The Ensure Nutrition Shake, which is marketed as “doctor recommended for liquid nutritional products,” has 250 calories, 22 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fiber per shake. Compare this to a milk chocolate Hershey bar which has 210 calories, 24 grams of sugars and 1 gram of fiber. As you can see, just by comparing calories, sugar grams and fiber, the Ensure Nutrition shake more closely resembles a chemically concocted liquid candy bar than a healthy meal replacement or snack.
22 grams of sugar per serving is 7 times higher than the recommended 3 grams of sugar per serving. Even more, the 22 grams of sugar are not offset by any wholesome unrefined foods or by the presence of a high amount of fiber. It’s unclear why a doctor would recommend this product to anyone other than people who might be severely malnourished or to people who are suffering from a wasting disease.
This is why it’s always smart to ignore the marketing hype on the front of the product and go straight to the ingredients list, which is reprinted below for your convenience. The ingredients list is the one any only place where you can actually figure out what’s in the product and whether or not you might want to put it in your mouth. The first ingredient in the Ensure Nutrition Shake is water, which does not count as a food. The first food is sugar, which is what there’s the most of in this product. The second food is corn maltodextrin, another highly processed ingredient you can easily live without and never miss. The third food is milk protein concentrate, but any health goodness that comes from the protein is negated by the the long list of chemicals that follow.
ENSURE INGREDIENTS: Water, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Pea Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Corn Oil, Magnesium Phosphate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Cellulose Gel, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Cellulose Gum, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Potassium Hydroxide, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin.
The Ensure Nutrition Shake is manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, which also produces Similac, Pediasure, Glucerna, Zone Perfect and other brands. Ensure exemplifies how food manufacturers successfully con the consumer with fake but compelling messages about nutritional health and adequacy. DON’T BE FOOLED. This product is a poor choice in every way, and is especially inappropriate for people who want to avoid caloric sweeteners.