Glucerna is a popular nutritional shake, specially designed for persons with diabetes. Glucerna comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and butter pecan. The shakes make a convenient option for those looking for a simple snack or a nutritious addition to a diabetic meal plan. You should first speak with your doctor or dietitian before using Glucerna to find out how it might help you better manage your diabetes.
According to Glucerna's website, each 8-oz. serving of a Glucerna shake provides 200 calories, 7 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate and 10 g protein. One serving provides 11 percent of the daily value of total fat, 3 percent saturated fat, 9 percent carbohydrate and 20 percent protein. Glucerna's protein content comes in soy- and milk-based proteins, which are high-quality, complete proteins. For those using a diabetic exchange-based meal plan, each serving of Glucerna provides one starch, one low-fat milk and one fat.
Glucerna is specifically formulated to help decrease spikes in blood sugar levels. It is low in sugar, containing only 6 g per serving. It also contains 5 g dietary fiber, 20 percent of the daily value, which helps to slow the digestion of carbohydrates. The carbohydrate content of Glucerna consists of slowly digested, low-glycemic index ingredients, which have been shown to decrease blood sugar spikes compared to traditional nutrition beverages.
Glucerna is fortified with many vitamins, which make it a potential alternative to taking a multivitamin. Each serving contains 25 percent of the daily value of vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. The product is also a good source of all essential B vitamins, containing 25 percent of the daily value of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid.
In addition to vitamins, Glucerna is formulated to provide minerals specific to the needs of diabetics. Each serving contains 170 percent of the daily value of chromium picolinate, which research has shown to help the body better utilize insulin for blood sugar control. Each serving provides 25 percent of the daily value of biotin, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper and manganese. It also provides 35 percent of the daily value of molybdenum, 11 percent of potassium, 10 percent of chloride and 9 percent of sodium.
Another ingredient in Glucerna is phytosterols, or plant sterols, which are included in Glucerna in the form of plant sterol esters. According to the Cleveland Clinic, consumption of phytosterols has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels and potentially decrease risk of developing heart disease. People with diabetes often have heart disease as well, and inclusion of phytosterols in the diet may help to improve heart health in people with diabetes.