Glucerna Vs. Ensure

Updated April 17, 2017

Glucerna and Ensure are nutritional drinks made by Abbott Laboratories. Both are fortified with vitamins and minerals to help people with poor diets or digestive difficulties, but they also have distinct purposes. Glucerna is made specifically for diabetics, while Ensure offers a variety of products targeting people looking to boost their immune systems, protein intake or calcium supplies.


An 236ml bottle of Glucerna contains 200 calories and 27 grams of carbohydrates. This full serving has 7 grams of total fat, but no trans fats and only a trace amount of saturated fats. It provides 25 per cent of a day's total recommended amount of fibre and 10 grams of protein.

While a good source of vitamins and minerals, meeting one-quarter of the daily requirement for iron, calcium, vitamin D, and the B complexes, it scores very high as a source of chromium picolinate, thought to help type II diabetics control blood sugar. One bottle of Glucerna contains 170 per cent of the necessary intake of chromium, mostly from chromium picolinate.


An 227gr bottle of regular Ensure provides 250 calories and 41 grams of carbohydrates. It has only 6 grams of total fat, with zero trans fats and one full gram of saturated fats. While richer in calcium and vitamin D than Glucerna, Ensure is markedly lower in chromium and contains no chromium picolinate.


A study by Cedar-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine has determined that Glucerna lowers blood glucose levels more effectively than Ensure, although researchers said individual results may vary. People who are active, have high metabolisms, or eat healthy diets, might do equally well on Ensure. Diabetics should note that Ensure has one-and-a-half times the carbohydrate content of Glucerna, and four times the amount of sugar.

Glucerna also makes a nutritional shake for snacking, with only 140 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates, but fortified with nearly a day's requirement of chromium picolinate.

Other Medical Conditions

Unlike Glucerna, Ensure sets out to treat conditions other than diabetes. At 350 calories per serving, Ensure Plus is designed to help people lose weight by replacing one or two meals a day. It also provides nutrients to those who have difficulty digesting solid food. Ensure High Protein is designed for those with active lifestyles, containing 31 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of protein. One bottle of Ensure High Calcium holds 50 per cent of the day's requirement of calcium, far more than any other Ensure brand and twice as much as Glucerna.


Since Abbott Laboratories makes both Glucerna and Ensure, they offer similar flavours, including versions of chocolate, vanilla, strawberries and cream, and butter pecan. Ensure offers two additional flavours---rich dark chocolate and coffee latte.

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About the Author

Over the course of a 15-year career, John Briggs has written for print and online clients. As a syndicated TV critic, his work appeared in some of the country's top dailies. He has a degree in political science from Temple University and took additional writing classes at NYU.