What Are The Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Diabetics in 2017?

Whether you have been advised to lose weight for health reasons or simply wish to shed a few pounds for summer, meal replacement shakes often form part of a diet plan.

Most people can pick from any brand to suit their taste or budget, but if you suffer from diabetes the choices are rather more limited; so what are the best meal replacement shakes for diabetics in 2017? Let’s take a look and find out.

Who Needs Meal Replacement Shakes?

At some time in our lives most of us will need to lose a little weight, whether it is to look good on the beach in the summer or to fit into a new outfit for a special event; shedding a few pounds makes us feel better and often healthier.

For some people, obesity is a real problem and is one of the leading causes of diabetes (source). For those people, controlling weight can be a real struggle, but also an important factor to improving quality of life.

Meal replacement shakes can be used as part of a weight loss plan to help retrain your body to expect less food while still providing all the nutrition it needs.

Anyone who is looking to adjust their dietary habits, lose weight or simply looking for a handy way to eat on the run without losing out on good nutrition might consider a meal replacement shake (MRS).

Diabetics specifically will need to look out for products where the sugar and carbohydrate content can help with glycemic control. Diabetics are also recommended to consume at least the minimum RDA of fiber, which can be found in many MRS.

The modern world can be a busy, hectic place which leaves little time to sit and enjoy a proper meal. The days of the long lunch break are rare and many people choose to eat at their desk or grab a snack between meetings.

Skipping breakfast and eating on the run might save time, but your body needs proper fuel to function. Meal replacement shakes can be a handy substitute for anyone whose lifestyle leaves little time for ‘proper’ meals.

What do Meal Replacement Shakes do?

Commercially available products seek to provide all the nutrition of a balanced meal in one single serving drink. Combining protein, vitamins and complex carbohydrates in a milkshake style product, they aim to curb hunger pangs while giving your body everything it needs to function correctly.

Basically speaking, instead of eating a normal meal or grabbing something from the local fast food joint, you can carry a shake around with you and get all the nutrition you need in a single drink.

As well as saving time, your stomach slowly becomes accustomed to receiving less food and over time it will take less food to feel full. This means you can gradually retrain your body to a healthier eating regime and lose weight in a controlled and healthy way.

Some MRS are specifically designed to be part of a proprietary weight loss program, while others claim to build muscle, promote wellness, strengthen bones, help digestion and generally be a tasty drink.

The main point of a good MRS is that is contains a balance of essential nutrients while making you feel less hungry and not tasting like something even poor starving Oliver Twist might reject.

Which is the Right Meal Replacement Shake for me?

Most people can choose a product simply based on taste or price. Diabetics however need to be especially careful when choosing anything which might upset their insulin balance.

Sugar content is extremely important and this should be a major factor when choosing a product. However, a recent study suggests “the best mix of carbohydrate, protein, and fat depends on the individual metabolic goals and preferences of the person with diabetes” (Source)

If you have been advised to lose weight by your doctor, they may have referred you to a nutritionist who can suggest products that should compliment a diet plans specific to you. If you are looking to find products by yourself, here are some things to look out for:

  • Low sugar content
  • Slow digestible carbohydrates
  • Balanced nutritional content
  • Physician recommended

Obviously these are only guidelines and if you are in any doubt about a product’s suitability you should consult a doctor. If at any time you feel unwell while using meal replacements you should also consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Many of the companies have a helpline or Q&A section of their website where you can find answers to frequently asked questions or submit a specific request about your own concerns. Don’t be afraid to use these facilities, when you have dietary restrictions, having all the information you need for peace of mind is important before putting something into your body.

Do not be tempted to replace too many meals with shakes as rapid weight loss can be harmful; again consult a doctor or nutritionist if you are unsure. Following ‘fad’ or ‘crash’ diet can be just as dangerous to your health as being overweight.

What are the Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Diabetics in 2017

To help with your search for some of the best MRS on the market, I’ve looked at five that can help with a calorie-controlled diet. They should provide a much needed boost of energy during a busy day where lunch seems like something other people have time for and breakfast is but a dim memory



Our rating

These shakes come in a variety of flavors and also a ‘Hunger Smart’ 10oz version.

The 8oz bottle contains their own Carbsteady formula which helps lower the chance of blood sugar spikes. This product comes in a 16 pack of ready made shakes, however, there is also a powder form available.

Packed with nutrients, they offer a modest 10 grams of protein, with all essential vitamins and minerals.


  • Ready made shake
  • 8 and 10 oz options
  • Powder form also available
  • Specifically for diabetics
  • Recommended by doctors and nutritionists
  • Slow release carbohydrates
  • 10 grams of protein
  • Variety of flavors
  • Essential vitamins and minerals


  • Only recommended for occasional meal replacement
  • Poor taste



Our rating

Specially formulated for people with diabetes, this is a true meal replacement providing a balance of low levels of carbohydrates, 16 grams of protein and all essential vitamins and minerals.

Coming from the well known manufacturer Nestle, they come in three flavors of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla in a handy 8oz ready made serving. This product comes in a 24 pack at a reasonable price.


  • Designed for diabetics
  • 16 grams of protein
  • Ready made shake
  • Well known manufacturer
  • Low in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Includes all essential vitamins and minerals
  • Available in multiple flavor options
  • 24 pack
  • Reasonable price


  • Not for individuals with galactosemia



Our rating

This meal replacement shake from IDLife is not specifically designed for diabetics, however, it has such a low carb and sugar content that it should be okay to consume.

This product is an all natural, real food meal replacement. Made with only 7 ingredients, it contains 23 grams of whey protein from grass-fed cows.

This meal replacement shake is non GMO, gluten free, soy free, lactose free and hormone free. The downside is, you may have to sell a kidney in order to afford it!


  • Ready made shake
  • Made from only 7 ingredients
  • 23 grams of protein per serving
  • Protein from grass-fed cows
  • Non GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose free
  • Soy free
  • Hormone free
  • Low in carbohydrates and sugars


  • Expensive
  • Not specifically recommended for diabetes



Our rating

These shakes from Atkins are for chocoholics as they are closest to a real chocolaty snack. Probably substantial enough to make you feel full for a while depending on how much you are used to eating.

While not specifically designed for diabetics, they are very low on carbs and sugar meaning they should suit a diabetic diet.

Each serving offers 20 grams of whey protein to promote satiety and a blend of essential vitamins and minerals and are only 160 calories.

Although they are well priced and may suit those on a budget, they are nowhere near as nutritionally sound as some other products.


  • Ready made shake
  • 20 grams of whey protein per serving
  • Low in calories
  • Low in carbs and sugar
  • All essential vitamins and minerals added
  • Excellent taste
  • Good price


  • Not specifically recommended for diabetes
  • Less nutritious than competitive products



Our rating

This product from Enlive offers a ready made meal replacement shake that offers 20 grams of protein per serving.

Few downfalls with this one. Although many people who tried them really love this product, they are full of calories (300 per serving!), carbs and sugar.

These might work well for diabetics if they are split into two servings. Therefore, if you are the kind of person who has a super hectic schedule and has no time for meals between meetings. Splitting these over two separate parts of the day may work well.


  • 20 grams of protein
  • Ready mixed shake
  • Added vitamins and minerals


  • High calorific value
  • High in both sugar and carbs

And The Winner Is…

In the end there really isn’t a lot to choose between the Glucerna and the Boost as both were designed for diabetics and both come in the standard Neapolitan flavors.

There is a slight difference in price but not enough for one of them to be the stand out value for money buy.

For me personally, it has to be the Glucerna meal replacement shake that takes the overall title of best meal replacement shake for diabetics in 2017 simply because it is recommended by both doctors and nutritionists for use by people with diabetes, this can give you that little bit extra confidence in the quality of the product.

Helen Sanders

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!

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