Ensure Shake Review on MealReplacementShakes.com Ensure Shake Review on MealReplacementShakes.com
Our Rating:
5.5/10

Ensure offers a line of nutritional shakes that help people lose or gain weight, replace nutrients, increase their daily protein, build muscle and/or recover from surgery. The Original Ensure Shake formula contains 9g of milk and soy proteins.

Nutrition Per Serving1

220

Calories

15g

Sugar

4.5mg

Cholesterol

6g

Fat

32g

Carbs

0g

Dietary Fiber

9g

Protein

$1.46

Price Per Serving1


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Our Review

To help you to make a more informed decision.

WRITTEN BY
Chrissy Arsenault - MBA, RDN, LD

Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Licensed Dietitian based in Indianapolis. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science at Cornell University and her MBA at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Read More

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#26
Calories 110 130 124 160 220
Soy Free Protein
Sugars 0g 0g 0g 1g 15g
No Artifical Sweeteners
Superfoods
Probiotics
Price Per Serving $2.43 $2.32 $2.00 $3.50 $1.46
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Ensure Shake Review 

Looking for a #1 doctor-recommended, medically-backed meal replacement shake that dietitians and doctors often recommend for their patients?

Ensure Original may be a good choice for you! On its own, it doesn’t quite cut it with regards to protein content, and carbohydrates compared to some of our other top-rated shakes, but it does have a good taste and a good micronutrient content.

Read on to learn more about Ensure Original.

Ensure Original Shake

Ensure Shake Taste Factor

Compared to the typical protein shake, this one is significantly less chalky and does not have any strange aftertaste. This shake does have a different texture because of the significant amount of added vitamins and minerals. It is important to note that this shake is more from the realm of supplemental nutrition. Most users consuming Ensure Original shakes are consumers who need additional nutrients in their diet in addition to an average day of eating.

The several flavors make it easy to find a flavor that is palatable for anyone!

There are many positive reviews of Ensure Original:

  • “I’ve been drinking Ensure since they came in the can lol! My favorite has always been butter pecan!!” – Aubs2times
  • “Absolutely delicious like drinking a shake getting healthy and enjoying it” – cricket56
  • “I have variable GI issues that mean sometimes I can’t handle solid food for days, weeks, or even months. Ensure helps keep me nourished and at a decent weight during these times, as it’s one of the few foods I can keep down. I love most of the flavors but the coffee is one of my favorites.” – Cyan
  • “I usually drink my first Ensure of the day first thing in the morning and to me, it’s a great way to start the day. I enjoy all of the flavors but the one I keep coming back to is the vanilla. When I first starting to drink Ensure, I expected some sort of aftertaste. I was pleased to discover that this is not the case” – AJ77

Ensure Flavors

Ensure has several great flavors to cater to many specific tastes for chocolatey preferences or fruity preferences!

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Strawberry
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Butter Pecan
  • Coffee Latte
  • Banana Nut

Ensure does a great job making their shakes palatable and delicious because their target user needs to make sure they consume adequate nutrition each day. That makes these shakes great for a novice fitness enthusiast!

Next, for the nutrient breakdown, we will use Ensure Original Milk Chocolate flavor as a reference. It is important to note that each flavor is nearly identical concerning energy and macronutrients.

Ensure Shake Calories

One bottle of Ensure Original Milk Chocolate has 220 calories. Every flavor of Ensure Original contains 220 calories. Since it is a pre-mixed shake, it is easy to consume as-is. Moreover, Ensure can add more nutrients for extra calories, protein, fat, etcetera to cater to your macronutrient needs.

If you are looking to supplement your nutrition, this is a great way to add more nutrients and calories to your diet. For weight loss, it might be necessary to add in a few things to increase the calories just a bit to maintain a more stable long-term weight loss.

To check out general calories needs, you can use this calculator from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For a macronutrient breakdown related to your daily calorie needs, you can use this tool to have a more specific nutrient breakdown if needed.

Ensure Shake Fat

Each bottle of Ensure Original has 6 grams of total fat. Within that, there is 1 gram of saturated fat. Ensure is a milk-based protein shake making that the source of saturated fat. The remainder of fat contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fats and 3 grams of monounsaturated fats.

Saturated fat is known to increase your bad cholesterol (LDL). Luckily, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats have known cardioprotective qualities and help increase your good cholesterol (HDL). Ensure Original contains a balance of each of these fats.

Ensure Shake Total Carbs, Sugar & Sweeteners

Total Carbohydrates

There are 33 grams of total carbohydrates in Ensure Original. Ensure Original is not a low-carb shake and is not suitable if you are on a low-carb diet.

Depending on your fitness goals, this may or may not be ideal for you. Many fitness enthusiasts require the replenishment of carbohydrates to fuel their workouts and improve performance. If your focus is weight loss via a low-carb diet, this might not be suitable for your goals.

Dietary Fiber

There is only 1 gram of dietary fiber per bottle of Ensure Original. The fiber comes from the significant addition of soy, and cellulose gel. Soy is a plant-based protein, so soy contributes to both protein and fiber included in this protein shake. Cellulose gel is an isolated version of the insoluble fiber (the indigestible fiber that keeps our colon squeaky clean) that comes from fruits and vegetables.

The daily recommended amount of fiber is 25 grams a day for adult women and 37 grams a day for adult men. Though 1 gram per bottle does not seem like a ton, it will help you get to that recommended amount.

Added Sugars

Ensure Original has 14 grams of added sugar. Fourteen grams per bottle is a decent amount for those who are looking to lose weight. The majority of those looking to lose weight are looking to reduce added sugars as much as possible. In addition to this, 14 grams of added sugar is 28% of our daily value. Added sugar is a significant contributor to weight gain and other adverse health indicators depending on how much you consume.

Sugar is not something to necessarily demonize. Remember, Ensure Original targets people who require more nutrients in their diet (e.g. people with difficulties consuming enough calories because of various disease states). These added sugars add to the calories that help these consumers reach their calorie and macronutrient goals — basically, this helps maintain weight.

If you are trying to lose weight, this might not be suitable.

Natural & Traditional Sweeteners

Each flavor of Ensure Original uses sucralose for sweeteners. Sucralose is a high-intensity traditional sweetener, that contains no carbs or calories. Sucralose is an approved food additive in the United States. Though its safety in high quantities has been under question recently, the amount included in Ensure Original is unlikely to harm your health.

Ensure Shake Protein

Each bottle of Ensure Original contains 9 grams of protein. This amount is a pretty moderate amount of protein and not a ton for those looking to support significant muscle growth and repair after a fitness session.

Because the protein content is so low, this is not an ideal shake for weight loss. Instead, this shake is more suited for those looking to gain weight, which is on par with the theme of this breakdown thus far.

Ensure Shake Vitamins and Minerals

Since Ensure Original targets those supplementing nutrition, there are significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Ensure Original includes:

  • 25% Vitamin D
  • 25% Vitamin A
  • 50% Vitamin C
  • 50% Vitamin E
  • 20% Vitamin K
  • 25% Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
  • 25% Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • 35% Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • 25% Vitamin B6
  • 25% Folate
  • 25% Vitamin B12
  • 25% Biotin
  • 25% Pantothenic Acid
  • 25% Choline
  • 25% Calcium
  • 25% Iron
  • 10% Potassium
  • 15% Phosphorous
  • 25% Iodine
  • 20% Magnesium
  • 30% Zinc
  • 25% Selenium
  • 25% Copper
  • 25% Manganese
  • 25% Chromium
  • 25% Molybdenum
  • 10% Chloride

Ensure Shake Ingredients

The ingredients list on the Ensure Original seems very long. As you can see from the vitamins and minerals included in the previous section, this shake contains a ton of vitamins and minerals. The majority of the ingredients included on the list contain these vitamins and minerals.

Chocolate Ensure Shake Ingredients Label

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

The only ingredients to be wary of are the natural and artificial flavors included. The specific flavors included are not disclosed, and they do not require disclosure for labeling purposes.

Further, this shake does not contain any probiotics that other shakes are now including within their ingredient lists.

Ensure Shake Allergens and Warnings

Ensure Original Shakes contain soy and milk ingredients, some of the most common allergens. However, the label does mention that Ensure Original is suitable for people with lactose intolerance. There is a small amount of lactose within the shake, but not enough to disturb anyone with lactose intolerance. If you live with galactosemia, you should not have Ensure Original.

There are no further restrictions on who can consume Ensure Original beyond that.

Key Health and Marketing Claims

There are a few different marketing and health claims on the Ensure Original bottle, so let’s break some of them down.

Complete, Balanced Nutrition for everyday health

This claim has some merit as this shake contains a substantial amount of macronutrients and micronutrients. Especially since the target consumer of Ensure is someone who needs supplemental nutrition to add to their diet.

#1 Doctor recommended brand

This claim is technically true as in each hospital there is a sponsor that provides nutritional supplement supplies. Ensure is a shake company within the Abbott Brand. Most hospitals contain either Abbott or Nestle products, so doctors typically work with either of those brands. There are likely doctors out there that have recommended other shakes for other purposes beyond Abbott or Nestle products.

9 grams of high-quality protein

There are 9 grams of protein in each bottle of Ensure Original. The term “high-quality” is synonymous with the common term “complete protein”. Ensure Original contains milk and soy, and these have all 9 of the essential amino acids, which is likely what this claim is trying to say.

27 essential vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants

If you go back to the vitamins and minerals section and count each nutrient I listed, it makes 27, so this claim is true. With regards to antioxidants, some of the vitamins included are antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E.

25% of the daily value of B vitamins to support brain health

This is another true claim because each B vitamin included had at least 25% of the daily recommended amount.

Gluten-free

Gluten is a type of protein that is present in grain and bread products. It is unlikely that there would be gluten present, but this is a more common label with the increase in our understanding of Celiac disease. The Gluten-free label indicates that the product wasn’t processed alongside gluten-containing products as well.

Suitable for lactose intolerance

Look back to the Allergens and Warnings section for more detail on this, but to reiterate: there is a small amount of lactose in Ensure Original. The amount is so small it should not irritate someone with lactose intolerance but should be avoided if you have galactosemia.

Halal

Halal is a standard of processing, and cooking that is followed by people practicing the Islamic religion. Some certain ingredients and methods are restricted, and this label ensures high standards for ingredients and processing that respect a halal eating pattern.

Kosher

Like Halal, Kosher is a standard of processing and cooking followed by people practicing the Jewish religion. Kosher foods are processed and prepared according to these standards. This label ensures high standards that are required for those following a kosher eating pattern.

Price

$7.99 – $8.99 for a six-pack of bottles. This equates to $1.33 to $1.49 per bottle depending on where you get your Ensure Original.

Ways to Enjoy Ensure

Since Ensure Original is a pre-mixed shake, this makes it a simple on-the-go complete meal aside from the smaller amount of protein.

Elevate Ensure Original by adding berries, spinach, or kale for a nutrient-dense addition.

You can even add the vanilla, chocolate, or butter pecan flavors to your morning coffee for a nutrient-dense start to the day!

Company Information

Ensure has been on the market since 1973, and there are now four different types of Ensure shakes that target a wider audience.

Ensure is part of Abbott, a healthcare company that develops medical devices, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. Other brands under the umbrella of Abbott include Pediasure, Glucerna, Pedialyte, and the popular insulin pump brand Freestyle.

Ensure and Abbott are very passionate about developing science-based nutritional supplements and have been doing it for decades now. Now that they are adapting to more than just medical nutrition therapy, they are worth watching for future meal replacement products.

The Bottom Line

Ensure Original is not something that would help with weight loss but is an incredibly nutrient-dense option. Honestly, combining Ensure with extra protein from other mixes could make this product an excellent meal replacement shake. On its own, it doesn’t quite cut it with regards to protein content, and carbohydrates.

Be sure to compare Ensure Original to our top-rated shakes on the website as you make your decisions!

1Nutritional information from https://ensure.com/nutrition-products/ensure-original/vanilla-shake. Price per serving calculated from a package price of $35.00 for 24 Vanilla Shakes. Accessed 8/2/19.