Find out if Ensure, the popular nutrition shakes, are safe for a dairy-free diet, plus which products contain no dairy ingredients.
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If you drink Ensure to help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need in your diet, to boost your protein intake, or help you to gain weight, you may have wondered how this drink fits in with a dairy-free diet.
While Ensure has a variety of different products in their lineup, including those that help older folks maintain a healthy diet that they can’t get from food alone, a complete nutrition drink that helps you add to or substitute a meal for folks on-the-go, and even speciality products like electrolyte powder and post-surgery drinks.
If you follow a dairy-free diet, you know that dairy can hide in so many places in food and drinks. You might also know that a lot of nutritional supplements, including shake powders and ready-to-drink options rely on whey powder or milk powder to add protein to these options.
If you’re following a dairy-free diet or helping someone else to get their protein and nutritional needs met, you may be wondering if this brand of nutrition shake contains dairy and milk products.
In this post, we’re going to talk about Ensure. We’ll talk about what this brand offers, what different flavors and products they make, and answer the question “Is Ensure dairy-free?” We’ll also find out if Ensure is gluten-free if you also avoid gluten in your diet as well.
What is Ensure?
Ensure is a nutritional supplement for folks who need more calories and nutrients with their meals or between them. This brand is commonly popular to help folks increase their protein intake, gain weight for people who have a hard time keeping weight on, and it can even help manage diabetes.
This supplement drink is a popular choice for older adults who aren’t able to get all their nutritional needs met through food alone.
What flavors and products does Ensure make?
Ensure has a number of different products that can help with balanced nutrition, weight gain, getting extra protein, helping satisfy hunger and keep blood sugar levels balanced, and aid in hydration.
These are some of the current offerings from Ensure you may see at grocery stores and supplement shops near you.
Ensure Original is said to provide complete balanced nutrition for everyday health. It has 9 grams of protein, 27 essential vitamins and minerals, and is gluten-free.
It comes in milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, dark chocolate, butter pecan, coffee latte, and banana nut.
Ensure Plus Nutrition Shake has completed balanced nutrition to help gain or maintain a healthy weight. This product has 16 grams of protein, 27 essential vitamins and minerals, and is also gluten-free.
This option comes in milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, dark chocolate, and butter pecan.
Ensure Complete is a nutritional drink with 30 grams of protein and nutrients made to support immune, muscle, heart, digestive, and bone health. It has zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, E, and selenium.
It comes in three flavors: milk chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
Ensure Max Protein
Ensure Max Protein is made to help build muscle and satisfy hunger with only 1 gram of sugar. This nutrition shake has 30 grams of protein, 25 essential vitamins and minerals, and has 100mg of caffeine.
It comes in just one flavor: cafe mocha.
Ensure High Protein
Ensure High Protein is made to give you the nutrition you need for strength and energy to help folks stay active. It has 16 grams of protein, 27 essential vitamins and minerals, and 4 grams of sugar.
It comes in four different flavors: milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and creamy caramel.
Ensure High Protein Bars
Ensure High Protein bars offer a snack option instead of a shake to provide 15 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar to help supplement a need for extra protein in the diet. This has 18 vitamins and minerals.
These protein bars come in vanilla cupcake and mixed berry flavors.
Ensure Plant-Based Protein
Ensure Plant-based Protein nutrition shakes are the brand’s vegan protein option that uses nondairy plant-based protein from fava beans and peas for strength and energy. This shake has 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of sugar.
It comes in chocolate and vanilla, and is a great on-the-go option for folks who are looking for a dairy-free nutrition shake.
Ensure Clear is a supplemental nutrition drink that is said to help you fill in your nutritional gaps without a shake. It offers 8 grams of protein, and 15 vitamins and minerals.
It comes in blueberry pomegranate and mixed fruit flavors.
Ensure Rapid Hydration
Ensure Rapid Hydration is Ensure’s electrolyte powder that can help dehydration from travel, diarrhea, heat exposure, and not getting enough fluids.
It comes in two flavors: berry freeze and strawberry chill.
Ensure Light offers a nutrition shake with fewer calories than their Ensure Original option. This option has 12 grams of protein and 22 essential vitamins and minerals.
It comes in two flavors: milk chocolate and vanilla.
Ensure Compact is Ensure’s answer to getting more protein in your diet with a smaller serving size. This 4 oz nutrition shake has 9 grams of protein and 25 essential vitamins and minerals.
It comes in milk chocolate and vanilla flavors.
Ensure Original Nutrition Powder
To mix up your own nutrition shakes at home, Ensure’s nutrition powder will provide you with 9 grams of protein and 25 essential vitamins and minerals in every 8 ounce serving mixed with water.
It comes in just one flavor: vanilla.
Ensure Surgery Immunonutrition Shake
Ensure offers a specific immunonutrition shake that is perfect for folks who are recovering from surgery or need support for their immune health. This product has 18 grams of protein, and 1.1 grams of EPA & DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids.
It comes in vanilla flavor.
Ensure Pre-Surgery Clear Carbohydrate Drink
Ensure Pre-Surgery Clear Carbohydrate Drink is made to help your body prepare for and recover from surgery. This drink has 50 grams of carbohydrates, as well as zinc and selenium.
It comes in strawberry flavor.
Ensure’s Enlive advanced nutrition shake is their all-in-one blend for aiding in muscle, heart, immune, digestive, and bone health. This option has 20 grams of protein and 26 essential vitamins and minerals.
It comes in three flavors: milk chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
What is Ensure made from?
While the products from Ensure vary slightly and they offer 18 products currently, I thought I’d share the ingredients from one of their most popular options, their Ensure Original.
Ingredients in Ensure Original MIlk Chocolate Nutrition Shake:
“Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Blend of Vegetable Oils (Canola, Corn), Soy Protein Isolate, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali). Less than 0.5% of: VITAMINS & MINERALS (Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Magnesium Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12), Nonfat Milk, Cellulose Gel, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Salt, Cellulose Gum, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, and Sucralose.”
What is dairy?
Dairy is a general name for ANY food that is made from milk. Technically, this is any food made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. Any animal milk is dairy.
However, mostly when we’re talking about dairy, we’re talking about drinking cow’s milk, because that’s what is most popular here in the United States.
Is Ensure dairy-free?
All of Ensure’s products contain dairy except for their Plant-Based Protein nutrition shakes. The protein in this option comes from a blend of fava bean and pea protein, as opposed to their other drinks that use milk protein concentrate.
They even have labels on this product that say “No dairy” and “No soy.” The website states this option is gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, and vegetarian-friendly.
If you are looking for a nutrition shake option from the Ensure brand, their plant-based protein option will be the one you’ll want to reach for.
Even their Ensure Clear contains whey, so you’ll want to avoid this option on a dairy-free diet too.
Read on: Is whey dairy?
Read on: Is whey gluten-free?
Read on: Does Premier Protein have dairy?
Read on: Is Muscle Milk gluten-free?
Is Ensure lactose-free?
The Plant-based Protein Nutrition Shakes from Ensure are all considered lactose-free by the company.
Lactose is a type of sugar that’s present in milk that many people can’t digest easily. A food may be lactose-free, but not dairy-free. You can follow a lactose-free diet while still being able to consume dairy ingredients.
If this is true for you, this Plant-Based option from Ensure is your best bet for better digestion.
Lactose-free Ensure flavors
Since Ensure’s Plant-based Protein Nutrition Shakes are all lactose-free, you may be able to still enjoy this drink while avoiding the milk sugar lactose. These are also the only dairy-free options from Ensure.
This option from Ensure might be better on your digestion and still allow you to get the protein you’re after.
Here are the current flavors of lactose-free Ensure that are on the market right now:
- Ensure Plant-Based Protein Chocolate Nutrition Shake
- Ensure Plant-based Protein Vanilla Nutrition Shake
Is Ensure gluten-free?
According to the Ensure website, their ready-to-drink shakes are all gluten-free.
If you’ve been looking at using Ensure nutrition shakes or one of their other products and have been wondering how this will fit in with your dairy-free diet, I hope this information has been helpful for you.
Most Ensure products contain dairy, but their Plant-Based variety is safe for folks who are dairy-free and vegan. Look for this option next time you’re at the store!