If you are concerned about the quality of your diet, you may be tempted to wander down the supplement aisles of your grocery store or pharmacy, to peek at what the newest shakes and bars have to offer these days. In hopes of perfecting your optimal nutritional intake, you might assume that today’s supplements provide wholesome, vitamin-rich ingredients to fill the dietary gaps in your diet. While a slim few products do actually provide some great health benefits, most of them are laced with artificial ingredients, chemicals, and loads of sugar, offering few health perks and a lot of expensive junk.
Ensure shakes by Abbott nutrition are one example of the many drinks that can be found on the shelves these days. The bottles provide health benefits for the populations whose nutritional intake are most critical—seniors and growing children, with promises on the labels such as:
- Complete, balanced nutrition
- To help get strong on the inside!
- #1 doctor recommended brand
Below is an analysis of Ensure’s Milk Chocolate Nutrition Shake.
The Major Players:
- Corn Maltodextrin
- Milk protein concentrate
Ingredients on a nutrition label are listed in order of quantity in the product, so we know that these four culprits are the main nutrient sources in this beverage, with water making up most of the shake. Water is needed for hydration and acts as a liquid base for this drink mix, so this ingredient is acceptable.
Next on the list is sugar. Ensures Milk Chocolate shake has 22 grams of sugar per bottle. To put this into perspective, the same serving size of undiluted Cool Blue Gatorade has 14 grams of sugar—1/3 less than Ensure! Sugar, as we all know, is a refined carbohydrate and has been strongly linked to the promotion of diabetes, weight gain, obesity, and various other nutritional deficiencies. Furthermore, sugar is nutrient-poor and brings nothing to the table except added inches on your waistline.
Moving on to ingredient #3: corn maltodextrin, or corn syrup, another refined carbohydrate with a high glycemic index value. Like sugar, corn syrup has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and blood sugar management difficulties. At this point, about one-half of the bottle’s calories are derived from sugar and corn syrup; not a healthy combination.
Lastly, we have milk protein concentrate–finally, an ingredient that provides something other than an insulin spike. The shake provides 9 grams of protein, in the forms of milk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, and pea protein concentrate, with the majority of the protein coming from whey concentrate. While many people are able to tolerate whey concentrate just fine, this type of protein can be problematic for those with a lactose intolerance or dairy protein sensitivity.