Ensure – the “healthy” drink that contains mostly sugar and refined carbs

beverages-abbott-ensure-nutritional-shake-ready-to-drink-food

Want to ensure that you stay healthy and free of disease? Well this Ensure “healthy drink”, recommended for patients at risk of malnutrition, sounds really promising! Until you take a closer look at the nutrition facts, that is…

Sugar…

Just look at the two main ingredients (after water): corn maltodextrin and sugar. WHO recommends no more than 10% of energy in the diet to come from sugar, ideally below 5%. The sugar in this drink makes up a full 25 % of the energy. Five times more than the maximum recommendation.

…and then more bad carbs

Add the refined starch (corn maltodextrin) that rapidly turns into glucose in the blood, and the truly bad carbs add up to 56 % of the energy in this drink.

This is not that different from eating a bag of candy or drinking soda. Add a vitamin pill and you’ll get something very similar.

If you want to ensure that you become obese and sick, then you should buy this drink.

A better alternative

Low Carb for Beginners

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71 comments

  1. Aracely
    I want to know if it good for neomonia inflammation in the lungs
    Reply: #52
  2. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    I want to know if it good for neomonia inflammation in the lungs

    If you are referring to Ensure, we don't recommend it at all. However, a low carb or keto diet can help improve your immune system. This article may be of interest. https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/for-doctors/lung-disease#inflamma... If you or a family member is currently sick, we recommend working with your doctor.

  3. dhiman
    pls can you elaborate, my mom takes it, been like a month.
    can it cause cancer in the body :/

    Glad I found this article and comments! I heard that Ensure was a chemical cancer-causing sh**storm! My doctor recommended and gave me a bottle of ensure for pre-surgery. The nurse said it's supposed to help you heal faster (?!) I cannot find any scientific data or studies that confirm this. How does it help you heal faster? My nutritionist laughed when I told her about it. So I do not plan on drinking it the night before, but juicing real super-foods instead.

  4. F-A-L
    My mother recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. She suffered greatly, but she bore her suffering courageously. Until a day or two before she passed away, I didn't stop rebuking her for the stupidity of her dietary habits. For the final year of her life, her diet consisted solely of Ensure and Yoplait. Up to that point (~1 year ago), she was all things considered doing well, with both prior cancers in remission. She had a bad run of bowel issues and convinced herself that Ensure and Yoplait were the only viable foods to eat. In reality, they probably caused the problem in the first place. Soon after adopting the Ensure and Yoplait diet, she got a c. diff infection, and this was the beginning of the end. Nine months later, she got lung cancer. I love her and I miss her, but she got precisely what she deserved. Abbot Laboratories got plenty of profit, too. Happy ending.

    Ensure and Yoplait, a hell of a hill to die on, Mom. I suppose the idea of eating meat, fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olives, and healthy fats, while living another twenty to thirty years, was too miserable sounding to even consider. I love you though.

    Reply: #55
  5. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    My mother recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. She suffered greatly, but she bore her suffering courageously. Until a day or two before she passed away, I didn't stop rebuking her for the stupidity of her dietary habits. For the final year of her life, her diet consisted solely of Ensure and Yoplait. Up to that point (~1 year ago), she was all things considered doing well, with both prior cancers in remission. She had a bad run of bowel issues and convinced herself that Ensure and Yoplait were the only viable foods to eat. In reality, they probably caused the problem in the first place. Soon after adopting the Ensure and Yoplait diet, she got a c. diff infection, and this was the beginning of the end. Nine months later, she got lung cancer. I love her and I miss her, but she got precisely what she deserved. Abbot Laboratories got plenty of profit, too. Happy ending.
    Ensure and Yoplait, a hell of a hill to die on, Mom. I suppose the idea of eating meat, fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olives, and healthy fats, while living another twenty to thirty years, was too miserable sounding to even consider. I love you though.

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  6. Sarah Membrey
    I completely agree. It can be beneficial to those who physically can not or for eating disorder purposes can't get themselves to, as any calorie is better then having nothing. To people with cancer and eating disorders, a lolly is considered healthy then the normal route. When eating is difficult the need for energy for your body doesn't just stop, so even if it's just sugar and essential vitamins, that's more then you'd get normally. The needs of someone with an eating disorder or especially cancer when you either lose weight or have a low BMI (not everyone with these disorders/diseases do) their nutrition requirements are greatly altered by their disorder or disease. Ensure plus is also marketed to assist weight gain, and many say to much of anything can lead to weight gain, so by giving your body extra of certain nutrients this is how ED or cancer patients weight restore. There is always a grey area, there isn't good or bad only and by saying that we do our minds and our bodies more harm. I have an eating disorder and at times when I could eat nearly nothing or little, I used Resource 2.0 which is almost identical to ensure, and these products may save some and do the opposite for others. It's circumstancial and although homemade health drinks may be healthier in some ones, some are to sick or mentally unable to cope with that burden.
  7. Jack
    You were lucky you still could chew when you were in hospital. Not me, I could not chew and could not have fresh fruit juice, either.
    That is true, Ensure Milk or other nutrition doctors recommended drinks has sugar and other elements may not be good for people need diet controls, but they are life supplies for people cannot eat or drink other solid or fresh foods like me when I had the stage-IV cancer treatment 25 years ago. That was the only food, 6 bottles of Ensure Milk a day, supported my life through the 6 months treatment. If drank or swallowed other foods I would throw up, even got fever, right away.
  8. Christina
    Same here
  9. Kaz
    Omg I'm so scared reading all this. Idk what to do. I have bn so ill for so long. Ended up needing emergency surgery ie operate or die. I had no appetite before surgery and even less after. I have bn prescribed this product two times per day. Reading all this has brought back my eating disorder brain. I have suffered from anorexia a few times in my life, however this weightloss was not intended. I'm very scared. Confused. Upset. I feel like not drinking them.
    Replies: #60, #65
  10. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    Omg I'm so scared reading all this. Idk what to do. I have bn so ill for so long. Ended up needing emergency surgery ie operate or die. I had no appetite before surgery and even less after. I have bn prescribed this product two times per day. Reading all this has brought back my eating disorder brain. I have suffered from anorexia a few times in my life, however this weightloss was not intended. I'm very scared. Confused. Upset. I feel like not drinking them.

    So sorry to hear of your troubles! We would not recommend this drink. However, if you're unable to follow a keto or low-carb diet plan, you may want to discuss other options with your doctor.

    Reply: #62
  11. Mark
    I'm going through chemotherapy now! And it's hell,I'll eat anything I can get down,but that is very little,the hospital dietitian recommended ensure,even offered a discount. $40. I an get it at the chemist for $30. What a joke. I find crushed up ice blocks,the one with electrolites.spelling? Any way I got some yesterday and I haven't heaved,there great for a bit of relief,crush the ice block and it's like a sorbet .
  12. tobias
    you should know yourself better. I will recommend you take it. But you have to moderate your intake. Know when you think you need two or one a day. Some talk about Keto diet. Prolonged keto diet will also leave you with insufficient essential nutrients. Plus, it a precusor for acid build-up. Just know yourself and what your stomach can take go from there. Green leafy foods are good but you equally have to watch for them. they mosly carry microbes on them. can easily get a viral invasion. If you know an african. let them start you on a menu. African dishes are often tolerable. try that for better results.
  13. 1 comment removed
  14. Cora
    I am a caregiver to a lot of older people . The oldest being a 105! What kept them alive? ENSURE
  15. Hannah
    Don't listen to these comments, drink the ensure. Almost everything we consume now a days has a ton of sugar and carbs. This drink does not meet your daily intake value for sugar, carbs, and nutrients. It is used to add beneficial nutrients and ingredients to your diet. They only contain 400 calories per can meaning you would need to drink 4 or more of these a day to meet your calorie/nutritional requirements. If you are malnourished, you will need more calories. People do not understand that these drinks are not for the average healthy person - they are for eating disorders and cancer or malnourished patients. Most of these patients cannot drink leafy green smoothies (they hate vegetables or they feel sick), eat whole foods, they don't feel comfortable eating fats (healthy or not), they don't have the stamina to cook for themselves, or they don't have someone to cook for them - if so, not consistently. It is sick to me that people would sit here and tell someone with an eating disorder or cancer not to drink these drinks. 'Just adopt for a keto diet.' Do you know what it takes to completely change your diet? I am healthy as can be and a health fanatic - I don't even have the self-discipline to follow a full keto diet. :P As if people with eating disorders hadn't thought of dieting properly. As if healthcare workers haven't thought of telling patients to just eat healthy. People are daft.
  16. 2 comments removed
  17. gregory scott garner
    I had my jaw broken when I was younger, and Ensure products formed the bulk of my nourishment for almost 3 full months. I felt as good, if not better, than I would have normally. I dropped some weight, of course, but emerged as strong as when I began. I did overhead presses with a barbell every week, just to keep myself from complete muscle atrophy, because I wasn't doing much but going to class(this happened in college). I was lifting more at the end than in the beginning, despite those Ensure products only providing me with somewhere in the vicinity of 24-30 grams of protein per day(in addition to a little skim milk which I also had daily, so altogether my protein intake was rarely over 40 grams). Sure, I missed normal food...but as far as the way I felt BETWEEN MEALS...I had absolutely no complaints, and generally felt BETTER.
  18. 1 comment removed
  19. Ashton
    Ensure is prescribed for people that are mostly underweight so although the ingredients isn't essential. It is very well beneficial for those in which is medically prescribed. Consult a doctor before buying of course!
  20. Myles Matisse
    Under NO circumstances should anyone drink ANY of the Ensure products. The fact that doctors and hospitals recommend and give it to patients reveals to me that either the medical industry as a whole is stupid or they just don't care OR they have a nice lucrative deal with Ensure where all sides profit.

    I'm in great shape. I exercise regularly. I have a sensible diet. I don't drink soda or eat fast food. I've eaten and drank less than healthy things before but even then it was moderately. However, every time I drank either a half or full Ensure Plus, within 10 minutes the life drained out of me and felt my body become ill. Not nauseous but drained, weak and had a feeling of unwell-ness. It lasted for 10 minutes and faded away to where I felt good again. I've NEVER drank ANYTHING in my entire life that made me feel this way. EVER. It's so so strange.

    I drink protein smoothies regularly. 90% of the time though I make them myself at home. I buy small tubs of whey or plant protein powder from the nutrition store of my choice and put scoops in a blender along with a banana, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and water. Blend it up and drink. Delicious, healthy and never ever makes me sick. Why? Because whatever protein powder I buy has only 2 grams of sugar, NO high fructose corn syrup or corn maltodextrin, hardly any carbs and is high in amino acids and vitamins. Plant based is my first recommendation for protein powders as they are derived from real, healthy Plant sources which are ultimately better for you than whey or soy.

    With ready to drink protein drinks, AVOID Ensure and all other high sugar and high carb ones. The lower the sugar content the better. Look at the label of any powders or ready to drinks you buy. Be smart about it. Don't be fooled by the "Doctor" recommended ENSURE products.

  21. Mara
    Ensure and supplements like Nutren, boost and the Very High Calorie versions of it and diabetic friendly glucerna are incredibly helpful for nutritional supplement when you’re lacking in it. It is common to supplement with this in eating disorder treatment when patients are incapable physically or mentally of the intake needed to weight restore or maintain. If the registered dietitians and medical professionals at all these medical facilities are using it I am completely okay with continuing to consume it if it will help me gain the weight I need reach a healthy weight and body.
  22. 1 comment removed
  23. Jen
    This nonsense makes me mad. Nobody is saying to drink ensure 24/7 and not to eat solid food. That said, after surgery when you are on liquids ONLY or even worse CLEAR LIQUIDS only, ensure is one of the only products out there. My husband had jaw surgery and will not be able to eat solid food for at least a month and he is only allowed CLEAR liquid for the first two week. Water alone is not going to fill up my husband who is 6’1 250 lbs; he has already lost 5 lbs in 3 days. These doctors are being paid for their opinions. Do not believe everything you read and/or hear from others. Yes, we all know sugar is unhealthy; however, for people who cannot eat solid food Ensure is the way to go.
  24. 1 comment removed
  25. MarkC
    It is sad how many people get on here that are healthy saying "OMG don't touch ensure because it has sugar".
    First off, Ensure is made for people who for whatever reason cannot eat "normal food". It was never designed or intended for you egotistical health nuts to consume. It is designed for people who for whatever health reason can't normally eat, yet you preach from your ego pulpits to eat KETO.... Hellooooo McFly, that is not even an option for the intended users... If a Dr or Nurses tell you while on a regimented diet to drink 1, 2 or even 6 ensures a day, I PROMISE YOU A KETO DIET IS NOT AN OPTION !!!

    There are many medical situations in life that eating traditional solid food of any type is not an option, period, and telling people to avoid something made to give them easily digested and life saving glucose, protien, fat, and over 25 esential vitamins and minerals is absurd and just shows the true ignorance of so many people today.

    I promise you, if the doctor had a choice, of course they would recommend whole foods and fruits and vegetables over a nutritional drink designed to be easily digested by people who's immediate health conditions for whatever reason require an easily digestible LIQUID suppliment.

    Your fresh health shakes while easy for your healthy body to digest could easily be to hard for an unhealthy or recovering gut to digest....

  26. bil paul
    No one seems to have mentioned the Ensure ads on TV that are completely deceptive. They show a bottle of Ensure surrounded by various fruits and veggies -- which suggests that Ensure contains them. It doesn't. It just contains various refined minerals, vitamins, sugars and carbs. I have complained about this false advertising to various government agencies, and to my local congressional office, with absolutely no reply back. Crazy.
  27. Douger Do Dah Day
    Wow. Amazing to read these comments. I fell and broke my jaw in three places and messed up my teeth and my bite. I am recovering and can only eat liquids and soft foods with a spoon, which is REALLY getting old. All the BS posted here by HEALTHY people, not in need of a nutritional alternative, is ignorant and unsettling to say the least. Yes, I can't wait to get through this and be able to eat healthy, solid food again and to regain my stamina again. Until then, I'll drink Ensure as my doctors and surgeons recomend.
  28. Steve
    Some of us with incurable base of tongue cancer cannot eat any solid food at all. These are the only things keeping me alive at the moment. So, what choices are there for patients like me, I'm going to die anyway, if I manage to maintain my weight, a trial might come around, if I don't...
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