Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Review – Complete Ingredients?

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Ensure has a solid reputation as liquid meal replacement. It’s often used by people on the go and in hospitals for patients who have trouble meeting their calorie and micronutrient requirements. Manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, the product debuted in 1973 and today has a huge variety of products including Ensure Plus, Ensure Enlive, Ensure High Protein, Ensure Light, plus some puddings.

The question we had when looking at Ensure was that of whether or not it could be useful in day to day life for people who aren’t in those groups. Is it a good meal replacement for the average person? Can it compete with other popular meal replacement powders? The company claims it “provides complete, balanced nutrition.” We tried out the Vanilla flavor of Ensure Original Nutrition Powder to see how it holds up.

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder
Ensure Original Nutrition Powder
Ensure Original Nutrition Powder
A meal replacement that has an added 26 vitamins and minerals.MoreLess

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Nutrition

Let’s start with the macros: one scoop is large, at half a cup, and contains 250 calories: 9 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbohydrates (13 grams of sugar, no fiber), and 9 grams of fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat). THat’s 18 percent of the protein RDI, 11 percent carbs, 14 percent fat.

Micronutrients wise, Ensure does indeed have 26 vitamins and minerals and there’s roughly 25 percent of most of them, from every B-vitamin to zinc. It’s higher in Vitamins C and D (60 percent of the RDI) and a little lower in magnesium and chloride (about 9 percent) but this does have an impressive variety of nutrients.

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Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Ingredients

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Nutrition

The ingredients are mostly comprised of the vitamins and minerals themselves, but it’s worth emphasizing that this is far from Paleo. The main ingredients are corn syrup, corn maltodextrin, corn oil, sugar, sodium and calcium caseinates, and artificial flavor.

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Benefits and Effectiveness

At BarBend we talk a lot about fitness, so the first thing I noticed was that at first glance this product is pretty low in protein. There’s just 9 grams per serving, and if you follow the common advice of “1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight every day” then this might seem like a frustrating aspect of the product.

The thing with Ensure is that it’s designed to help you meet the recommended daily intake of macro and micronutrients. The RDI of protein is just 50 grams, of carbs it’s over 300 grams. One serving of Ensure gives you 18 percent of the RDI of protein, 11 percent of carbs, and 14 percent of fat. From an RDI standpoint, this has more protein than anything else. But athletes will probably be disappointed.

It’s also worth pointing out that this has zero grams of fiber, so as a meal replacement or sole source of nutrition, this is lacking in this department. There are also no probiotic bacteria or digestive enzymes or anything like that, so there’s no real focus on digestion.

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Review

With all that said, the micronutrient profile really is one of the best I’ve seen, offering a vast array of vitamins and minerals including many that are often left off of meal replacement powders like Vitamin K, chromium, and choline. If you’re in this for the micronutrients and not the macros, there’s very little to complain about.

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Price

You can grab a 14-ounce tin for between $9 and $10, which provides 7 servings. That’s roughly $1.30 per serving, which is pretty reasonable since the average meal replacement is roughly two dollars per serving.

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder Taste

The Vanilla flavor is very mild and mixed with water, as Ensure suggests, it tastes mostly like soy protein with a hint of vanilla. Note that it also mixed very well.

The Takeaway

As mentioned above, there are a few potential issues with the fiber and the protein content, plus there’s not much going for digestive health. But as a means to deliver the recommended daily intake of macronutrients and micronutrients, this is one of the best meal replacements on the market.

Ensure Original Nutrition Powder

Per Serving: $1.30










  • Impressive range of nutrients
  • Inexpensive
  • Decent amount of calories


  • A little low in protein
  • Has artificial ingredients
  • No fiber, probiotics or digestive enzymes
Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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