Ensure is a nutrition shake developed by Abbott Nutrition which is loaded with ingredients and provides you with a complete meal. They claim they are the number one doctor recommended brand because of the shake’s healthy formula. But, we’re relatively certain recommending doctors aren’t looking at weight loss as much as nutritional support for patients.
It claims to be a good meal replacement as well, which it is, but again not designed for weight loss? Our research team felt compelled to find out as much as possible about the Ensure shake by taking a closer look at the ingredients and their dosages. We’ve compiled loads of useful info about it for you.
Ensure is a meal replacement, or diet supplement, that comes in a powder form. It is taken as a shake; a variety of flavors can be purchased, with a formula that allows its users to consume it instead of a substantial meal. By taking it this way, its user may gradually lose weight.
It is ready-made powder providing nutrition and energy, making it a good option for meal replacement. It does not interfere with metabolism because it mainly works with calories. Therefore, the more you consume, the higher your chances of gaining weight; assuming your food intake remains the same since calories are increased significantly. On the other hand, if you use it as a meal replacement, the calories you intake likely reduce, which can help you lose weight.
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How Did Ensure Start?
Ross Laboratories was the first to introduce Ensure drink to the market. The lab was initially a milk company owned by Stanley M. Ross and Harry C. Moores. Started in 1903, the milk company delivered bottled milk to customers’ homes. It was in 1964 that the company decided to join with Abbott Laboratories. This was when they came up with the Ensure brand which was marketed in 1973 for the first time.
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Flavors of the Ensure Vitamin Drink
We found that the Ensure diet supplement comes in different flavors to suit different tastes. These are:
Several variations of Ensure exist:
Original Nutrition Shake
Rapid Hydration Electrolyte Powder
Original Nutrition Powder
Surgery Immunonutrition Shake
Pre-Surgery Clear Carbohydrate Drink
Abbott, the Ensure manufacturing company, claims that Ensure helps with overall nutrition and according to its website and as reported by Healthfully.com, it does the following:
Provides complete balanced nutrition.
Contains at least 24 minerals and vitamins in each drink.
Can replace breakfast or lunch and serve as a snack between meals.
Knowing the ingredients in your supplement is important because it tells you whether you are getting what you need in your supplement. Finding a supplement that is inclusive is crucial because it means that you don’t have to buy too many individual supplements on their own. Ensure supplement shake contains added minerals and vitamins. In addition to vitamins and minerals, original Ensure bottles measure 237 ml and include the following ingredients.
Corn maltodextrin – A carbohydrate, corn maltodextrin provides energy to the user. This is an additive also used as a sweetener, which has been approved by the food and drug administration as a safe product.
Soy protein isolate – This is a milk and soy protein that serves general body functions and promotes healthy muscles. Soy protein isolate is high in protein and provides the 9 grams needed in one serving.
Water – Water is required because of the nature of the supplement. It is used for hydration, and it also helps to mix the ingredients.
Sugar – Sugar is also a carbohydrate that provides energy. It is in a relatively high amount, at 18 to 23 grams in an eight-ounce serving, depending on the flavor. This is equivalent to an average of 4.5 to 5.75 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of six teaspoons of sugar a day for women and nine for men. More of which can lead to a risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.
Canola oil – Canola and corn oils are the fats in the supplement. They also provide energy and all the necessary fatty acids needed for the heart. It contains ALA among others, which enhance health.
Sodium – Sodium is an essential nutrient in the body, but too much of it can raise your blood pressure. It is mainly found in salt. In an eight-ounce serving, there is about 200 mg of sodium.
Additional Ensure Nutrition Information
The shake contains 220 to 350 calories, depending on the kind of supplement being used.
There are 11 to 13 grams of fat protein in each shake. This constitutes 18 percent of the recommended value per day.
There are 31 to 52 grams of carbohydrates per bottle. The recommended amount per day in a 2,000 calorie diet is 300 grams.
Out of the total nutrients is the shake, more than 24 of the ingredients are vitamins as well as omega three fatty acids.
Who can Take Ensure Nutrition Shakes?
Anybody can take Ensure supplements, as long as they do not have any special needs or medical complications. It has also been approved for certain types of people as well. These include people in a weight loss program or people who are weight training. Furthermore, people who tube feed can also take the supplement, as well as people with bone problems, immunity deficiency, and under-nutrition.
We suggest the consumer keeps in mind that this supplement cannot be used in the place of medicine that has been prescribed by the doctor. It can only be used alongside them. It is also advisable that one stops using it if the supplement interferes with medication. Make sure to consult your doctor for medical advice on how to use it if you are allowed to.
Does it Work?
Does Ensure Work?
The company has a lot of claims, and like many dietary supplements, it is not easy to tell whether this nutrition shake works. Although the company does say that it can be used both for weight gain and weight loss, as well as overall nutrition, there’s no actual proof that it works.
For those who would like to gain weight, the recommended Ensure supplement would be the original Ensure. The other option for weight gain is the Ensure Plus supplement, which was created specially to help a person gain weight. For both, the serving is measured per eight ounces at 350 calories.
As for those who are looking to lose weight, the recommended Ensure supplement is the Ensure Original (this is different from the original version). Its serving is measured at 220 calories per eight ounces. Another Ensure product that is good for weight loss is the ensure active light for which the serving is 70 calories at eight ounces.
We realize that whether or not Ensure works is a subject for debate. Every individual has different anatomy which is compatible with their body type. Therefore, what works for your neighbor might not work for you. And what works for you may not work for your sister and so on and so forth.
Furthermore, when considering whether or not to use Ensure, you should think about other factors. For instance, whether you are male or female, have any particular health conditions, are taking medication for anything else, are pregnant, your age and whether you suffer from a chronic disease, are all considerations in choosing a diet regime. This is why it is highly advised that a person seeks the doctor’s advice before deciding to take on a supplement.
Benefits & Results
Ensure Benefits and Results
In addition to helping you track overall calories, (which is what determines weight gain and loss) you will not have to worry about minerals or vitamins and whether you have had enough. At least this is the claim of the company. The product is also consumable by those who are gluten free or lactose intolerant.
Ensure and Weight Gain
Whether you want to gain or your goal is to lose weight, the concept is the same. If you already eat but you do not consume as much as you would like, then taking Ensure in addition to your daily food intake will help you achieve your desired weight. Ultimately, this is because the number of calories you take in your food could be doubled or more, depending on how much you eat when you drink Ensure.
Ensure and Weight Loss
For those trying to lose weight, it will be easier to keep track of your calorie intake because they are already measured for you. Therefore, you can determine if you have had enough calories for the day and choose not to have any more or vice versa. By taking the Ensure supplement in the place of your regular meal or snack, you are sure of the number of calories taken in.
How to Take Ensure Vitamin Drink
For best results, drink a bottle for breakfast or lunch or both. This is if you are looking to lose weight. If you still feel hungry after taking the bottle, complement the shake with fruit. If the aim is to gain weight, then take the shake in the morning or night, an hour or so, before bed. Either way, make sure that you eat a substantial dinner.
Before drinking, make sure to shake it up correctly. To enhance its taste, serve it with ice cubes or just serve it cold. The sub vanilla Ensure Plus can be substituted with milk. This way, you can make milk-based food like milkshakes, milk smoothies, casseroles, milk based soup and other recipes that require the addition of milk.
Potential Ensure Side Effects
Before taking any supplement, it is essential to know the kind of side effects associated with it. This can help you decide whether or not the supplement is worth taking and safe.
When you begin using the product, some mild side effects will be experienced. They can include constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea. As you get used to using the shake, however, these effects wear off. More severe side effects can be experienced still, but only if the shake is used contrary to how it is supposed to. These effects include cramping of the muscles, difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, seizures, having a weak pulse, irregular heartbeat, changes in mental status and mood swings.
Ensure Product Warnings
For the elderly, this supplement should not be taken instead of meals as it does not have the nutritional needs of the elderly. This is according to Dr. Amy Ehrlich from the geriatrics division of the Montefiore medical centers.
Any Ensure Lawsuits?
So far, there has been one major lawsuit against Ensure brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It challenged the claim by Abbott that Ensure can be used as; one, a supplement for healthy adults above 30 years in age, and two, that Ensure is the number one recommended brand by doctors for meal replacement and lastly, that it can replace a multivitamin supplement. These claims came about after some TV advertisements for Ensure aired.
FTC argued that there had not been sufficient evidence to prove that many doctors had recommended it as proposed in the adverts. FTC also challenged the claim that one serving of Ensure contained vitamins that were equivalent to any other dose of a multivitamin supplement. Abbott lost the case and had to settle with the FTC.
Most meal replacement supplements tend to be similar. If you would like to have an alternative of Ensure, getting a related dietary supplement with a different name will not make much difference. We recommend going for a healthier option. You can find out if a supplement is healthy or unhealthy by checking its ingredients. For instance, the components should not include sugars as the first ingredient in the list (which is usually the main ingredient).
Other ways to find a healthy supplement option is to make sure that it has been processed at a minimum, and that it is a food-based shake/smoothie. It should also not contain herbs, vitamins or minerals in excess, according to Harvard Health. However, these kinds of supplements tend to cost more, and we are not sure that they will be as effective. Some of them include Boost Glucose Control, Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus, Odawalla Super Protein, Secure Complete, and Naked Juice Protein Zone.
It is not wise to depend on Ensure all your dietary needs. Even though it is a meal replacement shake, it cannot adequately provide everything that you need in your body. Some of the nutrients that are important for healthy functioning of your body are only found in real food.
Interaction With Medication
There is no real danger in taking Ensure with medication. In fact, it has been recommended for people who lose their appetite due to sickness or medicine. However, it does contain high amounts of sugar so one should be careful if they have a problem with this. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any new supplementation.
Is Ensure a Good or Bad Option for Meal Replacement?
This entirely depends on your experience with previous supplements. It could be what works for you if the rest that you tried have failed. If you have never used a supplement before, then try to filter out the false claims; for instance, that it contains the vitamins from a multivitamin supplement in one serving. So do not abandon what has been working for something that you have not tried before. It can be used for meal replacement, but if it doesn’t work for you for some reason, try something else.
What Users Are Saying
“Been an Ensure user for a long time. I’m type 2 diabetic and it allows me to control the glucose level and lose weight, both of which are important to me.”
“I bought this for my mom because she is 90 and needs more protein in her system so she doesn’t loose muscle. My mother loves sweets, but Ensure with High Quality protein is so sweet she actually threw up after drinking it. I have been buying it online and she never complained, but I certainly don’t want her to feel nauseous every time she drinks this. I’ll have to buy something else.”
“Flavor is good, but the fiber is too much. It made me gassy all day and having to use restroom. I only recommend if you’re having extreme issues not having a bowel movement. I’ll stick to the original or the one without fiber.”
The Bottom Line – Does Ensure Work?
So, what’s our final thoughts on Ensure Nutrition Drink? 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.
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Ensure is a creamy drink that’s good as an occasional breakfast or lunch replacement. You can also drink Ensure as a between-meal snack. Ensure is nutritious, with 26 essential vitamins and minerls. The nutrients in Ensure can help you stay active and healthy.
Can Ensure be used as a meal replacement?
Yes, both Ensure drinks and ready-to-drink shakes can be used as between-meal snacks as well as occasional meal replacements for breakfast or lunch.
Is Ensure Plus good for you?
Yes. Ensure Plus contains concentrated calories and protein to help patients maintain or gain healthy weight.
Can you drink Ensure if you have diabetes?
Ensure Glucerna is similar to the regular Ensure drink, but it is formulated with a diabetic’s needs in mind.
How many calories are in Ensure High Protein?
Ensure High Protein contains 160 nutritious calories, two grams of fat, 23 essential vitamins and minerals, and 16 grams of protein to support your muscles.
Who makes Ensure?
Ensure is the brand name of meal replacements and nutritional supplements produced by Abbott Laboratories.