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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