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Glucerna meal replacement shakes are specifically designed to help control hunger and manage blood sugar levels in people who are diabetic or trying to lose weight. The shakes come in individual, ready-to-drink containers, and can be conveniently found at CVS Pharmacy or from online retailers such as Amazon.
In this in-depth review article, we’re going to uncover the facts about these diet shakes to help you determine how healthy they are for you. Is this “#1 doctor recommended brand” a diet shake that you want to be drinking daily? Does it contain ingredients that nourish your body and support long-term health?* Read on to find out…
Glucerna Hunger Smart Meal Size Shakes come in just two flavors, Rich Chocolate and Homemade Vanilla.
Reviews were mostly positive on whether or not people enjoyed the flavors of the shakes.
Some Glucerna reviews mentioned these things about the shakes:
- The shakes are very filling
- They taste great
- The Chocolate shake tastes like good quality chocolate milk
- I love the flavor and consistency
- I don’t care for the Chocolate flavor (it tasted like imitation dark chocolate)
Though many people said they liked the taste of the shakes, could that be because the protein shake contains ingredients that should be left out of a healthy diet? Let’s take a look at the label to find out more about the Glucerna ingredients.
GLUCERNA NUTRITION FACTS
Glucerna Shake Ingredients:
Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Less than 2% of: Fructose, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Canola Oil, Soluble Corn Fiber, Soy oil, Glycerin, Short-chain Fructooligosaccharides, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Cellulose Gel, Sodium Citrate, Soy Fiber, Magnesium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Cellulose Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Carrageenan, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Gellan Gum, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Citric Acid, Riboflavin, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Biotin, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin B12.
All the components of meal replacement shakes are important, so we’re going to break them down for you so you get a full picture of Glucerna meal shakes, and if they’ll potentially work for your goals.
Glucerna Shakes are 250 calories per serving, which typically we would say is too high for a meal replacement shake protein powder. However, because Glucerna is a ready-to-drink shake, you won’t be mixing it with other ingredients, which would boost up the calories. Basically, it isn’t a protein powder that you will add into a blender like many other shake brands.
Typically, we recommend that a protein shake be around 100 calories or less for weight loss, since you will most likely enjoy it with milk and other ingredients in a smoothie. Glucerna shakes are much more than that per serving; To ensure they work with your weight loss plan, make sure they fit into your personalized daily calorie goal by using this free calorie calculator.
There’s 23g of protein in Glucerna Shakes, which is a great amount, especially for weight loss. Ideally, you want a meal replacement shake to have 15-20g of protein per shake serving, or more. Upping your daily intake of protein is important for weight loss, as studies show that getting more protein in your diet is key to increasing metabolism and fat-burning, promoting satiety and more.
We recommend that you make protein 25-30% of your daily calories for weight loss, and having a Glucerna shake twice a day can help you do that.
Moving onto the type of protein, Glucerna Shakes contain milk protein concentrate and soy protein isolate (less than two percent of the latter). Although milk protein is a good choice, it’s also a cheaper option than a high-quality whey protein powder.
Whereas milk contains both whey and casein, you will not get as much whey in a milk protein concentrate than you would in a pure whey or whey-blend shake. And when it comes to dairy-based proteins, whey has the most research backing its benefits for your health and weight loss goals.
However, we typically recommend plant-based proteins over dairy-based – with the exception of soy. And you do find soy in Glucerna shakes.
The big problem that we have with soy is that current research shows that it could potentially be bad for your health – especially in large amounts for prolonged time periods. One of the major issues is that it contains estrogen-mimicking properties which could potentially mess with your natural hormones and lead to health problems.
And the second reason is that 90% of the soy used in the US (non-organic, processed soy) is genetically-modified. Genetically-modified (or GM) foods, may come with a host of health problems including disrupting the good, healthy bacteria in our gut, weakening your immune system and leaving your more vulnerable to sickness and disease.
Each Glucerna Shake contains 6g of fiber, which is a great amount. Fiber is extremely important in any meal replacement, and an absolute “must” for a healthy diet. We typically recommend 5-10g of fiber per diet shake serving, which is exactly what Glucerna shakes provide.
Fiber helps ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients in your body, and helps flush out toxins and other impurities. In addition, it’s one of the key essentials for healthy cholesterol levels and heart health.
If you’re on a low-carb diet and wondering if you can use Glucerna Shakes, the answer is “it depends”. The shakes contain 18g of total carbs per serving and 12g of net carbs, which isn’t horrible. But it’s also not the best low-carb option for a meal replacement shake, especially if you’re on a keto diet.
Instead, we recommend a weight loss shake that has no more than 5g of total carbs, and 2-3g of net carbs per serving, to stick with strict macronutrient guidelines on the ketogenic diet.*
Moving onto the sugar in Glucerna Shakes, this is where we hit a speed bump when it comes to the health value of the shakes.
First, there is 9g of sugar per serving (8g of added sugar) which is quite a lot for a product you’ll be drinking 1-3 times a day! But the bigger problem is the type of sugar used in this shake. The shake contains fructose and artificial sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame potassium (among a list of other questionable ingredients).
Starting with fructose, this sugar has been getting a ton of negative press for being one of the worst types for you (especially in sugary beverages). The sugar goes right to your liver (the only organ that can digest processed fructose), which may result in a number of potential health problems, especially for your liver.
The main concern with fructose is having a lot of it frequently – as you would with Glucerna meal replacement shakes. And some research shows that it may even increase the risk of diabetes in people who don’t have it.*
As for the artificial sweeteners in the shakes (Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium), these definitely bring down the health factor as well. Although many sources claim that artificial sweeteners are safe for diabetics and don’t cause blood sugar spikes, the long-term health effects of these fake sweeteners are unknown.
What we do know is that they’re many, many times sweeter than regular table sugar. In the long-run, this could actually de-sensitize your taste buds, and lead you to consume more calories from actual sweets. Some studies show that they may also increase appetite.
In addition, one 2017 studyusing the exact same sweeteners in Glucerna Shakes three times a day was shown to impair the glucose response in people without diabetes. Therefore, they could potentially be a risk factor for people to develop diabetes.
Glucerna Shakes contain 28 added vitamins and minerals – which is a nice amount to help prevent nutrient deficiencies while dieting. Many meal replacement shakes leave out the addition of such nutrients, making for a much less healthy meal replacement.
However, there are no superfood blends, probiotics, or additional ingredients that would make this a truly superior health shake.
GLUCERNA SHAKE PRICE
You can find Glucerna Shakes online on Amazon or Abbott, or locally in CVS Pharmacy. On Amazon, you can get a 12-count of the shakes for $32.97 (or $2.75 a shake), which is quite high considering what you are getting with this shake brand.
To recap, Glucerna meal replacement shakes are specifically marketed to diabetics to help them manage blood sugar levels, and also to people who are trying to lose weight. While they contain a good mix of macronutrients (23g of protein, 7g of fiber, and 12g of net carbs), they’re high in sugar, with 9g per serving.
In addition, the sugar used is fructose, which studies show may be the worst type for you due to how it’s processed in your body. The shakes also contain artificial sweeteners, and a food additive called carrageenan, which studies show may cause GI problems in some people. Other questionable ingredients in regard to your health include: soy protein isolate, soy oil, artificial flavor and corn maltodextrin.
Before you make your final decision, be sure to read more of the in-depth meal replacement shake reviews on this site – especially for our top-3 rated shakes right now. We hope this information helps you find the best protein shake for you!