What are the best diabetic meal replacement shakes?

drink wholesome makes the best diabetic meal replacement shakes with a short list of simple ingredients. They are low in sugar, high in protein, and free from added junk. Order samples to see if our meal replacement shakes for diabetics are right for you. 

Written by Jack Schrupp & Brittany Adelman, RDN

Are meal replacement shakes good for diabetes?

One reason why meal replacement shakes are good for diabetics is they let you control your nutrient intake. Unlike traditional meals, which can vary greatly in their nutrient content, meal replacement shakes provide a consistent and balanced source of nutrition. This can make it much easier for people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels, as they know exactly what they are consuming.

Another benefit of meal replacement shakes for diabetics is convenience. If you have a busy lifestyle, preparing a nutritionally balanced meal three times a day can be challenging. This is where meal replacement shakes offer a convenient and healthy alternative. They are easy to make and can be consumed on-the-go. This is especially helpful for diabetics who need to be careful about both what they eat and when they eat it.

Finally, meal replacement shakes, especially high protein meal replacement shakes, can help diabetics control calorie intake. This is particularly important if you are looking to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Not only do high protein meal replacements make it easy to know exactly how many calories you are consuming, but they make you feel full for longer (more about this later). 


Can diabetic meal replacement shakes help manage blood sugar?

Blood sugar control plays a vital role in managing diabetes and promoting overall health. One easy way to achieve better blood sugar control is by adding a diabetic meal replacement shake to your diet.

Diabetic meal replacement shakes are formulated specifically for individuals with diabetes and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Low in carbs and high in fiber, protein and fats, diabetic meal replacement shakes provide balanced nutrition without causing blood sugar spikes.

Because the body is unable to absorb and break down fiber, it does not cause a spike in blood sugar like other carbohydrates. Protein and fats, on the other hand, help slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. 

If you have a habit of snacking on high carb or sugary foods, replacing those calories with a meal replacement shake for diabetes is a great idea. Not only will you have more control over your blood sugar, but you may also lose weight.

Since fiber cannot be digested, it moves slowly through your digestive tract, making you feel full for longer. Fats and protein, on the other had, are more satiating than carbs, which can discourage cravings and overeating. 

Our in-house dietitian summarizes why you should use meal replacement shakes for diabetes: 

I often recommend meal replacement shakes to my clients when they are struggling with meal consistency or blood sugar imbalances. These shakes offer more than just convenience – they are designed to provide essential nutrients in a controlled manner, helping you stay fuller for longer and stabilize your blood sugar.” – Brittany Adelman, RDN

Keep in mind that consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can help you personalize your meal replacement shake plan according to your specific dietary needs and diabetes management goals.

How can you incorporate a meal replacement shake into your diet?

Incorporating a meal replacement shake into your diet can be a convenient way to ensure you are getting essential nutrients, especially when on-the-go or in need of a quick meal option. Here are some tips on how to incorporate one effectively:

1. Replace a meal: Choose one meal of the day, such as breakfast or lunch, to replace with a meal replacement shake. This can help you reduce your calorie intake and cut back on snacking.

2. Replace part of a meal: Instead of eating a second serving, drink a meal replacement shake.

3. Replace a snack: If you find yourself snacking frequently throughout the day, drink a meal replacement shake instead. This can help keep you satisfied between meals.

4. Post-workout: After a workout, a meal replacement shake can be a convenient way to refuel your body with essential nutrients. Look for shakes with lots of protein to aid in muscle recovery.

5. Before bed: If you are someone who wakes up in the middle of the night hungry, drink a meal replacement shake 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep. You will sleep through the night.

As you can see, there are many ways to add a meal replacement shake to your diet. Note that no one way is necessarily better than the other, and the approach that works best for you will depend on your diet and lifestyle. 

What are the best meal replacement shakes for diabetics?

First of all you should avoid meal replacements with lots of added sugars as they can trigger blood sugar spikes. Naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are safe to eat. According to research, there is no link between natural sugar and diabetes since these types of sugar are digested and absorbed more slowly.

Second, you should avoid meal replacements made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. While high-protein, low-carb foods like these are low on the glycemic index, they can still measure high on the insulin index, meaning they can cause hyperinsulinemia (abnormally high levels of insulin). In other words, while protein concentrates and isolates do not spike blood sugar the same way that simple carbohydrates do, they can still cause an insulin spike because protein has an insulinotropic effect (it promotes insulin secretion).

Third, you should avoid meal replacements sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Several studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can increase cravings toward sugary and sweet foods, which can lead to binging and feelings of withdrawal. Other studies have associated artificial sweeteners with a higher risk of glucose intolerance, which is a precursor for pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Finally, you should avoid meal replacements with lots of food additives as they can disrupt your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. Research shows that these changes can play a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Keep reading to learn more.

Meal Replacement Powder Sample Packs

2 Meal Replacement Powder Samples


drink wholesome makes the best diabetic meal replacement shakes

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best diabetic meal replacement shakes is that we do not use food additives. Consuming additives, even in small amounts, can cause painful side effects because additives are hard to digest. They spend extra time in your gut, feeding your gut bacteria, which produce gas as they eat. Excessive intestinal gas can lead to bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and even constipation. In some cases, incompletely digested food additives can also cause your colon to absorb extra water, resulting in diarrhea. Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacement powder:

acacia fiber, acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, ascorbic acid, aspartame, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dicalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, ‘natural’ flavors, rice bran extract, rice dextrin, rice hulls, rosemary extract, silica, silicon dioxide, sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, soluble corn fiber, soy lecithin, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, tocopherols, tricalcium phosphate, xanthan gum, xylitol, zinc oxide

Over time, a diet full of food additives can disturb regulatory pathways in your intestines, causing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Certain additives, particularly artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome. A dysbiotic gut microbiome is a leading driver of inflammation and closely associated with the onset and progression of several chronic diseases, including diabetes.

the alternative:


drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best meal replacement for diabetics is that we do not use whey and casein. Whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, contain lactose, a sugar most adults cannot fully digest. As you just learned, foods that resist digestion tend to cause digestive issues.

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best diabetic meal replacement is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other meal replacements are made from one or both of these protein sources, which have been stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. This not only makes them hard to digest, but may also disrupt your gut microbiome. This, as you just learned, has been linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes.

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best meal replacement shakes for diabetes with whole food protein sources like egg whites and almonds. These are a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites and almonds contain enzymes that help you break them down. Almonds are also prebiotic, meaning they improve the diversity of your gut microbiome. Egg whites, on the other hand, are low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (maintaining healthy pH levels in your gut), and bioactive (promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria). 

In summary, thanks to our short list of simple ingredients, you can eat an easy, low sugar, high protein meal that will not upset your stomach. Order samples to see for yourself.

How to choose the right meal replacement shake for you

When it comes to choosing a diabetic meal replacement shake, it is essential to consider your unique nutrition needs. Here are some tips from a registered dietitian:

1. Check the macronutrient composition: Look for shakes that have a balanced ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. The right balance will help support stable blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy.

2. Consider the fiber content: Adequate dietary fiber is essential for managing blood sugar and promoting digestive health. Choose shakes that are rich in fiber to aid in satiety and regulate glucose absorption.

3. Avoid food additives: Many meal replacement shakes contain additives that can negatively impact your health. Opt for shakes that are free from additives and made with a short list of simple ingredients.

4. Read customer reviews: Take the time to research and read reviews from other individuals who have tried the shakes. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into the quality of the product.

Finally, do not hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or dietitian who can provide personalized recommendations based on your health goals and medical history.


no stomach issues

“I buy this for my husband who’s a diabetic. He says its filling and he loves the taste. We switched to drink wholesome because he has GI issues and can’t tolerate other shakes.” – Debbie

Read more reviews or take the quiz.

Meal Replacement Powder Sample Packs

2 Meal Replacement Powder Samples


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.