A keto shake is a low-carb meal replacement shake that typically uses a person’s favorite non-carbonated (low-carb) beverage as a vehicle. People on the keto diet use them to stay in ketosis. Others use them because they can help maintain optimal health.
Keto shakes come in many different flavors and feature a variety of complementary additives. Those additives include MCT oil for energy and to promote fat burning, collagen for healthy skin and strong, flexible muscles, and coconut oil to provide healthy fats to power your ketogenic furnace.
Keto shakes have become incredibly popular with new brands and formulas hitting the market all the time. We subjected dozens of today’s most popular ones to our critical eye and determined that the following are the 10 best keto shakes of 2021.
1. Kiss My Keto Collagen Low-Carb Chocolate Shake
Kiss My Keto produces a full range of keto products, with this being one of the highlights of their product line. It is low in carbs and high in energy-producing MCT oil along with muscle and skin-enhancing collagen. The ingredient list is not so dissimilar to a number of other low-carb keto shakes. But where it really gains separation from most of the field is with its taste.
Kiss My Keto Collagen Chocolate Shake is the best tasting keto shake we tested. And we tested a lot. If there is a downside here it is the relatively significant sodium content. That undoubtedly has some bearing on the flavor. But it needs to be mentioned.
2. Garden of Life Keto Meal Shake
When we thought of companies that might produce keto shakes Garden of Life is not one that came to mind. They have long been known exclusively for their vitamin and mineral supplements. But here they are with one of the best keto shakes on the market.
Their Keto Meal Shake provides a nice balance between protein, fat and carbs. And tosses in 1.5 billion CFU of probiotics for gut health along with MCT oil for enhanced energy. It is certified keto, contains no GMOs and is entirely gluten-free. The taste is neither great nor exceptional. We’ll call it good. And it can easily be spruced up a bit with some strawberries if you want.
3. Ketologie Collagen Chocolate Keto Shake
Ketologie Collagen Keto Shake is a little higher in carbs then we normally like to see but not so high as to be a deal breaker. And besides, it has other things going for it, such as the combination of coconut oil, collagen peptides and medium chain triglycerides for energy and strong muscles. It can be used either as a stand-alone shake or as an additive for your morning coffee.
We prefer it as a shake because the chocolate flavor is well-considered, with just the right amount of stevia and erythritol for sweetening. If you are on a strict keto diet you might want to use it right before a workout to burn off those couple of extra grams of carbs.
4. Perfect Keto Shake with Collagen and MCT Oil
Perfect Keto is a big deal in the keto diet world. They entered the keto space early and carved out a substantial notch for themselves. They produce every imaginable type of keto diet-related product, including this Keto Shake with Collagen and MCT Oil.
This shake obtains all its fat from MCT oil and each scoop provides up to 10 grams of collagen for building strong, flexible muscles and healthy skin. There is also 100 mg of potassium per serving to help enable efficient muscle contraction. Use it as a stand alone shake, add it to your coffee or, if you are not counting carbs, toss it in your regular protein shake to ramp up your workouts.
5. SlimFast Keto Meal Replacement Shake
The Slim Fast Keto Meal Replacement Shake is tastier than we expected it to be, and provides a wealth of vitamins and minerals to go with MCT oil, coconut oil and whey protein. It may be the most well-balanced shake from a nutritional standpoint.
And with the company’s more than 40 years in the meal replacement shake business, the quality is beyond reproach. If there is a downside it’s the 8 grams of carbs per serving.
6. Top Notch Nutrition Super Collagen Protein Powder
All the ingredients in this Super Collagen Protein Powder shake mix are indeed top notch. There’s MCT oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter powder, avocado powder and plenty of milk-derived fats to help power your keto body.
It is also very low in carbs, gluten-free, GMO-free and has very little sodium. Where it came up a bit short for us was in the chocolate taste department. Not bad. Just nothing terribly special.
7. KetoLogic Keto Meal Replacement Shake
The KetoLogic Keto Meal Replacement Shake is loaded with flavor and chock full of vitamins and minerals. There is also MCT oil, coconut oil and plenty of healthy fats to keep you going. The KetoLogic Meal Replacement is fine as a before workout, or between meal, keto pick me up.
But it is not really up to the task of being a true meal replacement shake. Simply because it is not that filling. Keto diet aficionados may also take issue with the 7 grams of net carbs per serving.
8. LevelUp Grass-fed Keto Protein Powder
It can be confusing when a keto shake markets itself as a protein powder, and that’s what LevelUp does. But we are here to testify that this is more than just your average protein powder.
It is very low in carbs, contains plenty of beneficial fats to power your keto motor and can be served either cold like a shake or hot like hot chocolate. It is also quite filling so it makes a perfectly acceptable replacement meal.
9. Keto Science Ketogenic Meal Shake
Keto Science Meal Shake has lots of beneficial fat you need for your low-carb diet, contains only 2 grams of carbs and features a panoply of vitamins and minerals.
Like most keto meal shakes it is available in either chocolate or vanilla. If we had to pick we would opt for the vanilla. This keto shake powder is certified paleo and keto-friendly and it is one of the more reasonably priced options on the market.
10. American Metabolix Keto Meal Vanilla Cake
The last of our best keto shakes comes from American Metabolix. Their Keto Meal Vanilla Shake is low in carbohydrates, high in protein and rich in beneficial saturated fats. It is also perhaps the best tasting of the many vanilla cake-flavored powders on the market.
That’s the good news. The not so good news is that it is inextricably high in cholesterol for some reason. If you can get past that, it is reasonably priced, reasonably pure and made in the US.
What is a Keto Shake?
A keto shake is a low-carb meal replacement shake. It emulates aspects of ketosis (1) by adhering to the dietary principles of the keto diet. Ketosis is your body’s fallback position for obtaining the energy necessary to power basic functions. If you starve the body of its preferred power source (carbs), it will start producing ketones that can metabolize fat for energy instead. When the body has made that switch from burning carbs to burning fat you are said to be in ketosis.
If you are already in a ketogenic state because you adhere to a strict, low-carb diet, keto shakes can make it easier for you to maintain ketosis. However, if you continue to eat a normal, carb-heavy diet, all the keto shakes in the world will not tip you over into ketosis. That is because, if given a choice, the body will always default to burning carbs for energy if carbs are available. So it is important to keep ketosis expectations in check when it comes to keto shakes. Unless, that is, you are willing to go all-in on the low carb diet.
Who Should Drink Keto Shakes?
Anyone on a low carb diet who wants to stay in ketosis – If you are on a low-carb diet and enjoying its many benefits keto shakes can make it easier for you to adhere to your diet. How? If there is a common complaint about the keto diet it is that, by removing all but a tiny amount of carbs, you severely restrict your food choices. So anything that can expand your low-carb diet menu into another delicious, keto-friendly direction is a good thing.
Anyone who wants to watch their weight for general health purposes – Any excess carbs that are not immediately metabolized into energy become fat and take up residence around your waist (2). There they wait patiently for some future day when they will be needed. The thing is, for most people that day never comes. (If you have any doubts about whether you are eating too many carbs, look at your stomach.) Having low-carb keto shakes on hand to drink when you are feeling hungry can help you keep your weight under control.
Anyone who wants a more satisfying workout – Keto shakes are low in carbs but they tend to be high in protein. And since proteins are the building blocks of muscle (3) that will help you achieve a more satisfying result from your workouts. Some keto shake powders contain caffeine as well, which will provide you a necessary boost to jump start your workout. If your keto shake does not, you can toss some cold coffee into the blender to give it a kick.
What are the Benefits of a Keto Shake?
Regardless of whether you are on a strict low-carb diet or not, keto shakes can provide a wealth of benefits both short term and long term.
Keto shakes provide a convenient and healthy meal replacement option – Most of us eat significantly more carbs than we actually need (4). By replacing one carb-heavy meal per day with a low-carb keto shake you will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight while still enjoying proper nutrition. But even if weight is not an issue, a keto shake is a great idea for people on the go with no time to indulge in a traditional meal.
Keto shakes help you keep your blood sugar under control – One of the most unfortunate results of eating too many carbs is increased insulin resistance. That leads to out of control blood sugars, and eventually, diabetes (5). It is typically a lengthy process characterized by a state of prediabetes (6) before actual type II diabetes takes hold. But diabetes does not have to be inevitable. By replacing trips to the fast food joint with low-carb, nutritious keto shakes you can start to right the blood sugar ship and set yourself on a path to better health.
Keto shakes contain almost no carbs – We hate to keep beating the same drum but it is important that people get in the habit of controlling their carb intake. There is a lot of carb confusion bouncing around the internet at the moment. But, as we said earlier, if you want the simplest test imaginable to determine if you are eating too many carbs, just look at your gut. The truth is there for all to see. Keto shakes are a convenient way to scale back your carb intake without having to go full-blown keto.
Keto shakes provide the fat you need – To the uninitiated that may seem like a strange thing to say. But if you know anything about ketosis you know that, in the absence of carbs, you need to supply your body with ample amounts of fat that it can metabolize to keep you running. Some of that will come from fat stores around your waist and elsewhere. But you will also need to supply some directly via your diet (7). Keto shakes are a great way to get this necessary fat.
Keto shakes can shore up your keto diet – Getting your body into a state of ketosis is easy. Keeping it there when carbs are whispering sweet nothings in your ear all the time is hard. You need convenient, tasty, keto-friendly foods at the ready to avert disaster during periods when you may be tempted to let your guard down. By having the option to whip up a keto shake, you can get through the rough patches and continue to enjoy the benefits of your low-carb diet.
Keto shakes can help enhance cognitive function – Your brain needs blood to survive and operate. As such, what is in that blood is of crucial importance. Researchers have known for years that there is a link between high blood sugar and compromised brain function (8). The good news is low carb keto shakes can help restore proper blood sugar levels. That will help your brain operate more efficiently.
Keto shakes can help reduce inflammation – Eating fewer carbs reduces free radical (9) production in the body. This is important because fewer free radicals typically equals less inflammation. Inflammation is part of our natural immune response. Except that sometimes it goes rogue and leads to all sorts of negative effects, including heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis (10). Keto shakes help you keep carb intake in check and reduce inflammation.
Keto shakes can help increase endurance – If your weight is under control, your blood sugars are stable, and you are getting the healthy fat and protein you need, you will likely enjoy higher levels of physical endurance. By replacing carb-heavy meals with Keto shakes you will give yourself a chance to enjoy those benefits, and feel more vigorous and vital as well.
Keto shakes are cost-effective healthcare – Excessive carb intake can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, fatigue, reduced brain function and more. With the cost of healthcare in America going through the roof, no one can afford to invite unnecessary problems (11). Whether you are on a low-carb diet or not, keto shakes can help you bring your carb intake into line with where it is supposed to be, and save you a boatload on medical bills down the line.
Keto shakes can produce healthier skin – Speaking of inflammation: chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema often walk hand in hand with inflammation. The problem is, no one is quite sure whether eczema causes inflammation or inflammation causes eczema (12) and other skin conditions. What is known is that if you replace carb-heavy meals with keto shakes you will reduce free radical production and inflammation, with the result being healthier skin.
Can Keto Shakes Put Me Into Ketosis?
Unfortunately, anyone hoping that keto shakes represent a shortcut to ketosis is going to be disappointed. While keto shakes will provide lots of benefits even if you are not in ketosis, they cannot put you there all by themselves. You will need to help by drastically reducing your carb intake on a regular and sustained basis.
It usually takes anywhere from one to three days for a person to achieve a ketogenic state once they eliminate most carbs from their diet. But if they do not maintain a disciplined attitude toward carb intake one big plate of spaghetti (13) with garlic bread can bounce them out of ketosis and they will need to start over. Keto shakes can provide a delicious alternative to that plate of spaghetti, and enable you to stay the course with ketosis.
Are Keto Shakes Safe?
Yes, keto shakes are safe. They are intended to augment your diet, not be your diet. Therefore, they present no particular threat regarding overall nutrition. For many people who are not in ketosis but use keto shakes as a way to balance their food intake, a keto shake might well be the safest thing they eat all day. For those who are on a low-carb diet and already in ketosis, keto shakes enable them to receive important nutrients and beneficial fats their bodies need for optimal performance.
Are There Any Side Effects to Keto Shakes?
If a person is not in ketosis, any side effects they feel are likely to be beneficial: stable blood sugars, stable weight, more energy, a clearer mind and more. Those in ketosis may experience some negative side effects – including the keto flu – that will more than likely be a result of the ketogenic state itself, and not the keto shakes.
The keto flu (14) is a combination of symptoms that arise after entering a ketogenic state. Many of those symptoms mimic the symptoms of a cold or flu (sore throat, headache, etc.), hence the term ‘keto flu’. When in a ketogenic state a person may also experience changes to their bowel movements, changes in mood and bad breath. Of course, these are usually offset by weight loss, more energy, a sharper mind, greater endurance and other benefits.
Can You Mix Other Ingredients With a Keto Shake?
There are a lot of different, keto-friendly ingredients you can add to a keto shake to make it more interesting and nutritious. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are low-carb fruits that will add a lot flavor-wise. Avocados, peanut butter, mint, coconut milk and various spices can also be added in whatever combination floats your boat. The possibilities, while not endless – (Sorry, no spaghetti in your keto shake!) – are numerous. All it takes is a little imagination.
The Bottom Line
Keto shakes provide an easy and convenient way for those on a low carb diet to optimize the benefits of that diet. They also enable others intent on maintaining a health weight to do so without having to make major changes to their diet or lifestyle.
In addition, keto shakes provide a wealth of other benefits including reduced inflammation, help with common skin conditions like eczema, and a reduced risk of long term health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
The myth that you need to be on a low-carb diet to derive any benefits from this type of keto replacement meal can now be put to rest. Keto shakes are for anyone who wants to enjoy a higher degree of overall health. Use the above information to help you decide which keto shake is right for you.
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