Clinical Nutrition Topic of the Day: Ensure vs. Boost

Two of the most common “complete” nutritional supplements on the market are Ensure and Boost.  For various reasons listed below, individuals will chose a supplement in order to improve their nutritional status, promote weight gain, or receive nutrients that are not being consumed through food.  Ensure and Boost are very similar in nutritional content (shown in the table below) and tend to be used interchangeably in the in-patient setting, however many individuals tend to have a taste preference one over the other. Both products come in 8 oz. plastic containers.

Indications for supplementation include patients with any of the follow:

  • Malnutrition
  • At moderate-high nutritional risk
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • Inadequate oral intake
  • Reduced appetite
  • Anorexia
  • Cachexia

Can’t decide between the two nutritional drinks? Take a look at a little comparison and you make the choice that is best for you!

  Ensure Original
Boost Original
Manufacturer Abbott Nestle
Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Butter Pecan, Dark Chocolate, Coffee Latte Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry
Price $1.34/each at Walmart as of 9/26/12 $1.25/each at Walmart as of 9/26/12
Calories 250 240
Carbohydrate (g) 40 41
Protein (g) 9 10
Fat (g) 6 4
Fiber (g) 0 0
Vitamins & Minerals Meets a minimum of 25% DV for vitamins and minerals Meets a minimum of 25% DV for vitamins and minerals
Added Benefits Contains 320 mg of ALA (a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid) Contains slightly more Vitamin C, K, D, & E than Ensure
Special Dietary Preferences Halal, Kosher, gluten-free, lactose-free, low-residue Kosher, gluten-free, lactose-free, low-residue
Other Types Ensure Bone Health, Clinical Strength, Enlive!, High Protein, Immune Health, Muscle Health, Plus, Powder, Pudding Boost Glucose Control, High Protein, Kid Essentials (in varying calories), Pudding, Plus

*Represented values are for 8 oz of formula


3 thoughts on “Clinical Nutrition Topic of the Day: Ensure vs. Boost

  1. I think these can be helpful, but I much prefer giving patients recipes to make their own high-calorie, high-protein shakes/smoothies. Many of them are willing to do it, and they know what it’s their drink – compared to Ensure, which is filled with sugar (3rd ingredient).

      • Thanks for asking Beverly. I encourage my oncology patients to make smoothies with ingredients like fruit, Greek yogurt or kefir, nut butter, avocado, chia seeds, whey protein powder, veggies (carrots, greens, herbs). A smoothie like banana, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds can easily be 500+ calories and high-protein, no added sugar, and nutrient-dense.

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