The Protein Works is a reputable nutritional supplement brand specialized in protein and meal replacement shakes. The UK based brand shines on the variety of flavours and excellent taste of their shakes. Today, I want to have a look at their complete food options: Diet Meal Replacement, Vegan Meal Replacement, and Complete 360 Meal. In this The Protein Works review, I want to discover how good these meal replacements really are; and if they are worth buying.
The Protein Works Review
Surprisingly great. That pretty much sums up my experience with The Protein Works’ meal replacement shakes.
Has it been the perfect experience? I certainly wouldn’t go that far, but I must admit that there are very few flaws in their offering. Both the diet shakes and the standard shake tasted amazing, and had nutritional profiles that I enjoyed. They were also very filling and kept me energized without any issues.
However, I was disappointed to see that Complete 360 (the “standard” version) is only available in 3 flavours. In comparison, there are up to 14 flavours for the diet variations! Nonetheless, the price for these is significantly higher, too (due to other factors).
Therefore, while I’m certain that you will be able to find what you are looking for at TheProteinWorks, I do hope that they make small improvements to get one step closer to perfection.
What I like
1. Overall the most delicious shakes I’ve had. I don’t say this lightly, but I must admit that on average they simply have the most pleasant and enjoyable meal replacement shakes in the market. I loved the thicker texture, and the stronger flavours of the shakes.
2. Complete 360 meal is a well rounded, and delightful shake. My favourite from all of them was Complete 360. I think that with the discounts this is a bargain of a shake (£1/400kcal), that offers good quality nutrition, plenty of protein (30g), no sugars (only 1g), and tastes just amazing. Even though the diet shakes might have a better texture, I think this is the best option for most people and my personal favourite.
3. Flavours, flavours and more flavours. This is mainly true for the Diet Meal Replacement (and Extreme), but having up to 14 flavours to choose from is simply bewildering.
4. Diet is not simply less calories. While the recommended servings are smaller, the Diet meal replacements come with extra ingredients that might help you out in your weight loss journey. These ingredients may help you with feeling ful for longer, stimulate weight loss…
5. Whey-based and plant-based meal replacement shakes. Complete 360 is vegan, but the diet meal replacements are available with whey, too.
6. Available in the UK, US and EU.
7. Price and discounts. Complete 360 meal is a great bang for the buck, largely due to the regular discounts The Protein Works offers. This includes the 40% off you can get with the code LATESTFUELS40 sitewide.
8. Other products. As a big nutritional supplement company, they have multiple other products that you can benefit off; from protein powders to calorie free sweeteners, healthy breakfast options, greens, multivitamins etc.
What I dislike
1. Price on the diet options. I am not very keen of relying on discounts to get the best prices, and I would rather have more affordable base pricing. That said, I think that Complete 360 meal is well priced, but the diet options are just expensive.
2. No gluten free. For having so many options, I am surprised not to see a gluten-free one. Just a small detail that they could improve upon.
3. Lack of flavour options for Complete 360. Similarly, the devil is on the details. Thus, I do not understand how Diet Meal Replacement has 14 flavours, but Complete 360 has just 3.
4. No dedicated US shop. While TheProteinWorks delivers to the US for a reasonable price (free after £100), you need to make the purchase on the GBP (British shop) and it’s hard to know that you can buy from the US.
1. US based shop. Even though it is available in the US, I think that most Americans would absolutely love the meal replacement shakes TheProteinWorks offers. As such, it would be great to see them selling from the US.
2. More flavours for Complete 360 meal. I’m not asking for 13, but 5 would be reasonable.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try out all the flavours. However, I think I have a good grasp on the taste and texture of most shakes. Most of the shakes are sweeter than the alternatives, quite smooth and mix very well. The actual flavours are pretty yummy and enjoyable. The shakes go down easily and do a great job keeping you full.
Besides, I must say that most of the drinks are fairly thick and strong in flavour. I usually ended up adding at least another 50ml to 100ml to the recommended serving to make it better.
Complete 360 Meal Taste
Out of all varieties, this one is the least smooth. I suspect this is due to having more oats and fibre. However, the little clumps are honestly no issue and don’t feel hard or unchewable. In fact, the whole shake is even more pleasant because of it, in my opinion.
Flavour-wise, Complete 360 is slightly less sweet than the diet versions. It’s also more oaty and you can notice the avocado oil taste slightly in the background.
Another positive is that the shakes don’t have any weird aftertaste (unlike those with a lot of artificial flavourings). However, when it comes to quenching your hunger, you might find that it falls short (3h consistently per shake). For me, it comes down to how thin the shake is, when compared to other more consistent, thick shakes (which I tend to enjoy more).
Vegan Meal Replacement Taste
In my opinion, there’s some subtle differences in taste with the Diet Vegan and Complete 360. The first is slightly smoother and does not have the small clumps Complete 360 does. Furthermore, it’s also a tad sweeter, almost to a point that can be sickening to some.
Out of all the flavours, I found the chocolate based ones (Chocolate Silk and Choc Hazelnut Heaven to be the best). Banana Smooth was OK, too; but it’s more of a desserty flavour, overwhelmingly sweet.
Diet Meal Replacement Taste
Out of all the variations, this was the smoothest and perhaps the tastiest. In fact, I think these shakes are among the easiest to like and drink, I’ve ever tried. Despite that, and the fact that it only has 200kcal per drink, it was a very filling and satisfying shake to consume.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to try all 14 flavours (which I would love to), but I really enjoyed the ones I had. For instance, Chocolate Mint Brownie was a positive surprise. Despite not being the biggest chocolate mint fan, I found this to be a very refreshing aroma.
As usual, I would go for chocolate flavours, since I feel these are the best accomplished and the least artificial.
Complete Meal Reviews
So, what meal replacement products does TheProteinWorks offer? In short we can classify them in 2 groups:
- Complete 360 meal. This is the “standard” meal replacement suitable to use on a daily basis for most people.
- Weight loss meal replacement shakes. These are designed to help you lose weight. They are lighter meal shakes (less calories) and they have extra ingredients to accelerate fat loss. Diet Meal Replacement and Diet Meal Replacement Extreme are, in fact, some of the best meal replacements for weight loss that you can buy.
Most shakes from the protein works contain whey based protein sources. The vegan meal replacements use a plant-based combination to provide you with quality protein.
Brief Complete 360 Meal Review
Complete 360 Meal is the best fit for most people. It offers a balanced, protein filled meal that will also provide you with all the essential nutrients. This includes, 30g of protein, all the necessary fats (including omega-3), plus the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Complete 360 is a lactose free meal meal replacement shake and vegan friendly. The only allergens are oats. Interestingly, Complete 360 meal also contains probiotics to help you with your gut flora.
Overall, it’s a very competent shake; with a great macronutrient profile (particularly if you are active), and nutritionally well rounded. The flavours offered are good too, but I do wish there were more options like there are in the Diet shakes. The taste, as mentioned above, is delicious, and the texture is nice, while it’s not as smooth as some of the best meal replacement shakes (which I don’t really mind).
Flavours: Double Milk Chocolate, Strawberries N’ Cream Classic, and Vanilla Creme.
Ingredients: Oats, Protein Blend (Pea Protein Isolate, Brown Rice Protein, Hemp Protein), Flaxseed Powder, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Avocado Oil Powder, Flavouring, TPW™ Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide Heavy, Vitamin C, Zinc Gluconate, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Vitamin E Acetate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B3, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B5, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Sulphate Monohydrate, D-Biotin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Folic Acid), MCT Powder, Stabiliser, Ashwagandha Extract, Sweetener, Bifidobacterium Lactis.
Diet Meal Replacement Shakes Review
The Protein Works offers 3 different types of diet shakes. Diet and Diet Extreme which are based on whey protein, plus Vegan Diet which contains a plant-based protein blend. All three are great shakes for those looking for a low calorie meal.
They are more nutrient dense than Complete 360 meal, and even more filling. On top of that, there are more flavours available (particularly for the whey based versions). In fact, some of those extra flavours are among my favourites (like, Cheeky Choc Coconut).
Out of all three, I think Diet Meal Replacement Extreme is the best if you are looking to shave some extra pounds. I say so, because it contains some extra ingredients that might help you with weight loss; namely, CLA, MCTs, konjac glucomannan, and more. It is worth mentioning that the evidence for how effective they are is not very strong for all of them.
|Diet Meal||Diet Extreme||Vegan Diet|
Remember that you can use LATESTFUELS40 to reduce the price by 40%! That reduces the price per serving to £1.3.
Diet Meal Replacement
Flavours: Banana Smooth, Butterscotch Ripple, Caramel Macchiato, Cheeky Choc Coconut, Choc Marble Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint Brownie, Chocolate Silk, Dark Choc Raspberry, Millionaire’s Shortbread, Strawberries N’ Creme, and Vanilla Creme.
Ingredients: Protein Blend [SOYA Protein, Whey Protein Concentrate (Emulsifier: SOYA lecithin) (MILK), MILK Protein Concentrate], Oat Flour, Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder, Dietary Fibre (Inulin), Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide Heavy, Vitamin C, Zinc Gluconate, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Vitamin E Acetate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B3, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B5, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Sulphate Monohydrate, D-Biotin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Folic Acid), MCTs, Konjac Glucomannan, CLA, Thickener, Salt, Flavouring, Greeent Tea Extract, and Sweetener.
Vegan Diet Meal Replacement
Flavours: Banana Smooth, Chocolate Silk, Salted Caramel, Strawberries N’ Cream, Vanilla Creme, and Choc Hazelnut Heaven.
Ingredients: Protein Protein Blend [Pea Protein Isolate, SOY Protein Isolate, Brown Rice Protein, Hemp Protein, Organic Sunflower Protein], Oat Flour, Maltodextrin, Dietary Fibre, Flavouring, Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide Heavy, Vitamin C, Zinc Gluconate, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Vitamin E Acetate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B3, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B5, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Sulphate Monohydrate, D-Biotin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Folic Acid), Golden Flaxseed, Thickener, Salt, Sucralose, Natural Colouring.
First of all, it is worth noting that not all three variations are the same. Please check the individual nutritional labels. However, one thing that they have in common is that they are much richer in protein than you average shake.
Besides that, you will find both vegan friendly shakes and dairy containing meals. Also, all the shakes are non-GMO; but, none of them are gluten-free.
- Total Carbs: 17g, 6.5% of RI.
- Sugars: 1.0g, 1% of RI.
- Fiber: 5.4g, 27% of RI.
- Total Carbs: 45g, 17% of RI.
- Sugars: 1.0g, 4% of RI.
- Fiber: 10.0g, 50% of RI.
- Total Carbs: 34.0g, 13% of RI.
- Sugars: 3.6g, 4% of RI.
- Fiber: 7.5g, 35% of RI.
All three meals contain oats as the main source of carbohydrates. Oats are a great provider of complex carbohydrates and other nutrients. The diet shakes also contain maltodextrin, which is a complex carb with high glycemic index. Nevertheless, the overall Glycemic index of the shakes will be medium-low, because there aren’t many carbs.
Furthermore, none of the shakes is really high in sugars. In fact, Complete 360 only has 1g per serving. On the other hand, they are all rich in fibre. Great balance of carbs, overall.
- Total Fats: 3.4g, 4.9% of RI.
- Saturated: 0.8g, 4% of RI.
- Total Fats: 11.0g, 16% of RI.
- Saturated: 1.3g, 7% of RI.
- Total Fats: 3.2g, 5% of RI.
- Saturated: 0.6g, 3% of RI.
The weight loss meal replacement shakes are really low in fat. In fact, the whey based meals are likely missing omega-3 fatty acids. This is because the mix does not contain any flaxseed which is the source of these essential fatty acids in the vegan version and Complete 360.
Instead, they contain some MCTs that while beneficial, they are not considered essential. I would like to see some flaxseed to ensure that they provide you with all the omega-3 that your body requires.
Another interesting point is that Complete 360 uses avocado oil, rather than the more popular sunflower oil. Nutritionally, it is high in monounsaturated fatty acid and lower in polyunsaturated.
- Total protein: 24g, 48% of RI.
- Source: soy protein, whey protein isolate, micellar casein.
- Total protein: 30g, 60% of RI.
- Source: pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, hemp protein).
- Total protein: 20g, 40% of RI.
- Source: pea protein isolate, soy protein isolate, brown rice protein, hemp protein, organic sunflower protein.
When it comes to protein, all variations of The Protein Works meal replacements will provide you with more than enough protein. Not only that, but they use custom blends that ensure you get a balanced amino acid profile and good absorption.
For instance, in the vegan shakes, they use pea with rice protein (very common in the industry); two sources that balance each other’s weaknesses. Plus, they also have hemp protein, which is a complete protein on its own.
On the other hand, vegetarian shakes have whey protein isolate (higher purity than concentrate which is usually used). They also have some micellar casein, a protein that is absorbed more slowly by the body. This makes casein usually preferred for fasting situations to enhance recovery.
The synthetic mix added to all the shakes will provide you with at least 20% of your recommended intakes in all shakes. The diet variations are richer in micronutrients than Complete 360, containing the same amount of vitamins and minerals in half the calories.
|per 100g||per 60g||%RI*|
|Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid||110μg||66μg||33%|
One of the most interesting features of The Protein Works complete meals is the extra ingredients they are. Ingredients that are there to help you achieve your goals or give you an extra boost:
Complete 360: Bifidobacterium Lactis and Ashwagandha. The first is a source of probiotics, whereas ashwagandha is a herb that has beneficial properties (anti-stress, might reduce cortisol, etc).
Diet Extreme: Konjac Glucomannan, CLA, green tea extract, acetyl-L-Carnitine (only in Extreme). The effectiveness of these is not fully proven. For instance, acetyl-L-Carnitine has proven benefits on fatigue reduction, but the evidence for fat burning is not very strong.
Oats, soy and/or milk. Look at the nutritional variations to see the exact allergens. For soy free shakes check the link.
- Vegan and Vegetarian options.
- All are high in protein with excellent sources.
- Diet Meal Replacements are very low in fat, and might lack omega-3 (except vegan version).
- All have added ingredients to help you with your goals. E.g. diet powders have konjac glucomannan and green tea extract; while Complete 360 has probiotics.
- Complete 360 is the best nutritionally for most people.
More about TheProteinWorks
TheProteinWorks Review; Learn About the Company
TheProteinWorks is a UK based nutritional company that specializes in protein powders and other nutritional supplements. The British brand is well known for its refined aesthetics, superior grade quality products, and professionalism.
The company was founded in 2012 by Mark Coxhead, who had previously work in the British giant MyProtein, Karl Jacobie and Nick Smith. Ever since, it has been a story of success, winning multiple awards and becoming the 2nd largest sport nutrition brand in the UK.
Pure, Proven and Personal is the company motto.
As you can observe from the pictures, the looks of TheProteinWorks bags are clean and professional. They have a really nice feel, and look even better in person.
Regarding the meal replacement options, most of them come in 4 different sizes: 500g, 1kg, 2kg and 4k.
In my experience, the first is too small if you are seriously looking to use them. However, it can come handy if you want to try out the different flavours. Otherwise, I would go for the 4kg bags.
Pricing and Shipping
When it comes to shipping, TheProteinWorks offers free shipping to Europe and the US.
- In the UK, you can get free shipping after £50.
- In Europe you can get free shipping for orders larger than €65 for most countries.
- For the USA, buy from the GBP account, and you’ll get free shipping in orders above £80 (~$100).
For more shipping info: https://www.theproteinworks.com/delivery.
Price-wise, the products might seem slightly expensive at first. However, thanks to the LATESTFUELS40 (40% OFF sitewide), most of them will be very affordable. When it comes to the meal replacements, they will be among the cheapest shakes that you can buy:
|Price (£)||Complete 360||Huel||Plenny Shake|
|per 400kcal (expensive)||£2.00||£1.47||£1.29|
|per 400kcal (cheapest)||£1.00||£1.19||£1.10|
US and EU
|Price||Complete 360||Huel||Plenny Shake|
|€ per 400kcal (expensive)||3.20||2.03||1.40|
|€ per 400kcal (cheapest)||1.60||1.30||1.19|
|$ per 400kcal (expensive)||2.57||2.12||1.75|
|$ per 400kcal (cheapest)||1.29||1.51||1.40|
Other TheProteinWorks Products
As a nutritional supplement company, they have a wide array of products such as protein powders, multivitamins, and other supplements (CLA, creatine, zero calorie flavourings…).
Here are some of the most interesting products that they offer:
- Vegan protein powder
- 4 plant based protein sources
- 9 different flavours to choose from
- Great taste and smooth texture
- Zero calorie sweetener
- No carbs, no fats and no calories
- 6 flavours available
- Great to add a different touch to your shakes
Whey Protein 360
- Whey based protein powder
- Blend of whey concentrate, isolate, soy and milk protein
- 18 flavours available
- Best to add some extra protein to your shake
Super Greens Extreme
- Greens powder
- 20 different vegetables and fruit
- 3 flavours
- Ideal to boost your green intake and help your immune system
All four products mentioned above are excellent. Personally, when I’m using meal replacements I don’t tend to need protein powder. However, I do like to add some green powders to increase the amount of nutrients I take. Flavourings like 0 syrups are also great for brands that offer nutritionally great shakes, but taste-wise might be bland.
Besides these products, they also have one of the best gaming drinks that can increase your focus and energy levels. Endless Nootropic can be a huge help to your mental awareness and might be able to reduce fatigue levels.
The Protein Works FAQ
If you are buying from the US, use the GBP store and then select your country when you are in checkout.
No, the meal replacement shakes are not suitable for Coeliacs. They contain oats that might have been cross-contaminated.
The second has a few extra ingredients aimed to help you with your weight loss. There are also some different flavours available.
When stored in a cool, dry place, avoiding direct sunlight, it should last 12 months, at least.
Yes, the shakes are free of GMO ingredients.
The meal replacements TheProteinWorks offers are among the best, to my surprise. In fact, the weight loss oriented shakes are one of my favourites, with some minor issues, such as the price. When comparing to other similar products, though, it is not as expensive as it might seem at first glance.
Nonetheless, I believe that Complete 360 meal is the best well rounded complete food offer TheProteinWorks has. Consequently, it is the one that should appeal to most people when looking to replace their meals. As such, I want to compare it with some of the most popular shakes in the market:
- Plenny Shake
Plenny Shake vs Complete 360
The meal replacement by the Dutch brand Jimmyjoy is one of the fan favourites. They are affordable and enjoyable meals available in multiple flavours. A combo that appeals to a wide array of people, while disappointing very few.
Plenny Shake: Vanilla, Chocolate, Mango, Coffee, Banana and Strawberry.
Complete 360: Double Milk Chocolate, Strawberries N’ Cream, and Vanilla Creme.
|per 400 (expensive)||1.40||3.20|
|per 400 (cheapest)||1.19||1.60|
For the UK, the price for Complete 360 meal is more affordable when compared to Europe. Each meal starts at £2.00 and can be reduced to £1.00.
The key difference in the taste is that Complete 360 meal has stronger and sweeter flavours. In my opinion, they are more enjoyable due to this, but it might put some people off.
Another noticeable distinction is the shake texture. Plenny Shake is a thinner and smaller drink; while Complete 360 has more consistency. While this may make Plenny Shake easier to drink, it also makes it less satiating.
|per serving||Plenny Shake||RI (%)
Both are plant-based meal replacement shakes that offer all the nutrients your body needs.
What Should I Buy?
I think it will come down to personal preference. For me, that would be Complete 360 meal. Mostly, because of the higher protein content, plust the stronger and more delicious flavours (chocolate). Nonetheless, Plenny Shake is still a very affordable option that has more flavours available. It is also, arguably the easier shake to drink.
Huel vs Complete 360 Meal
This is another UK based company. Actually, not just another, but the market leader. Huel is the biggest brand out there, and it is largely due to their successful meal replacement powder
Huel Powder: Original, Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee*, Berry, Banana*, Mint-Chocolate*, and Unflavoured & Unsweetened. *Only available in Europe
Complete 360: Double Milk Chocolate, Strawberries N’ Cream, and Vanilla Creme.
||Complete 360 Meal
|per 400 (expensive)||2.03||3.20|
|per 400 (cheapest)||1.30||1.60|
|per 400 (expensive)||1.47||2.00|
|per 400 (cheapest)||1.10||1.00|
Huel also ships to the US (from the US). Check the Huel review to see the prices. They also offer Huel Black, a low carb gluten free alternative.
In this department, I believe that Complete 360 is the clear winner. Simply, they have a tastier shake. The flavours are more vibrant and the shakes are more enjoyable to drink.
That said, Huel has improved their texture a lot, and the shakes are pleasant to drink in the long run. This is, once you get used to them, they don’t get tiring or sickening.
|per serving||Complete 360||RI (%)
Once again, both are vegan shakes. Huel also offers a gluten-free alternative at an extra cost, whereas Complete 360 meal is not gluten-free. Interestingly, both are low sugar shakes, using complex carbs as main the energy source.
What Should I Buy?
Complete 360 meal is one of the best Huel alternatives you can buy. Personally, I find it more enjoyable and still provides me with as much protein as Huel does. Plus, it is nutritionally great. For gluten-intolerants, Huel is still the better option, though.
The Protein works meal replacements are sublime in taste and flavour options. While the base price can be a little high, particularly for the Diet shakes, the discounts (including my own) they tend to offer make the shakes very affordable in all regions.
That said, I think Complete 360 Meal is the best complete food powder they offer. Well-balanced, packed with protein and all the nutrients you need, it is one of the tastiest shakes I’ve had so far. It is just unfortunate that it is only available in 3 flavours.
Similarly, the diet meal replacement shakes are incredible in terms of taste. However, unlike Complete 360, they have a much wider flavour variety that dwarfs most competitors. I also love the extra ingredients TheProteinWorks adds to help you with your weight loss. Sad to see that this comes with a significant price increase.
All in all, I think you will find out what you are looking for at TheProteinWorks. Great meal replacement shakes where taste shines, but nutrition is not forgotten.
The Protein Works£1-3/400kcal
- All the shakes are just delicious. I love the chocolate ones
- Great discounts make it very affordable
- The Diet Meal Replacement shakes are the best for weight loss
- Both plant-based and whey based options
- Unparalleled flavour options for the diet shakes
- Complete 360 meal is only available in 3 flavours
- Diet powders cost extra
- No gluten-free options