We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Losing weight is hard, and there are no shortcuts. It takes long-term commitment, dedication, and sustained lifestyle changes, like following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. 

Even the best protein shakes aren’t magic drinks that promote weight loss without other efforts, but they can help you meet your protein needs, contribute other macro and micronutrients to your diet, and keep you full in between meals—all things that can collectively help you meet your body composition goals.

RELATED: Best Time to Drink a Protein Shake for Weight Loss

To find the best protein shakes for weight loss, our GGR team, which includes certified personal trainers, certified nutrition coaches, and professional athletes, tested two dozen pre-made options and about 70 different protein powders. We rated them on various factors, including:

  • Ingredients
  • Amount and type of protein
  • Nutritional stats
  • Taste
  • Texture
  • Side effects
  • Customer service

After weeks of testing, we crowned the following nine options our winners.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Best Protein Shakes for Weight Loss

Best Protein Shake for Weight Loss Overall: Orgain Organic Protein Grass-Fed Protein Shake

Good for: Those who want a high-quality whey protein with organic ingredients

Best Overall

Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Protein Shake

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic and non-GMO ingredients
  • Made from all grass-fed protein sources
  • No artificial preservatives or carrageenan
  • Low in sugar and high in protein

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clean ingredients
  • Great taste
  • Widely available

Cons

  • One flavor option
  • Contains erythritol

Bottom Line

Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Protein Shake is a great option if you are looking for a standard protein shake that is organic with clean ingredients.

The Orgain grass-fed protein shakes really just have everything going for them. For one, they’re made with grass-fed whey protein, which is higher in essential fatty acids1, like omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)2, and alpha-linoleic acid, than conventional proteins. They also have a clean ingredient list, especially for a pre-made protein shake.

Instead of artificial sweeteners, they’re sweetened with a combination of erythritol and stevia and flavored with natural ingredients and cocoa. Many of the ingredients are organic, too.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, so it may cause some digestive upset, like gas and bloating, for some, but it’s typically more well-tolerated than other sugar alcohols. It also doesn’t have as strong of an aftertaste as stevia or monk fruit, so many people will likely find these protein shakes more appetizing than some of the others that use stevia.

RELATED: Best Protein Powders for Sensitive Stomachs

orgain grass fed protein shake

Certified personal trainer (CPT) and GGR Senior Editor Nicole Davis said she could pick up on a slight aftertaste, but it wasn’t off-putting. She also called out the creaminess as one of the things she loves about this protein shake.

“They’re very creamy—similar to whole milk. This was what sold me on these. You just can’t really achieve this consistency with protein powder at home (unless maybe you are mixing with whole milk, which I would never do),” she says. Nicole rates the texture a perfect 5 out of 5. 

They’re also low-calorie—Creamy Chocolate Fudge only has 160 calories per serving—with a high amount of protein, or 26 grams per serving. This makes it easy to fit them into a weight loss diet while still enjoying nutrient-dense whole foods.

Right now, the grass-fed version only comes in one flavor, so you do have to like chocolate, but hopefully the line will expand at some point.

Calories160
Protein26 grams
Carbohydrates15 grams
Fat4 grams
Flavor(s)Creamy Chocolate Fudge

Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs Casein Protein Powder

Good for: Anyone who prefers to make their own healthy protein shakes

Best Protein Powder

Transparent Labs Casein Protein

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 100% grass-fed casein protein 
  • 3rd-party lab tested 
  • Chocolate flavor

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Subscribe and save 10%
  • No artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives
  • 3rd-party lab tested
  • Transparent ingredients
  • Extremely positive reviews on taste

Cons

  • Only available in 1 flavor
  • May be sold out
  • Comparably expensive
  • Limited reviews

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs Casein Protein provides 25 grams of protein per scoop and is extremely popular among users. Unfortunately, it may be sold out when you try to buy it, but you can sign up to be notified when it is available again.

Pre-bottled shakes generally need more fillers and ingredients to help maintain consistency and increase shelf life. But making your own protein shakes gives you more control over the ingredients. And as long as you’re starting with a high-quality protein powder, like this casein protein powder from Transparent Labs, you’ll be in a good spot.

It has five ingredients—grass-fed micellar casein, cocoa powder, natural flavor, himalayan rock salt, and stevia for some sweetness. It only comes in chocolate, but certified nutrition coach (CNC) and GGR Senior Writer Amanda Capritto says it mixes in really well, and unlike most casein powders, she didn’t find it difficult to break up clumps, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 for solubility.

RELATED: What is Casein Protein?

It has a really fine texture to make it more soluble, so it can get messy. Amanda says it kind of “poofs” everywhere when scooping it, but this isn’t a huge deal if you’re careful. Amanda notes it kind of “poofs” everywhere when scooping it, but this isn’t a huge deal if you’re careful with it.

Transparent Labs Casein 1

Amanda also calls out that choosing a protein powder over a pre-made shake gives you the opportunity to get creative with your protein intake.

“Once upon a time, when I was obsessed with clean eating and macros, I learned to make pudding with casein. All you do is mix it with less liquid than usual. Let me tell you: This stuff tastes damn near like Jell-O chocolate pudding out of the little plastic tubs when mixed to mimic pudding. It’s so good! I actually crave this,” she says.

Transparent Labs Casein Protein has a nice macronutrient breakdown, too: There are 25 grams of protein, 120 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of carbohydrates per scoop.

Calories120
Protein25 grams
Carbohydrates4 grams
Fat0.5 grams
Flavor(s)Chocolate

Best Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss: Huel Black Edition 

Good for: Anyone who wants a higher-calorie meal replacement

Best Subscription

Huel Complete Black

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based complete nutritional shake 
  • 400 calories, 40 g protein, 5-8 g fiber, 4-6g sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • 9 flavor options
  • Gluten-free meal shake

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
  • Resealable bag
  • 40 g protein in each serving
  • Contains all essential vitamins and minerals
  • 9 flavors available

Cons

  • Must sign up for subscription
  • Bit of an aftertaste from plant-based protein

Bottom Line

Huel Complete Protein Powder Black Edition is a nutritionally complete meal replacement shake powder, containing 400 calories per serving along with 40 grams of protein in all of the nine flavors. Fat, carb, and fiber content varies by 1 to 3 grams across flavors, but you can expect to find a healthy serving of unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber in each shake. Plus, each shake contains all essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids with no artificial sweeteners or gluten.

Huel Black Edition protein powder is a true meal replacement, meaning it’s designed to provide the adequate nutritional value of a regular meal. One serving contains 400 calories, but Amanda Capritto, former GGR senior staff writer, CNC, and tester of this product, stresses that the point is to replace a full meal, so this is a good thing for that purpose. And they’re very filling.

“They are truly nutritionally complete with ample fat and carbs, as well as a ton of micronutrients. It’s hard for me to eat before morning training, so these help keep me fueled for early workouts,” Amanda says.

Huel black edition meal replacement shake

The Huel shakes were one of the highest-scoring options during our testing, too. Amanda rated them a 4 out of 5 for taste and a 5 out of 5 for effects since they were so filling. 

She did note that, as someone who primarily drinks milk protein shakes, she could pick up on an aftertaste that’s typical of plant-based protein shakes—and that was true of all the flavors she tried. 

RELATED: Plant-Based Protein Powder vs. Whey

However, she said that if you are vegan or vegetarian and are used to these types of proteins, you’ll probably find them tasty. And after drinking the shakes for a few months, she actually grew to like the flavors even more. 

“I’m not totally in love with the taste, but the effect of these shakes is so satisfying that I tolerate the plant-based taste. These have seriously become a lifesaver for me in terms of getting in all my calories during Ironman training, especially before early morning workouts when I just don’t want to eat yet,” she says.

The ingredient list in the Huel shakes is quite long, but there’s a lot of good stuff packed in. The protein comes from a blend of gluten-free oats, tapioca, pea protein, brown rice protein, and flaxseed. There are also medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut oil that can provide a quick-acting source of energy3.

There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and the drinks are gluten-free and non-GMO.

Calories400
Protein40 grams
Carbohydrates24 grams
Fat17 grams
Flavor(s)Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate, Coffee Caramel,
Banana, Strawberry Shortcake, Cookies and Cream, Unflavored 

Best-Tasting Protein Shake for Weight Loss: XWERKS Grow

Good for: Anyone who wants a basic protein whey protein isolate powder

Best Tasting

XWERKS Grow

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Natural, healthy, convenient, and tasty way to get protein
  • Uses a microfiltration process to preserve critical biological nutrients in raw whey
  • Removes unwanted fats and carbohydrates
  • All flavors are naturally sweetened
  • Nicely flavored, easily digested, and low-carb protein powder
  • Promotes muscle growth and repair

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Keto-friendly
  • Naturally sweetened
  • Sourced from naturally raised grass-fed cows
  • Has a smooth and creamy taste
  • Soy- and gluten-free
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

XWERKS Grow whey protein isolate provides a solid blend of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in a whey protein isolate. Our testers have said this is one of the best-tasting protein powders they've tried, and they've had more than 100.

Let’s be real: The taste of ready-to-drink protein shakes is pretty hit or miss. Some of them are good, but you can almost always make a better-tasting drink if you’re willing to make it yourself.

The XWERKS Grow protein powder has rave reviews for taste—earning a 5 out of 5 from GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly—and its nutritional breakdown makes it a true protein shake. It has 25 grams of high-quality protein per scoop, and just 110 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and no fat, which makes it suitable for more restrictive dietary needs, like low-carb and keto lifestyles. 

It contains only a handful of ingredients: grass-fed whey protein isolate, natural flavors, xanthan gum (which acts as a thickener, emulsifier, and preservative), and stevia.

xwerks grow

Like mentioned above, grass-fed whey is not only higher in essential amino acids, it also contains all three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Potential BCAA benefits include, helping you reach your weight loss and body composition goals4, improving athletic performance, and aiding in muscle recovery.

Another benefit of a whey protein isolate is that, because it’s a pure protein, it’s lower in milk sugar (lactose) than whey protein concentrate. Because of this, some people who are lactose intolerant can drink it without digestive side effects.

Because this is a protein powder and not a pre-made drink, it’s also one of the least expensive options on the list. It breaks down to $1.97 per serving (giving it a 3.5 out of 5 in our price category), and you can just mix it with water for a great-tasting protein drink. It comes in four flavors—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and peanut butter—all of which have similar macro breakdowns and ingredient lists.

Calories110
Protein25 grams
Carbohydrates1 gram
Fat0 grams
Flavor(s)Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Peanut Butter

Best Subscription-Based Protein Shake for Weight Loss: HLTH Code

Good for: Folks looking for a meal replacement shake to support weight loss goals 

Best Subscription

HLTH Code Complete Meal

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Meal replacement shake designed by a metabolic scientist
  • Up to 50% daily value of 25 vitamins and minerals
  • 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to protein
  • Also available in a plant-based vegan and dairy-free version
  • Available in 2 flavors: Creamy vanilla and chocolate macadamia

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No GMOs or artificial ingredients
  • Made in the USA at a cGMP-certified facility
  • Subscribe and save $10 per bag
  • Keto-friendly
  • 30-day risk-free trial: Get your money back within 30 days

Cons

  • Mixed reviews on taste
  • Poor reviews on mixability
  • Expensive at $4 per serving

Bottom Line

HLTH Code Complete Meal contains 27 grams of protein per serving, a 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to protein, and up to 50% daily value of 25 vitamins and minerals. It is also available in a vegan plant-based version if you’d prefer. Customer reviews were very mixed on taste and mixability.

If you’re looking to put your protein intake on autopilot, you may want to consider a subscription to HLTH Code Complete Meal replacement shake. A subscription plan saves you $10 per bag, which is ideal because HLTH Code is a bit costly at $3.33 per serving with a subscription and over $4 per serving without a subscription. 

Although HLTH Code is on the upper end of what we like to see in price per serving (and earns a low 1-star rating from our testers in this category), its formulation provides more than just protein. HLTH Code is a meal replacement shake with 400 calories per serving, 27 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbs, and 27 grams of fat. 

The HLTH Code macronutrient profile has a bit more fat than we’d like to see, but it is formulated with Keto dieters in mind. “Over time, consuming too much saturated fat regularly is linked with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke,” Perry Nix, R.D., reminds us. “However, I like that this meal replacement features collagen protein along with whey and egg white protein, as that’s an ingredient typically not included in a product like this.”

For $3.33 per serving, you can get yourself a filling meal formulated from whey, egg whites, and grass-fed collagen. Each serving also contains 25 vitamins and minerals, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and fiber. 

Calories400
Protein27 grams
Carbohydrates13 grams
Fat27 grams
Flavor(s)Chocolate Macadamia, Creamy Vanilla 

Best Vegan Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes

Good for: Those looking for a complete plant-based protein option

Best Vegan Shake

Ripple Vegan Protein Shake

GGR Score: 3.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Pea protein is more sustainable than other proteins
  • Vegan and free from lactose, soy, and nuts
  • 30% of your daily recommended intake of iron 
  • Great calcium source
  • Certified B Corp company

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Shelf-stable
  • Contains phosphorus
  • Gluten and soy free
  • Low in sugar

Cons

  • Many customers said they received expired product
  • Only 3 flavors

Bottom Line

Ripple Vegan Protein Shake is a great option for someone looking for a protein shake that is free from animal products and environmentally friendly.

Most protein shakes have a whey protein base. But the Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes are made with pea protein, one of the only plant-based proteins considered a complete protein5 (it contains all nine essential amino acids). However, pea protein is quite low in one amino acid, methionine, so it still doesn’t quite stack up to the whey protein powder.

It does have a good amount of total protein, though, especially for a vegan option. There are 20 grams per drink.

RELATED: Best Pea Protein Powder

Certified personal trainer and GGR Staff Writer Lauren Strong gave it a 5 out of 5 for both taste and flavor. She tried the chocolate and said it’s just the right balance of creaminess. It’s not too thin or too thick.

Opening a Ripple Protein shake bottle

“For a vegan shake, I was blown away. [The] chocolate flavor was smooth and not overly sweet. Both my husband and I liked these and drank them willingly,” she says.

The Ripple shake comes in three flavors—chocolate, vanilla, and coffee—all of which have more ingredients than we typically like to see. But as far as vegan protein shakes go, it’s still pretty decent. There is organic cane sugar, which bumps the calories and carbohydrates up pretty significantly, so you’ll have to be aware of that.

For the chocolate flavor, there are 200 calories per bottle—most protein shakes (not meal replacement shakes) have around 120—and 13 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of which come from added sugar.

Knowing that, we think this shake is best used as an occasional protein supplement when you’re having trouble meeting your macro goals instead of a daily go-to. 

However, Lauren did say she felt satisfied after drinking it, and thought it curbed her hunger and cravings, so it can serve as more of a meal replacement than a regular protein drink.

Calories200
Protein20 grams
Carbohydrates13 grams
Fat8 grams
Flavor(s)Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss: KOS Vegan Protein Powder

Good for: Those who want to make their own plant-based protein shakes at home

Best Vegan Powder

KOS Vegan Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Multi-source vegan protein powder 
  • USDA-certified organic, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO
  • Digestive support via DigeSEB to help maximize absorption

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Superfood-infused
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • Chocolate flavor is rich
  • Enhanced with digestive support enzymes
  • Under $1.50 per serving

Cons

  • Customers say it has a gritty/chalky flavor
  • Some users reported protein gave them stomach issues
  • Reports of strong sweetness and bad aftertaste

Bottom Line

KOS is a vegan protein with a lot of positive reviews, but a number of people experienced stomach issues using this protein powder.

The KOS Vegan Protein Powder is more of a superfood powder than a standard protein shake. It has a protein blend that combines pea protein, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seeds. This makes the protein powder a complete protein, and ensures that you’re getting all the essential amino acids.

It also has a bunch of other health-supporting ingredients, like fruit and vegetable powders, mushroom extracts, vitamin and mineral blends, and digestive enzymes. This bumps up the micronutrient and antioxidant profile so you’re not just getting protein—you’re getting other important nutrients too.

Some other callouts are that it’s made with mostly organic ingredients, and it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, and soy-free. It’s sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, and coconut sugar which bumps up the sugar and carbohydrate content slightly. But it still only has 2 grams of sugar and 9 grams of total carbohydrates, which is pretty balanced for a shake that’s supplying so many other nutrients too.

kos vegan protein review

It comes in a variety of flavors. There’s your basic chocolate and vanilla flavors, as well as salted caramel coffee, chocolate peanut butter, and unflavored. Amanda Cappritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, says, “This protein powder is the only vegan option I have that I’ll willingly drink. It’s definitely different from the whey protein I’m used to gulping, but it’s not bad.” She gave it a 3 out of 5 for taste because, while not bad, she has tried other vegan options she preferred more. 

One thing to note is that the serving size is two scoops. Most animal-based proteins provide a similar amount of protein in just one scoop, so this one might be a little harder to mix in since you need more to get the same amount of protein. That being said, reviewers rave about the taste and texture so the extra effort is probably worth it for those who prefer a plant-based protein powder.

For more, read Amanda’s in-depth KOS Vegan Protein review.

Calories160 calories
Protein20 grams
Carbohydrates9 grams
Fat7 grams
Flavor(s)Chocolate, Vanilla, Salted Caramel Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Unflavored

Best Plant-Based Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Evolve Plant-Based Shakes

Good for: People who want a protein shake with a higher fiber content

Best Plant-Based

Evolve Plant-Based Protein Shakes

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based protein shake
  • 20 g of protein
  • 10 g of fiber
  • No artificial flavors and non-GMO
  • Available in four flavors
  • Contains all essential amino acids

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good amount of protein
  • No artificial flavors
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons

  • Pea protein is a complete protein, but low in methionine
  • Some customer reviews noted a strange aftertaste

Bottom Line

Evolve Plant-Based Protein Shakes are a great choice for those with dairy intolerances, or living a vegan lifestyle. With 20 grams of protein, these shakes are naturally sweetened with cane sugar and stevia. They also are free of artificial flavors and are non-GMO certified.

The Evolve shakes are another plant-based option. Overall, these scored a bit lower than the other picks on our list, but GGR editor Freida Johnson gave them a 5 out of 5 for taste and 4.5 out of 5 for texture. She tried the Mocha flavor and liked it.

“It’s not flavored exactly like a mocha, but I can tell what they’re going for, and it doesn’t just taste like chocolate milk,” she says.

She also says that the texture is good, but the protein drinks are better cold. The first one she tried was a little grainy at room temperature, but when it was cold, it was creamy and smooth. The Evolve shakes lost some points for side effects—Frieda gave them a 3 out of 5.

Woman drinking an Evolve plant-based protein shake

“I do have a little bit of GI distress after drinking this, which honestly isn’t surprising considering that it’s 20 grams of pea protein and 10 grams of fiber. That said, it isn’t too bad; I’m mostly just bloated and gassy the rest of the afternoon. Not the worst thing, but something to consider depending on what you’re doing that day!” she says.

She did feel satisfied after drinking the shakes, but said it wasn’t overwhelming trying to get them down. They are more filling because of the fiber but still only contain about 140 calories per drink, depending on which flavor you get.

The fiber does also contribute to the overall carbohydrate count. There are 16 grams total, which is much more than the others on the list, but fiber is important for weight loss6 and can help keep you regular7, so there’s benefit there.

Calories140
Protein20 grams
Carbohydrates16 grams
Fat2 grams
Flavor(s)Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Caramel, Mocha

Best Gluten-Free Protein Shake for Weight Loss: OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shakes

Good for: Those who want a gluten-free option with added micronutrients from greens

Best Gluten-Free

Owyn Plant-Based Protein Shake

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Formulated with allergen-friendly ingredients 
  • All Owyn Shakes contain Superfoods Greens blend
  • Free from artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols
  • Provides all nine essential amino acids

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Plant-based and vegan
  • Contains 535 mg omega-3s
  • Independently tested for allergens
  • Low carb
  • Refrigeration not required

Cons

  • Some flavors had mixed reviews
  • No returns allowed if you don't like it

Bottom Line

Owyn Plant-Based Protein Shake is a great option for those looking for something vegan and free from the top eight allergens.

The OWYN shakes are another plant-based protein option that also relies on a protein blend to ensure there’s enough protein per serving—and that the protein is high quality and rich in essential amino acids. It mixes pea protein with organic pumpkin seed and organic flax oil, which provides some healthy fats, too. And, of course, it’s gluten-free.

This one didn’t score as highly in the flavor department as some of the other options on the list. Certified personal trainer and GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly tried the Cookies and Creamless flavor, saying it was a bit watery and he picked up more “cream” than cookie flavor. However, he says it wasn’t really bad; he was just expecting something a little thicker. He gave the flavor and texture a 3.5 out of 5. 

There was no aftertaste, though, and Anthony says he didn’t get any weird lingering mouthfeel that sometimes comes with other protein shakes.

There’s also a greens blend (broccoli, spinach, and kale) snuck in, so not only are you getting a protein-rich drink, you’re also getting more micronutrients, like calcium and potassium, and some antioxidants, too. Anthony doesn’t call out any grassy or earthy undertones, so it’s well hidden; you won’t be getting something that tastes like a greens powder.

The exact macronutrient profile depends on which flavor you pick, but you can expect around 170 to 180 calories and 20 grams of protein per bottle, which is in line with other plant-based protein drinks.

There is some organic cane sugar in these too, so that bumps up the carbohydrates and sugar content a bit—you’ll get about 4 grams of added sugar and 9 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per bottle.

Calories180
Protein20 grams
Carbohydrates10 grams
Fat7 grams
Flavor(s)Dark Chocolate, Smooth Vanilla, Strawberry Banana, Cookies and Creamless

Best Organic Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Aloha Organic Protein Shakes

Good for: Those who are willing to pay a little more for organic ingredients

Best Organic

Aloha Organic Protein Shakes

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic, plant-based protein drinks
  • Comes in Coconut, Vanilla, Chocolate, And Iced Coffee flavors
  • 20 g of protein in 12-oz shake
  • Gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, stevia-free, and soy-free

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons

  • Some reviews complained that texture was too thick
  • Some added sugars

Bottom Line

Aloha Organic Protein Shakes are made with no artificial ingredients, and pack 20 grams of protein in each 12-ounce shake. The shakes come in four different flavors and have plant-based protein, making them gluten-free, dairy-free, and also soy-free. The combination of pea protein and brown rice protein makes this shake have all essential amino acids, along with prebiotics and electrolytes.

The Aloha Organic Protein Shakes are a certified organic, non-GMO, and fair trade-certified option with an impressive ingredient list. These are vegan protein shakes, so the protein comes from a blend of pea protein and brown rice protein. 

They also have a coconut milk base instead of water, and have added MCTs. This makes them a little creamier than water-based shakes, but also gives them some healthy fats that have been shown to help promote weight loss8, too. 

aloha-protein-shake-in-hand

GGR Staff Writer Lauren Strong says they’re super tasty, especially for a vegan shake, and compares them to the Ripple shakes, which she also enjoyed. “There is a nice rich chocolate flavor (which is the one I got), and it’s not too sweet. Yes, it tastes different from whey protein, but it’s not overly earthy or plant-like,” she says.

Lauren also thought the texture was just-right. They’re not super creamy, but they’re also not thin and water-like. She says this is exactly how she likes a shake to feel, and said they were totally satisfying and helped curb her hunger in between meals. Both texture and flavor receive high marks of 5 out of 5 from Lauren.

Aloha Organic Protein Shakes are sweetened with a blend of coconut sugar and stevia, so they have about 5 grams of added sugar (depending on the flavor), but they’re still fairly low in calories—just 170 per bottle.

Calories170
Protein20 grams
Carbohydrates11 grams
Fat5 grams
Flavor(s)Coconut, Coffee, Vanilla

Other Protein Shakes We Tested and Researched

  • SlimFast High Protein Shakes: SlimFast is arguably one of the most well known protein/weight loss shakes, but it’s full of filler ingredients, canola oil, and artificial sweeteners and flavoring. It didn’t taste good either (GGR staff writer and professional athlete Caine Wilkes gave it a 1.5 out of 5 for taste). With some many better quality options out there, we say skip this one.
  • FairLife CorePower: GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly likes how FairLife CorePower tastes—he rated it a 5 out of 5 and said it had a very milk-like texture—but it contains two types of artificial sweeteners. One of those is sucralose, which may negatively affect your immune system9 and DNA10. Granted, very high amounts were used in these studies, but with so many other options out there, we think there are better choices.
  • Premier Protein Shake: This is the same story as the others. It has a good macronutrient and micronutrient profile, but it’s full of artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners.
  • Pure Protein Shakes: The Pure Protein Shakes taste good and have a creamy texture, according to GGR Staff Writer Lauren Strong, but have artificial sweeteners, like acesulfame K. 
  • Labrada Lean Body: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the ingredients in this one aren’t great, although the protein is very high. It’s also kind of high in carbohydrates for a protein shake—this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for low-carb protein shake, this probably isn’t the one for you.
  • Iconic Grass-Fed Protein Shakes: The ingredients in the Iconic Grass-Fed shakes are great, and it has a good macronutrient breakdown, albeit the carbs are a little on the higher side. There’s nothing inherently bad about this shake, but some people might get an aftertaste with the stevia and monk fruit sweetener combo.
  • Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Shakes: Muscle Milk has a good macronutrient profile, but it’s got a few too many artificial and filler ingredients, like artificial sweeteners, flavors, and canola oil. 
  • Ora Organic So Lean, So Clean Protein Powder: Ora has an impressive ingredient list, but the protein is plant-based. Again, not inherently a bad thing, but research does show that animal-based proteins like whey are more bioavailable, so we generally recommend them over plant-based products.

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Shakes for Weight Loss

Our testers, which include a team of certified nutrition coaches, certified personal trainers, and professional athletes, tried most of these protein shakes over the course of several weeks. They rated each shake on various factors, including price, ingredients, nutritional stats, taste, flavor options, and customer reviews.

Here are some more details about what we considered, specifically.

Ingredient Quality 

Ingredient quality is one of our biggest considerations. Many pre-made protein shakes are made with a long list of artificial ingredients and fillers. While these drinks may prompt weight loss as part of an overall calorie-restricted diet, they don’t do much for your overall wellness.

When trying to lose weight, we think it’s also important to think about what kinds of ingredients you’re eating so you can feel your best. That being said, we chose options with cleaner ingredient lists—and the better the ingredients, the higher the rating. 

Some of them may be a little higher in carbohydrates and sugar, but we opted for natural sugars and sweeteners over anything artificial.

Type and Amount of Protein

This ties into ingredient quality a bit, but we also thought about the type and amount of protein. Typically, whey protein is considered the gold standard for protein supplements, but we know that everyone has different goals and preferences. 

Woman pouring the Pure Protein Shake into a glass

Because of this, we included whey protein options, as well as plant-based choices. For the plant-based drinks, we made sure they were made with a high-quality plant-based protein or a combination of proteins that supply all the essential amino acids necessary for building muscle.

All of the options on our list contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving.

Taste

Taste is obviously important, too. Losing weight shouldn’t be a miserable journey—you can enjoy the foods and drinks you’re consuming. On that note, we tried most of these protein shakes ourselves and rated them on a scale of 1 to 5. We recommended only the ones that we enjoyed (a 3.5 out of 5 or higher rating).

RELATED: Best Tasting Protein Powder

Price

Most protein shakes we recommend range from about $2.50 to $3.50 per serving, which we think is reasonable. For comparison, our favorite protein powders cost about $1.25 to $2 per scoop, but you’ll pay a little more for the convenience of a grab-and-go protein shake.

The options on our list got a higher rating if they had a lower cost-per-serving or if you could purchase them in bulk for a lower price on Amazon. 

Benefits of Protein Shakes for Weight Loss

Yes, protein shakes may help you lose weight (as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle), but there are other benefits, too.

They Help Keep You Full

Protein is often called the satiety nutrient because, calorie for calorie, it can help keep you fuller11 than fat and carbohydrates. Most protein shakes have at least 20 to 25 grams of protein, so they’re a good way to fill you up between meals or before or after workouts. This is also the recommended per-meal amount of protein for muscle synthesis. 

They Can Help With Muscle Growth

Protein is important for fat loss and building lean muscle mass12. You can reach your weight loss goals (i.e. you’ll see the numbers on the scale go down) without much protein, but if you really want to change your body composition, you need to hit your protein goals daily (and incorporate resistance training). 

You can certainly do this with meal prepping and eating balanced whole foods, but protein shakes help you get there a little easier. They’re also a good pre-workout option if, like Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, and GGR Senior Staff Writer, you don’t like to eat solid food before intense exercise.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout Food

slimfast-protein-shake-drinking

They’re Convenient

When trying to lose weight, it’s important to have healthy meals and snacks at-the-ready. This helps keep you on track and makes it less likely that you’ll reach the point of ravenous hunger, which can trigger cravings and binges.

Protein shakes are easy to grab and go. You can throw them in your gym bag or take them to work so you have a macro-balanced option on-hand. Protein powders aren’t as convenient as ready-made protein shakes, but if you get a good one, you can easily shake them up for a similar effect.

They Provide Other Nutrients, Too

Depending on which protein shake you choose, they can provide other nutrients. Yes, they have carbohydrates and fat, but many have additional ingredients, like greens, digestive enzymes, and/or mushroom extracts, that bump up the micronutrients too. Basically, they can act as more of a supplement for an otherwise healthy diet.

Dosing and Interactions 

The right “dosing” really depends on your goals, but getting 20 to 25 grams of protein per meal13—or in one sitting—seems to be the sweet spot for muscle protein synthesis. If you have high protein needs, the best approach is to spread that protein out throughout the day into several smaller meals and snacks.

RELATED: Protein Snack Ideas

Some people experience some gastrointestinal side effects, like gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloating, when consuming too much protein, but this generally settles down as your body gets used to it. 

Third-Party Testing

Because protein shakes are considered “food” and not supplements, third-party testing doesn’t really come into play. There are some shakes that are organic and/or non GMO-certified, so we considered that when choosing our top picks.

Protein Shakes for Weight Loss: FAQs

Are Protein Shakes Good For Losing Weight?

Protein shakes may be helpful for losing weight if you choose good, well-balanced ones. You want to make sure you’re getting around 20 to 25 grams of protein and under 200 calories per shake (unless it’s a meal replacement shake). That said, to lose weight, you’ll need to aim for a calorie deficit and, ideally, follow a regular exercise routine.

Can You Lose Weight Drinking Two Protein Shakes Per Day?

You can, if you remain in a caloric deficit. But you shouldn’t only drink two protein shakes per day. This would reduce calorie intake too much and potentially put you at risk of other nutritional deficiencies. Protein shakes should be a way to supplement your protein intake or give you a quick source of protein pre- or post-workout. They should not take the place of nutrient-dense foods.

RELATED: Is Protein Powder Good for Weight Loss?

Can You Lose Belly Fat By Drinking Protein Shakes?

Maybe. Research shows14 that following a high-protein diet may help reduce belly fat—usually the deep, problematic abdominal fat known as visceral fat—but protein shakes alone won’t magically slim your midsection. You need to also make sure you’re in a calorie deficit15 (expending more calories than you’re consuming) and eating plenty of healthy, whole foods.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Davis, H, Magistrali, A, Butler, G, Stergiadis, S. Nutritional benefits from fatty acids in organic and grass-fed beef. Foods. 2022;11(5):646. doi:10.3390/foods11050646
  2. Daley, CA, Abbott, A, Doyle, PS, Nader, GA, Larson, S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10
  3. Jadhav, HB, Annapure, US. Triglycerides of medium-chain fatty acids: a concise review. J Food Sci Technol. 2023;60(8):2143-2152. doi:10.1007/s13197-022-05499-w7.
  4. Martinho, DV, Nobari, H, Faria, A, Field, A, Duarte, D, Sarmento, H. Oral branched-chain amino acids supplementation in athletes: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2022;14(19):4002. doi:10.3390/nu14194002
  5. Shanthakumar, P, Klepacka, J, Bains, A, Chawla, P, Dhull, SB, Najda, A. The current situation of pea protein and its application in the food industry. Molecules. 2022;27(16):5354. doi:10.3390/molecules27165354
  6. Miketinas, DC, Bray, GA, Beyl, RA, Ryan, DH, Sacks, FM, Champagne, CM. Fiber intake predicts weight loss and dietary adherence in adults consuming calorie-restricted diets: the POUNDS lost (preventing overweight using novel dietary strategies) study. J Nutr. 2019;149(10):1742-1748. doi:10.1093/jn/nxz117
  7. Gill, SK, Rossi, M, Bajka, B, Whelan, K. Dietary fibre in gastrointestinal health and disease. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021;18(2):101-116. doi:10.1038/s41575-020-00375-
  8. Wang, Y, Liu, Z, Han, Y, Xu, J, Huang, W, Li, Z. Medium chain triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. PLoS One. 2018;13(2):e0191182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191182
  9. Zani, F, Blagih, J, Gruber, T, et al. The dietary sweetener sucralose is a negative modulator of T cell-mediated responses. Nature. 2023;615(7953):705-711. doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05801-6
  10. Schiffman, SS, Scholl, EH, Furey, TS, Nagle, HT. Toxicological and pharmacokinetic properties of sucralose-6-acetate and its parent sucralose: in vitro screening assays. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2023;26(6):307-341. doi:10.1080/10937404.2023.2213903
  11. Morell, P, Fiszman, S. Revisiting the role of protein-induced satiation and satiety. Food Hydrocoll. 2017;68:199-210. doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2016.08.003
  12. Krzysztofik, M, Wilk, M, Wojdała, G, Gołaś, A. Maximizing muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review of advanced resistance training techniques and methods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(24):4897. doi:10.3390/ijerph16244897
  13. Tipton, KD, Phillips, SM. Dietary protein for muscle hypertrophy. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:73-84. doi:10.1159/000350259
  14. Clifton, PM, Bastiaans, K, Keogh, JB. High protein diets decrease total and abdominal fat and improve CVD risk profile in overweight and obese men and women with elevated triacylglycerol. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009;19(8):548-554. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2008.10.00615. Arciero PJ, Ormsbee MJ, Gentile
  15. CL, Nindl BC, Brestoff JR, Ruby M. Increased protein intake and meal frequency reduces abdominal fat during energy balance and energy deficit. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21(7):1357-1366. doi:10.1002/oby.20296

Further reading

Best Exercise Bike With Virtual Courses to Keep You Engaged (2024) Cover Image
Best Exercise Bike With Virtual Courses to Keep You Engaged (2024)

Losing weight is hard, and there are no shortcuts. It takes long-term commitment, dedication, and sustained lifestyle changes, like following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Even the best protein shakes aren’t magic drinks that promote weight loss without other efforts, but they can help you meet your protein needs, contribute other macro and micronutrients to your diet, and keep you full in between meals—all things that can collectively help you meet your body composition goals.  » Read more about: Best Protein Shakes for Weight Loss: 10 Nutritionist-Approved Options That Actually Taste Good  » Read more

Put the Pedal to the Metal: 9 Stationary Bike Benefits Cover Image
Put the Pedal to the Metal: 9 Stationary Bike Benefits

Wondering if a stationary bike is worth it? Here, GGR names 9 stationary bike benefits, and explains how they can help improve your health. Read more

Hydragun Supertub Cold Plunge Review (2024): A Surprisingly Heavy-Duty Inflatable Tub Cover Image
Hydragun Supertub Cold Plunge Review (2024): A Surprisingly Heavy-Duty Inflatable Tub

With a heavy-duty material and your choice of chiller, is this inflatable ice bath worth it? Check out our Hydragun Supertub Cold Plunge review for more. Read more

Best Treadmill Mat (2024): 5 Options to Protect Your Floors Cover Image
Best Treadmill Mat (2024): 5 Options to Protect Your Floors

Be your floor’s hero by purchasing the best treadmill mat to prevent scratches, scraps, and dings. Read more