The 18 Shake Review: Is it Worth the Hype?

Last Updated on by Natalia Bickell

Getting in the best shape possible requires dedication, exercise, and nutrition that works for you. But creating your own meal plan can be cumbersome and overwhelming, especially if you have a busy schedule. While some swear by specific dietary plans, such as the paleo or even raw food diet, neither of those plans are the most practical when it comes to people who are constantly on the go.

But with a meal replacement like 18 Shake, there’s a more convenient option.

What are meal replacement shakes?

18 Shake joins a large market of meal replacement shakes meant to help customers get in better shape, with an emphasis on protein and nutrients meant to take the place of regular meals.

The idea behind meal replacement shakes is relatively simple: they offer calorie controlled options to ensure you get the proper nutrients while attempting to lose weight–or at least, that’s the ideal. Meal replacement shakes are also for the most part, meant to be a quick go to that can even be taken with you, so you’ll stay on track to your diet plan–no matter how hectic your schedule gets.

Meal replacements, which can come in many forms, including soups and snack bars in addition to shakes, can work by either completely or partially replacing normal meals. Most contain essential and vitamins and nutrients you should be getting, if you were to eat a normal meal.

Although some replacements are meant to be a form of nutritional support, mist meal replacement shakes are intended for weight loss, and occasionally, muscle gain.

How big is the meal replacement market?

Shakes are one of the most popular forms of meal replacements within a crowded market, perhaps in part because they are easy to make, quick, and can be produced in a variety of flavors to suit different personal tastes.

The market for meal replacement shakes is growing.

In 2018, the meal replacement market as a whole reached a market value of four billion U.S. dollars, an increase of almost three percent from the previous year, with some projections that the market will be worth around twelve billion dollars as early as 2020.

In all told, meal replacement shakes are highly popular and are projected to grow only more in demand in the foreseeable future.

Why is there such a large demand for meal replacement shakes?

There are a few reasons why meal replacement shakes continue to dominate the market. One is a matter of convenience, an increasingly important factors in all facets of Americans’ lives. A report by ABC News found that Americans, on average, work more hours than citizens in most other developed countries.

And some argue that there is simply a cultural pressure to keep busy, whether it’s taking kids to activities or getting involved in different work on their own. All of that adds up to less free time, and less time to take care of even the basic needs, like fixing a healthy meal.

Shakes, on the other hand, seem to offer a great solution: proper nutrition (ideally), calorie controlled proportions, and a quick meal so you can stay on track.

The second reason is that Americans, in general, have more weight to lose.

A longitudinal collection of surveys gathered from several prominent organizations, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and  the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, among others, found that the rate of obesity has climbed significantly since 1990 in the United States.

By 2017, the percent of adults and children considered clinically obese rose to above thirty five percent in seven states and thirty percent in twenty nine.

Taken together, the need for Americans to get in shape, but with an easy method, makes sense that the demand for meal replacement shakes has increased.

Who should use meal replacement shakes?

In fact, though, those most suited for meal replacement shakes are Americans who are slightly overweight, which represents about one in every three adult in the United States.

While those who are obese do best under direct medical supervision and with a doctor approved diet, meal replacement shakes work for those who could lose a little bit to improve their health.(You should, however, ideally consult with a health professional before dieting). They’re also a great option for anyone who does not have time to make specific meals, who find calorie counting or keeping track of exchanges daunting, or who are often on the go.

Meal replacement shakes are most helpful for losing a modest amount of weight, though there are some that have lost more.

What are the main benefits to meal replacement shakes? And how can I tell if a meal replacement shake is the best for me?

Meal replacement shakes can help you stay on track or get you started on a weight loss plan. And because you can decide how much you use them to replace what meals, they are also useful for people of all different lifestyles and body types.

The best meal replacement shakes:

  • Provide ample protein from natural sources, typically through whey or plant proteins

  • Include essential vitamins and minerals. Be on the lookout for these ten essential vitamins, including Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-12, Omega 3, Vitamin D, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A, and Co-Q10.

  • Suit a variety of dietary needs, if applicable: many meal replacement shakes are offered in low of no sugar; gluten free; soy free; and dairy free options.

  • Have some kind of protein within the first three ingredients. Sugar should not be the first or second ingredient

  • Focus on natural ingredients, and have minimal preservatives, thickening agents, and or natural dyes.

  • Have an excellent carb to fiber ratio–net carbs are calculated in some diet plans when you subtract fiber grams from total grams of carbohydrates. Fiber, like protein, helps with satiety levels, and can also minimize effects on blood glucose.

  • Are easy to make and easy to customize: the best meal replacement shakes can be made within moments, and some even without a blender. They also come in a wide variety of different flavors and varieties to appeal to different tastes and make sure you don’t easily get bored. And many of the best meal replacement shakes also can be mixed in the beverage of your choice, including water, milk, and juice.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t use meal replacement shakes like 18 Shake?

Even the best meal replacement shakes aren’t suitable for everyone. Anyone who is already within a healthy BMI should not use meal replacement shakes, unless it’s for a specific and medically approved purpose. And anyone with existing medical conditions should always get approval before starting a plan with meal replacement shakes.

What is the 18 Shake?

The 18 Shake markets itself as a “luxury meal replacement shake” that is focused on providing healthy protein without added sweeteners and common allergens. Made in the United States, the drink is solely targeted at people hoping to lose weight and its website is full of customer testimonials.

How do you make 18 Shakes?

18 Shakes come in individual packets that you can mix with the beverage of your choice, though milk or a milk substitute is recommended. They take only a few minutes to make; you blend the powder with the beverage of your choice. It is however recommended you use a blender, unlike some meal replacement shakes, which explicitly state you do not need a blender. While likely a blender is mostly for optimal results and their approved recipes, it’s still something to consider. Overall, the process is fairly simple and fuss free.

What flavors does the 18 Shake come in?

The 18 Shakes comes in four flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream and strawberry. Compared with some other meal replacement shakes, it’s a bit more limited. However, often, when there are many flavor options for meal replacement shakes, the additional flavors get less than stellar reveals.

If those classic flavors don’t cut it for you, one nice thing is that these flavors tend to be versatile. They also play well to the many recipes the company lists on their site. Opt for everything as indulgent from an apple pie shake to a super green smoothie and blueberry shake, making it more versatile for whatever mood you’re in or time of day you’re having it.

While it would be nice to have more than four flavor options, the classic nature of those flavors makes it reasonable, and the free recipes also help mix things up.

What are the main ingredients in the 18 Shake?

18 Shake supplies protein, fiber and essential minerals to promote weight loss and overall nutritional health.

  • The main source of protein in the 18 Shake is whey and whey protein powder. The whey isolate concentrate is free of GMOs, and also includes fiber to help with satiety.

  • The specific kind of fiber incorporated in the shake is Fibersol-2, which the company states is meant to suppress hunger especially. Fibersol-2 however, appears most associated with healthy digestion: the fiber promotes regular bowel movements and can also help stabilize blood sugar levels. Some studies have associated it with reduced hunger after meals.

  • Vitamins and Minerals include thirty percent of nearly every essential vitamin and mineral.

  • 18 amino acids are included in the shake blend. Amino acids are used to break down food, repair and grow, and perform important body functions. Essential amino acids can only come from protein sources.

  • Other ingredients include flavoring and stevia for sweetening. Though the ingredients list appears long, most of it comes from the added vitamin and minerals blend. This is a mostly natural list of ingredients, though it does not, as some shakes do, include superfoods.

What are the nutritional stats like?

The nutritional stats are reasonable and suitable for weight loss purposes. Though they vary slightly depending on flavor, on average each serving of a shake contains:

  • 90 calories

  • 1.5 grams of fat, with 1 gram of saturated fat

  • 8 grams of carbohydrates, and 5 grams of fiber

  • 1 gram of sugar

  • 15 grams of protein

Unless you are against using Stevia, this is a nice nutritional profile. It is low sugar, modest protein, and high fiber. If you do want more protein, and to make it more of a meal, milk or soy milk is an excellent choice. Even if you’re on a low calorie diet, you’re better off adding some more calories and a bit of protein and calcium. In this way, the nutritional profile of the shake itself is suitable for dieting, because you can tweak as you see fit.

What about their claims of having a special blend of ingredients?

While it’s true that the 18 Shake does have a good nutritional profile and natural ingredients, there is nothing magical about the ingredients themselves: most of what they tout is the benefit of the vitamins and minerals–which are helpful for overall nutrition, but their benefit for weight loss might be overstated. The calorie control, natural ingredients, and fiber and protein blend, however is a nice combination that could lead to successful and healthy weight loss, when use as directed.

Is the 18 Shake suitable for special diets?

The 18 Shake is gluten free, soy free, and does not contain any artificial dyes or preservatives. It is made out of whey protein, which is a possible allergy for some people. Because of its low sugar count, it is suitable for anyone who needs to be on a low sugar diet, and it is also suitable for low carbohydrate diets. It is not, however, vegan.

How long do the shake packages last?

Like many meal replacement shakes, 18 Shake has a decent shelf life. In general, you should try to use shake mixes within three weeks.

How much does it cost?

The 18 Shake has a money back guarantee, in that you have thirty days to try the shake and can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. They only do direct sales, and you’ll be shipped the package to your home address.

A starter package normally costs about eighty dollars, but goes on occasional promotional sales for up to forty percent off. The starter package includes shake packages in the flavor of your choice, plus a book of recipes and a reusable cup. You can order shake mix replacements as well, though it is hard to discern how much they cost individually. Each container comes with sixteen total servings.

The biggest concern is not the price so much as transparency: before you order, make sure it’s clear how much replacement packs cost, and if there are any option for customizing bundles.

What do customers have to say about the 18 Shake?

Aside from the testimonials from customers, most reviews for the 18 Shake can be found elsewhere, on sites such as Amazon. (On Amazon, a pack of three shake mixes runs one hundred and seventy dollars).

The chocolate flavor received a three out five-star average rating from customers, from a total of just under fifty reviews. Forty-four percent of customers on Amazon were highly satisfied, with some praising it for helping them diet, mostly for its hunger suppressant effects.

Of the other customers, the worst reviews stated that the drink did not taste as they expected. Twenty-seven percent of customers gave the company the lowest rating possible. Among many complaints, the shake was said to be chalky, clumpy, overly sweet, and a bad taste overall.

One notable complaint said they felt mislead in that the advertising made it seem as though the initial purchase came with a large supply, and in fact a packet only contains 16 servings.

Overall, the reviews were very mixed, with some customers claiming it was the best meal replacement drink they could find, and others outright frustrated with their purchase.

Is the 18 Shake right for me?

In our review of the 18 Shake, we have uncovered some of the best and worst aspects of this meal replacement plan. Quality protein, fiber, amino acids, and a blend of vitamins and minerals make this a suitable shake for weight loss. Some customers swore by its hunger suppressant techniques, so it might be a good choice for anyone who has tried meal replacement shakes before and had them not work nearly as well as they’d hoped.

However, there are some reasons to be cautious: for one, it is not clear until after you fill out information exactly how much you get with an order. And many customers were also not happy with the taste, a common issue for even the best meal replacement shakes.

In the end, it’s up to you whether 18 Shake seems like a suitable option. While the ingredients are of good quality, we’d like to see a bit more transparency in the future.

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