Assessing the Pros and Cons of Glucerna Nutritional Shakes (2023)

Glucerna is a brand of nutritional shakes and bars formulated for people with diabetes or prediabetes. The vitamin-fortified meal replacement drinks and snacks are made with low-glycemic carbohydrates, which have less of an impact on blood sugar levels.

Glucerna diabetes products are designed to help improve blood sugar control. The products are also used as a weight-loss program for people with or without diabetes.

This article discusses Glucerna for diabetes, which is sold by Abbott Laboratories. It describes the various Glucerna product lines and the nutritional values of the original shakes and bars.

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Glucerna Product Lines

Glucerna offers several product lines of premixed shakes, ready-to-mix powders, and snack bars. Glucerna shakes products include:

  • Glucerna Original Shake, with 10 grams (g) of protein per 8-ounce serving
  • Glucerna Hunger Smart Shake, with 15 g of protein per 10-ounce serving
  • Glucerna Protein Smart Shake, with 30 g of protein per 11-ounce serving

The Glucerna product line also includes meal-replacement snack bars, which are low in sugar and carbs and high in protein, like the shakes. Glucerna Mini Treat bars are intended to serve as a healthy dessert choice or small snack that won't spike glucose levels.

All Glucerna products are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Halal
  • Kosher
  • Suitable for people with lactose intolerance

Glucerna products contain milk proteins and are not safe for people with an allergy to casein or whey. They also contain fructose (a natural fruit sugar) and artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium, which may cause potential health issues in people with diabetes.

Glucerna can be purchased online at Amazon or other major retailers and grocery stores.

Glucerna Original Shakes

Glucerna Original Shake comes in an 8-ounce bottle containing 180 calories, 16 g of carbohydrates, and 10 g of protein.It is available in five flavors:

  • Chocolate caramel
  • Classic butter pecan
  • Creamy strawberry
  • Homemade vanilla
  • Rich chocolate

Glucerna Original Snack Shake comes in an 8-ounce can containing 140 calories, 19 g of carbohydrates, and 7 g of protein.Flavors include homemade vanilla and rich chocolate.

Glucerna Hunger Smart Shakes

Glucerna Hunger Smart products come in three varieties.

Glucerna Hunger Smart Shakes come in a 10-ounce bottle containing 180 calories, 16 g of carbohydrates, and 15 g of protein. It comes in four flavors:

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  • Creamy strawberry
  • Homemade vanilla
  • Peaches & creme
  • Rich chocolate

Glucerna Hunger Smart Meal Size Shakes come in a 16-ounce Tetra Pak carton containing 250 calories, 21 g of carbohydrates, and 23 g of protein. It comes in two flavors: homemade vanilla and rich chocolate.

Glucerna Hunger Smart Powder is a read-to-mix snack replacement that comes in a 22.3-ounce tub that makes 19 8-ounce servings. One scoop contains 120 calories, 3 g of carbohydrates, and 22 g of protein. The powder can be mixed with8 ounces of water, juice, or milk. It comes in two flavors: homemade vanilla and rich chocolate.

Glucerna Protein Smart Shakes

Glucerna Protein Smart Shakes come in a an 11-ounce Tetra Pak carton containing 150 calories, 7 g of carbohydrates, and 30 g of protein.It comes in two flavors: homemade vanilla and rich chocolate.

Glucerna Original Nutrition Facts

Designed as a meal replacement or a between-meal snack, all Glucerna products are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Glucerna's nutrition facts are in line with recommendations from both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA). According to the ADA, 36% to 40% of your daily calories should come from fat. The AHA maintains that just 5% to 6% of those calories should be saturated fats.

While Glucerna offers several different formulas and flavors, most of the products contain the same key ingredients and nutrients.

Nutrition Facts For Glucerna Original Shakes and Snack Bars
Total fat9g6g
Saturated fat1g1.5g
Total sugars4g4g
Added sugars4g3g
Vitamin A25% DV25% DV
Vitamin C100% DV10% DV
Vitamin D60% DV2% DV

Vitamins B6, and folate
25% DV20% DV
Vitamin E40% DV100% DV
Calcium20% DV15% DV
Iron20% DV10% DV

Glucerna products also contain smaller amounts of additional vitamins and trace minerals, such as riboflavin, chromium, and manganese.

Pros and Cons

Glucerna shakes offer benefits for people either trying to lose weight or maintain tighter control of their blood sugar. But they also have shortcomings, particularly for those who do not have diabetes. Among the considerations:


  • Good source of protein: An 8-ounce Glucerna shake has 10 grams of protein, which is equal to approximately one-and-a-half whole eggs. On average, 46 grams of protein is recommended daily for an adult woman, while 56 grams are recommended for an adult male.

  • Low-glycemic food: Glucerna nutritional shakes can be considered low-glycemic, meaning that the carbohydrates contained in them are digested slowly and cause less of a spike in blood sugar.

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  • Convenience: Glucerna shakes and bars are a portable option when you're on the go and don't have access to diabetes-friendly food.

  • Satisfy cravings: If you've got a hankering for something sweet but are trying to keep your blood sugar in check, Glucerna's five sweet flavors can help satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking your glucose.


  • Contains fructose: Research suggests that fructose may impact glycemic control in those with diabetes and may pose a risk of type 2 diabetes in those who do not have the disease.

  • Contains artificial sweeteners: According to a 2017 study, thrice-daily use of sucralose and acesulfame potassium (both contained in Glucerna) has been shown to impair the glucose response in people without diabetes.

  • Risk of over-reliance: While Glucerna shakes and bars are a convenient food option when you don't have time for a full meal, it may be tempting to rely on them too often as a meal replacement. Glucerna products shouldn't take the place of more than one meal or snack per day, as they're technically a processed food and not a true substitute for fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

How Glucerna May Help Diabetes

If you're trying to better manage your glucose levels and/or weight, Glucerna products can supplement a diabetes-friendly meal plan that's lower in carbs and higher in protein. Glucerna is formulated from slow-burning carbs that are designed to be digested slowly so as not to quickly raise your blood sugar.

Try occasionally incorporating a shake as your breakfast or use it as an after-lunch snack to hold you over until dinner no more than a few times per week. Test your blood sugar levels before and after to see how Glucerna affects you personally.

With type 2 diabetes, your best bet for long-term success is to center the bulk of your diet on low-glycemic whole foods such as whole grains (oats, whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc.) and non-starchy vegetables (peppers, onions, cauliflower, leafy greens, etc.), lean protein (poultry, fish, and legumes), and healthy fats (olive oil, avocados), and use Glucerna to help fill in the gaps when necessary.

For the most part, whole, unrefined foods are better options than processed foods such as Glucerna. If you have type 2 diabetes, Glucerna shouldn't be used in place of healthy diet changes and lifestyle habits, but in addition to those shifts.

1 Source

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Heart Association. Saturated fat.

Additional Reading

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What is the side effect of Glucerna? ›

This product causes severe Diarrhea. Glucerna should label its product with this possible side effect. 1.

What are the benefits of drinking Glucerna? ›

Glucerna products are specifically designed to help manage blood sugar, when used as meal or snack replacements. For example, Glucerna shakes can be used in place of skipped meals or to replace poor food choices. Glucerna shakes have also been used as meal or partial meal replacements to support a weight loss plan.

Who should not drink Glucerna? ›

For people with or without diabetes, Glucerna® products should not be used to treat hypoglycemia, insulin shock, or insulin reaction because the carbohydrates from Glucerna® do not elicit a large blood glucose response and would not help restore blood sugar.

How many Glucerna can a diabetic drink a day? ›

How many Glucerna can you drink a day? It is safe to have one Glucerna per day. What is the difference between Glucerna and Ensure? While both are meal replacements, Glucerna is specifically for people with diabetes, and Ensure is for everyone.

Does Glucerna affect blood sugar? ›

Glucerna produces a smaller peak change in blood sugar and a lower blood sugar response than high-glycemic carbs (like potatoes, bread, and instant oatmeal).

Does Glucerna raise blood sugar? ›

Glucerna® nutritional drink has a low glycemic index!

Glucerna® is specifically designed for people with diabetes and is available as a nutritional drink or bar. It contains slowly digested carbohydrates that are released into the bloodstream gradually. As a result, Glucerna® triggers a smaller blood sugar spike.

How many times a day should you drink Glucerna? ›

Mix 5 scoops of Glucerna SR powder (52.1g) with 200ml of water. You can drink 1-2 servings per day or as directed by your physician.

What is the best protein drink for diabetics? ›

Top 7 Best Protein Powders for Diabetics Reviewed
  • Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate - Top Pick.
  • Naked Nutrition Whey Protein - Runner Up.
  • Future Kind Organic Vegan Protein Powder.
  • PROMIX Unflavored Whey Protein Powder.
  • Orgain Organic Protein Powder.
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder.
Dec 7, 2022

Which Ensure is best for elderly? ›

That's why many experts recommend ensure milk for older people. Ensure milk contains not only calcium, but also other important vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, potassium, and phosphorus. It's also a good source of protein, which can be helpful for seniors who may be losing muscle mass as they age.

Is Glucerna unhealthy? ›

While Glucerna products may be blood sugar–friendly replacements for other snack foods and meals, they're still processed foods. Increasingly, ultra-processed foods are associated with negative health outcomes, including overweight, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even type 2 diabetes.

Is Glucerna better than Ensure? ›

Vitamins and Minerals

The additional vitamin C found in Glucerna is meant to boost its antioxidant content for immune system health. Comparatively, Ensure is a slightly better source of calcium, meeting 30 percent of the daily value versus 25 percent of the daily value in Glucerna.

What is a good substitute for Glucerna? ›

Enterex on the other hand has more calories than both Ensure and Glucerna. However, it is packed with more protein and more fiber with just under 1 gram of sugar. With its high fiber content, Enterex will definitely keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.

Can I replace 2 meals a day with Glucerna? ›

They can be used in place of 1 or 2 meals, or as part of a meal. You can also combine a meal replacement with other foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain crackers, nuts, fat-free milk, and light yogurt.

Can Glucerna replace a meal? ›

Designed as a meal replacement to help manage blood sugar* and hunger. Glucerna Hunger Smart Meal Size Shakes have CARBSTEADY®, unique blends of slow-release carbohydrates to help manage blood sugar.

What is the best time to drink Glucerna? ›

Consider Glucerna® nutritional drinks when you are on the go. They have a low glycemic index and slowly digested carbohydrates that trigger a smaller blood sugar spike.

Who should drink Glucerna? ›

Glucerna has been designed for the nutritional needs of adults.
  • Children younger than four should not consume Glucerna products.
  • Children four to eight should only consume Glucerna products if recommended by a doctor.
  • Children over nine can include Glucerna products in their meal plans when under the care of a doctor.

Can drinking a lot of water lower your blood sugar? ›

Drinking water regularly may rehydrate the blood, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce diabetes risk ( 20 , 21 ). Keep in mind that water and other zero-calorie drinks are best. Avoid sugar-sweetened options, as these can raise blood glucose, drive weight gain, and increase diabetes risk ( 22 , 23 ).

What fruits should avoid for diabetes? ›

Diabetics should avoid fruits with a high GI or eat them in moderation so that their blood sugar levels do not spike abruptly. Pineapple, watermelon, mango, lychee, and banana have a high GI, so these are the worst fruits if you are diabetic.

Can I drink two Glucerna shakes a day? ›

Glucerna products shouldn't take the place of more than one meal or snack per day, as they're technically a processed food and not a true substitute for fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Is Glucerna complete nutrition? ›

Glucerna RPB 0.96 kcal/mL provides complete and balanced nutrition for people with prediabetes, diabetes and gestational diabetes, as part of a diabetes management plan. It is designed to help minimise blood glucose response: 28 essential vitamins and minerals.

Is peanut butter good for diabetics? ›

Peanut butter can definitely be part of a healthy diabetes diet plan. Always look for peanut butter that contains only peanuts and maybe some salt. Avoid peanut butter that includes added sugars and hydrogenated oils.

What is the best protein drink with no sugar? ›

  1. Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate 100% Grass Fed - Top Pick. ...
  2. Promix Whey Protein Powder 100% All Natural - Runner Up. ...
  3. PlantFusion Complete Vegan Plant-based Protein Powder. ...
  4. Orgain Organic Plant-based Vegan Protein Powder. ...
  5. Isopure Whey Isolate Protein Powder. ...
  6. Garden of Life Sport Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate.
Dec 5, 2022

Is Oatmeal good for a diabetic? ›

Not only are oats nutritious and satiating, they can also offer specific benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. According to MedlinePlus, adults with type 2 diabetes may benefit from eating whole grains like oats, due to their potential glucose and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Is Ensure good for 70 year olds? ›

Dangers of Nutritional Drinks for Seniors

Lactose intolerance often increases with age so giving a senior a bottle of Ensure can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and flatulence which will only make their appetite worse. These nutritional drinks for seniors can also interact with certain medications.

How many Ensures can an elderly person drink a day? ›

Ensure's website says elderly people can have up to size of these drinks a day, but that would give them three times the amount of vitamins they need based on a 2,000 calorie diet. If someone is in a state where they're drinking that many nutritional drinks a day, they're creating new problems with their diet.

What drink is better than Ensure? ›

Premier Protein is the better option of the two protein shakes. Each bottle of Premier Protein contains almost double the protein content of Ensure, with much less fat, much less carbohydrates, zero added sugar and only 160 calories per 11.5 oz bottle.

What happened to Glucerna shakes? ›

The company said that the recalled products could potentially be contaminated by harmful organisms that included Cronobacter sakazakii and Clostridium botulinum. Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacterium that can cause life-threatening infections or inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine.

What is the difference between Glucerna and Glucerna Triple Care? ›

Hence the main differences between Triple Care powder, Liquid, and RTD packs are slight. Glucerna Liquid has a little more calories, fats, and carbohydrates than Triple Care. It also contains slightly less protein than Triple Care.

What is the difference between Ensure Gold and Glucerna? ›

What is the difference between Ensure ® and Glucerna ®? Ensure® and Glucerna® both provide complete, balanced nutrition including protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. Glucerna® is specifically designed for people with diabetes.

Does insurance cover Glucerna? ›

Glucerna coverage varies by plan, as it is an over-the-counter (OTC) product. Very few insurance plans cover nutritional products such as Glucerna when the patient's health condition meets specific criteria. You can pinpoint your exact Glucerna cost by visiting your local pharmacist and asking for assistance.

How many times should you drink Glucerna? ›

Mix 5 scoops of Glucerna SR powder (52.1g) with 200ml of water. You can drink 1-2 servings per day or as directed by your physician.

Is Glucerna better than ensure for diabetics? ›

Who Needs It? The most notable difference between Glucerna and Ensure, which are both made by the same company, is the intended user. Glucerna is meant to be used as a supplement by people who need better control over their blood sugar, specifically people with diabetes.

Does ensure have any side effects? ›

Safety and precautions. Both Ensure and Boost shakes may cause side effects, such as constipation, nausea, and flatulence. However, user reports indicate that most of them go away when consumed consistently. Other reported side effects include muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath.

Can you have 2 Glucerna shakes a day? ›

Glucerna products shouldn't take the place of more than one meal or snack per day, as they're technically a processed food and not a true substitute for fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Is Glucerna a good protein drink? ›

Glucerna products are fortified with vitamins and minerals that help you meet your nutrition needs even if you don't have diabetes. The shakes, bars and cereals are good sources of most of the essential vitamins and minerals. A traditional Glucerna shake has 190 calories with 10 g of protein and 3 g of fiber.

What is the best nutritional drink for seniors? ›

The Best Nutritional Drink For Seniors

If you're adding a nutritional drink between meals for seniors to help them meet their calorie goals, there are several drinks that aren't filled with sugar. These include Ensure High Protein shake, Ensure Light, Boost Max, Boost Glucose Control, Glucerna, and Premier.

How many ensures should an elderly person drink a day? ›

1-2 per day. Ensure Max Protein shakes can be used as a convenient on-the-go snack or to increase protein intake with meals. Drinking more than 2 servings per day may provide too much protein and too few carbohydrates and calories to meet nutritional needs.

Does Ensure affect the heart? ›

Targeted nutrition to help support heart health. Ensure Active Heart Health is low in fat and has 400 mg of plant-based phytosterols to support heart health. It is also low in sodium and is a good source of potassium.


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