Meal Replacement Shakes, Are they healthy?

June 11, 2018

Can we please stop encouraging people to consume drinks like Ensure® and BOOST®? If you know me personally, you know that my dad has been battling cancer for almost two years now.  Back in January, he left the hospital after a major surgery with a prescription for these. Last week, a Doctor gave him 30 samples of a combination of these shakes. Do I believe that these doctors had ill intent when giving these to my dad? Not at all. However, I don’t know how a person could ever look at the ingredients contained in one of these shakes and think that they are beneficial for anyone.

A quick glance at the label on an 8oz bottle of Ensure® Original shows the truth about this shake and its actual “nutritional” value. But before I go there let me just mention that Ensure®  is a product of Abbott Pharmaceuticals. BOOST® is made by Nestle, you know the same company that makes things like the Butterfinger candy bar and Laffy Taffy.

 Ensure® advertisements boast about the 9 grams of protein and mere 220 calories but leave out of the bold print the fact that it also has 15 grams of sugar (more than half of the suggested daily intake of sugar for healthy women according to the American Heart Association) and 32 grams of carbohydrates. If that didn’t get your attention, just wait until we take a closer look at the over 40 ingredients in this shake.

One of the most important things about reading lists of ingredients on food labels is to know that the first ingredients listed are the most prominent. The ingredients are listed by quantity, most to least. As a general rule of thumb, the first 3 to 4 ingredients are primarily what you will be consuming.

Typically the more ingredients, the more preserved and processed the item is. In my Dads case, he received these latest shakes in the month of June and they had a shelf life of 4 months.

Ensure® ingredients list:

Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Corn Oil. Less than 0.5% of: Nonfat Milk, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Cellulose Gel, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Cellulose Gum, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Potassium Hydroxide, Turmeric, Liquid Sucralose, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Acesulfame Potassium, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Chromium Chloride, Red 3, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D3.

As you can see from these ingredients, this thing is loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. The “26 essential vitamins and minerals” are synthetic. A synthetic vitamin or mineral is produced in a lab and is made to mimic the way that a natural source would act in our bodies. It contains chemical compounds that we were never meant to consume. Our bodies also have a hard time absorbing synthetic vitamins and minerals. It’s always best to get vitamins and minerals in whole food form.

After researching this product I feel we can conclude that it may cause more negative effects than positive ones. A good alternative to Ensure®  or BOOST® would be a homemade protein shake or a smoothie made with real food ingredients.

I’ve linked some below.


Take responsibility for your health. Be Well. Be Whole.  #thereisabetterway

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Julie Dukes

    Yes!! This is amazing! I think our doctors, who we trust, get so used to prescribing the easy pre-made things, that they become numb to the bad things included in these products! They also get used to saying that the FDA approves them because the parts per million of what ever is included that’s bad is not enough to effect us! However, I do believe that if you consume enough over time, it will add up to a harmful amount! I love this!!! Keep up the great work!

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