Keto Meal Replacement Shakes and An Introduction to the Keto Diet
The ketogenic (or “keto” for short) diet is one of the most popular eating plans in the world of health and fitness today. It’s recommended by personal trainers and nutritionists alike because of its proven health benefits – and with keto, you don’t need to count calories or restrict yourself if you’re still hungry after a meal. It’s all about what you’re putting into your body rather than how much. The Paleo diet also follows the what vs. how much principle.
In this article, we’ll start with our picks for the best keto meal replacement shakes and then take a look at some highlights and science behind the keto diet itself. Keep in mind that keto protein shakes – even those that are considered ‘meal replacements’ should be used to enhance your diet as opposed to being relied on as a sole source of calories and nutrients.
Our Picks: The 3 Best Keto Meal Replacement Protein Shakes
Marketed as a “drinkable meal,” this keto meal replacement shake comes in a bottled powder form. All you need to do is add water or milk and shake! Your options include either a 400-calorie meal replacement or a 600-calorie meal replacement, and you can subscribe to a monthly delivery service tailored specifically to your needs.
Thought protein isn’t the main focus of the keto diet, it’s still an important component of any healthy lifestyle, and the Perfect brand delivers the protein you need in a low-carb powder that won’t spike your blood sugar. The ingredients include grass-fed collagen, a protein crucial for improved gut and skin health, along with improved strength in bones, ligaments, and joints. It’s offered in vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel, and unflavored options, and, like Ample K, the company offers a subscription option for monthly meal replacement deliveries.
This keto meal replacement shake also includes grass-fed collagen in its list of ingredients. Though it comes in a tub rather than ready-to-drink bottles, it’s known to be one of the best powders for mixing –it doesn’t clump in a drink like many keto protein shake powders do. You can mix it with water, milk, or even a hot cup of coffee for a twist on a cafe mocha.
What Is Keto?
The goal of the keto diet is to help your body achieve ketosis, a natural metabolic state that occurs in the absence of carbohydrates. Your body generally uses carbs as fuel to burn for energy, but when it’s not getting enough carbs, it burns fat instead, and this is when ketosis occurs. It’s important to know that there are some common symptoms of ketosis you should be aware of.
In order to keep your body in this state, a diet focused on low-carb, high-fat food choices is key. Your meals and snacks should be centered around these foods: eggs, full-fat dairy products and cheese, nuts and seeds, avocados, non-starchy vegetables (greens, tomatoes, peppers, etc.), oils like coconut and sesame, and fatty fish. Proteins like meat and poultry are also acceptable keto options, but the primary focus of the diet should be on foods that are high in healthy fats.
What does that leave? On the keto diet, you’ll want to avoid both carbs and sugars, which include breads and baked goods, sweetened drinks (like soda), sugary foods, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables, and even fruit.
Here’s some more information about our 5 keto basics that you’ll find useful if you’re just getting started.
Before You Go Keto
As with any eating plan, it’s recommended that you check with your doctor before cutting out certain foods. Since keto involves cutting out sugar and sweeteners, those with blood sugar issues should do additional research before jumping in. Because we’re talking specifically about meal replacement shakes, it’s especially important that you consult a doctor if you don’t have experience safely working protein shakes and other meal replacements into your diet.
Making It Personal
An important thing to remember about any diet is to make it your own. You may need to cut food groups out one at a time (go without sugary foods for a week, then cut out grains entirely, etc.), or you may need to allow yourself a sugary treat every so often. Keeping to a strict diet when you’re used to eating processed and sweetened foods is no small task, and requires a huge amount of self-control. What most experts won’t tell you is that it’s important to give yourself grace and allow room for error. Food is not the enemy, and it’s all too easy for diets to negatively shape a person’s perception of food.
With that said, for one reason or another, you may be unable to eliminate sugar or carbs from your diet completely. The keto diet comes in various forms and modifications, four of which are discussed here.
- The Standard Keto Diet. This is the eating plan that typically comes to mind when people think of the keto diet: 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
- The High-Protein Keto Diet. For those who need extra protein in their diet, the percentages are changed to about 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
- The Cyclical Keto Diet. This modification involves periods of reintroducing high quantities of carbs to the body in a cyclical manner – for example, 5 days of strict keto followed by 2 days of high-carb food consumption.
- The Targeted Keto Diet. This one is helpful for people who are active, because it allows you to add carbs into your diet around workouts.
In addition to food items like energy bars and protein powders, meal replacement shakes are an important component of any diet. Sticking to an eating plan is so much easier when you have options for supplementing whole foods, because, let’s face it – you’re not always going to have the time to prepare a meal at home, and the drive-thru often has limited options when you’re sticking to a low-carb diet. Snacks like energy bars are great, but keto meal replacement shakes allow you to keep your body fully nourished, even if you don’t have time to cook.
Keto meal replacement shakes are packed with all the nutrients you need –healthy fats and green veggies, along with some protein to keep you full for longer periods of time. Satisfaction is the key: if you don’t feel like your body is getting the nutrients it needs while you’re on a diet, it’s much easier to fall back into old patterns and even give up entirely.
What Science Says About Keto Meal Replacement Shakes
Studies have repeatedly shown that adding meal replacement shakes to your diet helps with weight management and overall health. In fact, a 2017 study found that meal replacement shakes given as part of a reduced-calorie diet to adults with and without diabetes or high blood sugar issues resulted in a significant improvement in weight loss endeavors. Combining a keto-friendly meal replacement shake with the keto diet (since keto essentially removes sugar from your system) is a surefire way to help improve high blood sugar issues.
Though it’s considered one of the more difficult diets to stick with long-term because of its restrictions, keto’s wide range of health benefits makes it an attractive option to many. According to an article published in Medical News Today, the benefits of going keto include acne reduction, improved heart health, lower chances of developing cancer or seizures (in fact, keto was first introduced as a cure for epilepsy in children), protection of brain functioning, and improved health in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
For many people the addition of keto protein shakes, even when they aren’t specifically used as meal replacements, greatly improves their ability to stick with such a strict diet. Apart from all of the physical and psychological benefits of keto protein shakes, they usually taste sweet enough to help reduce cravings for sweets.
Keto as a Lifestyle
Countless people who swear by the keto diet claim that it’s not just a diet. Proponents of keto praise such long-term health benefits as increased mental focus, better sleep patterns, and clearer skin. A commitment to a low-carb lifestyle can be one of the most rewarding decisions of your life – but it can also be difficult for your body to adjust to such a lifestyle. For example, many people report having flu-like symptoms for the first few days of a strict low-carb diet, because your body isn’t accustomed to burning fat as energy. As your body gets used to this new source of fuel and eventually brings you into ketosis, you may not feel your best during this process. Remember to listen to your body and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
Pulling your body out of the keto lifestyle can also be challenging. If you’ve chosen the standard keto diet – no cheat days or “cyclical” days – your body is essentially in a constant state of ketosis, so if at some point you start adding carbs back in, your system has to change gears again. The key is to be gentle with yourself and listen to your body as you find the keto eating plan that works for you. Whether that be abandoning carbs and sugar altogether or coming up with a more modified plan that allows for sugar and carb intake, make sure you give yourself adequate time to adjust to the new diet, and give yourself grace for the days you fall short.
Like any diet, keto takes discipline. It takes self-control and a willingness to stick to the plan. But the rewards are well worth the work involved. And when you start seeing those rewards, you’ll see, as others have, that keto isn’t just a diet. It’s a way of living – a lifestyle.