Meal replacement shakes are generally a great way to hit nutritional needs, and in 90% of cases they’re a lot better than western diets.

After all, more than half of the anglosphere is overweight and malnourished at the same time. Looking at the numbers, 71% of US adults are overweight, with the UK not far behind at 60.

Furthermore, 92% of the USA population suffers from at least one vitamin or mineral deficiency, with almost of the northern hemisphere coming in with low vitamin D alone. For men this can be doubly important as several of these vitamins are required for maintaining healthy testosterone levels which is essential to men’s health.

So, comparatively, the best meal replacement shakes which are designed to cover all of the essential vitamins and minerals in the correct balance per calories, roughly 20% per 400 calories, as well as covering the correct balance of macro nutrients, you may be forgiven for thinking this is a done deal. And again, we can’t help but stress this is of course eminently better.

Meal Replacement Shakes for Men

Nonetheless, herein lies the issue, these numbers are designed for 5 meals a day at 400 calories, i.e. for a women’s recommended RDI (recommended daily intake) whereas on average a man requires slightly more. This also applies to specific nutrients that play a role in testosterone production, and specific macronutrients that are essential to the maintenance of healthy muscle mass, of which men have more. 

As such men may be required to add some of these nutrients to their diet, or to ensure that they get meal shakes that are balanced for men. 

Generally speaking as men age their testosterone production declines at a rate of 1% per year, so a lot of these issues are missed when caused by diet and simply put down to aging.

If you only consumed meal replacement products, then odds are you’d be completely fine. Certainly better off than most of the western world, but the reality is this isn’t something the majority of us would do, so making sure you get something that has a higher level of the essential nutrients for testosterone production, consider your diet, or looking for a testosterone supplement is important, especially as we age. 

This can come down to making sure you get a completely balanced amino acid profile (some are essential for testosterone production), all of our recommended shakes have this, ensuring that you get higher macro nutrient requirements where (e.g. protein) appropriate or looking out for raised vitamin values in areas that are more beneficial to men.

Meal Replacement Shakes and Testosterone

So, what all of this comes down to is, the main difference between men and women’s nutritional needs, aside from size and muscle mass, comes down to the ability to produce testosterone. 

HLTH Complete

Best Weight Gain

  • 27g of whey based premium protein
  • 400kcal per meal, MCTs, ideal 1-1 fat to protein ratio for better absorption
  • 50% DV of all vitamins and minerals
  • Probiotics, digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar for easy digestion.
  • Great taste
Instant Knockout Complete

Impact Knockout Complete

Best Weight Loss

  • Designed for weight loss and lean mass
  • 400kcal per meal, 30g of plant based protein
  • Ideal to fuel your workouts on a caloric deficit
  • Add CUT – thermogenic booster for extra effectivity
  • Fast shipping in the UK & US

Vitamin Requirements & Testosterone 

Most of men’s differential vitamin requirements are related to healthy testosterone production, Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium being incredibly important. There are also variations in amino acid requirements, which make having a complete amino acid profile incredibly important. Deficiencies in any of these vitamins can result in low testosterone levels, which in turn leads to a wide range of health problems for men. This includes brain fog, irritability, decreased energy, weight gain, loss of lean muscle mass and a whole host of other issues. 


Vitamin D – Almost half of men in the USA and the UK are deficient in vitamin D. Studies went on to show that men with low test who supplemented vitamin D increased their levels by 46%, and even those without low testosterone had improved results. Some studies have also shown that vitamin D supplementation can approve athletic performance consistently well beyond the recommended RDIs. 

Amino Acids

Complete amino acid profiles are something that’s mentioned quite a lot when we review meal replacement shakes, as we’ve already mentioned certain aminos, like D-Aspartic Acid are essential for men’s testosterone production, but there’s quite a few other elements as well. This won’t typically be an issue in meal replacers using whey or other animal-based products, as these naturally contain complete amino acid profiles, but some that use exclusively plant based recipes may not have created an ideal blend for maintaining male health. 


Some mineral deficiencies were shown to lower men with otherwise healthy testosterone levels to low levels, some of these men hadn’t even noticed the symptoms as they crept up on them over time and they simply put it down to ageing. The results of improving their test levels were quite staggering, with several suggesting that they felt as good as they had in their 20s. 

Foods rich in zinc
Many foods that are rich in zinc: avocados, almonds, spinach…

Zinc – Men with low zinc levels typically suffer from low testosterone levels when supplemented with the correct amount of zinc, this was completely reversable. 

Magnesium – Magnesium supplementation was shown to help return testosterone levels to normal in males with deficiency, but some studies have gone even further to show that it raised levels in otherwise healthy men who were low in the mineral. Fortunately for men most meal replacement shakes are well fortified with magnesium. 

Supplements For Testosterone 

There are other options to make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals which are often overlooked for men, men’s supplements are a good place to look, and these range from everything from men’s multivitamins to dedicated testosterone booster blends. If you’re worried that you’re not getting the right amount of these vitamins we’d recommend that you have a look at Center TRT’s best testosterone booster list.

They’ve done 100s of reviews on test boosters, like we do with meal shakes, breaking down which ones are worth the money and which ones are unfortunately snake oil.

We may look into reviewing some testosterone boosters ourselves in the near future, but for now, we know Center TRT to be trustworthy and their information lines up with our own nutrition experience.

Testo Fuel
Testo Fuel is the #1 pick according to them.

“Constantly refining the formula to make sure testofuel is always on the cutting edge of test boosting supplements and at the forefront of the market. It’s geared towards being a balanced testosterone booster, yet is best in class for muscle mass growth and great for mood and libido.”

Testo Fuel best testosterone
Testo Fuel is the #1 pick according to them.

Constantly refining the formula to make sure testofuel is always on the cutting edge of test boosting supplements and at the forefront of the market. It’s geared towards being a balanced testosterone booster, yet is best in class for muscle mass growth and great for mood and libido.

Prime male testo booster
Best natural testosterone booster.

Packed with ingredients that boost free testosterone levels, increase luteinizing hormone helping you boost testosterone levels naturally and it’s unique blend covers all the bases whether it’s muscle growth, mood, memory or libido.”


Most meal replacement shakes are 400Kcal which means that 5 meal replacement shakes a day is 2000Kcal. Designed to make sure they contain about 20% of essential vitamins and nutrients, a meal replacement shake does only make up about 17% of a mans daily calories, and vitamin intake, this is something to keep in mind when planning your diet. An easy way to adjust for this is to simply add a bit more powder to your shake. 

Protein Requirements

Men on average have more muscle than women, but that isn’t the end of it, a mans healthy body fat percentage is lower than that of a woman’s, and muscle requires protein not only to grow, but simply to maintain itself regardless of exercise.

A healthy male should have a body fat percentage of between 14-17% whereas a female can be 5-10% higher than this and still be considered “fit”. This is due to the dimorphic fat storage of men and women.

Common recommendations for men tend to be between 1-2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight or that’s around 70-90g for a 180lb male. Whilst most meal replacement shakes come in at 20g of protein per meal which is enough, if you’re not getting a high amount of protein in other meals, you may want to opt for a high protein meal replacement shake. Especially if you’re trying to build lean muscle or in a calorie deficit and trying to maintain lean muscle whilst losing weight.

The Myth of Soy and Testosterone Levels

Soy is not going to lower testosterone levels, in fact it’s the only plant based protein that by itself has a completely balance amino acid profile, meaning that it contains DAA which if you’re not getting enough would cause low test. DHEA which is often used as a testosterone supplement, is also contained in Soy. In fact the hormone produced in the adrenal gland is extracted from soy when used in testosterone supporting supplements. 

The often cited study that showed men who consumed 56g of soy per day had lowered testosterone levels by 19% over a 4 week period, is typically the benchmark for this myth.

Replication attempts on smaller amounts have shown that anything below 30g shouldn’t have any effect and even replication of the 56g test has had mixed results. However, if you want to err on the side of caution, then we’d probably suggest you don’t have more than one soy based meal replacement shake per day.

If in doubt, we recommend looking at our picks for best soy free meal replacement shakes. There are plenty of well suited meal replacement shakes for men, so this really shouldn’t be an issue.


All in all, we’ve shown that the best meal replacements for men are a healthy meal option no matter your goal. There are high calorie shakes for weight gain that can help you put lean mass on. Alternatively, low fat options for weight loss, are also available. You will also find that no matter what your dietary needs are (plant-based, gluten free, dairy free) there will be a product out there for you.