Over one-third of the U.S. population has obesity as of 2012. While exercise is often recommended for those interested in weight loss, making dietary changes -- including the use of meal-replacement products -- can also be effective. Ensure produces a line of ready-to-use drinks and shakes that can be used as either snacks or meal replacements. Talk with your primary-care physician before incorporating Ensure into your diet.
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Understanding the nutritional profile of Ensure products is essential for those considering the use of the drinks and shakes as weight-loss tools. The number of calories and nutrients provided by the different Ensure products varies substantially. Original Ensure provides 220 calories, 6 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein, while Ensure High Protein Powder offers only 130 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein.
Ensure for Weight Loss
Most people are encouraged to consume between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day -- or between 500 and 800 calories each for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When it comes to weight loss, however, cutting calories is a must. In most cases, healthy adults should cut no more than 500 to 1,000 calories from their diet each day, for a total of 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week. Replacing one meal per day with a low-calorie Ensure product -- like Ensure High Protein Powder -- may reduce your daily intake by around 400 to 600 calories, resulting in a a loss of 1 pound per week.
Disadvantages of Ensure
Swapping a traditional meal for a bottle of Ensure can be difficult. Those who are used to large meals and snacks may notice an increase in hunger when starting to use Ensure drinks and shakes. In addition, some people may experience nutritional deficiencies because they may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals that they would from whole foods. Incorporating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your remaining meals can be an effective way to meet nutritional requirements yet keep calories in check.
Though some people may fare well with any type of Ensure, others might require a specific product. If you have concerns about osteoporosis, you may want to turn to Ensure Complete, which includes the nutrients needed to maintain bone health -- including calcium and vitamin D. Adults with chronic health conditions may face the most limitations when it comes to incorporating Ensure into their diets, as they are often required to follow strict dietary guidelines. Meal replacements, like Ensure, might also be discouraged for those with a recent history of disordered eating patterns, to prevent potential relapse.