Meal replacement shakes and intermittent fasting.

Learn more about meal replacement shakes and intermittent fasting.

How to use meal replacements during intermittent fasting. 

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What is intermittent fasting? 

Intermittent fasting is a popular practice for weight loss and improving overall health. It involves restricting your eating schedule to certain hours of the day, or even going for a whole day without food. Popular approaches to intermittent fasting include: eating one day and fasting the next, eating for 5 days and fasting for 2, and eating within small window each day, ie. skipping breakfast and eating both lunch and dinner between 12 and 8 pm.

There are many reasons why people try intermittent fasting, the most common being that it can help with weight loss. Research suggests that intermittent fasting is about as effective as a traditional low-calorie diet for weight loss, which makes sense because fasting is usually accompanied by a calorie reduction.

Simply reducing your eating to a narrow window does not necessarily promote weight loss, however. In order to lose weight, you still have to burn more calories than you eat, and there is research to back that up. A rigorous one-year study published in 2022 shows that intermittent fasting without a calorie reduction will not help you lose weight.

What is a meal replacement shake? 

A meal replacement shake is a drink intended to replace the nutritional value of a meal, often with fewer calories. 

Can you drink meal replacement shakes during a fast? 

Every meal replacement has calories and nutrients (even when mixed with just water), so if you drink one during your fast, it will break your fast. 

Why use meal replacements during intermittent fasting? 

If you have ever done intermittent fasting, you know how hard it is. The hunger pangs can be brutal, which is where high protein meal replacements can help. A high protein meal replacement is not only an easy, convenient way to get quality nutrition, but it can also curb your cravings and prevent overeating.

Please note that not all meal replacement shakes are high in protein. Many are, but it is important to read the Nutrition Facts to confirm that yours has at least 20 grams of protein per serving.

Why protein? Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it keeps you feeling full for longer than fats and carbohydrates. Adding a high protein meal replacement to your intermittent fasting routine can therefore help you go for longer without feeling hungry. This is a key part of a successful fast. 

What are the best intermittent fasting meal replacement shakes? 

The right meal replacement shake can help you establish a successful intermittent fasting routine. That said, not all meal replacement shakes are created equal. Most meal replacements are packed with ingredients that can lead to painful side effects and long-term health concerns.

When you cut through all the marketing noise, meal replacements are just a quick and easy way to get your body the calories and nutrients it needs. Meal replacement shakes should not drastically differ from the other foods you regularly consume. Many meal replacement companies might attempt to convince you otherwise, however, by inundating you with unverified claims about their products, all in an effort to disguise the fact that they are selling crap. 

The heavily-processed and artificial junk in your meal replacement is not good for you. The only good it does is improve the bottom line of the company selling it to you. Do not allow yourself or your health to become casualties of mainstream marketing tactics. All you need is a meal replacement shake with a short list of simple, familiar ingredients. Continue reading to learn more.

Why drink wholesome?

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best intermittent fasting meal replacement shakes is that we do not use any food additives, period. Even in small quantities, these added ingredients can cause discomfort, particularly for individuals with sensitive stomachs.

Food additives undergo extensive processing, transforming them into something that no longer resembles real, whole foods. This transformation makes them challenging to digest and provides a longer window for your gut bacteria to break them down. As these bacteria work, they release gas, leading to symptoms like bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain.

This process can also slow down colonic transit – the time it takes for food to move through your colon – resulting in constipation. In some cases, partially digested food additives can cause your colon to either absorb excess water or hinder water absorption altogether. This is known as osmotic diarrhea, and explains why some individuals may suddenly feel the urge to visit the restroom after consuming a meal replacement shake.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacement shakes:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

Furthermore, regularly consuming food additives can disrupt the natural regulation processes in your intestines, causing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory disorders. Some additives, like artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also throw off the balance of your gut microbiome—the community of microorganisms residing in your gut. A well-balanced gut plays a crucial role in preventing inflammation and various chronic diseases.

the alternative:


drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best meal replacement shakes for intermittent fasting is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Other meal replacements contain whey and casein, both of which come from the cheese and yogurt production process. These ingredients are notorious for causing digestive problems.

Lactose, the sugar found in dairy products like whey and casein, is challenging for most adults to digest. As you now know, foods that are tough to digest often result in painful side effects. It is thus advisable to avoid whey and casein whenever you can.

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chocolate meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best intermittent fasting meal replacement shakes is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other meal replacement powders contain one or both of these protein sources.

Protein concentrates and isolates go through rigorous mechanical and chemical processing, sometimes involving solvents like hexane. As a result, what you eat is vastly different from whole, unprocessed food.

Your digestive system is naturally equipped to handle minimally processed or unprocessed foods, not protein concentrates or isolates. This is why research suggests that regularly consuming refined ingredients like these can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome. Once more, an imbalanced gut microbiome is a matter of significant concern.

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Instead of relying on protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best meal replacement shakes for intermittent fasting using egg whites and almonds. Protein sources like these, which undergo minimal processing, offer a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, whole foods like egg whites and almonds come packed with enzymes and digestive aids that make them easy for your body to break down. Egg whites have the added benefit of being low in fiber, low in FODMAPs, alkaline (helping maintain a healthy gut pH), and bioactive (encouraging the growth of healthy gut bacteria).

Almonds are also incredibly beneficial for gut health. They possess prebiotic characteristics, meaning they enhance the diversity of your gut microbiota, while also promoting regular and healthy bowel movements. It is these simple, wholesome ingredients that make our meal replacements a great addition to any diet. 


simple and delicious

“I have been an avid user of Drink Wholesome products for about 2 years now. Throughout my weight loss journey, I used the vanilla meal replacement after every workout (and sometimes for breakfast) and have seen amazing results. It is easy on my gut, tastes amazing, and I look forward to drinking it! The only thing I don’t like is the number of servings per bag. I wish there were more.” – Kayla

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.