Blog Weight Loss Weight Loss Shakes: The Complete Guide

Weight Loss Shakes: The Complete Guide

Weight-loss shakes are a delicious “on the go” meal when you’re trying to lose weight. Still, how do you know your shakes will help you lose weight? How can you know what’s good or bad about weight-loss shakes? Are there things you should avoid with your shakes?

In real terms, you should lose weight with weight-loss shakes if you’re following a balanced diet and including some exercise. That said, you should know how to make homemade shakes, buy the right branded powders, or choose one for your feminine needs. 

What Are the Best Shakes for Losing Weight?

The best weight-loss shakes include the following:

  • Homemade shakes with whole ingredients (4, 5)
  • Shake powders with good ingredients (26, 8, 4, 10, 12, 16, 22, 25, 20, 3, 21, 13
  • Shake powders that exclude bad ingredients (6, 2, 18, 28)
  • Weight-loss shakes for women particularly (27, 17, 7, 14, 11, 23, 15, 1)

Do Weight Loss Shakes Actually Work?

Weight-loss shakes aren’t a magical long-term ride to fewer pounds. Begin with understanding how they help you lose weight with a healthy lifestyle. You also need key information on how to healthily lose weight by adding shakes to your lifestyle. 

Can I Drink Shakes to Lose Weight?

A 2018 study in Nutrients compared a small group of people replacing meals with high-protein weight-loss shakes to people doing alternate-day fasting and other energy-restriction diets (19). They found that replacing meals with same-calorie liquid drinks helped individuals (while under expert supervision) lose twice as much weight as others. 

The meal replacement shakes also had a well-balanced source of nutrients that helped to keep the individuals satisfied between meals, reducing hunger cues. Keep in mind that this meal replacement program was done under expert nutrition and dietician supervision. The result was that the men and women lost weight and improved their glucose/insulin levels. 

Unfortunately, another Nutrients study suggests nearly all dieting methods result in weight gain post-diet (9). Sustainability is an issue because of hormone changes that cue hunger and the return to previous eating habits soon after the diet ends. Weight-loss shakes are no different, especially because they’re not ideal for long-term strategies. 

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Calories Burned Playing Tennis: Your Guide to Fitness on the Court

Weight-loss shakes are ideal for short-term lifestyle changes. Long-term strategies require lifestyle changes and commitments beyond replacing a meal with liquids. High-protein diets with a focus on fewer unhealthy fats and with carbs that are from more anti-inflammatory, fiber-rich whole foods, have the greatest long-term success (9). 

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The Best Weight Loss Shakes At Home

Weight-loss shakes relieve time pressures and may help cause weight loss with a balanced diet. So, let’s see how to make whole shakes at home, as well as choosing the right powders  that are good for women who face hormonal changes or stubborn belly fat. 

weight loss shakes

Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss – Whole Ingredients

Lose weight with meal replacement shakes at home by using whole ingredients to ensure you drink enough nutrients and calories. Healthline says a 1500-calorie meal plan is popular for weight and fat loss (5). The math suggests that drinking shakes far below 300 calories won’t replace a meal. 

Meal replacement shakes should be at 300-400 calories to add up to 900-1200 of your meals if you eat three times daily. Also, include two snacks daily with 200-300 calories. The next goal is to use whole ingredients to blend the ideal weight-loss smoothies and load up your nutrients naturally with fresh fruits, veggies, dairy, and more. 

Each weight-loss shake you make should include protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fat, and nutrients to replace a meal properly (4). Using whole foods naturally adds nutrients and vitamins to support weight loss and healthy living. However, let’s see how you can make a healthy weight-loss smoothie at home with protein, carbs, and fats. 

Step 1: Choose a Protein

The best weight-loss milkshakes require more protein than just an egg, which may sound gross to some. However, protein is an easy choice because you can add it with dairy and plant products, including the following (4, 5):

  • Legumes: Chickpeas, black beans, and lentils.
  • Plant-based protein: Plant-based protein powders, whey powder, tofu, and nuts.
  • Plant-based milk: Unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut, or hemp milk.
  • Dairy-based protein: Cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, and kefir.
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Moreover, you can make weight-loss milkshakes for weight loss by adding unsweetened plant-based milk products, like (4, 5):

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hemp milk

Step 2: Choose Complex Carbs (With Fiber)

Complex carbs are slow-digesting and typically include some soluble fiber. Here are carb-friendly whole ingredients to add to weight-loss shakes at home (4, 5):

  • Low-sugar fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, citruses, grapes, melons, and pears. 
  • Low-starch vegetables: Arugula, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and spinach.
  • Whole grains: Barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.

Step 3: Choose Healthy Fats

Adding healthy fats to homemade weight-loss shakes means you can choose any of the following ingredients (4, 5):

  • Healthy fats: Avocados, avocado oil, unsweetened coconut cream, and olive oil.
  • Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
  • Nuts (including butter): Almonds, cashews, macadamias, pecans, and walnuts.

Bonus Step: Add Healthy Flavors

Some ingredients are healthy to add to weight-loss shakes, while giving you a flavorful twist. You can replace a liquid in your shake, or use spices to add more flavor. Include some of these tasty choices (4, 5):

  • Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, or turmeric.
  • Saucy flavors: Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice. 
  • Liquids: Black unsweetened coffee, green tea, and water.

Read more: Weight Loss Shakes For Women – The Complete List of Fat-Burning Ingredients

How to Choose a Weight Loss Shake Powder That Works

Using raw ingredients makes the best weight-loss shakes. However, looking for specific label ingredients and avoiding others may help you with your weight loss goals as part of a balanced diet. Look for the good ingredients on labels and avoid the bad lot.

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Good Weight-Loss Shake Powder Ingredients

  • Astragalus membranaceus: The root extract triggers the AMP-activated protein kinase to stimulate fat-burning effects, according to a Hungarian study (26). Panax notoginseng may result in the same benefits.
  • Biotin: Japanese research suggests any low-carb, high-fat shake must contain Biotin, a vital nutrient you lose when following a low-carb diet (8). Biotin is also called vitamin B7 (4). 
  • Brown rice: Korean researchers found that organic rice may promote better glycemic control when used with a vegan diet but also has some positive effects on a regular, balanced diet (10).
  • Coconut oil: a 2018 study concluded that coconut oil or extracts may suppress your appetite and help your body burn more sugar for energy (12). 
  • Medium-chain triglycerides: An Oxford study suggests MCT is a useful ingredient that may promote a faster metabolism by increasing fat oxidation and energy expenditure (16). 
  • Oat flour: A Chinese study found that oat flour helped to manage glucose and prevent sugar spikes while making weight loss possible (22). 
  • Pea protein: Pea protein may improve body composition and muscle strength to help you lose weight while adding exercise to your shakes (25). The researchers found that whey powder had similar results. 
  • Withania somnifera: It’s better known as Ashwagandha, and a 2000 review found it may aid weight loss by reducing stress hormones and improving muscle strength (20).

weight loss shakes

Good Weight-Loss Shake Nutrients

Also, watch for nutrients and vitamins added to weight-loss shake powders. Some aid weight loss, while others are essential nutrients of which you don’t want to become deficient. 

  • Fiber, calcium, & vitamin D: Harvard suggests you need 600-800 IU of vitamin D, 28+ grams of dietary fiber, and 1000-1200 milligrams of calcium daily (3). 
  • Potassium: A 2008 study found that potassium declines with low-carb and low-fat diets (21). It helps to find shake powders with potassium for healthy weight loss. 
  • Protein, fat, and carbs: A balanced eating program, liquid or not, will thrive with healthy amounts of fat, carbs, and protein (4). 
  • Minerals: Some minerals help the body regulate water retention (4). They include magnesium, sulfur, sodium, and chloride. Meanwhile, trace minerals, like copper, zinc, iron, fluoride, and manganese support you healthily while losing weight.
  • Niacin: Washington researchers found that niacin-bound chromium caused significant weight loss in women (13). Niacin also comes in vitamin (4). 
  • Vitamins: Shake powders should contain some of the vitamins that help your body metabolize carbs and proteins (4). Some include vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B5, B6, B9, B12, C, D, E, and K. 
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Bad Weight-Loss Shake Powder Ingredients

Some ingredients to avoid on weight-loss shake powder labels include:

  • Artificial sweeteners: These may cause gas, bloating, and glucose spikes (6). 
  • High-lactose sugar products: Skim milk, milk solids, and whole milk contain too much lactose sugar, and any sugar may cause weight gain or prevent loss (2). 
  • Psyllium: It’s low in fiber and may cause constipation and digestive problems (18).
  • Thickeners: Xantham gum and corn thickeners may cause digestive issues and constipation in doses over 15 grams daily (28).

In addition, a healthy weight-loss shake powder should meet specific standards if you wish to replace meals on the go. Remember to aim for +- 300 calorie shake servings if you follow the popular 1500-calorie meal plan daily for weight loss (5).

When it comes to weight loss, progress is made by inches, not miles, so it’s much harder to track and a lot easier to give up. BetterMe app is your personal trainer, nutritionist and support system all in one. Start using our app to stay on track and hold yourself accountable!

Weight Loss Shakes for Women – Secrets Unveiled!

The best weight-loss shakes women use should include ingredients that may help with hormonal changes that cause weight gain, prevent weight loss, and attack belly fat. After all, women have delicate ecosystems. 

Orlando Health suggests unbalanced hormones could cause weight gain (27). Here are some ingredients to add or avoid with shakes to help you burn stubborn fat or lose weight:

  • Cinnamon: Any form of organic cinnamon may help to reduce lipid accumulation in fat cells to promote thermogenesis and burn more fat (17). Ginger, turmeric, and garlic ingredients may have the same benefits. 
  • Flaxseed: Gold and brown flaxseed have a high number of alpha-linolenic acid molecules, which may help to hasten the metabolism of menopausal women, according to a 2022 study (7).
  • GMO ingredients: Don’t add genetically modified ingredients, like dextrins and maltodextrin (GMO corn), because it may cause you to store more fat (14).
  • Green tea: The catechin-rich ingredient may help you burn more visceral fat around the belly (11). Green tea shakes are a delicious method to promote belly fat-burning. 
  • Soy protein: Avoid this plant-based protein because it may result in constipation, iodine deficiency, and hormonal imbalances (23).
  • Svetol: French scientists found that green coffee bean extract is rich in chlorogenic acids (CGAs) and may liberate adipose tissue from free fatty acids to aid weight loss and burn stubborn fat (15).
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How To Lose Hip Fat and Keep It Off for Good

Read more: Vegan Protein Shakes for Weight Loss: Do They Work?

The OB/GYN Associates of Alabama suggest some hormone-balancing nutrients in your weight-loss shakes can also help (1):

  • Assorted vitamin Bs: Beans, collard greens, kale, lettuce, spinach, sunflower seeds, and yogurt.
  • Magnesium: Avocados, black beans, chickpeas, dark chocolate, leafy greens, lentils, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Probiotics: Kefir, kombucha, and yogurt.
  • Omega-3 healthy fats: Chia seeds, egg yolks, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.

weight loss shakes  

More on Healthy Shakes:


  • What Are the Top 3 Drinks for Weight Loss?

Medicine Net recommends water, freshly squeezed grape juice, and cinnamon tea as the top three drinks to lose weight (24). Water is calorie and carb-free, while grape juice burns fat in a resting state, and cinnamon tea could boost your metabolism. 

  • Which Shake Is the Best for Belly Fat Loss?

A weight-loss shake rich in catechins is the ultimate belly fat drink. Chinese research found that catechin-rich green tea targets the visceral fat in your belly to reduce the most stubborn fat cells (11). The tea also had 68.7 mg of caffeine, as the caffeine and EGCG catechin work well together to burn stubborn fat. Add green tea to a shake for belly fat. 

  • Will I Lose Weight on 3 Shakes a Day?

Replacing meals with 3 whole foods, nutrient-rich, well-balanced shakes daily may help you lose weight. A Nutrients study suggests that people who drank three shakes daily lost more weight than those who ate the same calories in solid meals (19). 

However, it’s a good short-term strategy. Long-term weight loss and maintenance require adequate protein, with fewer unhealthy fats and carbs, and fiber-rich whole foods (9). It’s a lifestyle commitment to lose weight and keep it off. Stick to whole foods and a balanced diet.

The Bottom Line

The ultimate weight-loss shakes start with key branded or whole ingredients at home. Knowing what to seek and avoid will ensure you lose some weight with shakes as part of a balanced diet. Return to our tips often on what to buy or avoid, or make any flavor you can imagine at home with controllable ingredients. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 5 Essential Vitamins and Supplements That Help Balance Hormones (n.d.,
  2. 5 Foods High in Lactose to Avoid (2022,
  3. 4 Essential Nutrients – Are You Getting Enough? (2023,
  4. 6 Essential Nutrients: Sources, and Why You Need Them (2019,
  5. A 1,500-Calorie Diet: Food Lists, Meal Plan, and More (2023,
  6. Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes (2023,
  7. Brown and Golden Flaxseed Reduce Intestinal Permeability and Endotoxemia and Improve the Lipid Profile in Perimenopausal Overweight Women (2022,
  8. Consumption of a Low-Carbohydrate and High-Fat Diet (The Ketogenic Diet) Exaggerates Biotin Deficiency in Mice (2013,
  9. Dietary Strategies for Weight Loss Maintenance (2019,
  10. Effect of a Brown Rice-Based Vegan Diet and Conventional Diabetic Diet on Glycemic Control of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A 12-Week Randomized Clinical Trial (2016,
  11. Effects of Catechin-Enriched Green Tea Beverage on Visceral Fat Loss in Adults With a High Proportion of Visceral Fat: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial (2012,
  12. Effects of Coconut Oil Consumption on Energy Metabolism, Cardiometabolic Risk Markers, and Appetitive Responses in Women With Excess Body Fat (2017,
  13. Effects of Niacin-Bound Chromium Supplementation on Body Composition in Overweight African-American Women (1999,
  14. Genetically Modified Foods: Safety, Risks and Public Concerns—A Review (2013,
  15. Lipolytic Activity of Svetol®, A Decaffeinated Green Coffee Bean Extract (2014,
  16. Medium-Chain Triglycerides Are Advantageous in Promoting Weight Loss, Although Not Beneficial to Exercise Performance (2010,
  17. Molecular Mechanisms of the Anti-Obesity Effect of Bioactive Ingredients in Common Spices: A Review (2018,
  18. Psyllium: Medicine Plus Drug Information (2015,
  19. Randomized Trial of a High Protein, Partial Meal Replacement Program with or without Alternate Day Fasting: Similar Effects on Weight Loss, Retention Status, Nutritional, Metabolic, and Behavioral Outcomes (2018,
  20. Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review (2000,
  21. Serum Potassium Changes With Initiating Low-Carbohydrate Compared to a Low-Fat Weight Loss Diet in Type 2 Diabetes (2008,
  22. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Wholegrain Oat Intake on Weight Management and Glucolipid Metabolism in Overweight Type-2 Diabetics: A Randomized Control Trial (2016,
  23. Soy | NCCIH (2020,
  24. The 10 Best Weight Loss Drinks: What to Drink to Lose Weight Fast (2022,
  25. The Effects of Whey vs. Pea Protein on Physical Adaptations Following 8-Weeks of High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT): A Pilot Study (2019,
  26. Toxicological Evaluation of a Mixture of Astragalus Membranaceus and Panax Notoginseng Root Extracts (InnoSlim®) (2019,
  27. Why Are You Gaining Weight? Hormones Might Be the Problem (2021,
  28. Xantham Gum: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dose, & Precautions (n.d.,
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