Overall, roughly 42% of all Americans are considered vitamin deficient. Some vitamins, like vitamin D and E, the number is more like 60-70% deficiency! For senior citizens these numbers can be even more drastic as they are more often not consuming a vitamin and mineral rich diet due to a variety of reasons such as not wanting to cook for just themselves or simply incapable of doing so due to physical limitations. Also, certain drugs and medications inhibit or destroy vitamin levels in the body. For this, many doctors recommend to their patients (often older patients) “liquid nutritional products” to supplement natural vitamin and mineral intake.
Ensure, manufactured by Abbot Nutrition, is a popular choice. Ensure claims to be the #1 doctor recommended brand*… the * means “among doctors who recommend liquid nutritional products” that is. Let’s hope it’s not many. Here’s why:
Large corporations (like Abbott) masquerading as nutritional companies have a variety of ways to deceive their customers. For most consumers these lies are hidden well enough to fool them. However, through proper analysis of the label, one can find the truth…but you need to dig deep and do your research because they are using every trick in the book to fool you.
Let’s hope it’s not many. Here’s why:
Many of lies on the Ensure label are buried in the nutritional label (often through commonly unknown terms and definitions), but they are also subliminal (often using images to make you think natural and healthy, while the actual ingredients are anything but).
Let’s look at some examples:
Here we see the label for Ensure’s strawberry nutrition shake. We see on the cover strawberries…so we would think there are strawberries in it… but if we look at the ingredient’s we see that strawberries are not even mentioned as the last ingredient! (See below)
So, if there are no strawberries in this strawberry “nutrition shake”, what is in it? Aside from water, the next ingredient is Maltodextrin, then the third is sugar. Maltodextrin has a higher GI (glycemic index) then table sugar! Then with Ensure, we get actual table sugar! Which leads to one of the biggest lies on the label (which is on almost all their product labels).
Ensure labels parse out the sugars into “total sugar” and “added sugar”. On each label like the one below you can see there are 15 grams of total sugar and 14 grams of added sugar. (This is from the same strawberry shake example we used above):
As you probably know there is natural sugar (like we get from fruits and vegetables) and there are unnatural sugars (like corn syrup in soda-pop). These nutritionally speaking are not the same with the former being a natural part of the human diet and later causing obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So, it was very nice of Ensure to tell us which we are getting!
To determine the amount of sugar that occurs naturally in any food or drink, you can subtract added sugars from total sugars (15-14 = 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar in the label above).
That’s right…1 gram of natural sugar! Meaning, 14 out of 15 grams of sugar (basically the most abundant ingredient in this health shake) are unnatural sugars!
But hey it’s all about the vitamins, right? Well, here is where Ensure wraps up the ultimate trifecta of deceit. Basically, every vitamin on the ingredient label (like the one we looked at above) are artificial vitamins. Some artificial vitamins (like vitamin E) have been shown to be absorbed by your body half as much as natural vitamins. As the old saying goes, “avoid foods that contain ingredients that end in -acid, -ide, or -ate”. Unfortunately, this is basically every so-called vitamin and mineral on Ensure’s label!
One cannot begin to explain the bewilderment I feel when I hear things like “#1 doctor recommended” attached to large corporate lies like Ensure and it’s labeling. Luckily, we can take to heart that the tag line “#1 doctor recommended” has an asterisk…as should basically the entire Ensure label. Maybe best would be a big warning to consumers, FAKE!
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