Glucerna shake Review: Does it work?

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Expert rating: 3.4/5

Customer rating: stars-icon voted

Intro: What is it?

Glucerna shake is a meal replacement that suggests it can help reduce blood sugar from spiking.  These bottled shakes come in 4 different flavors: Homemade Vanilla, Creamy Strawberry, Rich Chocolate, and Classic Butter Pecan.

They even include a graph which shows this shake has a low blood sugar response in over 4 hours after drinking, in comparison to the leading national drink which has more of an effect on blood sugar. It’s heavily marketed towards people who are diabetic. Does it have a positive effect on regulating blood sugar? How effective is it for weight loss? This Glucerna shake review will help you understand the truth.

Glucerna Ingredients

Ingredients of the Homemade Vanilla:

Water Corn Maltodextrin Milk Protein Concentrate Fructose Glycerol
Short-Chain Fructooligosaccharides Soy Protein Isolate High Oleic Safflower Oil Canola Oil Soy Oil
Magnesium Phosphate Natural Flavor Artificial Flavor Potassium Citrate Cellulose Gel
Salt Choline Chloride Absorbic Acid Calcium Phosphate Sodium Citrate
Potassium Phosphate Monoglycerides Soy Lecithin Calcium Carbonate Potassium Hydroxide
Potassium Chloride Carrageenan Liquid Sucralose Acesulfame Potassium Ferrous Sulfate
Magnesium Chloride Zinc Sulfate dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate Niacinamide Manganese Chloride
Calcium Pantothenate Cupric Sulfate Vitamin A Palminate Folic Acid Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride
Riboflavin Chromium Chloride Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Biotin Sodium Molybdate
Potassium Iodide Sodium Selenate Phylloquinone Cyanocobalamin Vitamin D3

Several of the ingredients are questionable:

Potassium Citrate: Potassium source that also regulates acidity in a product. It’s known to irritate the stomach lining and the FDA has set a recommended limit on the amount that can be swallowed.

Copper Sulfate: Mineral source that’s also used as a fertilizer and fungicide. It was once used as a way to cure vomiting, until it was reported as being unsafe. It’s also a an irritant that can cause eczema. It’s considered toxic in the chemistry community, and it can cause damage to the brain, stomach, kidneys, and liver.

Sodium Selenite: Both the FDA and the European Union has noted that this ingredient can be toxic when breathed in, or when swallowed. Tests show it’s also fatal in certain dosages when given to rats.  It’s used as a pesticide and as a way to make glass.

Carrageenan: Thickener extracted from seaweed.  Studies published in Pub Chem claim that this additive can lead to tumors, stomach issues, and loss of vitamins and minerals. It’s added as a cheap substitute meant to provide more stability to a product.  Many studies exist which show it can lead to unwanted side effects.

Macronutrients and Calories

Calories 190 Calories From Fat 60 Total Fat 7g, 11% Saturated Fat 1g, 5% Cholesterol 5mg, 2%
Sodium 210 mg, 9% Potassium 380 mg, 11% Total Carbohydrate 23g, 8% Dietary Fiber 3g, 12% Sugars 6g
Protein 10g, 20% Vitamin A 25% Vitamin C 100% Calcium 25% Iron 25%
Vitamin D 25% Vitamin E 25% Vitamin K 25% Thiamin 20% Riboflavin 25%
Niacin 25% Vitamin b6 25% Folate 25% Vitamin b12 25% Biotin 25%
Pantothenic Acid 25% Phosphorus 25% Iodine 25% Magnesium 25% Zinc 25%
Selenium 25% Copper 25% Manganese 50% Chromium 100% Molybdenum 50%
Chloride 8% Choline 25%

Calories

It’s higher in the amount of calories that it has in comparison to other meal replacements, some of which have less than half of the 190 calories in this shake.

Calories are basically units of energy that when overconsumed leads to weight gain. It’s recommended to lose up to 500 calories a day for weight loss. Assuming you replace 2 meals a day the math is:

190 times 2=380 calories a day.

Some shakes offer 90 calories per serving which ends up being 180 calories a day. These 200 extra calories is significant is you’re already struggling to lose weight.

Sugar

2 meal replacements a day has 12 grams of total sugar. There’s 2 different ingredients added to sweeten this shake.

Corn Maltodextrin: Highly processed corn extract that is often GMO unless otherwise stated.  It’s also an inexpensive thickener which has up to 100 points on the glycemic index. Points from 70 and above is considered a high ranking on the glycemic scale.

Fructose: Extracted sugar source found in fruit. When it’s taken from natural fruits it’s known to cause an increase in obesity. A scientific study called “Advances in Nutrition” mentions this ingredient can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Short-Chained: Fructooligosaccharides: Alternative sweetener which feeds gut bacteria. It can lead to flatulence and bloating as well as other stomach issues.

Acesulfame Potassium: Artificial sweetener that’s had controversy over its reported lack of safety. A study published by the National Toxicology Program shows this additive lead to carcinogenic effects in rats. Another study shows reported by Plos One, a science website, shows this additive leads to damage to the nervous system.

One major problem is the use of fructose. It’s known to potentially cause type 2 diabetes, which is exactly what this shake is meant to combat.

The Quality of Glucerna’s protein

There’s 10 grams of protein found in both of these ingredients:

Milk Protein Concentrate: Processed protein that has 40% to 90% protein. Most of this ingredient is often imported from China and Mexico, where there are fears the regulation standards aren’t’ the same.

Soy Protein Isolate: Soybean extract that’s been treated to contain around 90% or more protein. It contains phytoestrogens which can negatively effect hormone levels. It’s also often GMO unless otherwise stated by the company.

Both of these protein sources are criticized for various reasons. The soy added here is GMO and can potentially affect hormone levels which prevent weight loss. Milk Protein Concentrate is a cheap protein source which is often heavily processed in unknown amino acid strengths.

Overall, the quality of protein is limited since the amino acid content is unknown.

The Price and Quality of Ensure

If purchasing directly from the manufacturers, a 24 pack costs $45.99 for 8 oz. bottles.

So at 2 bottles a day, a full case will last you 12 days.

$45.99 divided by 12= $3.83 a day.

Looking at the ingredients added which is used as in pesticides, fertilizers, and that are artificially processed, most of the additives aren’t as wholesome as other sources of nutrition.

When reading an ingredient label you can determine what the overall content is of a product.  This product’s first 2 ingredients are water and corn Maltodextrin, a sugar source. So there’s very little protein in this product, and there’s many artificial ingredients.

How Blood Sugar is affected

The company offers a graph showing how little of an effect Glucerna has on increasing blood sugar. They compare it to another popular brand that’s never mentioned by name.

Since these studies are self-published by the company, its unknown if they’re actually accurate.

It doesn’t make sense that the company would market itself towards diabetic when it uses 6 grams of sugar, some of which comes in fructose. Authority Nutrition has listed a few of the potential problems with this sweetener, it can potentially cause:

  • Elevated blood pressure which leads to gout.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes and increased risk for obesity.
  • Heart disease and dyslipidemia.
  • Insulin resistance and certain forms of cancer.
  • An increase in hunger leading to excess calories.

The biggest warning comes from the increase in type 2 diabetes. The fact this sweetener has been added isn’t a wise decision. There are alternative sweetening sources which don’t have as a potentially damaging effect on blood sugar levels.

Claims of being Doctor Recommended

On the front of each bottle of Glucerna is the claim that it’s the number 1 doctor recommended brand for people looking to get liquid nutrition. The company never backs up this claim with any names or actual proof.

Oddly enough, their other brand Ensure also has the exact same label. This doesn’t add up as only one brand can be number one.

It’s uncertain why a doctor would recommend this shake when it’s full of artificial additives and ingredients that can also prevent weight loss. Soy is one prime example that is often GMO. Pub Chem has this to say about soy:

potentially adverse effects of these compounds are likely underappreciated”

This is because soy also has phytoestrogens which can negatively affect your thyroid, resulting in weight gain.

Business

Abbott Laboratories is a US company which sells healthcare products across the globe. You can contact them below from their US customer service contact information:

Phone Number :( 224)667-6100

Address:100 Abbott Park Road

Abbott Park, Illinois 60064

They’ve been in the news for their roles in massive lawsuits:

  • A $500 million dollar fine and loss of $198.5 million in profit was lost over illegal marketing schemes. Abbott made a drug which they claimed could cure serious psychological problems, even though they had no proof.
  • $191 million was lost to another group who made a product which the company claimed to have created. They still have to pay millions each year that the drug is sold.

Customer Opinions

Many reviews are available online, customers have the following to say:

broke out in itchy hives”

“quick meal replacement”

“wish it wasn’t so expensive”

“terrible taste, makes me sick”

Many customers have been mixed about the taste; some found it good while others say it was hard to drink. This also comes from people who tried all of the 4 available flavors.

Some people who researched the ingredinets were surprised that Glucerna is meant for diabetics, even though there’s a mixture of cheap sugar sources such as fructose.

Conclusion

Glucerna is marketed heavily towards diabetics who need to regulate their blood sugar. After reviewing this brand the following highlights were revealed:

  • The kind of sugar used can affect blood sugar negatively: Both corn Maltodextrin and fructose has been shown to negatively affect blood sugar. Fructose has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and increase in other obesity related diseases. Another sweetener added which can produce negative affects is Acesulfame potassium. This ingredient has been linked to neurogolgical damage to rats.
  • Quality of protein is lacking: Both the soy GMO and the Milk Protein Concentrate has been linked to controversial treating methods. Soy can produce unwanted increases in estrogen which makes weight loss harder. Also Milk Protein Concentrate is processed in a way which often doesen’t match stricter standards set by the FDA. Most of this shake is actually made up of sugar and water. When reading an ingredient label the first ingredients make up the most of what you’re eating. Protein doesen’t make an appearance until the 3rd
  • It’s incredibly pricy considering the ingredinets: At $3.81 per bottle, Glucerna is an expensive addition to your weight loss goals. Considering that the quality of protein is lacking and that there has been mixed reports about the flavors. The number one complaint is from people who don’t understand why it could be so expensive, considering the small bottles you get.
  • Many of the ingredoients are artificial: The added forms of nutrients are also used in pesticides, fertilizers, and to make household items. For example, Copper Sulfate is one additive which is known as an irritant that can damage the stomach lining. It’s also known to cause damage to the internal organs. At least 11 of the ingredients added have potential major side effects. This is because some of these additives aren’t advised to be consumed in high quantities.
  • No proof is offered to sugges it’s the number 1 doctor recommended brand: Each bottle of Glucerna comes with a declaration of it being recommended by doctors. The truth is that this labeling has no proof to suggest it’s actually true. Another breand made by the company called Ensure also has the exact same claim. It’s uncertain how both brands could be the number one recommended product.

 

Though the shake is widely available, customers often complain about the price, use of artificial sweeteners and cheap sugar sources, the lacking quality of protein, and the overall taste. Better options are available to help you lose weight without increasing your blood sugar levels.

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