A keto shake is a powderized supplement that you can mix with water to create a high-fat, low-carb meal on the go.
Traditional shakes are incredibly convenient for getting a well-balanced meal with virtually no prep work, no clean-up, and a high nutrient and energy density.
Unfortunately for people on a keto diet, most traditional meal replacement shakes are high in carbs, high in protein, and low in fat.
That’s not what you need when you are on a ketogenic diet. The power of a keto shake lies in its ability to deliver a fast, convenient, and nutritionally dense meal that still meets the needs of the strict keto diet restrictions.
Don’t think that keto shakes are only for people on the keto diet, though: anyone looking to keep carb intake low and replace it with higher fat intake can benefit from a high quality keto shake.
We’ve ranked the best keto shakes on the market right now, plus taken a look at the science behind keto shakes.
1. Ketologie Keto Shake
Ketologie Keto Shake is the best keto shake on the market thanks to its super-high fat content, strong fiber content, and lack of any sugar.
The primary source of fat energy in Ketologie Keto Shake is coconut oil, which provides plenty of MCT oils. Protein comes from hydrolyzed collagen powder, derived from cow bones.
Erythritol is the sweetener of choice, along with cocoa and vanilla which gives it a smooth, sweet, chocolatey flavor without any sugar. Thanks to the high nutritional quality and great taste, it’s our top pick.
2. Top Notch Nutrition Keto Super Collagen
Even though it looks a lot like a protein powder, Top Notch Nutrition Keto Super Collagen delivers quite a lot of its caloric content (well over half) from fat.
Moreover, the fat content is from creative sources, like avocado oil powder and grass-fed butter powder. It’s got only a single gram of carbohydrates per serving, making it a great choice.
Thanks to the innovative fat sources, most of the fat isn’t even saturated fat, so if you are specifically looking for a keto shake based around unsaturated fats, this is a superb choice.
3. KetoLogic Keto Meal
KetoLogic Keto Meal delivers slightly less fat than some other keto shakes, but it’s got a few distinct advantages.
First, it has several sources of fat energy, including MCT oil, coconut oil, and milk-derived fats. Second, it includes several vitamins and minerals that give it a leg up when it comes to addressing your micronutrient intake.
Many keto shakes, even top-rated ones, don’t provide much in the way of vitamins and minerals, which can already be a concern on a keto diet.
4. American Metabolix Keto Meal
American Metabolix Keto Meal is designed to be a keto-focused entire meal replacement. It’s very energy dense thanks to its use of whole egg powder and dehydrated butter, which provide pretty much all of the caloric, protein, and fat content.
All of the other ingredients exist either to add flavor, like monk fruit extract and stevia, or to make the product more easily stored in powder form, like silica and vitamin C.
The primary downside is the very high cholesterol content, but recent research suggests that cholesterol may not be the boogeyman it was once thought to be, at least for some people.
5. LevelUp Grass-Fed Keto Protein
Though billed as a keto protein powder, LevelUp Grass-Fred Keto Protein contains a surprisingly large amount of fat.
Protein still dominates the macros, at 10 grams per serving compared to 6 grams of fat, but the ingredients are of particularly high quality.
The protein is from a mix of grass-fed whey protein and grass-fed bovine collagen. The fat comes from a mix of grass-fed butter and MCT oil, which gives it a leg up on MCT oil-only keto shakes.
If you want high-quality grass-fed ingredients, LevelUp Grass-Fed Keto Protein is a great choice.
6. Slimfast Keto Meal Shake
Slimfast Keto Meal Shake contains a lot of calories from fat, a modest amount from protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
The ingredients list is not quite as clean as some of the other competitors on the market, but it does deliver a very energy-dense meal replacement that’s appropriate for people on ketogenic diets.
7. Perfect Keto Collagen
Perfect Keto Collagen is a good keto-friendly source of protein, and provides MCT oil to boot.
However, it can’t function well on its own as a full keto meal replacement unless you’ve got room to spare in your macro ratios for extra protein.
The fat content is fairly low, which is a consequence of using MCT oil as the only fat source.
Too much MCT oil causes gastrointestinal side effects, hence the fairly low levels of fat in Perfect Keto Collagen. Still, it’s good for adding to keto shakes, or as a standalone low-carb protein supplement.
8. Kiss My Keto Keto Protein
Kiss My Keto Keto Protein is another keto protein source that uses collagen protein and MCT oil as dual fuel sources.
Again, the primary downside is that you’ll need to clear up some space for extra protein in your keto diet.
However, if you aren’t actually aiming to start in ketosis, it’s a pretty solid pick thanks to only three grams of carbohydrates per serving.
9. Primaforce Keto Shake
Primaforce Keto Shake uses MCT oil as its first ingredient and provides a hefty amount of fat, but purists may scoff at the wide range of ingredients.
Granted, many of these are providing vitamins and minerals, but you can get many of the same benefits in a higher-quality keto shake.
10. Kegenix Keto Meal
Kegenix Keto Meal provides about a 50:50 blend of fat and protein, which is a little too protein-heavy for a ketogenic meal replacement.
Fans of high quality ingredients will be disappointed by the fact that most of the fat comes from sunflower oil instead of higher-quality oils.
However, it does have the benefit of providing a lot of vitamins and minerals, which are often missing in other keto shakes.
Keto shake benefits and side effects
A high-quality keto shake is the perfect way to keep yourself in ketosis when you need a meal that’s easy to prepare when you’re away from home.
Most keto shakes are at least 60-75% fat, in terms of their caloric content, and the high-quality keto shakes use sources like powdered grass-fed butter, MCT oil, coconut oil, and powdered avocado oil to deliver their fat content.
The protein, which makes up the remainder of the calories, comes almost exclusively from high-quality sources like collagen peptides or whey protein. Here are some of the benefits of a top-rated keto shake.
The right keto shake can help keep your body in a state of ketosis. The entire point of a ketogenic diet is to force your body to produce and burn ketone bodies for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Many people trumpet wide-ranging health benefits from ketosis, but one of the toughest parts about the keto diet is actually staying in ketosis.
Your fat intake must be very high: in the classic ketogenic diet (originally developed to treat epilepsy in children), the proportion of your calories that must come from fat is a stunning 90% (1).
Many people report being able to stay in ketosis with less than this proportion of total calories from fat, but the fact remains that your fat intake must be very high and your carbohydrate intake must be very low—classically, below 20 grams total in a day (2).
It can be very hard to find premade foods that meet these criteria if you are not at home and can’t make your own food, but this is exactly where a keto shake can come in handy.
With many of the top keto shakes delivering 75% of their calories or more from fat, with a few or even zero grams of carbohydrates, they are great for helping to keep you in a state of ketosis.
Staying in ketosis can help you lose weight. One of the most surprising findings in initial research into ketogenic diets was that they were both more effective and easier to follow than traditional low-fat weight loss plans.
One landmark study comparing the ketogenic diet to a standard low fat diet was published in 2004 in the Annals of Internal Medicine (3).
This study randomly assigned 132 obese adults, many of which also had metabolic syndrome, to either an unrestricted ketogenic diet with less than 20 grams of carbohydrates allowed per day, or a low fat diet targeted at a 500 calorie per day reduction in energy intake and less than 30% of calories coming from fat.
The results showed that, after a year of followup, the participants who were in the ketogenic diet had better adherence to their diet and greater amounts of weight loss.
One reason for this might be that ketogenic diets are usually unrestricted in terms of caloric intake: as long as you are staying within the macronutrient ratios of the diet, you can eat however much you want.
The hunger-suppressing effects of ketosis may also play a role in the greater success of the ketogenic diet, so chalk one up for keto shakes over a traditional meal replacement shake in that category too.
A keto shake may help improve performance in long endurance events. On the other end of the health and performance spectrum, ketosis has been explored as a potential method of boosting endurance performance.
It’s not well-suited for explosive, anaerobic sports like sprinting, which rely on burning carbohydrates exclusively, but in events like cycling races and ultramarathon running, some athletes have found that using keto shakes to stay in ketosis improves their performance.
Scientific research suggests that some athletes may benefit from ketosis in long endurance events too: A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2016 using 39 elite cyclists found that some athletes performed better thanks to the metabolic shift towards burning ketone bodies instead of carbohydrates (4).
A keto shake is the perfect solution for athletes, since it’s easily transportable and consumable.
In terms of immediate side effects of keto shakes, the only concerns would be for people who are severely lactose intolerant or who have dairy allergies, as many keto shakes use milk-derived ingredients as sources of fat and protein.
Aside from these special cases, keto shakes are very well-tolerated. The real concern is adverse effects from staying in ketosis for a long time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these side effects can include headaches, bad breath, weakness, cramping, and gastrointestinal problems (5).
Indeed, even the clinical trials for weight loss that have used ketogenic diets have noted a higher rate of mild side effects in people on a ketogenic diet.
Notably, though, this does not prevent adherence from being better among study participants in the ketogenic diet, nor does it result in worse weight loss results—quite the opposite on both counts. For many people, the risk of mild side effects is worth the benefits of the ketogenic diet.
A keto shake is a pre-made powder that you mix up in water to replace a meal while still staying within the boundaries of what is allowed on the ketogenic diet.
These keto shakes provide the lion’s share of their calories from high-quality sources of fat, with a judicious amount of protein as well.
They are great for staying in ketosis when you are not able to make your own keto-friendly meals at home, and are beneficial for both weight loss and for long endurance performance.
Keto shakes themselves are very well-tolerated, but you do have to watch out for potential side effects from ketosis.
In all, though, many people find that ketosis is well worth it for the benefits, and a keto shake is a great way to ensure you stay in the confines of the ketogenic diet.