The Only Guide You Need on Vegan Weight Loss Shakes

Last Updated 30th July 2019
Nutribuddy range of vegan shakes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll definitely have noticed a rise in vegan options in bars, restaurants, supermarkets and food outlets as the diet increases in popularity. The Vegan Society estimates that those choosing to eat vegan and end their consumption of animal products, by-products and derivatives has quadrupled in the last five years – and so it’s no coincidence that the amount of vegan weight loss shakes available has risen sharply too. 

There is an argument that veganism contributes positively to sustainability (if the whole world was vegan, greenhouse gases would be reduced by two thirds) and that animal welfare conditions would be improved. Alongside these possible benefits is also a positive impact on an individual’s health through a better-balanced nutritional intake. And, to top it off, the Vegan Society estimates that 8 million human lives could be saved by 2050 if the whole world ate only a vegan diet.

There are varied reasons why people are switching to a vegan diet and the wider availability of convenience foods that fit vegan dietary requirements definitely make it easier – one of which, being vegan weight loss and meal replacement shakes. Let’s take a closer look.

Blue vegan smoothie bowl with gold spoon, kiwi and blackberries

Vegan Weight Loss Shakes: Let’s Cover the Basics

Whilst not proven, there may be a predisposition to those choosing to go vegan in taking a more active and practical approach to their health. This has seen demand grow for weight loss shakes that fit the vegan diet, meaning brands have started to develop products to fit this modern new market niche. 

That said, vegan weight loss shakes can be consumed by anyone; not just those following an exclusively animal-free diet. Unless there are allergens or irritants contained within the shakes that are unsuitable for an individual’s consumption, vegan weight loss shakes can be drunk by anyone. Don’t discount a weight loss shake based just on its vegan tag – instead, select the right shake for you on its unique merits.

Woman holding berry vegan meal replacement shake

What are Vegan Weight Loss Shakes and How Do They Work?

Vegan weight loss shakes are simply meal replacement shakes that do not contain any animal products, by-products or derivatives. Some are ‘accidentally vegan’, while some have been specifically created to fit the dietary needs of those following a vegan diet.

Vegan weight loss shakes work in exactly the same way non-vegan weight loss shakes do. One or two shakes a day are consumed in place of a meal/meals, in order to reduce the calorific intake of the individual, whilst still maintaining the complete nutritional balance of essential vitamins and minerals required. The Nutribuddy Shake Complete, for example, contains 159 kcal per serving but was developed with nutritionists to provide a complete range of micro and macronutrients and also boasts an impressive amino acid profile.

The shakes are available in pre-mixed or packet form and can be made up in minutes as and when required. They’re quick, easy, and convenient and best of all, super healthy – providing you pick the right brand.

Women in grey jogging bottoms holding Nutribuddy Shake Complete tub and shaker bottle
Nutribuddy Shake Complete by Laura Lucas

Are Vegan Weight Loss Shakes as Effective as Non-Vegan Weight Loss Shakes?

There has been no extensive clinical study into the use of vegan weight loss shakes over non-vegan blends, but there is no evidence to suggest that they are any less effective. The most common misconception regarding vegan weight loss shakes is that they contain less protein, due to the lack of animal derivatives within (which is what, traditionally speaking, supplies most of a meal’s protein).

However, by combining a mix of plant proteins such as soy, hemp, rice and pea, vegan meal replacement products are able to provide just as much protein and amino acids as their animal-derived counterparts – despite using no animal products whatsoever.

Studies have shown that plant protein is just as effective as whey in terms of strength, performance, body composition and muscular adaptations. While the stigmatism against vegan protein will undoubtedly be challenged, you can feel safe in the knowledge that, truthfully, plant-based weight loss shakes can be both effective and healthy.

Dairy cows in a field

What are the Benefits of Choosing a Vegan Weight Loss Shake?

Choosing to consume a meal replacement shake at all is a great first step toward embarking on and enjoying a healthier, happier lifestyle. Choosing to consume a vegan meal replacement shake boasts even more benefits – some which aren’t necessarily about you.

Veganism has been shown to contribute positively to the environment, with a recent study by the University of Oxford suggesting that switching to a vegan diet could lessen an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%.

There’s reason to believe, therefore, that becoming a vegan could be the single most effective eco-friendly action an individual can take. Even eating vegan once a day, or one day a week, has a knock-on impact and makes the consumer a de facto environmentalist! Choosing a vegan weight loss shake, therefore, plays into a bigger picture than just your own health and can really help give something back to the world around you.

Vegan weight loss shakes must include their protein from sources other than products derived from animals, which lessens the options for synthetic ingredients. There’s no study to prove it, but this does infer that vegan weight loss shakes are therefore more likely to include whole foods and natural or organic ingredients than their non-vegan counterparts. Whole foods and artificial ingredients are absorbed by the body in different ways and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are better (and quicker) consumed and utilised than synthetic ones.

Woman holding tomatoes to make vegan weight loss shake

Vegan Weight Loss Shakes: Commonly Asked Questions

Vegan Protein Shakes vs Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes: What’s The Difference?

Despite them being part of the same product family and industry, protein shakes and weight loss shakes are very different things – but they are all too often confused. 

Protein shakes are beverages consumed by those looking to promote muscle growth and toning in conjunction with intense workouts and exercise. They are typically drunk before or after physical activity, acting as an addition to the existing dietary routine and three daily meals. However, they can also be used a filling yet low-calorie snack. Protein shakes are available in vegan or non-vegan blends and their focus is purely protein; isolated from other vitamins and minerals.

Weight loss shakes, or meal replacement shakes, are consumed to substitute one full meal a day in order to lower the calorie intake of the individual and have the knock-on effect of helping them to lose weight. Whilst meal replacement shakes do contain protein, it’s a lesser amount and is instead part of a package of all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed by the body from a meal. Meal replacement shakes are too available in vegan or non-vegan blends and form a complete nutritional package.

Nutribuddy breakfast jar and mixed berry with banana vegan smoothie bowl
Smoothie Bowl using Nutribuddy Breakfast by MoreThanGreens

Which Vegan Protein is Best?

Protein foods break down into 22 naturally occurring amino acids, known as the building blocks of protein. Nine of these are only obtainable from food and cannot be produced by the body. These are called ‘essential’ amino acids. Essential amino acids should be consumed as part of a vegan meal replacement shake and complemented by at least some of the other 13 amino acids. 

Traditionally, an individual’s protein is primarily consumed through meat or other animal by-products, this doesn’t need to be the case. Plant-based foods such as rice, seeds and pea can be separated from their fats and carbs to isolate the protein within them and form protein-packed powders. These powders – whether soy, pea, rice or hemp – are what you tend to find in vegan weight loss shakes.

But which one is the best? Well, the most complete vegan protein is technically soy, but many people find this hard to digest and it’s actually a very common allergen. Thankfully, by combining 2 or 3 other plant protein sources, vegan weight loss shakes can still provide a complete or near-complete protein dose and amino acid profile. Therefore, there isn’t necessarily a ‘best’ vegan protein – but you should be aiming to consume multiple sources every day, which a vegan shake can help you achieve.

Oats, buckwheat and chia seeds also contain high amounts of protein and work well as part of vegan weight loss shakes.

Nutribuddy’s Shake Complete contains 3 types of vegan protein: rice, pea and hemp. The combination of proteins gives you a great variety of essential amino acids. This means that it’s both nutritious and easy to digest!

Nutribuddy Shake Complete tub next to a mixed berry shake being sniffed by cat
Nutribuddy Shake Complete contains 3 types of vegan proteins, providing you with all essential amino acids! Photo by JustHelina

What Vegan Weight Loss Ingredients Should I Avoid?

Because the cost of vegan whole foods can be quite high, they are sometimes substituted for artificially created ingredients instead. It is unlikely that consuming synthetic ingredients sparsely will have any great negative impact on your health or digestion, but the vitamins and minerals within such materials can be absorbed differently by the body; so, avoid products that are all or primarily made up of manmade ingredients. 

Soy protein is probably the cheapest natural vegan protein source, but as previously mentioned, it also happens to be one of the most common food allergies. The allergic reaction experienced isn’t always dramatic and is typically mild – but if re-occurring, soy should be avoided. If you’re looking for a 100% vegan yet soy-free vegan weight-loss shake, then Nutribuddy might be your match.

Vegan weight loss shakes may also contain Senna (Senokot) leaves or derivatives of. Don’t be fooled by the fact that Senna is natural (it’s a plant!) – it’s also a strong laxative and should never be consumed for any longer than a week. Unfortunately, opting for a shake with laxative ingredients is one of the most common mistakes whilst searching for a weight-loss shake. Why? Well, prolonged exposure to Senna, or any other laxative, can impair long-term kidney and bowel function and will result in unsustainable, unhealthy and potentially dangerous weight loss.

Woman looking concerned

What’s The Difference Between Natural and Organic Vegan Weight Loss Shakes?

There are now several vegan weight loss shakes on the market and as the sector becomes more competitive, marketers are keen to differentiate their products and make them stand out from others.

Some of the most common claims used by marketers to describe vegan meal replacement shakes are that they’re ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. In the UK food and drink industry, ‘organic’ is preferable to ‘natural’. This is purely down to legislation and legal jargon – as there’s a legal definition for the word organic, and there isn’t for natural. Basically, with one (organic) you know what you’re getting, and with the other (natural), you don’t!

If a product is marketed as ‘organic’, it must contain only naturally occurring ingredients that have been processed as little as possible before their inclusion. ‘Natural’ however, could mean anything – even that just one single naturally occurring ingredient (even Senna – ugh!) is included! Stay smart and select your vegan weight loss shake on its true merits only.

organic produce for organic meal replacement shakes

Are Cheap Vegan Weight Loss Shakes Healthy?

You don’t need to spend a fortune on vegan weight loss shakes, but admittedly, they are usually slightly more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts. As with anything, there are budget options available, but be sure before you buy that the price tag indicates good value rather than just a cheaply put-together product! 

We’re not making any suggestion that all cheap vegan weight loss shakes are unhealthy, but certainly, they should be researched into and understood in the same way any other nutritional supplement would be. Artificial and non-vegan ingredients are cheaper to procure, store and create than whole foods, so a good study of the ingredients list should reveal the true value behind what’s included within.

It’s very easy for product developers to cram vegan weight loss shakes full of synthetic materials and laxatives to make them as cheap as possible, but don’t accept this. Insist on better value and pay for the level of healthiness and nutrition you deserve!

Read our article for more information about the dangers of cheap weight loss shakes.

Woman researching vegan weight loss shake products and ingredients

Our Verdict on Vegan Weight Loss Shakes

Vegan weight loss shakes are just as effective as any other, but happen to fit an extra-healthy and varied dietary requirement that benefits not just the consumer’s health, but the wider environment too. A vegan diet, when well-managed, can provide all of the vitamins, minerals and fats that the body needs to nourish it; and vegan weight loss shakes are no different.

Such shakes are beneficial to those who follow a vegan diet and/or lifestyle, as well as those who don’t. They also make a great first step toward cutting your carbon footprint and cutting back on animal consumption for those looking to make a change; weight wise and on personal environmental impact. As veganism grows in popularity, so too will the supply-demand balance in the weight loss shake market. We can definitely expect to see more options available as time goes on – exciting stuff, hey?

Vegan weight loss shakes are as healthy as any other well-balanced dietary supplement, and then some: so if you can find the right shake for you and it happens to be vegan… even better! All of Nutribuddy’s shakes are vegan, cruelty-free and made with the environment in mind – and, better yet, they’re genuinely made from 100% natural wholefoods and pack a real nutritional punch.

Nutribuddy Breakfast Jar, mixed berry smoothie bowl & eco-friendly rose gold bottle
Nutribuddy Breakfast Smoothie Bowl by @health_happiness_hannah

Stock image credit: UnsplashPexels & Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nutribuddy Ltd.

Author Bio!

Post by Lex

I’m a full-time Marketing Manager and Copywriter but also a qualified yoga teacher and keen runner; so I know a thing or two about maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a good dose of fitness! My previous roles include marketing and social media for the likes of the household names including the Cabinet Office and Aviva. Outside of work, I’m a Mum, passionate social rights campaigner and bookworm.