Meal replacement shakes are popularly used as an option for weight management, but not all these products are ideal if you have diabetes.
However, the right one can help provide you with the nutrients you need to help manage your weight and blood sugar levels. They can also ensure that you get enough carbs without making your blood sugar spike.
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Did you know that there are actually meal replacement shakes with plenty of sugar? You’d definitely want to stay away from those if you’re diabetic. The following are our top 7 choices for the best meal replacement shakes for diabetics:
- Garden of Life Keto Meal
- PhenQ Complete Meal Shake
- Atkins Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Shake
- Ample Complete Meal Shake
- Splenda Diabetes Care Shake
What makes this meal replacement shakes ideal for diabetics, and which one should you choose?
Let’s discuss each one in detail below.
Our 7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Diabetics
The following are great options as meal replacement shakes for diabetics because they’re nutritionally complete but have low sugar levels.
Some are even made specifically for diabetics.
Let’s take a look at each product:
Glucerna Hunger Smart Meal Size Shake
Available in delicious rich chocolate and homemade vanilla flavour options, Glucerna Hunger Smart Meal Size Shake tastes more like a treat than a diet meal.
But it’s packed with 23 g of protein, 21 g of total carbohydrates, and up to 7 g of dietary fiber.
It also contains zinc, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, D, and E.
A 16 fl oz serving of this meal replacement shake has 250 calories.
Note that it does contain 8 g of sugar. But you can’t go wrong in choosing Glucerna, the world’s #1 brand recommended by doctors for diabetics.
This meal replacement shake for diabetics is recommended by many nutrition experts out there. Because it is designed to help minimize blood sugar spikes in diabetic people compared to high-glycemic carbohydrates. High-glycemic foods and meal replacement shakes are quickly digested and absorbed by your body, causing a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels – that’s dangerous to diabetics.
Your doctor can help you create a diabetes management plan that includes Glucerna to replace your meals.
Splenda Diabetes Care Shake
As the first meal replacement shakes without sugar, it’s not surprising to see why Splenda Diabetes Care Shake is quite a popular choice.
However, take note that it isn’t a low-calorie food despite the lack of sugar content. Instead of sugar, this product uses Splenda sucralose, a sweetener that healthcare professionals have long recommended as a sugar replacement for diabetics.
Splenda Diabetes Care Shake comes in milk, french vanilla, and strawberry-banana flavours.
It contains 16 g of protein, 15 g of carbohydrates, and 6 g of fibre.
Each serving contains 170 calories.
Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix
At 90 calories per meal, Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix might not provide you with enough to replace an entire meal.
But because caloric requirements depend on many factors, including your weight, activity, and health condition, then it’s important to consult your doctor before taking Herbalife if you’re diabetic.
Note that many diabetic patients also suffer from other comorbidities, including kidney problems. So, you should consult your doctor because, although this product has low sugar content, it contains high amounts of proteins and certain micronutrients that can aggravate your kidney condition.
But if your kidneys are alright and your doctor gives the go signal, this meal replacement supplement can be a good choice.
It’s available in several delicious flavours that make dieting so much fun:
- French Vanilla
- Natural vanilla
- Mixed berries
- Cookies and cream
- Mint chocolate
This product also contains vitamins A, B6, B12 C, D, and E. It also has 21 g of carbohydrates.
With 16 g of whey protein concentrate, zero added sugar, high fibre content, and 13 vitamins, PhenQ Complete Meal Shake is another great option as a meal replacement shake to help you lose weight and manage your sugar levels.
This meal replacement shake contains folic acid, biotin, and vitamins C, E, B6, A, K, D, and B12. It also has digestive enzymes to help improve nutrient absorption for better digestion.
It’s available in different delicious flavours: chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and strawberries & cream. Choosing these shakes is like enjoying treats but without feeling guilty about it.
Plus, the brand even offers a 60-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t 100% satisfied with their products. Wow.
Atkins Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Shake
Containing just 1 g of sugar, the Atkins Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Shake is a keto-friendly meal replacement shake that’s also great for diabetics.
This low-glycemic shake contains 15 g of protein, 5 g of fibre, and 160 calories. It also contains potassium, biotin, zinc, and selenium.
It’s also available in delicious flavours:
- Milk chocolate
- Creamy vanilla
- Dark chocolate royale
- Chocolate banana
- Creamy caramel
- Iced chai protein shake
- Cafe caramel iced coffee protein shake
- Cafe au lait iced coffee protein shake
- Vanilla latte iced coffee protein shake
- Mocha latte iced coffee protein shake
Garden of Life Keto Meal
A Non-GMO Project Verified meal replacement shake, Garden of Life Keto Meal is also keto and paleo certified. This gluten-free shake contains 70% fats from organic grass-fed butter.
It’s available in two delicious flavours: chocolate and vanilla.
This shake is free from antibiotics but contains 1.5 billion CFU probiotics to support healthy digestion.
Probiotics are essential for a healthy digestive system. They help to break down food, absorb nutrients, and keep the gut flora in balance. Healthy gut flora is important for overall health, because it helps protect against pathogenic bacteria and yeast overgrowth, and keeps the immune system functioning properly.
Garden of life meal is also an excellent choice for a meal replacement for diabetics because it contains as many as 280 calories per serving, but has no added sugars. It also has 16g of protein, 4g of dietary fibre, and 5g of total carbohydrates.
The shake also contains calcium, iron, potassium, iodine, and vitamins A and E.
What makes Garden of Life Keto Meal different from the other meal replacement shakes is that it’s made from all-natural, non-GMO ingredients.
One scoop of Ample Original Low-carb Complete Meal Shake contains 200 calories, 13g of protein, 6g of total carbohydrates, and 3g of dietary fibre.
This meal replacement shake is great for diabetics because it only contains 1 g of sugar. It also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and D.
It’s available in three delicious flavours:
For better digestion, this product also contains six strains of probiotics approximately 4x the amount found in yoghurt. This special formulation also helps you stay full for a longer time, around 4 hours after the meal, for better weight management.
Things to know about meal replacement shakes for diabetics
Simpler ingredients are better
When shopping for the right meal replacement shake, check the ingredient list. Although it’s good to pick a nutrient-dense product, stay away from shakes with too many fillers and stabilisers.
As a rule of thumb, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Plus, this can help you avoid unwanted side effects from the ingredients that might be in your chosen shake.
Watch out for carb content and glycemic index
Diabetics need to watch out for the carb content because these complex molecules break down into different types of simple sugars which can increase your blood sugar levels.
It’s a good idea to find low-glycemic meal replacement shakes just to be sure because high-glycemic shakes are quickly absorbed by your body, causing a rapid blood sugar spike.
Nutrient’s DV (daily value) matters
Different products contain different ingredients and nutrient content. But it’s very important to read the label because you might accidentally take several times the daily value.
Some meal replacement shakes contain as much as 20%–40% DV of nutrients per serving. That’s likely enough to cover the nutrients you need for the day.
Prepare the shake according to the preparation instructions. Remember that if a serving is just one scoop of the shake, two scoops already cover two servings.
Don’t be tempted to go beyond the recommended preparation, unless directed by your physician or fitness coach.
Meal replacement shakes should only be supplemental
Don’t rely on replacement shakes to meet all your daily nutritional needs.
Although these products are quite useful, especially for diabetics, because it’s easier to keep track of the calories and sugar content, it’s still better to have at least one meal made with regular, natural foods.
Sticking to this helps keep your gastrointestinal system in shape because it continues to process regular foods that are certainly harder to digest than the contents of the meal replacement shake.
Meal shakes shouldn’t be for workout
It is recommended that you shouldn’t try to replace meal shakes with protein shakes.
You see, meal shakes are designed to provide a person with all the nutrients they need, including protein, carbs, and healthy fats. They’re meant to be a meal replacement, not a workout supplement to use while working out.
As a diabetic, there are pre-workout supplements for diabetes you can take. As these workout supplements can provide a more concentrated source of nutrients and calories, which can be helpful if you’re trying to stay fit.
Consult your doctor before use
Many people think that as long as you stick to the low-sugar, low-carb meal replacement shake, they’ll be fine.
However, that’s not true for all diabetics because some might have comorbidities such as kidney problems.
The high amounts of proteins and certain micronutrients in these meal replacement shakes can aggravate your kidney condition.
So, it’s important to consult your doctor before using these products.
The best meal replacement shakes for diabetics are those that have a low glycemic load, are high in fibre and protein, and include healthy fats. They should also be low in sugar and unhealthy additives.
If you’re looking for a shake that fits these criteria, we recommend checking the options we listed on this page. They all contain the nutrients your body needs to maintain blood sugar levels, energy, and overall health.
Joseph Tucker is a dietitian by profession and has years of experience in nutrition and fitness. He also writes for MaxHealthLiving.
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