The Hidden Dangers of Ensure: Is It Bad to Drink Ensure Everyday?

Ensure is a nutritional supplement that functions as a milkshake or protein drink that is intended to offer nutritional value to any diet when added daily. If you are thinking of taking the nutritional drink known as Ensure, or adding it into the diet of someone you love, it is natural to have questions. Your most common question will be, is it bad to drink Ensure every day? The answer could be yes but it isn’t always. Drinking Ensure every day can be very beneficial to those that need more calories in their diet quickly, but should not be relied on as a sole source of food planning. At the same time, Ensure high protein drinks and Ensure nutritional facts provide important information and nutrients to help supplement a diet.

Unfortunately, using Ensure as a sole source of food planning can be dangerous. Ensure has gotten a bad reputation in the marketplace as offering ads that are among the most misleading of the year in 1995. In 1997, its manufacturer settled a claim with the Federal Trade Commission regarding that false marketing. Still, most experts would say that Ensure should be thought of as a supplement to enhance nutrition and not a supplement to prevent malnutrition. It is still often provided in hospitals and long-term care homes for many menu-planning suggestions that need additional calories. Ensure can also lead to many negative side effects for all populations, and with the elderly, it can result in dangerous medication interactions. Additionally, it can add weight that is unwanted or unnecessary and lead to further health problems such as diabetes. If you are thinking of adding Ensure to your diet or to the diet of someone you love, learn more about it here so that you can consume Ensure safely.

Why Seniors Need Nutritional Supplements & The Negative Contents Ensure Actually Provides

If you are asking, is it bad to drink Ensure every day, the answer is yes and no. It really depends on how you are adding it to your menu planning, and what other health issues you may have. Ensure high protein content can be extremely beneficial to many, and additional calories can be very healthy to those that need to gain weight. Still, this nutrition drink can have some negative impacts on health, and it isn’t considered the healthiest choice, even if straight weight gain is your goal. Drinking Ensure every day can provide additional nutrients when it is used as a supplement and not a meal replacement. You’ll have to make sure that other important nutrients are in the diet to maintain optimum nutrition.

To start, the main ingredient of Ensure is water, and its second top ingredient is sugar. Most bottles of Ensure will have as much as 18 grams of sugar each, that is almost five teaspoons of sugar. This is not an ideal drink as a meal replacement or supplement, and consuming too much sugar can lead to health problems and imbalances with your blood sugar. Too much can also result in fatigue, anxiety, and brain confusion.

Another key ingredient in Ensure is corn maldextrin, which is a carbohydrate and a food additive. This is largely a preservative for foods, and is an affordable one at that, making it a very common prepared food additive. This ingredient is linked to higher rates of diabetes and insulin resistance and should be consumed sparingly.

Ensure has also been connected to genetically modified ingredients, that can contribute to organ diseases, and problems with the liver, kidney, and spleen. These genetically modified ingredients in Ensure such as soy protein isolate and corn oil are made this way to resist pesticides and other chemicals in food. Although much of corn oil can be healthy, too much can be a bad thing. If you are consuming too much Ensure, you may be at risk of exposing your body to too many genetically modified ingredients.

With its milk content and other preservatives combined, Ensure can lead to some digestive issues. These do not occur after prolonged use and can occur after a single-use consumption of Ensure. With Ensure, you may experience constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea, or even vomiting. If you are aging, your lactose intolerance will have increased and you will experience even more issues by taking Ensure.

Ensure has also been linked to some medication interactions, although that will have to be discussed with your doctor. Many meal supplement beverages can have a large amount of vitamins and minerals and increase this risk. It has been estimated that the average senior takes as many as five different medications over a 30-day time frame. One example of this is the impact of Ensure on blood thinner medication. Too much Vitamin K can decrease the efficacy of this kind of medication and can result in serious health complications in the elderly population.

Another pitfall to consuming Ensure is that it can lead to poor nutrition. This drink may contain fortified minerals, a heavy dose of calories, and supplementation, but it is easily relied on as a meal replacement instead of a supplement. This will result in inferior nutrition and lead to additional health problems in any population. When this happens, you may experience unintentional weight loss from consuming too much in lieu of a healthy diet.

Benefits of Nutritional Supplement Drinks for Seniors: How to Effectively Use Ensure

Benefits of Ensure

While it can be very easy to see complications when using Ensure too much, it certainly does have many benefits. Ensure high protein content can be a healthy addition to the diet of someone that is trying to gain weight, and consuming this drink will prevent them from losing weight unintentionally. Drinking Ensure every day can be good for someone that needs a little more in their diet, and makes a point of eating alongside their Ensure consumption.

While Ensure may have a bad reputation for poor marketing, it is still a nutrition drink that can be consumed safely when all other precautions are taken. That means that it is high in protein and has more fat than many other nutrition drinks, and is high in vitamins and minerals. It will never be bad to add these to your diet, you just need to do so sparingly or within the confines of good medical advice if you have diabetes or are taking a lot of medication.

Ensure is very effective in supplementing many diets, and very effective in helping underweight people gain weight temporarily. A heavy diet will still need to be added during and after Ensure use to ensure that the weight stays on. Overall, when added as a supplement and not a replacement, and used correctly, Ensure offers every nutritional benefit that it claims to.

Another key benefit of Ensure is for the elderly population that has a problem with solid foods. This nutrition supplement can then be used to make nutrition gain easier for people that have problems swallowing or can not eat as easily as others. Ensure makes nutrition supplementation easier than even consuming over-the-counter vitamins and minerals, as the vitamins can be consumed in a beverage rather than a Vitamin B pill that an older person is unable to swallow or keep down.

The Right Way to Use Nutritional Drinks for Seniors

If you are still wondering is it bad to drink Ensure every day, the answer is yes if it is a meal replacement for the long term, and no if it is a meal supplement when needed. Ensure high protein content makes Ensure an ideal drink to add nutrients to the diet, and there is a right and wrong way to do it. If you are taking any medication at all, you want to talk to your doctor before consuming Ensure. Anyone who needs additional calories, protein, or vitamins in their diet and can consume it safely should consume Ensure. It is used as part of dietary planning in many healthcare facilities because it offers many health benefits that would outweigh some consequences of consuming genetically modified ingredients.

For example, people that have a problem with chronic dehydration or any dehydration at all can benefit from Ensure. It can help to keep your organs well-hydrated and functioning as expected. Overall, Ensure is not a one-size answer when you are supplementing your diet or the diet of a loved one, but its health benefits still make it a very popular nutrition drink.

Stock Up on Ensure For Your Loved One

It is perfectly natural to be a little skeptical of a nutrition drink like Ensure. It is easy to be skeptical of it as well, given some of the bad marketing reputations its manufacturers have had. As always, when you are changing your health plan at, being skeptical is a good thing. Talk to your doctor if you or a loved one is adding Ensure to your diet. And you want to ensure that Ensure is being added to a diet, and not replacing a diet. At the same time, you want to investigate current and projected health complications for the individual that wants to drink Ensure. Current medications and health conditions should be discussed with a doctor so that you can consume Ensure safely. When you do, you may find that Ensure brings a little more energy into your daily living, and may help you to feel better overall.

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers is currently a Resident in the Internal Medicine program at UTMB. He studied at the University of Queensland School of Medicine as well as received his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Southern California. His background is in biology, computer science, public health, and internal medicine.

Recommended Articles