Ensure is a well-known brand for its tagline #1 Dr. recommended. But how does this shake really measure up in terms of overall health and as a weight loss meal replacement shake? While many people taught this shake as highly nutritious, providing well-balanced nutrition, does it really?
Ensure offers many nutrients and a variety of different flavors but here we will be focusing on the original vanilla shake. The company also offers Light, High Protein, Clear, Plus and Enlive shakes for different purposes.
Based on user reviews, people have used the Original formula as a meal replacement shake, so let’s see how the nutrient label compares to other diet shakes…
The ensure shake contains about 220 calories per serving, which is a lot for a meal replacement shake. This may make it tough for you to add other healthy ingredients to our shake.
Since you want to be vigilant of the
The ensure shake has about 9gms of protein per serving, which is relatively low for a meal replacement shake. Protein is a vital necessity in weight loss, with studies showing that higher protein diets are successful in helping improve body weight management.
A good rule of thumb for a meal replacement shake is about 14g – 20g of protein per shake serving. In general, protein is needed to promote a feeling of satiety, provides vital nutrients, and can help to boost metabolism in the body. At only 9g of protein per serving, we would bet that this shake isn’t going to keep you full enough to last you until your next meal.
Another issue with this shake is the type of protein used, which is milk protein concentrate and soy protein isolate. The milk protein is okay, but there has been a lot of controversy surrounding too much soy in your diet, and studies that say it may cause health issues including hormone disruption in men and women, and even fertility issues.
Though the evidence is not conclusive and there
Another thing that doesn’t seem right is the amount of fiber this meal replacement shake contains, it has 1gm of fiber per serving which is incredibly low. A solid meal replacement shake will contain about 5gms of fiber per serving.
This is because fiber is necessary for both weight loss and a healthy diet. Fiber keeps your digestive system on track, creates a feeling of fullness, and helps your body remove toxins.
We would definitely like to see a higher amount of fiber in the Original Ensure Shake in order to be effective for weight loss, weight management
This is one of the areas where ensure shake seems to be leading. It provides a good mix of nutrients and minerals per serving.
Many meal replacement shakes do not contain enough vitamins and minerals even though you are replacing a meal with that shake, which is not good for a healthy, balanced lifestyle and long-term weight loss program.
The Original Ensure Shake provides 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants and “25% of the daily value of B vitamins to support brain health” according to their website. Other vitamins and minerals in the shake include vitamins A, C, D, E and K, and minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, copper
Sugar/Artificial Sweeteners including Maltodextrin, Sucralose
Sugar, in general, stimulates the secretion of insulin, a fat storage hormone in your body and causes you to gain weight.
Also concerning is that the second and third ingredients listed on the label (after water) are corn maltodextrin (an artificial sugar), and sugar. The fact that they are so high up on the list means that there is a good amount of them used, and that is not good news.
A little more about maltodextrin…studies show that consuming this ingredient can result in side effects similar to many food additives including allergic reactions, possible weight gain, bloating and flatulence. Studies also show that sugary maltodextrin may promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria which can damage the intestine and increase the risk of inflammatory disease.5
The shake also contains liquid sucralose (Splenda), an artificial sweetener which studies show may lead to negative health consequences including weight gain, GI problems, migraines, blurred vision and even seizures.6
Finally, the shake also contains acesulfame potassium (also known as acesulfame K or Ace-K, which is basically a calorie-free sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, with a not so favorable reputation. Though it’s considered safe by the FDA, other sources disagree.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (
Not exactly a winning combination of ingredients! Also, we have to pose the question, with the sugar content already so high at 15g per serving, why even the need for the artificial sweeteners? Either way, this is a potentially toxic mess of ingredients that could wreak potential havoc on your health.
Harmful ingredient: Carageenan
A thickening agent derived from red algae or seaweed. Though this ingredient is currently found in many different types of foods including some yogurt, dairy alternatives (like almond milk) and protein powders, it is highly controversial, especially as of late.
Carrageenan can cause gastrointestinal inflammation, higher rates of intestinal lesions, ulcerations and even malignant tumors. Research also shows that many individuals that have any type of GI symptom, from bloating to severe bowel disease found relief after eliminating carrageenan from their diets.8
Though other sources still state that carrageenan is a safe food-grade agent, the research is enough for us to at least insist that you use caution when
Ensure shakes cannot be purchased on the Ensure website but they can be purchased online from retailers including Amazon, Target
On Amazon, the ready-to-drink shakes go for about $35.00 for a pack of 24 ($1.46 per shake serving). This is on the lower cost end for meal replacement shakes, however, 24 shakes will not last you a whole month, so you would have to buy two packs in order to replace one meal a day with an Ensure Shake.
The bottom line
Although Ensure products serve as a convenient drink for weight loss or weight gain, Ensure may not be for everyone. The drink is sweet, which may not suit everyone’s taste — and for some — it may be expensive. It’s also not a good source of fiber, and you should not use it as your only source of nutrition. It also may not make a good meal replacement choice for people who have diabetes, because of its sugar content.