My uncle lay dying in a hospital. On the windowsill sat about 6 unopened cans of Ensure. It was the first time that I’d seen the product. My mother explained that Ensure was the only thing that my uncle was able to eat/drink. Sitting there, when it was my turn to stay with my uncle, I read the label. It described how nutritional the product was and that it often replaced needed calories for the elderly or those who are sick. I remember being somewhat amazed at the number of calories this small, 8-ounce can held. My uncle, who had emphysema, passed away a few days later.
Recommend this product?
Occasionally, over the ensuing years, I would see a commercial on television about Ensure. They always emphasized the nutrition that people who drank it would receive. I know that it was the main source of substance for my uncle. They also emphasized its usage with the elderly. I can definitely understand that. Many elderly people in our society do not receive enough nutrition from the foods they eat. They often eat meals that are easily prepared but that contain less nutritional value than they require. This is an excellent supplement that supplies the person with needed nutrients. Appetites are often less as we age. Therefore, the elderly eat less and lack calories or nutrients. Many elderly also can afford less and buy foods that don’t contain all that they need. Ensure meets any and all of the senior’s needs.
Thus, I developed an image of who used Ensure and why they used it. You can then imagine my surprise when my 28-year-old son asked me if I knew where he could buy some Ensure!
My son has always weighed much less than normal for his height. For the past ten to fifteen years he has tried all kinds of things to gain weight. He’s been to a hospital nutritionist; he works out and uses Creatine; he’s had numerous physicals with varying advice from doctors from, “Drink more milk” to “Take an anti-depressant because the side effects are to gain weight when on them.”
Since I’ve fought the battle against gaining weight all of my life, I told him to eat what I do. But, nothing has worked. You may wonder why in the world he is so insistent on gaining. I know that oftentimes I wonder myself. But self-confidence hinges on many components and self-confidence can be low when you are extremely underweight. Watching him struggle with this made me realize that it is a bigger (or as big) as someone who is extremely overweight. He doesn’t want to be the guy that gets “sand kicked into his face” at the beach. He’s very athletic and gets self-conscious when he needs to take off his shirt. Now, I personally, think that he looks thin but not severely thin. So part of the problem either lays with my view of him or with the fact of his own perception of himself. Either way, the goal to gain weight remains a top priority with him.
The Ensure that he requested is for him to use as a caloric supplement. He doesn’t have a huge appetite, but he can usually find the time and the stomach space to drink a can of Ensure. I buy him the Ensure +Plus because it has the most amount of calories. It contains 360 calories compared to the regular Ensure which has 240 calories. It also contains 13 grams of protein which helps build up muscle mass. The Ensure can states that, “Ensure Plus has been reformulated to take advantage of new discoveries in nutrition science. Ensure Plus is now the only high-calorie nutritional beverage formulated with canola oil as the main fat source. It is now richer in monounsaturated fat, lower in saturated fat and still low in cholesterol.”
Ensure is now being advertised as a source of concentrated calories and proteins that help people gain or maintain a healthy weight. Because of the many reasons that people lose or can’t gain weight (difficulty in eating, limited ability to prepare meals or decrease in appetite) Ensure can really be helpful. The container also states that Ensure Plus is a great resource for calories for athletes because they often have high caloric needs.
My son prefers chocolate, although the drink is offered in vanilla, butter pecan, coffee. and strawberry, too. I’ve tried the drink and it tastes good. It has a thickened milk consistency and tastes somewhat like a sweet milk shake or malt tastes.
SOME OF WHAT IT CONTAINS: There are so many vitamins, minerals, and ingredients that I will only name the major ones.
Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and B12
Calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, flolate, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorous, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, and chloride.
Total Calories: 360
Calories from fat: 100
% Daily Value:
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 240mg 10%
Potassium 500mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 50g 17%
Dietary fiber 1g 4%
Protein 13g 26%
This product is complete and contains balanced nutrition for the purposes it is used. I have found that it definitely tastes better when served cold; but you can drink it at room temperature. Once opened, the cans should then be covered and kept in the refrigerator. This can be used as a supplement (recommendation for this use is 3 cans a day) and can be used by those on a low cholesterol diet. It is lactose free and easily digested.
The biggest downside to this product is the cost. For 6, eight ounce containers it costs $8.59. The Ensure Plus is about a dollar more than the regular Ensure. Either way, the cost could prove prohibitive to those who need it most, the elderly or the ill. I actually think that insurance companies might consider picking up the cost of this when someone is sick or when the elderly “require” it. Even for my healthy, working son, the cost is a detriment and therefore he often waits to buy it. This leads to inconsistency and doesn’t help the weight gaining process. I should also say that although my son hasn’t gained a lot using this or other products, at least I feel good knowing that what he’s drinking is healthy for him.
I personally feel that this could be used in place of a Slim-Fast or other such dieting formula to replace a meal with a drink. If using it for that purpose, I would recommend the lower calorie Ensure and not buy the Plus. Ensure is sold and available at most places people shop. I have found it to be the least expensive at K-Mart but drugstores and grocery stores also carry this product. So, if you would like to gain a little weight, here is something new to try. And, the great part is that it is good tasting and good for you too!
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