When I was in the hospital several years ago after emergency surgery, my doctor daily had the hospital include a bottle of Ensure since I’d lost 13 pounds and wasn’t overweight to begin with. I refused to drink it because I knew it had not nutritional value and it also tastes awful. I suggested to him that my daughter could bring in my protein powder and I would make a shake to supplement the delicious and nutritious (not!) hospital meals. He said he would prefer I use the Ensure. So I continued leaving it unopened on my tray and just used my homemade shakes instead.
When my 85 year old dad was losing weight, after ruling out any other issues, his doctor recommended he drink several bottles of Ensure or Boost daily to increase his caloric intake. Knowing those drinks were basically sugar, chemicals and other additives, I offered to make him shakes each week he could keep in his fridge that would provide more nutrition. He felt the doctor knew better than I did and opted to begin buying Boost and drinking one or two each day.
Especially for senior citizens, getting enough protein to prevent muscle loss is critical to maintaining strength. Typically these bottled drinks provide 10 grams of protein along with a slew of chemical additives whereas a good protein powder will provide as much as 20-25 grams per serving without the junky ingredients.
If you look at the nutritional label on a bottle of chocolate Boost (my dad’s preferred flavor), for example, the first 3 ingredients are water, sugar, and corn syrup. Refined sugars have been linked to chronic health problems like heart disease, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.
High fructose corn syrup is damaging to liver health and while sugar is unhealthy, some flavors have sucralose, which is just as dangerous, if not more so.
Boost Simply Complete boasts it only has 9 simple ingredients, including canola oil, a genetically modified, refined, partially hydrogenated oil. It has high levels of erucic acid, a fatty acid associated with heart damage. So much for health benefits.
There are so many easier and healthier choices for boosting nutrition. I realize older people may not want to make a smoothie or shake every day thinking it will be too much work, as my dad did, even though I was willing to do the “work,” but honestly it is not. And the benefits certainly will outweigh the detrimental health effects of drinking these chemical laden, sugary junk foods that are being passed off as “nutritional beverages.” They are anything but.
What are your thoughts about these so-called nutritional beverages?
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I really wonder why doctors are so sold on this stuff. I recall Jer’s grandparents drinking it as well. You would think that a doctor could read a nutritional label. 🤔
We haven’t had a TV in our house for years. I’ve been indulging in a little screen time at the gym recently and I noticed a few things. First, there are SO MANY food commercials. One time I looked up and of the 10 different channels, there were 5 food commercials. The other thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of things that I would never touch are marketed as healthy. Like ensure and candy bars. This is so wrong in my opinion.
So many things in our food supply/industry need to change. It’s literally killing people. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to reading each Monday!
Thank you Holly. It really upsets me that these types of drinks are pushed on older people who especially are in need of good nutrition to stay vital and healthy. I agree with you on the commercials and how they call things healthy that are anything but. Those Bella Vita “breakfast biscuits” they market for convenience saying they are nutritious are nothing more than cookies – plain and simple!It doesn’t seem like things will change in the food industry until consumers stop buying the crap and insist on real food. In the meantime – we can make those important decisions for ourselves. I always appreciate your input, Holly.
It does amaze me that the medical community preaches watch what you eat and steer clear of sweets for weight loss, we all agree sugar is bad, yet can turn around and suggest this? Sometimes as we know things are hidden but looking at the first few ingredients is VERY obvious that it is a sugar drink! I have struggled with Gatorade issues over the years as my kids all played sports and I had to fight to keep people from just giving it to them for “electrolytes” and hydration. It was none of those things and developed for a way different purpose anyway. This is great information Ann! Thanks!
Thank you Lori. I know with you I am “preaching to the choir!” I had the same misgivings about Gatorade when my kids were playing sports. Just making people aware is 90% of it I think. Once they know the truth they can make better choices, hopefully!