Are So-Called Nutrition Drinks Making us Sicker?

Is it possible that nutrition substitute drinks for diabetics actually contribute to type 2 diabetes?glucerna-shakes-product-image

A relative of mine has type 2 diabetes. His doctor told him to drink Glucerna shakes because it will help to balance his blood sugar and give him nutrients.

But as much as he drinks these shakes, he never seems to get better; only worse. I explained to his wife that he would do better to get nutrients from actual green vegetables like the ones I juice daily. She told me in horror that he just needs to do what his doctor told him.

From where did we get the idea that these drinks are a panacea? I believe from commercials that target trusting care givers, from drug reps that tell doctors that these shakes are actually nourishing and because they are handed out routinely in hospitals. The drug companies do a surprising and alarming amount of doctor education. As far as I know, there are no sales reps for the vegetable industry.

Today, I want to just address the Glucerna shake. Note that Abbott Laboratories makes Glucerna as well as Ensure, PediaSure, and a whole slew of other meal replacement and “nutrition” drinks. 

Abbott Laboratories has a large division of drugs for diabetics, blood glucose testing devices, shakes and snacks for diabetic patients. The evidence below strongly suggests that the ingredients found in Glucerna shakes, actually contributes to insulin resistance, obesity and illness.

First of all, these shakes are chock full of GMOs. As explained in one of my earlier blogs GMOs are patented seeds made to withstand being sprayed with tons of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and pesticide instead of dying like a seed found in nature would. The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate.

A shocking article published in the journal Entropy states that the effects of glyphosate are “the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.” [1]

One of those disease states is type 2 diabetes. Watch Dr. Seneff, a Senior Research Scientist at MIT and author of the aforementioned article in the journal Entropy; explain in this 2 minute video.

Here are the ingredients in the Glucerna shake from the Glucerna website:

My comments are in parenthesis with references when appropriate.

  • Water,
  • Corn Maltodextrin (GMO),
  • Milk Protein Concentrate,
  • Fructose (Derived from corn, GMO, causes insulin resistance and weight gain)[2]
  • Glycerol (Sugar alcohol),
  • Short-Chain Fructooligosaccharide (according to a study in the American Journal of Nutrition, Short-Chain Fructooligosaccharides had no effect on glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetics) [3]
  • Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali),
  • Soy Protein Isolate (GMO),
  • High Oleic Safflower Oil.

The following constitute less than 2% of the content:  (This is where the vitamins and minerals are supposed to be but they make up less than 2% of the content. There is also more junk.):

  • Canola Oil (GMO),
  • Soy Oil (GMO),
  • Pea Protein Concentrate,
  • Cellulose Gel (A thickener usually made from wood pulp),
  • Magnesium Phosphate,
  • Potassium Citrate,
  • Salt,
  • Calcium Carbonate,
  • Choline Chloride,
  • Ascorbic Acid,
  • Potassium Chloride,
  • Calcium Phosphate,
  • Sodium Citrate,
  • Cellulose Gum,
  • Potassium Phosphate,
  • Natural & Artificial Flavor,
  • Monoglycerides (helps oil and water mix, could be derived from cows, pigs, vegetables or man-made),[4]
  • Soy Lecithin (GMO),
  • Liquid Sucralose (this is Splenda, an artificial sweetener. According to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, sucralose leads to weight gain and reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent. Good gut bacteria has recently been found to help reduce obesity and contributes to overall health)[5], [6]
  • Magnesium Chloride,
  • Carrageenan (Banned in Europe, mounting evidence that this causes gut irritation and inflammation),[7], [8]
  • Turmeric Concentrate,
  • Acesulfame Potassium (contains methylene chloride, a known carcinogen),[9]
  • Calcium Pantothenate,
  • FD&C Red #3 (high doses have been shown to cause cancer in rats),[10]
  • Cupric Sulfate,
  • Vitamin A Palmitate,
  • Folic Acid,
  • Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride,
  • Riboflavin,
  • Chromium Chloride,
  • Pyridoxine Hydrochloride,
  • Biotin,
  • Sodium Molybdate,
  • Potassium Iodide,
  • Sodium Selenate,
  • Phylloquinone (vitamin K found in green leafy vegetables – so why not eat or juice green leafy vegetables as my original point stated? Increasing green leafy vegetables can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%),[11]
  • Cyanocobalamin,
  • Vitamin D3.

I have one more shaming, The American Diabetes Association (ADA). They are culpable in this charade because they actually promote artificial sweeteners on their website.

Please pass this information along to any diabetics you know or those who drink any of these so called nutritional drinks (i.e. PediaSure, Ensure etc.). They deserve the right to make an informed decision.


[1] Samsel, Anthony; Seneff, Stephanie. 2013. “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.” Entropy 15, no. 4: 1416-1463.

[2]Sharon S Elliott, Nancy L KeimJudith S Stern, Karen Teff, and Peter J Havel. “Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome1’2’3.”  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002.

 [3] Luo J, Van Yperselle M, Rizkalla SW, Rossi F, Bornet FR, Slama G. ” Chronic consumption of short-chain fructooligosaccharides does not affect basal hepatic glucose production or insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000 Jun; Jun;130(6):1572-7.

 [4] Wikipedia “Questions About Food Ingredients”. Vegetarian Resource Group. Retrieved 13 November 2011.

 [5]Abou-Donia MB, Department of Pharmacology, Duke University Medical Center El-Masry EM, Abdel-Rahman AA, McLendon RE, Schiffman SS.Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. 2008

 [7] Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune, “Doubts surface about safety of common food additive, carrageenan” March 18, 2013

 [8] Read The Cornucopia Institute’s full report on the dangers of carrageenan March 2013

 [9] S. D. Wells, “Sweetener warning: Acesulfame Potassium contains methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.” Natural News, August 6, 2013

 [10] Wikipedia  last modified on 16 December 2013 at 20:32

 [11]Carter PGray LJTroughton JKhunti KDavies MJ  “Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis.”  BMJ. 2010 Aug 18;341:c4229. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c4229




Author: Lauren

Plant-based educator and speaker

31 thoughts on “Are So-Called Nutrition Drinks Making us Sicker?”

  1. Thank you, this is great. I only eat organic/local food and feel so sad every time I’m in a store and see elderly people reaching for these “nutrition” drinks. I feel equally as sad when people place complete, absolute trust in their doctors who are prescribing this kind of harmful remedy.

    As a side note, thank you so much for educating me about carageenan! I use Organic Valley heavy cream, which has carageenan in it. I believe this could be contributing to my skin problems. Shame on Organic Valley. From now on I will only use the cream I take off the top of raw milk.

  2. It must be frustrating to see family members who refuse to consider doing their own research and blindly follow doctors despite what they are being told to do not actually even working. What an eye-opening report… those drinks seem just mostly sugar milk, with a few random nutrients thrown in for good measure. Yikes!

  3. SO glad to see someone else feels the same as I do! It is so, so scary out there. I read all of my labels vigilantly and only purchase products with ingredients I trust. Thank you for sharing this! Looking forward to reading more from you 🙂 Feel free to check out my blog any time, I write about living an organic clean lifestyle on a budget!

  4. This was a really interesting read. There’s so much money tied up in medicine, that a healthy population is simply bad for business. A very sad state of affairs.

      1. I totally agree. I’m proud to say, my 3 kids don’t even look twice at the junk food in the shops! My youngest is 3, she recently pointed at a chocolate bar (at her eye level at the checkout) and said “whats that?”. I prefer to make my kids sweet substitute (mostly raw) treats at home so I know exactly what they are eating.

      2. But it is sad, being knowledgeable on the topic and seeing people who don’t know (or don’t care to know) what they are putting into their bodies. I try and educate as much as I can – starting with my own family 🙂

  5. I sure am glad there are some “thinking” people out there in this cold hard world . I love this article ! It’s RIGHT ON !!!!! As we used to say in the sixties .

  6. I have tried to drink glucerna due to having a bad case of clostridium difficille stomach infection. When I drink glucerna I end up sick & vomiting. Thank you for this article! No wonder it’s causing me to be sick! Since the infection I am very sensitive to many foods! I will be juicing to get my nutrition!

  7. i know first hand just how frustrating this is. My dad was diagnosed with cancer this summer and they loaded him up with these drinks. They told him not to eat any fruits or vegetables, stick primarily to meat for strength. My dad could not explain why his nutrtionist would tell him this, but he was so scared, he felt like he should just do what they say. He eventually had to have a GI tube put in, and that stuff was even worse. The can of ‘nutrients’ had an ingredient list that was primarily high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oil, more forms of sugar, and milk protein. I was so frustrated I didn’t know what to do. He is in remission now but he acts like he is 90 years old. (he’s 60) He feels feeble and sickly and goes to the ER all the time. I can’t imagine how much better his recovery could be if they just hadn’t pumped him full of these chemicals the whole time. Thanks for the post!

    1. That is so sad and yet, so typical. I just can’t understand why health care workers are so ill informed. I wish your father the best! Keep being an advocate for him.

  8. I can understand your point. The nutritional drinks are nothing but sweet poison. I know of someone who is fed with these nutritional drinks and got cancer. this is not just one , but i know many cases. Ignorance is as painful as disease.Only knowledge can save us.

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