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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60 comments

Top comments

  1. Janknitz
    If I had a family member who is an "elderly person who is wasting away and has difficulty eating solid foods. Perhaps someone with anorexia or orthorexia who begins eating "real" foods again but despite his or her best efforts can't gain weight without supplementation" I would be making smoothies out of real ingredients dairy or coconut milk, adding healthy fats, collagen or gelatin, perhaps pureed veggies and some fruit for flavor. Or fortifying broth with good fats and pureed veggies. Not this stuff.
    Replies: #7, #8, #11
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  2. Leanne S.
    I spent a month in the hospital 6 years ago. I was supposed to drink one of these with EVERY MEAL. I refused. They got very angry with me, treated me like a recalcitrant child; they could not understand my objection to drinking all that sugar and processed crap. I couldn't eat the processed dollar store-level food they brought me, it killed my appetite. But they wouldn't bring me fresh fruits and vegetables and eggs. Finally, my husband starting bringing fruit and veg and cheese and meat and yogurt and eggs. The Ensure was thrown out, unopened, every single meal for a month, but still they brought it.
    Reply: #57
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All 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.
    Reply: #60
  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.
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