Updated: 08/15/2017
By Summer Banks Jul 28, 2017

Ensure says it’s the “#1 doctor-recommended brand”.

That sounds great, but what I’m asking is:

“Will this ensure some weight-loss?”

First off, Ensure delivers daily nutrition and increased energy in the form of a 220-calorie meal replacement shake. Unfortunately, Ensure won’t increase metabolism, but if you replace a high calorie meal with one of these shakes you might be surprised by the results.

Want to know more?

Prepare yourself for these 4 things you NEED to know about Ensure.

Take a look:

Ensure Readers: Click here to find out why we're giving away samples of our product, Dietspotlight Burn.

What is Ensure?

First off, Ensure is a prepackaged nutritional shake [1] that is ready-to-drink. It is made by Abbott Laboratories and comes in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan and coffee latte. It is intended to provide daily nutrition, boost energy levels and function as an alternative to meals. Each serving contains 220 calories, nine grams of protein, 26 essential vitamins and minerals [2], as well as 25% of your daily B vitamins [3]. As such, you may be able to lose weight if you use this as part of a low-calorie eating plan.

Neither Ensure or Ensure Plus will increase metabolism or boost fat loss directly, but there are clinically tested supplements that can help with that if you’re trying to lose weight.

Ensure has been available since 1973 and can be purchased in traditional supermarkets and drugstores. This shake is easy to consume on-the-go, and it’s okay for people of all ages, but read on…

Ensure Has A Bad Taste – “Yucky?”

The first thing you must consider with Ensure ingredients is the taste. “If dieters cannot drink a product that is supposed to provide nutrition, that can be a huge problem,” says our Research Editor. “There are far too many complaints about this to ignore.”

One customer commented of Ensure ingredients, “This flavor was gross though. It tastes absolutely nothing like coffee or any other known flavor for that matter. The person who said sidewalk chalk – not a bad comparison.”

“I don’t really like the taste. I ended up holding my breath while drinking it to avoid tasting it. It tastes artificial,” said another user.

According to a few users, the taste was good.

” It packs a huge amount of calories and actually tastes pretty good,” said one user of Ensure Plus.

Another claimed, “Ensure Plus tastes great and isn’t too thick.”

Ensure Customer Testimonials

Low Protein Levels in Ensure – “Another Concern”

Each bottle/serving of Ensure only provides nine grams of protein, which is quite small [4] in comparison to most other bars and shakes in the same category. As one customer stated, “Only 9 grams of protein? Really? No thanks!”

Another said, “I’ll stick with my protein powder. It tastes better too.”

Not everyone felt the protein levels were too low.

“The jugs are very small and yet pack 350 calories in each one. Lots of protein too,” one Ensure Plus customer shared.

Another said, “Each bottle contains 350 calories and 13 grams of protein, and 24 vitamins and minerals. It’s about the healthiest drink on the market.”

The research we’ve conducted has shown if there is one specific aspect of a diet shake that is off (bad taste, low protein levels) the likelihood of prolonged success is slim. So, if the dieter can’t keep Ensure down and it doesn’t provide sufficient nutrition, that is certainly an issue, especially if weight-loss is the goal.

The Science – “Valid?”

At DietSpotlight, we prefer to see documented clinical research that supports the diet product or pill and how it helps the dieter lose. As for Ensure nutritional shakes, we could not locate any published studies that link this product to weight-loss. However, we have to note that meal replacements can work to reduce calorie intake [5] when used regularly. Partner that with a tested and strongly supported supplement and you’ve got the recipe for success.


What are the side effects of Ensure?

Some potential Ensure side effects could include constipation, diarrhea and upset stomach.

What is in Ensure?

The Ensure ingredients are water, corn maltodextrin, sugar, milk protein concentrate, soy oil, soy protein isolate, sucromalt, cocoa powder, canola oil, corn oil, magnesium phosphate, potassium citrate, cellulose gel, natural & artificial flavor, potassium chloride, sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, choline chloride, ascorbic acid, cellulose gum, monoglycerides, soy lecithin, carrageenan, potassium hydroxide, liquid sucralose, ferric orthophosphate, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, acesulfame potassium, zinc sulfate, niacinamide, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, cupric sulfate, vitamin a palmitate, thiamine chloride hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, chromium chloride, biotin, sodium molybdate, sodium selenate, potassium iodide, cyanocobalamin, phylloquinone and vitamin d3.

What is the active ingredient in Ensure?

The active ingredient in Ensure is soy protein isolate.

Does Ensure work?

There’s no scientific research proving Ensure will help dieters lose weight. We did find science to back adding protein to a diet, but nothing that’s just about Ensure.

How much does a bottle of Ensure cost?

One bottle of Ensure costs $1.58 or $37.99 for a case of 24.

How do you take Ensure?

You should drink one Ensure shake per day. If you are wanting to lose weight, the company recommends replacing a meal with an Ensure shake.

Who makes Ensure?

The makers of Ensure is Abbott Laboratories.

How much protein is in Ensure?

Each serving of Ensure contains 9g of protein.

How much sugar is in a serving of Ensure?

Each serving of Ensure contains 15g of sugar.

Does Ensure come with a guarantee?

Ensure comes with a guarantee. You have 30 days to return the product to receive a full refund.

You may want to consider thinking about replacing Ensure with a supplement like Dietspotlight Burn, which consists of ingredients that have been clinically tested.

Also: read our Dietspotlight Burn Weight-Loss Kit review »Ensure Ingredients

The Bottom Line – Does Ensure Work?

So, have we decided this is the best replacement out there? We are excited to see that there are various Ensure flavors to choose from. You should note that this shake contains 15 grams of sugar per serving, which is not the best option when you are trying to lose weight. Combine that with the fact that clinical research does not support this formula over other nutritional drinks, and we’re left skeptical about recommending it. Furthermore, there are plenty of customer complaints about the taste.

Dieters that wish to shed more pounds and trim up may want to consider a weight-loss pill that is supported by substantial clinical testing, does not taste unpleasant and is backed by all sorts of positive user reviews. It’s even better if you can combine a meal replacement with such a product.

Among the best products we’ve seen this year is one called Dietspotlight Burn. Its formula is a special blend of four ingredients, which have been shown with clinical testing to help ignite metabolism and encourage more fat loss. We have not seen many complaints of adverse effects, and dieter feedback around the web indicates people see some fantastic results. These are the exact characteristics of a strong weight-loss supplement, and many dieters use it in conjunction with meal replacements like Ensure.

Also, the company that produces Dietspotlight Burn is so confident in the supplement they’re offering a Special Trial Offer, which is a huge positive. You have nothing to lose but those extra pounds that have been hanging around!

Previous Ensure Review (Updated July 10, 2014):

What You Should Know about Ensure

Ensure is a meal replacement drink designed to provide nutrition and prevent hunger by offering a nutrient-fortified shake, now available in various flavors and five different shakes for a dieter's individual needs. Take a closer look at Right Size Smoothies if a protein-rich diet is what you need to replace your meals. Each type of drink claims to contain enough nutrients equal to one missed meal, and will also fight off hunger pangs while providing nutritional support, ranging from fiber to protein. Flavors range from strawberry to creamy milk chocolate, and can be purchased online or through major retailers such as Wal-Mart or Target. Ensure tends to be a bit expensive, but claims to be a worthy choice for consumers seeking a nutritional supplement. It does not claim to be a weight loss supplement, however, but it is sometimes used for that purpose. Additionally, there's a similar product that turns heads, Yacon Syrup is vegetable extract that can be taken before meals to lose weight. Supplementing a diet with meal replacement shakes is often debated for its safety, and some say that replacing a nutritious meal with a replacement shake is not always the safest route. Additionally, meal replacement shakes often contain chemicals and too little nutritional and naturally-derived ingredients. Let's evaluate how nutritious Ensure is, and if it will provide any dietary benefits.

Ensure Ingredients

Ensure's original drink contains U-D Water, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Corn Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Cocoa Powder, Soy Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Phosphate, Magnesium Chloride, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Potassium Chloride, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Ferric Phosphate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Magenesium Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molbdate, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin, Phylloquinone, and Vitamin D3. We did do a bit more research on Ensure Ingredients.

Ensure Product Features

Ensure claims to contain nutritional ingredients which aid a person's normal diet, but the ingredients contained are mostly synthetic or chemical substances with little proven benefits for dieters. The actual nutrients -- namely, Vitamin A and Vitamin D3 -- are also listed in the lower half on the ingredient list, indicating it is used in smaller doses in comparison to the rest of the ingredients. These ingredients, if used in larger doses, may have provided nutritional benefits to dieters who are not able to eat a sensible plan, but the lower dosage may lessen these benefits. Furthermore, any diet-related benefits could not be located. It appears Ensure may match the caloric content of an average meal (say, 300 calories or so) but as a nutritional supplement, may not contain the amount dieters may desire for optimum nutrition.

Advantages of Ensure

  • Is widely available in retail stores and on the internet.
  • Comes in a variety of flavors and fortified types for individual needs.

Disadvantages of Ensure

  • Contains a lot of chemically-derived and synthetic ingredients.
  • Does not appear to contain a sufficient amount of nutritional ingredients.
  • Can be expensive if used daily.


Ensure is a popular nutritional supplement that is used to replace a normal meal, but as a dietary supplement may not provide enough benefits for dieters. Still, it does come in a variety of palatable flavors that may help dieters for short term support.

It's a good source of protein with 220 calories. Calories vary by flavor.

Ensure Ingredients and Supplement Facts

Serving Size: 1 bottle
Serving Per Container: 8 fl oz
Amount per Serving% DV
Corn Maltodextrin**
Milk Protein Concentrate**
Blend of Vegetable Oils (Canola, Corn)**
Soy Protein Isolate**
Nonfat Milk**
Magnesium Phosphate**
, Potassium Citrate**
Natural & Artificial Flavor**
Cellulose Gel**
Calcium Carbonate**
Calcium Phosphate**
Choline Chloride**
Ascorbic Acid**
Sodium Citrate**
Cellulose Gum**
Potassium Chloride**
Soy Lecithin**
Potassium Hydroxide**
Liquid Sucralose**
Ferrous Sulfate**
Zinc Sulfate**
Acesulfame Potassium**
dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate**
Manganese Sulfate**
Calcium Pantothenate**
Copper Sulfate**
Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride**
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride**
Vitamin A Palmitate**
Chromium Chloride**
Folic Acid**
Sodium Molybdate**
Potassium Iodide**
Sodium Selenate**
Vitamin D3**
Vitamin B12**

Other Ingredients: None

There comes a time when we encounter a product needing a bit more attention, like Ensure, so we chose to concentrate on Ensure ingredients. Specifically focusing on side effects, research and benefits. We read through hundreds of customer comments and reviews giving you the big picture. We then condensed this info to give you the bottom line.

What You Need to Know

First off, Ensure is a meal-replacement shake, containing water, maltodextrin, sugar, milk and soy protein and B-vitamins. You consume a minimum of one drink per day, which supposedly promotes weight-loss. One of benefits is that you can use it on the go.

Ensure was introduced in the early 1990’s by Abbott Nutrition. The shakes appear to have no artificial ingredients, a positive. Consumers can purchase the products through online and offline retailers. We do like the amount of time the company has been in business and we found some positive customer comments, but read on…

Stomach Issues – “Ouch!”

The first negative with Ensure ingredients was stomach issues. “Meal-replacement products can effectively help dieters lose more weight,” said our Research Editor. “With so many options on the market, why would anyone choose one that causes pain?”

“I have the same problem with the vomiting and upset stomach and feeling weak after I drink it,” said a user.

“I get stomach pain when I drink Ensure Plus. I continued to drink Ensure for a while, as I thought that the stomach pain must have been a coincidence. After a while I realized that it happened too consistently to be a coincidence,” stated a consumer.

Taste – “Not Nice”

After reviewing many customer comments, the consensus was Ensure ingredients left them with a bad taste in their mouths. “I was unable to finish even one bottle. It tasted like the white liquid medicine my mom used to give us when we had ‘tummy trouble’,” reported a dieter.

“It is gloppy, clumpy, runny and gross,” commented a customer.

A dieter claims, “This flavor was gross though. It tastes absolutely nothing like coffee or any other known flavor for that matter. The person who said sidewalk chalk – not a bad comparison”.

We’ve found in our research that any portion of a supplement deemed a concern, such as taste or stomach issues, could reduce the chances of long-term success. If Ensure ingredients cause discomfort and the formula isn’t flavorful, there’s a problem.

The Science

When we visited the official Ensure website, we noticed the product claims to be “doctor recommended,” yet the company doesn’t provide scientific research supporting the effectiveness of the ingredients. There’s no reason to believe this meal-replacement is better than the competition. At DietSpotlight, finding studies to back up statements is imperative. If there’s no science, we don’t take another look at it.

The Bottom Line

After our research into Ensure ingredients was concluded, we came to a verdict. We do like that the company has a strong foothold in the market and that we located a few positive customer comments, but we can’t recommend it because there’s no proof supporting the claims. We’re also concerned that Ensure ingredients taste bad and could lead to stomach issues.

If you want to lose weight, we suggest going with a supplement containing ingredients supported by published scientific research, with no side effects.

One of the best supplements we’ve come across this year is one called Dietspotlight Burn. The product includes a four-ingredient proprietary blend, which has been shown in published clinical studies to help boost metabolism and enhance fat loss. People are talking and there’s no mention of negative side effects and comments on the web show dieters are noticing excellent results.

Also, the company that makes Dietspotlight Burn is so confident in the supplement, they’re providing a Special Trial Offer, which is a good decision.

  • References
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Learn More About Dietspotlight Burn »
Summer Banks Dietspotlight Author
About the Author:

Summer Banks, Director of Content at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with doctors specializing in weight loss and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University. full bio.

Rating: 3.3. From 372 votes.
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Leave a comment or review

A healthy nutritional supplement that seniors would enjoy drinking and lactose free.
Betty Stitt (Verified User)

Your report had information that I did not know. Is there good a healthy supplemental drink for seniors? Does insure contain lactose? I am lactose intolerant and Ensure causes diarrhea problems. It says, it is suitable for lactose intolerance—No, no for me. Thank you, for this article.


Hello, how many ensure can I drink in one day?

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Ensure official website for more information.

Parminder singh

Can I use milk instead of water to make ensure shake?

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Ensure official website for more information.


Does Ensure helps to balance the body harmones?


Hi Gurpreet! For detailed product and usage information, please refer to the Ensure official website to learn more about the benefits.


I m 23 year old..and i am very week..can I drink ensure for became good health?


Hello Sara. All users are different and can experience different weight-gain results, but exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet and supplements have shown to help. Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting on a new product.

Your NamelBincy

I am 25 year old. My weight is 44 and my height is 5’7. Is this health drink help me to improve my health or not?

Victoria (Editor)

Hello. All users are different and can experience different weight-loss results, but exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet and supplements have shown to help with weight-loss.


I drink the ensure powder 2 times a day, is it good?


Hi Calvin! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Ensure official website for more information.


My Father have high blood pressure and hemorrhage and high cholesterol can he consume Ensure Plus?

Victoria (Editor)

Hello. Since all users are different and can experience different side effects, please make sure he consults with his physician before taking this product.


Hello, my age is 18 and my weight is 32kg can I use ensure to gain weight?? How should I take it to gain weight fast?


Hi am 24 years old and I weight around 103..and I want to drop my weight. .is ensure helpful to me.. And how do I use it

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Ensure official website for more information.


The taste isn’t really “Yucky”. I have the Original – Vanilla Flavor, and I think it taste good. But yeah we have different tastes so….


I like the Milk Chocolate flavor and can compare it to Slim Fast drinks . The taste is good .
I have a bottle for breakfast with my coffee, I have lost 20 lbs since Mid October 2016 .I feel full and not hungry at all. I have 2 apples sliced and a few pieces of cheese and a bottle of water for lunch then i eat what I would like for supper


Drink it 3 times a day with ur normal eating schedule of 3meals a day . So that makes it six meals a day. Ensure plus ur daily meals


Is this good for body building? Currently im taking whey powder. Now since last week I’m started using ensure too. The thing i noticed is when i used to take whey and go for workout, there was nothing to feel about. So i started to take ensure, now i feel like I’ve got some energy, since then I’m able to go for heavy wights. So would you recommend me completely ensure rather than whey, or shall i stick to whey itself. And i dont think i need whey because I’ve fat in my body, so ensure would be enough for me. What’s your advice?

Victoria (Editor)

Hello. All users are different and can experience different weight loss results, but exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet and supplements have shown to help with results.

Shantay Einspahr

Magnificent site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some friends. And obviously, thank you for your sweat!


What is the downside to drinking Ensure Compact after 24 hours, if left in the refrigerator? Will it make me sick or will the nutritional value be decreased?

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Ensure official website for more information on expiration dates and refrigeration instructions.


Ensure Enlive makes my heart beat faster.


Instead of mixing Ensure or NutriVigor with cold water, is it possible to mix it into morning cereal (cold milk) or porridge (warm milk).

Graham Hutchings

Yes you can use ensure on your cereal 5 ensure 2cal bottles .amounts to your recommended daily allowence

Your Namesara

Will ensure help me gain weight, I drink twice a day and I do not see any results yet!!!!!


Yes ensure can help you gain weight ensure 2cal is the best 5 a day equals your 2500 daily allowence for a man so if you space them out and have snacks or meals in between to make it over 2500 calories then you will gain weight


Hello Sara. All users are different and can experience different weight-gain results.


My mother(70 years of age), and she is living in VIetnam and I can’t find out her health records since the last time she visited Dr. Office. Can I just give her Ensure and What types? Please advise.


Hi HaoDoan! Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new product.


my hgt is 5.9 and wght is 50 while iam using ensure can i gain weight.

Victoria (Editor)

Hello. All users are different and can experience different weight-loss results, but exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet and supplements have shown to help with weight-loss.

mayankYour Name

Can my mother take ensure protein as she is above 50 .

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! Please make sure she consults with her physician before starting a new weight-loss program or product.


I am 21 yeras old boy. My height 5 feet 7 inch and my weight is only 44kg. Will Drinking Ensure Help me i try many supplements but all Fail. And i am leaving in warm weather area where temperature is 38-40+ so drinking of ensure is safe for me and its increased my weight or not?

Victoria (Editor)

Hello Shah. All users are different and can experience different weight-loss results, but please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new weight-loss program or product.


you should go for amway weight gain protein powder. i hv been using dat for 4 months n my weight gradually increased from 43 to 52.

Abdur Rehman

I m so weak and want to like a healthy boy m 18 years old does it work for me…suggest me any other product please

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new weight-loss program or product.


Hi, I bought Ensure milkshake original for my daughter to maintain healthy weight as well as to get all the nutritional values she may not be getting from her daily food intake. She’s in college. Is the milkshake original is the correct one for maintenance of weight? She just take them once a day for breakfast. There’s another version called Ensure Plus milkshake. I heard this has more calories. Tq.


Hello, Ms Barb Ensure Plus is perfect for your daughter a lot of hospitals used it for very sick people that having trouble gaing weight


Hello,Ms Barb Ensure Plus has more Calories and more Vitamins and Mineral’s that your daughter needs

Victoria (Editor)

Hi! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Ensure official website for more information.


Will ensure help me to gain muscles

Cameron (Editor)

Ensure does not claim to aid in muscle growth.


How many did you drink a day? I also just got over being sick, now trying regain my weight…


hi am 24 year old and i want to trying to gain my weight, my weaight is only 47 kg now. it is my first time to useing ensure powder. so can i ?

Cameron (Editor)

The company recommends at most one daily.

  I like it a lot !
Ellie Bee (Verified User)

I like it a lot, however, it does make me gassy..

  I'm 39yrs ,Can I take ensure gold?

im 39 yrs old, can i take ensure gold

Candace (Editor)

There’s no conflict with your age.

  Can this be taken by diabetic ?

Can Diabetic consume ENSURE

Stephen (Editor)

Please consult your doctor before taking this product. Dieters warn the sugar content would not be suitable for a diabetic.


Ensure Active Light has ZERO sugars; ONEg carb; 12g protein & 70 calories.

You can not just live on supplements !

Both ensure juice and shakes are good but remember you still need a balanced steady diet you can not just live off supliments cheers


what is ensure side effect

Cameron (Editor)

Possible side effects include upset stomach and diarrhea.