If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Whether you’ve decided to start a ketogenic diet as part of a larger lifestyle reset project mid-pandemic, or you’ve been in ketosis for basically years now, the fact remains that sometimes you do not want to cook. Keto shakes are easy meal replacements, but shopping for keto shakes takes some research. Does it contain ingredients that are going to throw your whole system out of whack? Is it filling enough to get you through the afternoon? Does it taste like chalk?
How Does a Keto Diet Work?
A ketogenic diet is based on maintaining a metabolic state of “ketosis,” achieved through a low-carb, high-fat diet. Generally speaking, a ketogenic diet is comprised of five percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein, and 70 percent fat. When you’re in ketosis, your body is highly efficient at burning fat for energy, which is why it is such an effective weight-loss program. The diet has also been shown to have other positive health effects, like boosting insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes or who are pre-diabetic.
How Do Keto Shakes Work?
Unfortunately, maintaining ketosis is a delicate balance, which makes any food choice a more complicated proposition. Which brings us back to keto meal replacement shakes. In accordance with the ketogenic principles, keto shakes should be high in fat and low in carbs and sugars. Keto dieters also look out for ingredients like MCT oils and fat supplements that are easier to digest than what you find in other foods. Since a keto diet requires such specific ratios, it’s also important that meal replacement shakes are actually filling, so you’re not starving until your next meal.
Some keto shakes can also be repurposed in cooking or as coffee creamers, which is certainly a bonus. It’s also important that the shake taste good, because no one deserves a bland and clumpy semi-liquid breakfast.
Before you start on any diet or look for meal replacement options, make sure to consult with your doctor or dietician to make sure it’s right for you. If you’ve got the “okay” and are looking for some easy, tasty, options, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular keto shakes below.
1. ZonePerfect Keto Shake
In keto-speak, “macros” refer to macronutrients found in carbs, protein, and fats. “True keto macros” refers to the 5-25-75 percent ratio of calories from each, respectively, that you’re supposed to consume to maintain ketosis. Obviously, this requires a lot of precise calculations throughout the day. The calories in Zone Perfect keto shakes are already in true keto macros, meaning the percentage of calories from each macro aligns with the ideal keto ratio.
That’s why Zone Perfect takes top billing for sheer lack-of-math. It’s a meal you don’t have to think about which is what you really need. We like that it contains MCTs, there are no artificial sweeteners or flavors, and that it really does fill you up. If you take ketosis seriously, this is our pick.
Pros: Very filling and easy to grab and go.
Cons: It can be on the chalky side.
2. SlimFast Keto Meal Replacement Shake
Weight loss is kind of SlimFast’s whole thing, so it’s not a huge shocker that this keto shake is a great pick if your primary goal is to shed pounds. The macro ratio isn’t as precise as ZonePerfect, but the high fat content relative to protein is definitely keto-friendly, and it includes boosters like grass-fed butter, whey and collagen protein, and the all-important MCTs. It is also a standout for taste, which is creamy and sweet.
Pros: Tasty and great for weight loss.
Cons: The product comes in relatively small quantities.
3. Keto Cheesecake Shake Mix
The keto diet doesn’t lend itself well to satisfying a sweet tooth, which is why we’ve included this keto cheesecake shake mix in our roundup. For one thing, it really does taste like cheesecake. We also like that it is made with real cream cheese, has macro-friendly 15 grams of fat, and it’s gluten free.
It is also one of the more versatile mixes on our list. Make it into a shake, use it to make a keto-friendly cheesecake dessert, freeze it and eat it like ice cream, whatever. Treat yourself.
Pros: Satisfies sugar cravings, with good macros for a keto diet.
Cons: Not ideal if you’re sensitive to sucralose.
4. Left Coast Performance Keto Chocolate Shake
The 15 grams of protein makes this shake ideal for post-workout on a keto diet, though we also like it for breakfast or mixed with coffee as a creamer.
Perhaps the biggest reason to like this mix is the ingredient list, which is comprehensive and includes collagen powder, MCT powder, and protein powder all in one. We also like the 20 grams of fat content, one gram of net carbs, and zero sugar.
Keto shakes with this much fat can sometimes have an unpleasant MCT flavor, but you don’t really find that in this mix, which is a major bonus. Like the cheesecake mix, this chocolate power is versatile and mixes well — whether that’s with milk, water, or morning coffee — and satisfies sugar cravings.
Pros: Includes three supplement powders in one and doesn’t compromise taste.
Cons: Only comes in a large two-pound tub, which may not be convenient for those with small spaces.