5 Side Effects Of Meal Replacement Shakes You Can Experience

5 Side Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes You Can Experience

Last Updated on July, 2024

If you want to lose a few extra pounds, a meal replacement shake is one of the best things worth trying. They’re exceptional for weight loss and have been used for decades. But, that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and start drinking just any meal replacement shakes.

Knowing how to maintain a healthy diet while consuming dietary supplements is important. If you don’t do that, you will face some negative effects.

We will discuss more of this by discussing the side effects of meal replacement shakes. If you’re scared of running into any trouble while consuming these, keep reading to learn more about the supplements and what effects you might run into while drinking them.

What is a Meal Replacement Shake?

Meal replacements are concepts more than anything else. Any nutritional supplements that can fill you up and have whole-food nutrition qualify as meal shakes. They’re filled with essential nutrients and help you consume fewer calories throughout the day.

Alternatively, these nutrient-dense drinks can also help you get enough calories if you have a low-calorie intake.

Whether they help with weight loss/gain or weight management depends on the product in question. It also depends on how you consume them.

Long story short, they’re really helpful supplements made with whole foods. They can provide just as much protein as a protein powder while offering healthy fats, amino acids, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

They’re also exceptional for gut health and promote weight loss in most cases. So, what’s the catch? 

Like anything, there are certain drawbacks to a liquid meal replacement. Now that we’ve talked a bit about what purpose they serve let’s cover a few of what these drawbacks might be.

5 Side Effects of Drinking Meal Replacement Shakes

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1. Effects Of Artificial Additions

These shakes are good for losing weight and replacing meals while managing nutrient intake. But, the ingredients that make this possible aren’t always the healthiest. 

For example, meal shakes often include artificial ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, to avoid too much sugar.

The bad part is that there’s not much point in replacing sugar if you use something just as bad or even worse as an alternative. So YES- artificial sweeteners are potentially even worse. 

Studies have shown that these ingredients can lead to several illnesses after regular consumption. 

This might even include life-changing problems such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, issues with the digestive tract, and kidney stones. Avoid all of this by choosing a shake without anything artificial.

2. Stomach Aches

Most meal replacement shakes generally promote healthy eating.

Meal Replacement shakes are especially ideal for digestive health because of the digestive enzymes. But, despite being nutrient-rich foods, there are some cases in which they might cause stomach problems.

Like a protein shake might cause flatulence or bloating at first, meal replacement shakes might do the same. Again, like protein shakes, they might cause constipation and diarrhea. This is a common problem in high-fiber foods. 

The best way to counteract this is to balance your food intake. Make sure to avoid consuming too many fatty acids and regularly eat solid foods or meals as a part of your diet plan. Eating an entire meal with balanced nutrition will help prevent bad digestive symptoms.

You can also consider the following meal replacement shakes for Gastroparesis.

3. Blood Sugar Spikes

Meal replacement shakes aren’t usually recommended for those with diabetes. This side effect is pretty much the reason for that. In addition, some meal replacements contain certain ingredients that can cause spikes in sugar levels

We don’t have to explain exactly why this is so horrible. Besides, if you’ve got diabetes, we’re sure you can figure that one out yourself. On the bright side, you can buy a meal replacement shake suitable for those with diabetes

We recommend consulting a registered dietitian before doing so. While weight loss and easy nutrition are tempting, your health is much more important. So, make sure to seek professional medical advice before trying anything out.

4. Weakness and Fatigue

Meal replacement shakes mainly have the same benefits as a quick meal does. But, too much of the same thing will always cause problems for you. For example, they can cause weakness because of a lack of certain nutrients.

These supplements contain macronutrients and even some helpful micronutrients like vitamin C. But vitamins and minerals alone aren’t enough. 

There are many nutrients out there, and you need to eat other foods to get them. If you drink too many meal shakes, you’ll miss out on other meals, which will result in side effects like sickness or weakness.

Even if you have a very busy schedule, you should try eating one or two meals daily. If you’re fatigued, stick to replacing only one meal daily. Trying to lose weight isn’t worth getting a bad health condition.

But, what is the best time to have it. Check out this guide.

5. They Might Cause Weight Gain!

While they’re meant for loss, these popular supplements can make you gain weight if you aren’t careful! Unfortunately, this is a well-studied issue usually resulting from improper planning.

For example, some meal replacement shakes might make you feel hungry just an hour or two after drinking them. Hunger can lead to you eating more meals than planned, which translates to eating more calories than planned. 

When you eat more calories, you put on more pounds. This is a problem many have gotten themselves into, but you don’t have to worry. 

Remember our tip, and you’ll be fine; always buy a meal replacement that can ACTUALLY REPLACE A MEAL. 

This means that the shake should have good ingredients made with whole foods and at least 300-400 calories per serving unless you plan to use it as a snack. 

Also, remember that they aren’t a long-term weight solution, and you’ll have to stay physically active for the results to last.

If you are looking to gain weight with meal replacement shake, we got you with the best high calorie meal replacement products. Go through this guide.

Ingredients to Avoid in Meal Replacement Shakes

3 kinds of ingredients to avoid in Meal Replacement Shakes

There’s not much to say about this, specifically. There are so many ingredients worth avoiding, or nearly none at all. This usually depends on you and your body’s tolerances.

Not everyone can eat everything. Some people are allergic to certain ingredients. Some people aren’t allergic to anything at all but don’t have a tolerance for something too sweet. In short, all of this depends on you and how your body functions. 

Just one of the many little neat things that make us all unique as human beings.

One thing to avoid for sure is anything artificial. You should avoid sugars and ingredients with too many harmful acids or fats.

As for the rest, it depends on what food ingredients you can handle. For example, if you have an issue with dairy products, avoid those. Likewise, avoid that if you’re allergic to nuts, soy, or anything else.

The topic is much too vast and complicated to figure out like this. So instead, you should consult a registered dietitian if you’re worried about allergens or other issues. They’ll help you choose the best meal replacements for yourself.

Check out our reviews on the best dairy-free meal replacement products.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes

We’ve talked about side effects and some things to avoid. So, let’s talk about some of the better things that a meal replacement shake can offer:

  • Meal replacement shakes offer essential nutrition your body needs to function properly throughout the day. They can usually offer more protein and healthy carbs than one whole meal while offering micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
  • Unlike a protein shake, they’re good at filling you up. If you buy/make the right meal replacement shakes, they’ll fill you up for 4-5 hours at a time. This can help avoid unhealthy snacking and overeating. It’s good for anyone who wants to decrease the number of meals they have daily.
  • Meal replacement shakes are especially good at offering protein. Like protein shakes, they usually have more than 20 grams of protein in each serving. If you’re looking to lose weight, that’s a great thing. It’ll make it easier to shed some pounds while making it easier to gain muscle.
  • These supplements are exceptional for weight loss. Since it helps you cut down on calories and offer lots of healthy nutrition, a meal replacement is a great way to improve your diet and lose some extra weight.
  • If you choose the right meal replacement, you’ll get many health benefits. They improve your diet and have a positive effect on the digestive tract. What’s more, they offer great relief to anyone facing issues like constipation, stomach aches, or any other issue that might make it hard to eat.

How to Choose a Meal Replacement Shake?

As you can see in the benefits, we’ve mentioned the “right meal replacement” a few times. This refers to any shake that’ll help you rather than making you suffer from side effects.

How do you choose one of these? Well, we’re here to help with that too. Here are a few things you need to watch out for to pick the perfect meal replacement. Then, read through them to learn how to avoid any side effects while ensuring you can get all the benefits we mentioned.

  • As we mentioned in our list of ingredients to avoid, you need to watch out for artificial additives first. Make sure to always exclude these from your diet. They’re highly unhealthy. If you make them a regular part of your diet, you’ll surely run into issues. Always choose a meal replacement that doesn’t have any of these.
  • Secondly, take a good, close look at the macronutrient content of each shake. You’ll want something with high protein and little (or no) sugar. Additionally, it would help to look for an option with plenty of healthy carbs and fats inside.
  • Price is one of the most important things to watch out for. If you’re looking to buy meal replacements, you’ll want something relatively cheap and not overly expensive. That’s because you’ll purchase these supplements often if they’re a regular part of your diet, which means regular spending.
  • We don’t have to spell this out for you; remember to not get anything with allergens that might affect you. Make sure that the ingredients inside the shake match what your diet can handle so you don’t run into medical issues.
  • Lastly, one of the most important steps in choosing a meal replacement shake is researching others’ experiences. Look online for reviews of the specific meal shake you’re interested in purchasing. Contact people that have tried them and ask how the experience was for them. Steps like this are vital for choosing the perfect shake.

Check our tested and rated best meal replacement shakes on the market.


We’ve highlighted everything you need to know about the side effects of meal replacement shakes, including how you can avoid them. With this in mind, you can decide about meal shakes.

If you’re uncertain about adding these to your diet, remember what we’ve said about their benefits and choose the right meal replacement shake. Once you purchase/make one with our tips kept in mind, you’re sure to avoid any issues!

Still confused or uncertain about something? Let us know in the comments! We’ll check out any queries you guys have and help you through them, so make sure you leave a comment to let us know.


Yes, meal replacements can be consumed daily, however, it is recommended not to have more than two per day.

If you only drink meal replacement shakes, you can experience weakness and negative health conditions due to lack of calories.

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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband whom she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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