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Do you often get confused about which one: a meal replacement shake or a protein shake is the best for you? If you do, you are not alone. Many people get confused between the two and often end up making the wrong choice. This mistake not only leads to weight gain or prevents muscle gain but pushes one further away from their goals.

The best way to make a choice is to consider getting a Dietitian’s opinion, which will be well guided and fit to suit your goal.

Suggested read – Meal Replacement Shakes – Good or Bad for Weight Loss?

So, what sets a Meal Replacement Shake apart from a Protein Shake?

Weight loss shakes or meal replacement shakes are formulated specifically to support weight loss. The whole idea is to replace either one of your main meals with this drink which is usually low in calories and nutritionally balanced.

Whereas, Protein shakes are supposed to be taken as protein supplement alone. Fitness enthusiasts and people who find it difficult to meet their daily protein needs are the ones protein shakes work well for.

Here is a 10 second takeaway for the major difference between the two health drinks:

Protein Shake Meal Replacement Shake
  • Tones and Firms skin
  • Helps lose weight
  • Meant to be taken pre or post workout
  • Is a meal replacement
  • Packed with protein
  • Has some amount of protein
  • Low in calories
  • May contain fewer calories or hunger blocker
  • Contains BCAA
  • May not contain BCAA


Meal Replacement Shake:

A meal replacement shake usually has some amount of protein but is not necessarily protein rich. This is where most people get confused. The protein content in a meal replacement shake is just enough to help prevent hunger pangs and help keep you full for longer. At the same time, you also need to look at the quantity and quality of protein you get. Opt for a meal replacement shake that gives you at least 15-20 gm. of protein per serving.

Next thing you need to pay attention closely to, is the total carbohydrate content. While meal replacement shakes will have some amount of carbohydrate, do look for the sources. Usually, meal replacement shakes are low in sugar and high in fire thus being suitable even for diabetics. However, look out for the added sugar content; higher the amount of added sugar per serving that much will be your empty calorie consumption.

Suggested read – Do Meal Replacement Shakes Work for Weight Loss?

And before you settle on a meal replacement shake, check for the inclusion of necessary multivitamins and minerals. Since you will be replacing an entire meal, a meal replacement should be able to help you give the same benefit of a balanced diet. Look out if the product is fortified with additional ingredients to boost your health and fitness.

What are the uses for a Meal Replacement Shakes?

  • Replaces a meal- Meal replacement shakes are formulated in such a way, that they make up for the complete nutrition of the replaced meal.
  • Weight loss- These shakes work by helping you cut down on calories by being low in calories but high on nutrition.
  • Protein content- The protein present in these shakes is usually the right amount to help keep you full for longer so that you no longer feel hunger pangs or cravings. Taken in combination with an overall protein rich diet, you will see the results in no time!

Protein Shake:

Unlike Meal Replacement Shakes, Protein shakes are not specifically meant to help you lose weight but rather fat loss and muscle gain.  The muscles broken down during exercise need fuel to repair and build on to become even stronger and better. This is where the protein supplement comes in. It provides the necessary fuel to the muscles and helps in the overall muscle synthesis process.

Suggested read – Is it safe for Teens to drink Protein Shakes?

As per the RDA, the requirement for protein in Indians is 0.8-1.0 gm/ kg body weight per day (for sedentary people). However, if you workout on a regular basis, this requirement increases upto 1.2-1.5 gm/ kg body weight per day, depending on the activity level. Getting enough protein in a day can be a tough job unless you include all the food groups rich in complete protein (eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, soy, etc.).  

That is why, investing in a protein shake makes much more sense as they are convenient in a fast paced life, help you meet daily protein demand and you can opt for the variety that suits you best. Choose a protein shake that gives you anywhere between 25-30 gm. of protein per serving for optimum absorption and utilization by the body. Protein shakes will also have other factors like BCAA included as muscle fuel. Go for a protein shake that contains 5 gm. or more of BCAA.

Suggested read – The Best Protein Shake for Energy & Weight Loss- 3 Must Have Ingredients

What are the uses for a Protein Shake?

  • Used to tone and firm the body- When you exercise, the muscle fibers tear down. This is a natural process. However, to build them back again, you need efficient amount of protein. A protein shake is an efficient and quick-acting supplement that does the work.
  • Increases stamina- Protein shakes are not particularly aimed at weight loss but rather help in fat reduction. Also, with the strengthening and repair of muscle fibers (combined with regular exercise of course!) it helps you boost your energy levels.
  • Low caloric in nature- As mentioned earlier, protein shakes are targeted at helping you with efficient protein intake and therefore are low in overall calories. Unlike meal replacement shakes, the carbohydrate and fat content in a protein shake is lower and protein content is higher.

Takeaway note:

Now that the difference between both is laid out, it should be easier for you to choose the best suitable product for yourself.

If your main target is to lose weight, you need a high quality meal replacement shake to help reach that goal.

However, if you are looking to bring down or maintain your fat% or looking for a healthy post workout high protein snack, you will need a good quality protein shake.

In any case, supplements only work best when change is applied to overall lifestyle and eating habits. Unless a healthy change is brought to both, you might not get to see the desired changes. Therefore, making gradual but progressive changes to lifestyle goes a long way to achieve and maintain long term health goals.


Add OZIVA Protein & Herbs Shake to Your Diet if your diet is lacking in proteins.

If you want a detailed nutrition consultation, drop us a mail at or call us on 9769298556 and our experts will help you with your fitness goal

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