prioritized shakes with low carbohydrate and sugar levels to prevent blood sugar spikes, ensuring they were suitable for diabetic dietary needs. For instance, one of my clients, Sarah, who has type 2 diabetes, reported no significant blood sugar spikes after trying a shake with only 7 grams of carbs per serving.

Protein Quality
The quality of protein in each shake was assessed, focusing on its ability to provide sustained energy and support muscle maintenance without impacting blood sugar levels.

Digestibility and Side Effects
We evaluated the digestibility of each shake, considering the common digestive sensitivities among diabetics and ensuring minimal side effects. Mike, one of my clients, appreciated the plant-based shake option that was easy on his sensitive stomach and didn't cause any gastrointestinal discomfort, a common issue he faced with other products.

Flavor and Palatability
Taste is crucial for long-term adherence to any dietary plan. We sampled each shake to ensure the flavors were enjoyable and appealing without relying on artificial sweeteners that could affect blood sugar.

Nutritional Balance
Our analysis included examining the overall nutritional profile of each shake, ensuring it provided a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients needed for a diabetic diet.

Buyer's Guide for the Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Diabetics

Meal replacement products image

You should look for ingredients that are sugar-free, low in carbs, and low in calories in meal replacement supplements.

What Type Of Ingredients Do You Need To Look Out For?

The ingredient you need to look out for is the carbohydrate content, more specifically, the sneaky and often harmful added sugar. Unfortunately, many meal replacement shake products add sugar to give it a more appealing taste, but the consequences for your blood sugar could be terrible, even with the essential nutrients.

Consider Possible Side Effects From Ingredients

Consuming meal replacement shakes with high carbohydrate content is likely bad, and it’s also essential to look out for indications that the carbohydrates are slow-releasing.

Even with a well-planned exercise routine, this could otherwise lead to high blood sugar levels.

Also, look out for artificial sweeteners in your diabetic meal replacement shakes -- they have been shown to cause issues with your gut flora [5].

To avoid these situations, consider asking your registered dietitian or nutritionist for recommendations. They likely have a few suggestions perfect for your situation since they already know what you need to avoid. It's especially important when you have milk or pea allergies.

Pay Attention To The Glycemic Index

It may take a bit of digging, but the glycemic index of diabetic meal replacement shakes for diabetes would indicate its impact on healthy blood sugar levels. It isn’t just imported for anyone with type 2 diabetes, but regular athletes may also want to know it.

The more blood glucose spikes you have, the faster hunger cravings may return [6].

The glycemic index gives you a way to tell slower-acting "good carbs" from the faster "bad carbs." You can use it to fine-tune your carb-counting and help keep your blood sugar more steady.
- WebMD.com

Get Your Portion Size Right

People with type 2 diabetes have to be particularly careful with portion sizes, and that is the case for supplements and the best meal replacement shakes. A net harmful calorie diet is most likely needed if you have specific weight loss goals or take medicine.

It’s best to discuss this with registered dietitians to ensure that your weight management doesn’t cause deficiencies from a nutrition perspective. Your physician may advise you to stack on protein shakes or meal replacements depending on your health objective.

If consuming meal-replacement shakes isn’t your thing, maybe you can try out a meal-replacement bar.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes for Diabetics

Entire meal replacement shakes for diabetics can offer numerous benefits to individuals with diabetes, making them a valuable addition to their dietary choices. Here are some key advantages:

Blood Sugar Management

Meal replacement shakes are designed to have a controlled and balanced carbohydrate content, which can help control blood sugar levels. This can be particularly beneficial for diabetics who need to monitor and manage their glucose levels.

Portion Control

Controlling portion sizes is crucial for diabetics to control calorie intake and carbohydrate consumption. Meal replacement shakes come in pre-measured portions, making it easier for individuals to adhere to their dietary plans and avoid overeating.

Nutrient Density

Diabetics often struggle to get essential nutrients from their meals due to dietary restrictions. Meal replacement shakes are formulated to be nutrient-dense, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and protein without the excess sugar or empty calories found in many other options.

Weight Management

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight alongside blood sugar levels is crucial for diabetes management. Meal replacement shakes can support weight loss or weight maintenance goals by offering a convenient, calorie-controlled option.

Convenience

Busy lifestyles can make it challenging for diabetics to prepare balanced meals regularly. Meal replacement shakes are quick and easy to prepare, ensuring that individuals with diabetes have a nutritious option even when on the go.

Consistency

Consistency in meal planning and nutrition is key to diabetes management. Meal replacement shakes for diabetics provide a consistent option that diabetics can rely on, helping them maintain stable blood sugar levels while ensuring a balanced diet.

Also read: Best Protein Powders for Diabetics

FAQs

What Is a Good Protein Drink For Diabetics?

A good protein drink for diabetics is one that doesn’t have high carbohydrate content. This is not just important for stable blood sugar levels but may help with weight loss goals as well.

Can Diabetics Drink Protein Shakes?

Yes, diabetics can drink protein shakes, and it’s one of the better ways to help stabilize blood sugar levels providing a steady energy source without the blood sugar spikes. Your body takes longer to convert protein into energy, which you could further manage through the proper timing of exercise.

Our Verdict on the Best Meal Replacement Shake for Diabetics

Blood sugar management, a balanced diet, and weight loss are more achievable with our diabetic clients’ predominant vote— Instant Knockout Complete.

This nutritious meal replacement shake packs a lot of nutrients, making you feel fuller. The best part is you need not worry about sudden high glucose levels.

Order your Instant Knockout Complete shake now. Let us know about your personal experience on social media.

Our #1 Recommendation

Instant Knockout Complete (Best Overall & Vegan Option)

Instant Knockout Complete
Ingredients
5.0
Price
5.0
Taste
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Pros
  • 26 essential nutrients for complete daily nutrition
  • No added sugars for diabetics
  • Vegan whole foods ingredients with Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pre-measured scoop means preparation is only within 30 seconds
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of March
Cons
  • Highest calorie count among all options
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