If you're concerned about the quality of your diet, you may turn to nutrition supplements such as Boost or Ensure. Although both drinks are a good source of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals, there are subtle differences between the two products. Knowing the differences may help you decide which is the better fit for you and your diet. Talk to your doctor before adding these supplements to your diet.
Better Source of Calories
If you're drinking nutritional supplements because you're not getting enough calories, Ensure might be your better choice. An 8-ounce serving of Ensure contains 250 calories, while the same serving of Boost Original contains 240 calories. Although the calorie differences between the two drinks are minimal, getting an additional 10 calories every day for a year means an extra 3,640 calories, which is equal to a little more than a pound.
Higher in Protein
Although Ensure is higher in calories, Boost is higher in protein. One serving of Boost Original contains 10 grams of protein, while one serving of Ensure contains 9 grams of protein. Most Americans get more than enough protein eating a regular diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you probably need less protein than you think. In general, adult women need 46 grams of protein a day, and adult men need 56 grams.
Better Source of Vitamins
Ensure and Boost contain essential vitamins, but Boost provides some of them in larger amounts, including vitamins C, E, D, K, B-6 and B-12. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and is important for bone health. Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting and may help improve bone health in the elderly. Adequate intakes of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are important for preventing anemia.
Better Source of Minerals
The mineral content of Ensure and Boost varies. Ensure has higher amounts of manganese and molybdenum, while Boost has higher amounts of zinc and phosphorus. Manganese is important for bone health and blood clotting. Molybdenum is needed for enzymatic reactions in the body. Zinc supports immune health and protein production. Phosphorus is necessary for the formation of bone and teeth.
The one significant difference between Ensure and Boost Original is that Ensure contains 320 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, while Boost doesn't contain any. The American Heart Association recommends you eat two servings of fatty fish a week, which is equivalent to 250 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients you must get from the food you eat. Getting more in your diet helps reduce inflammation and might lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- HealthCentral: Ask the Nutritionist: Are Meal Supplements Like Boost or Ensure Good for You?
- Boost: Boost Original
- Abbott Nutrition: Ensure Nutrition Shake
- MedlinePlus: Antioxidants
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin K
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins