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Glucerna Nutrition Shakes

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Updated October 28, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Glucerna nutrition shakes are a line of diabetic meal replacement nutrition drinks made by Abbott (formerly known as Ross). Over the past 1-2 years, this particular product line has made several improvements in packaging and composition.

Packaging, Taste, and Nutrient Breakdown

Most nutrition shakes used to come in 8-oz metal cans. Common complaints included metallic aftertastes and the inconvenience of the can not being re-closeable. In the past few years, however, it has become the industry standard to provide these products in resealable twist-top plastic bottles. The Glucerna line has followed suit. Although once opened, the product should be refrigerated and used within 48 hours, it is still a convenience to have the re-closeable option, and the plastic bottles also address the metallic product aftertaste complaint.

When the hospitals I worked at looked into nutrition formulary changes, we always carefully analyzed product nutrition compositions and costs, but we also tried to involve staff and patients in product taste-tests. The Glucerna Shake was the diabetic nutrition supplement that won the most recent taste test I was involved with. Both the consistency of the product and aftertaste were preferred over competitive products. The flavors include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and butter pecan. Chocolate is my favorite flavor ordinarily, but for this product, my favorite flavor is butter pecan. It tastes the most natural, and helps to mask any vitamin-ish aftertaste.

The product is lactose- and gluten-free. An 8-oz bottle provides 200 calories, 26g carbohydrates (52% of calories), and 5g fiber. In comparison, Abbott's regular non-diabetic nutrition shake (Ensure) provides 250 calories, 40g carbohydrate (64% of calories), and 0g fiber.

The Take-Away:

Glucerna nutrition shakes are a tasty, vitamin-fortified diabetic snack option. The product is well balanced for a diabetic, with a low carbohydrate percentage and added fiber. It won't provide quite enough calories and carbs for a total meal replacement, but could certainly be used as a supplemental option as part of a diabetic meal -- especially when extra calories and protein are needed.

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