Carroll Krause, dying of cancer, reads the ingredients of “Ensure”

Brilliant, Carrol. Thanks so much for this concisely drawn description of America’s so-called container “food.” In the comment section she adds:

I would guess that it’s gotten this bad because nobody bothers to step up and say “Wait, this isn’t right.” Call me a rabble-rouser, but at this point in my life I see little benefit to being polite and demure.


September 1, 2015

by Carrol Krause


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Last week I was having problems with my digestion, so I stopped eating for a few days. The kind folks at Hospice were alarmed, and sent over a sack filled with different kinds of nutritional “foods” that are designed to keep the life-force strong. Hospice had the very best of intentions, and I am grateful for their concern. Although I do not wish to malign them in any way, the stuff they sent over was not real FOOD. In fact, I’m outraged at the idea that they feed this stuff to dying people.

The first three ingredients in the so-called “pudding” are water, sugar, and corn maltodextrin (a heavily processed starch with a high glycemic index). Yum, yum. Moving on to the ersatz “shake,” the first three ingredients are water, corn maltodextrin (again) and sugar. And as for the alleged nutritional apple-flavored “juice” (which bears the warning “Contains no apple juice”), the main ingredients are water, sugar, and corn syrup solids. For the sake of comparison, a Milky Way candy bar contains 37 grams of total carbohydrate. The fake “juice” contains 43 grams of total carb, which makes it significantly sweeter than the candy bar. But wait: the “shake” contains a whopping 52 grams. The “pudding” wins the carb battle with a moderate 30 grams, which is approximately the carb equivalent of three-and-a-half Oreo cookies.

What the hell is going on here? Why is this stuff being pawned off on the ill and elderly? For that matter, why is the worst food in town found at the hospital, where they dole out high-sodium, high-carb, high-junk-ingredient glop to patients and guests?

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I understand that our local city hospital is now part of a corporate empire, which by appearances is so concerned with making a profit that the emergency room is now completely devoid of old magazines to page through while waiting. I understand profit and loss. And yet, why is a place that’s supposedly dedicated to saving people’s lives, and restoring health, apparently in partnership with the sugary-fake-foodstuff manufacturers?

It takes very little money to make the best therapeutic comfort-food possible, the same food that has nourished sick people for thousands of years, a nutritious foodstuff that lacks known allergens and causes no sensitivities. I’m talking about chicken broth, which is as easy to make as a salad (just more time-intensive). Instead of pushing these egregious false “foods” upon ill people, the hospital would be well advised to have someone come in two or three times a week and simmer 30 gallons or so of chicken broth. (And a pot of veggie broth too, for our vegetarian/vegan friends.) I make broth at home all the time. And despite feeling wobbly, I even made some three days ago when my own supply of frozen two-cup servings ran low.

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Soup is good food. Pudding can be good food too, if it has real milk and egg in it. Shakes can even be good (ice cream is, after all, quite nutritious.) And juice is good, assuming that it actually contains real juice. But this swill (I don’t know what other word to call it) from Hospice is completely vile. It’s not real food, only a collection of starches, sugars, artificial flavors and nutritional powders all mixed into water. Maybe someone who spends their life eating at fast-food joints wouldn’t object to eating Ensure products, but I do, because I know the difference between real food and fake food.

I wouldn’t feed this stuff to a dying animal, let along a dying human being. If you agree, let the hospital management know. Or snipe at them via social media until they begin to pay attention. I think it’s time for a food fight!

About Ann Kreilkamp

PhD Philosophy, 1972. Rogue philosopher ever since.
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184 Responses to Carroll Krause, dying of cancer, reads the ingredients of “Ensure”

  1. quanyinsara says:

    Thank you, Ann & Carol, for speaking the obvious and disturbing truth. When these foods came out so long ago, our parents just trusted the “corporate wisdom”. YES!! NOW is the time to tell it like it is. Blessings Carol, for your path….

    • rose fisher says:

      i have been trying to get bht out of products for a long time kelloggs will not that is a fuel additive for jet fuel. they put it on cereal and wonder why kids are so more autistic and adhd sure wish someone would put this out there. look it up a study done in the 60 s said do not use on food. kellogg hired their own study and said it was safe. big surprise. please help get this out there. thank you rose fisher

      • Judy Pals says:

        Some time ago I determined that BHT – being the only difference between Nature’s Valley & Kellogg products – made me very lethargic. Do you have a list of all products with BHT?

  2. This is wonderful, and absolutely right on!

  3. laurabruno says:

    Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
    Yes! Thank you, Carroll, and I do hope someon will bring you homemade broth and smoothies. If you were in my town, and I read this rant, you’d have some just harvested everything for those remaining days.

  4. wulfworks says:

    They put my dad on that crap when he was dying of cancer. After I read the ingredients, I strongly recommended that he not drink it, but the pressure from the nurses won out. I think he sort of wanted to check out anyway after my mom passed, so maybe it did him a favor by speeding up the process. So drink up if you want to improve your chances of dying sooner.

    • Joe Stolfi says:

      Nicely stated, it did bring a laugh to me ..

    • Ash says:

      Ensure did not kill ur lobed one, cancer did. Ensure is just to supplement and in extreme cases replace food. The high carb is providing calories and glucose. It’s not something that is ideal. It’s not perfect. Neither is an enteral( feeding tube nutrition) solution. From burns to traumatic brain injury they are a useful tool to pack on cals. If u can whip up wholesome protein, vitamin, and mineral packed liquid meal replacementso go for it but this is not an ideal way for everyone. Get off the high horses.

      • Jeannie Nash says:

        Yes when I read the ingredients, I can see there are a lot of vitamin and mineral supplements…that look like chemicals, however they are important in our diet…as trace minerals and B vitamins and such

      • Betty Baker says:

        I agree, most ill patients don’t feel like eating, and this is sweet yes, and sometimes does fill the need for something.. My husband passed from cancer, and at times this is all that even remotely would sound good, or stay down.. and it is loaded with vitamins..Real food was hard for him to eat, so when and if he would even consider this, it was a plus.

      • Johan Nel says:

        Ash yes I agree with you Ensure did not kill, but I am pretty sure it helped in speeding it up. These vitamins and minerals found in the product is synthetic, cheap extracts from petro-chemical and industrial byproducts. It maybe sounds very impressive on the label, but there is one thing missing. Natural vitamins and minerals are found in nature in association with related factors (enzymes, bio-flavonoids etc) and some “unknown” factors that we even today not able to determine with all our technology. Yes in really severe cases our bodies will absorb some of it and we might see short term benefits. Problems however start developing over longer periods of use where we building up toxic levels of the turpentine (dl-alpha tocopherol) residues that are present. For the non scientific members d is latin for dextra (turning to the right), l is latin for levo, turning to the left. Hence synthetic turpentine derived Vitamin E turns light rays to the left and right. In nature Vitamin E is only found in “turning to the right” form. Surely our bodies don’t understand this dl form and it might just be the cause of inflammation, tumors and ultimately cancer. Nice that it takes long enough that we cannot trace it back to the real cause: The garbage that is marketed as good food.
        Natural whole food supplement researcher and advisor.

      • leslie says:

        Cancer cells thrive on sugar, it is their main fuel. How many grams of sugar does ensure have?

        Yes, healthy cells also use sugar, but because cancer cells are defective cells, they use many times more sugar than healthy cells to survive.
        Then they turn that sugar (glucose at that point) into lactic acid.
        The lactic acid goes to the liver.
        The liver turns the lactic acid into glucose, sending it back to the cancer cells again.
        This process is very exhausting for the cancer patient.
        Less sugar, less lactic acid, less work for the liver, less food for cancer cells.
        Cancer cells could also use protein (to a lesser degree, i think) for fuel, so I’d eat only small amounts of animal protein, and only organic sources.

  5. Patty says:

    The Ensure “shake” is actually pretty good. I had never tasted any of the Ensure products before last winter. I developed severe back pain, doc put me on pain meds until I could have cortisone injections (which worked a miracle), and because of my situation I had lost my appetite. In fact, food that I normally enjoyed I could not even get down without nausea and I was losing weight rapidly. My husband was understandably alarmed because I would not eat. I asked him to go to the store and I wanted to try Ensure Shake, and to get the chocolate kind. That is all I had for nourisment for almost a week and it saved my life. I simply could not get solids down at that time, and I quickly discovered it ‘stuck to my bones’ and gave me strength much quicker than any kind of soup or broth.

    • Lilly says:

      I think you’re full of –it.

      • Cathy Sullivan says:

        Actually, Patty’s correct in that most of those ingredients you’re looking at are vitamin and mineral supplements to provide nutrients whenever you are unable to take natural fooods. As a cancer survivor I can attest to their value while ging through chemo.

      • Full of -it? Wow, that sounds so scientific and backed by logical argument.

      • Gilda jones says:

        She is absolutely correct if you are unable to keep things down and not on IV fluids that CRAP keeps you alive

      • Linda says:

        It is wonderful as a supplement to the elderly or ill that need an increased calorie count, and other nutrients. After my gram broke her hip and she spent 6 weeks in rehab, Ensure was her life saver

    • Peggy says:

      Heads up to all you cancer suffers. I don’t suppose you know that cancer cells thrive on sugar? How kind of you to feed them their favorite food. Wonder why main stream oncologists never tell cancer patients to get off processed foods and sugar?

      • Ray says:

        Cancer thrives on sugar because all cells thrive on sugar. When a person is put on chemo they are getting dosed with a TOXIN that is (mostly)selective to your particular type of cancer cells. The toxin wil mess with every other type of cell to one degree or another. Chemo is basically a race to see if they can kill off all your cancer cells before they kill off enough of your healthy cells to kill you. Not saying this as an argument against chemo just a statement of fact as to why they would want to give you something ALL cells thrive on. They’re hoping that the toxins will kill all your cancer cell even with the boost all of your cells will get since the toxin is supposed to prefer cancer cell.

      • April Nairne says:

        As a retired nurse – couldn’t agree with you more Peggy ! Right on !

      • Jolly says:

        Check out what antioxidants do to cancer cells. They love then.

      • Carolyn says:

        Amen Peggy!

      • Barbara says:

        All carbs (simple and complex) are broken down into glucose (sugar) through glycolysis. It’s what fuels our body. All cells thrive on glucose. Protein can also be broken down into glucose through gluconeogenisis. The crazy sounding ingredients in Ensure and other nutritional drinks are vitamins and minerals. The simple carbs like corn syrup solids are easily digested forms of glucose that can be quickly utilized for energy. Cancer patients often lose their appetite and cancer cachexia (wasting of muscle) can quickly contribute to higher morbidity. Xerostoma makes it hard to eat solid foods. Ensure comes in forms that are easily tolerated.

    • Thank you, Patty!
      People get too into label reading without knowing what they actually ARE seeing. This along the lines of “OMG, monohydrogen dioxide is a dangerous chemical in all our food!” I mean, I get your point, but just because most lay people don’t know the technical names of some naturally occuring compounds doesn’t make the food not a “real food.” Surely, some of those ingredients sound scary but most are just normal stuff that has been added extra to that shake. For instance, Ascorbic acid is Vitamin C. Niaciniamide is vitamin B3. Folic acid is in there. Some people, especially people who are sick and can’t eat a lot, couldn’t likely eat the amount of food necessary to procure all of the nutrient supplements that have been added to this drink. To be fair, water is the first ingredient in most of the packaged foods we eat…Actually, most of our food, period, has a lot of water in it…raw food, anyway. This article is proof that a little bit of science in the wrong hands is a bad thing. I don’t even mean OP, although I notice her PhD is not in medical science or nutrition. Hand a bunch of official sounding info to people without the desire to research it themselves and this is the kind of “scare” you end up with. smh…

      • I am slightly confused with your response. Are you saying that monohydrogen dioxide is a real food or food product? Frankly, if I can not pronounce an ingredient on a food, or am skeptical if it actually food, I put it back on the shelf. There are PLENTY of other shake/meal replacement items that are on the market that contain MUCH more actual, yes actual, food in them. Between protein powders, and meal replacements I know many that are actually organic made from FOOD and VEGGIES! Those would give one A LOT more nutrition than an Ensure shake. What about thinking about the idea that these “foods” are not GMO free, and the issues with consuming those products? Doritos can sustain someone’s life, maybe not ideally, however, is that the best thing to eat, obviously, NO! This person made this article to create awareness. And she was rightful in doing so. If you are in poor health, you need NUTRITIOUS FOOD! Not something that just contains calories and vitamin isolates. Not a food product, but FOOD. It is OK to question what you are eating and given by any person in the world, including your Dr or whomever. I personally would NEVER eat any of these products regardless of anything. I would rather do MY personal due diligence and find a product that could offer me the nutrition needed – food nutrition. I am a certified nutritional consultant, and I have worked with food, nutrition, supplements, vitamins, herbs, and the like for the better part of my life. And I can say that once people nourish their bodies with food nutrition their health improves. I think that is what we need to realize as well.

        • It’s a misspoken name for “dihydrogen monixide,”a joke about water, and you pretty much just proved the point I was making. So you’re a nutritionist and you still don’t want to put anything in your mouth you can’t pronounce?? Seriously? Let me know how that works out next time you need a medication with more than three syllables. The “awareness” that you claim the author is spreading is, what? To read a damn food label? Because she certainly didn’t spread any awareness about the “hard to pronounce” ingredients listed. Those horrible vitamins masquerading as evil chemical names. And what was her brilliant answer to all a cancer patient’s potential nutritional needs? Broth? . As a nutritionist, you SHOULD know better. As much as I agree with most of what you say about the need for quality food, the idea that because a compound can not be reduced enough for the layman to read it, it must not be “real food” is stupid.
          “If you are in poor health you need nutritious food,” you said. So is that what you would tell a person puking from cancer treatments despite massive quantities of Zofran? Because I’m the idea that this food is recommended to cancer patients was brought up by the author, so clearly we are not talking about people capable of eating the necessary quantities of “real food,” which is another point I was making. This shake is not meant to be a sole source of nutrition. It IS a supplement to “real food.” But again, a cancer patient may not be able to eat enough of real food to get all the nutrients so they may need to rely more heavily on “vitamin isolates” and calories… I don’t know how you made the jump from what I said to the idea of sustaining oneself on Doritos. I never said anything remotely to indicate that all food was created equal. What I said is this SHAKE is not bad just because someone doesn’t know enough to realize half these ingredients are vitamins. You’re right. People should question what they eat…but they won’t. They’ll see an article like this that has more bluster than fact and take it as gospel because they are too lazy to Google ascorbic acid.
          I’m sorry if I sound snarky or harsh, but people need to use some more common sense, and I don’t see freaking out over every ingredient on a label that you can’t say as being any better than cramming things in your mouth willie-nillie. But somehow that point was lost in translation I guess.

    • Terra says:

      While I agree that all natural is better, foods with carbs and protein are needed and Ensure is a quick fix of carbs, protein and vitamins. If a person cannot eat (or will not), this is a substitute. It is only meant to be a substitute.

    • leslie says:

      Ensure is not good for cancer patients. Ensure is full of sugar. Ensure is heavily processed.

      — Cancer cells eat and need so much, much, more sugar than healthy cells. Cancer cells love it when patients eat plenty of sugar, that is their fuel. Ensure is full of sugar.

      — Cancer cells could also feed on protein. Probably cancer patients should not eat large amounts of animal protein. If they do eat some animal protein, it should be from a naturally raised animal, organic, free-range, and grass fed.

      — Cancer patients should mostly eat healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, flax oil, coconut oils, nuts, and many many and variety of vegetables.

      — Vegetables are full of anticancer nutrients, and are low in sugar. The best food for cancer patients. Better if they’re organic. Make it into tasty soups, dips, stir-fries, salads, etc. Millions of recipes out there.

    • leslie says:

      Cancer cells thrive on sugar.
      They use many times more sugar than healthy cells. It is their fuel. More sugar, worse cancer.

      Ensure is full of sugar.

  6. Terri Smyth says:

    It’s better then nothing. It’s not going to kill you and you already have “Cancer” It’s meant to help the people who need nutrition in their bodies and sometimes this “stuff” is the only thing that’s tasty. I wouldn’t want beef broth and Hospice and Hematology practices don’t have the time to make meals for everyone. While I don’t like the ingreidents, I sure did like it when I had Cancer. It helped me to be well enough to continue my treatments that saved my life.

    • SMH! says:

      Agreed totally as I have seen the positive effects firsthand as a medical professional for those who have consumed the product. Sorry, but when an individual is claiming health knowledge and their credentials include “Astrology” and “Belief for UFO’s” It is scary to think people will believe any of this….People ask your pharmacist or Doctor what these ingredients mean and if they would take this article for gospel or not? Hell, ask the man working at the nearest 7-11, as I am sure they will all be a little perplexed!!

      • Maddie says:

        I think that the point is that there are better options out there than using products that have sugar, corn syrup and artificial flavours as some of it’s main ingredients. I use Garden of Life protein shakes and meal replacements shakes which I have found to have very clean ingredients. If a patient has dyphagia, perhaps could add these nourishing powders into yogurt. I don’t think that slamming this women’s opinions on health based on the fact that she is into astrology and UFO’s is necessary. I wouldn’t care if she was a total nutjob. She makes valid points. And please tell me how much nutritional training Doctor’s and Pharmacist get if your know that answer. I graduated with a 4 year degree in Human Nutritional Sciences and have been in the working in the Wellness industry for 10 years. Are those proper enough credentials? That seems to be very important to you.

        • Thanks, Maddie, for sticking up for astrology/UFO nutjobs like me! I hope folks aren’t confusing me with Carrol Krause, however, whose blogpost on Eusure this is, and who has done a spot-on job of identifying why so many of us are so disgusted with all that passes for “food” in this country where literally most of the fields you see while passing through the midwest are (GMO) corn or soybean.

      • Rachel says:

        Shame on you for belittling someone “health professional” or not…for speaking the truth about these ingredients. My pharmacist actually cares about me and would tell me the same thing. I am glad you are so confident as to trust your local 7-11 worker for your best choice of nutritional options…whatever. Get over yourself as soon as you possibly can

      • Sam says:

        It’s sad you think that it takes a health professional analyzing this label to realize that chemicals aren’t food!

    • Melissa says:

      Sugar feeds cancer. To beat cancer, one must eliminate all sugar from the diet and ingest micro-nutrients from real, raw food. Ensure would ‘Ensure’ death.

      • Carol Clayton says:


      • m wolf says:

        complete nonsense….People with cancer shouldn’t eat sugar, since it can cause cancer to grow faster. Fact: Sugar doesn’t make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn’t speed their growth. This from the Mayo Clinic .

      • Lamar says:

        3rd paragraph of mayo clinic comments on sugar and cancer: “However, there is some evidence that consuming large amounts of sugar is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, including esophageal cancer. It can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity and diabetes, which may increase the risk of cancer.”

        While saying sugar feeds cancer may be a slight misstatement, it certainly is not “utter nonsense”

    • JOEL S. KAHN says:

      This product is not only given to hospice cancer patients. I am in dialysis and Ensure was prescribed for me and other patients who are not terminally ill…supposedly to increase our protein intake. A cup of good greek yogurt has three times the protein of Ensure and a multivitamin (in my case, Dialyvite) provides more of one’s needed vitamins than a can of Ensure which is cloyingly sweet and vile tasting. Big Pharma (Abbot Laboratories) can and should do better.

  7. Juli says:

    There are soo many vitamins and minerals in that pudding, they are in the “Chemical name”. Cyanocobalamin is B-12, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, D3, Vit E, Zinc, Calcium, Potassium, Iron…So many vitamins and minerals-Just written by their chemical name–the same exact ones you would pick up at any store or online, etc!

    • I just googled “Cyanocobalamin” and came up with this for side effects As usual, the list is massive.

      • Alleghany says:

        Ann, you are correct. Sorry but I need to vent:

        Those are synthetic vities…..NOT REAL ONES! Not vities found in real food, just ones made in a lab. Those “vitamins” will kill you!

        Cyanocobalamin = synthetic B12 BUT Methylcobalamin = natural, from real food

        Folic Acid (which they push on Moms-to-be) = synthetic BUT Folate = natural, from real food

        This is ESPECIALLY important info if one is expecting as synthetic vities can cause real harm to you and your baby. Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with this. I wish doctors would stop the “Folic Acid” mantra as it does more harm than good. FOLATE, ladies…FOLATE!

  8. Reblogged this on celestialmusingsblog and commented:
    I so agree and thank you Carrol for this wonderful blog. I send you loads of love and many blessings.

  9. It is amazing the garbage that company’s produce and call food now days. Nothing like back in the 50’s and 60’s. Now so many products contain MSG to get you addicted to eat more as well as so many chemical names I can not even pronounce, it’s a crying shame but it is all about the money now days isn’t it.
    My wife and I ran across a product made from the Moringa Oleferia tree that has changed our life’s for the better. Over 90 verifiable nutrients that the human body needs. There are at 23 pages of studies on the American Medical site called Pub Med on it yet Doctors and Health don’t seem to know about it, But this is what they should be giving sick people not sugar laden products.
    Best advise is to eat Organic, read the labels and stay away from sugar, pesticides and GMO foods.

  10. DORA says:

    My Dad died from stomach cancer and he really believe ensure was good for him he drink it for years

    • Laura says:

      So let me get this straight…. HE DIED and drank this for years. Sounds like it was good for him….????? REALLY?

      • Nicole says:

        Laura, this is an important discussion and you are going to pick on someone whose grammar isn’t perfect? You know perfectly well what Dora was saying. Shame on you.

      • Janet says:

        We’ll all die eventually. This drink is for sick people who can’t consume or won’t consume any other food to sustain life until they are better. You can decide to die sooner or later, by drinking the stuff this guy probably lived longer than he would have without it. Not everyone has a nutritionist at their bedside preparing, healthy veggie shakes which they may not be palatable.

  11. Kim says:

    Neither doctors nor pharmacists make money off of healthy people. Who are they gonna side with? This stuff helps keep them in big houses driving nice cars and sending their kids to private school. Vitamins created in a lab aren’t absorbed like true, natural vitamins found in real food.

  12. Fred Maur says:

    Only natural vitamins and minerals can be absorbed by the body. For a liquid diet I recommend Reliv nutrition shakes. Just mix it with Kangen water and drink 3 times a day. For a fast acid removal from the body drink a gallon of Kangen water a day

    • Murph says:

      Ummm. The Reliv nutrition shakes have some of same unpronounceable ingredients as the Ensure.

      And please tell me how I, after being found to have Vitamin D deficiency, got my levels back up to normal by taking a supplement? Oh, that vitamins d supplement is also known as the unpronounceable Cholecalciferol.

      And did you know your Reliv nutrition shakes contain Allium sativum? I can’t pronounce that. It must be bad for me.

  13. Joan Mullanr says:

    Why can’t you make homeaide foods for cancer patients.

    • glendoralaw says:

      Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. When I was doing chemo, often the smell of cooking food was nauseating to me. Also, we usually eat very small amounts, so what we do eat has to be highly nutritious and full of calories. That’s why this “glop” is full of calories and vitamins. I lost 25 lbs. on chemo. I came out healthy because I took Juice Plus throughout it. I don’t sell the stuff, so this is not a commercial. I’m just saying I think it helped me heal from the toxins they used to kill my cancer.

  14. Wendy says:

    of course it has carbs its a meal replacement. remember all food gets broken down to glucose.

  15. LCO says:

    Ha! I just wrote about my visit with a good friend who was sent home to die. She was given lots ensure while in hospice and encouraged to continue at home. This is #CrapFood and completely unacceptable. Thank you for sharing.
    God bless you.

  16. Sharon says:

    Our medical world has brainwashed us in the most unenlightened way. Advertising. It has become a sheep mentality…not taking responsibility for ourselves by thinking outside the box, [thank you Ann] but following the masses. Take a look. We are a sick, in debt, fighting country. Most are worried sick about getting sick and what it can do to them financially. We don’t have all the answers…we are no longer a democracy we are now an oligarchy and it has bled into every part of our society. We have been brainwashed into THINKING are best interests are at heart. Bit by bit I am doing my part to make changes and help others. That horse to water thing…..

  17. Lori says:

    I learned that Cancer feeds off sugar when my Dad was in the hospital with Stage 4 Bladder Cancer. I was was furious when the snack refrigerator was full of Ensure, Popsicles and Ice cream.
    I questioned it and got no good response. So I refused to give it to him and had good food for him.

  18. Jean says:

    I worked with cancer patients for over 22 years as an Oncology RN. We recommended products like Ensure so patients could get maximum protein with minimum volume. People with cancer generally have very poor appetites and many can only tolerate liquids, often only in small amounts. Products like Ensure do help cancer patients improve their protein intake, and most also benefit from the calories of the sugar. If you don’t like the product, don’t use it. But please don’t discourage people who are often desperate to increase their caloric and protein intake from trying these kind of supplements. Your claims that it can actually make cancer worse are false and unsubstantiated.

  19. Bryan Garten says:

    What is that some kind of reduced nutrition donated solution for mass distribution? Yuck. I guess it was cheaper to manufacture and cheaper to purchase. Does it even taste good? I hope my uncle and my dad didn’t have to drink that crap. Was that stuff donated or something? Just awful. I remember an earlier version of much better quality purchased in a case. It was much better for you. I know hospitals around here have Diaticians on staff that help make up the menus. I know patients can circle items the day before or meal before to choose their next meal. Hopefully this is an isolated incident. Is there any other benefit? Does it help ward off the side effects of pain killers or morphine? Does the sweetness taste better to the dyeing patient? Does it create less waste products to keep the patient more comfortable or when their digestive system shuts down? Is it better for patients with kidney failure? Is it free of charge? Are there any benefits at all or is it just a cost cutter?

  20. Connie says:

    I agree with everything and everybody, both good and bad. However, I have another story. My mother had a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 60. She was in a coma for a year, woke up gradually after that, and couldn’t talk or move and was unable to eat. A g-tube was inserted in her stomach, and for better or for worse, she lived 16 years on Ensure. That’s a long time to live on poison. She gained weight, of course, since she had no movement and the excess fat, along with great care from us, prevented ALL bedsores, in spite of her lying on her back for most of the time. So, you can love it or hate it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do what is right for you. However, remember that sometimes there is no choice.

  21. Cassandra says:

    This stuff is poison, how about fresh juiced vegetables per the Gerson Protocol. Corporations killing people should not be accepted! Get educated everyone.

  22. Eileen Craddock says:

    So, the person who wrote this blog, who is dying of cancer, must have had a high-sugar diet in order to get that cancer in the first place. Is that what you all are saying?

    There sure is a lot of WOO “science” out there and this definitely qualifies. Watch out for that dihodrogen monoxide.

  23. L.Hansen says:

    Good for you for reading before eating! We are at doernbechers children’s hospital in Portland Oregon with our 10 year old daughter fighting cancer. She questions everything they try to bring her to eat and frequently forgoes eating because the options are unhealthy and she’s been raised to know better. Red jello presented after surgery was declined for many reasons just like the sodas and popsicles offered time and time again. It’s unfortunate that healing doesn’t have anything to do with the non nutritional food choices. If you think your ensure is bad…check out infant formula. Unbelievable! Most people just don’t care or don’t realize that our real food won’t be anywhere near establishments that are monetarily motivated. Unfortunate but true. Our policy. ..if you can’t read it don’t eat it! There’s way too much to loose.

  24. Hank says:

    I had 6 bypass cardiac surgery on April 8, 2008. I was told to drink Ensure so I did. I drank 4 cans a day every day. In August 2008 I began having chest pains. I underwent a cauterization and needed 3 stents. I blamed Ensure for clogging my arteries. I never drank Ensure again.

  25. Audrey says:

    There is ALWAYS a choice! You or your loved ones do not have to live/die off of Ensure! Stand up and say something and for the love, do not consider Drs., nurses or drug reps to be God! They are simply doing what they are paid to do. The food we eat not only creates and sustains life, but can HEAL! Chemical concoctions will not allow a body to thrive as the food our earth gave to us! Gah! It’s simple logic as the writer here explains.

  26. Xray says:

    I just have to say I disagree. These are high calorie. While they may not be organic or super nutritional, it’s all about calorie intake. Patient’s who aren’t eating a lot, NEED calories. The worst thing thing for a stroke or cancer patient is not eating. There are what, like 2 calories soup broth? So while the Milky Way sounds like a GREAT idea, 85 year old Grandma can’t chew to swallow it. CALORIES, CALORIES, CALORIES.

    • Lucille Stothers says:

      I am an 85 year old grandma who does not take medications, am active, good mind, pay attention to what I eat, and definitely no sugar, except pie once or twice a year and am not be afraid of fat. Professionals should give good advice on healthy living with natural food products without restrictions on perceived restricted life span. We all want to live beyond 100 years in a healthy way.

  27. Pete Bircsak says:

    Eat real food or blend it. Not this noxious mix. Just common sense. Everybody just think. Pete

  28. Julie says:

    I will never forget the oncology nurses asking my late husband if he wanted a Pepsi or Mountain Dew while hooking him up with chemotherapy drugs.

  29. B.J. Smith says:

    My husband had two bouts of cancer. The first was a killer cancer but he had excellent doctors who saved his life. He had oral cancer & had radical surgery & could not eat. I never let him have Ensure. He hated it. The hospital had their own recipes for nutritional drinks & I brought him strawberry drinks with ice cream as a treat. They supplied me with recipes. I never used milk as it made mucous so I bought hemp protein instead of whey. He survived 15 years cancer free until his second cancer which was non life threatening but he got the wrong treatment & it eventually spread & took his life. It was basal cell carcinoma. The last time I ran into all sorts of medical incompetence & attitude. I could not believe the difference. I was lucky if he got anything to eat. They sent him home with his blood so low he couldn’t even dress himself & told me he was talking up a sick person’s bed. Anyhow they were pushing the Ensure on him & his lungs were filling up with phlegm. He didn’t make it in the end.
    I worked in Long Term Care & most of my residents did not like it. They said it tasted like chalk.

  30. Andrea says:

    Referencing the ingredient list of the last photo…
    Ferrous sulfate = iron
    Nicotinamide = Vitamin B3
    Folic acid = folate
    Thiamine = B1
    Pyroxidine = B6
    Cyanocobalamin = B12
    Riboflavin and biotin….also B vitamins
    Absorbic acid = Vitamin C

    If you’re trying to say these are chemicals, research what the words actually mean. And by saying they could have fresh soup broth…do cancer patients really get all these and 10g of protein from 10ounces of broth instead?

  31. Olga says:

    I could not agree with you more. I stood by uneducated about this crap as I watched my father decline in hospice. Then my brother. Between the horrible hospital food and this crap I know for a fact it certainly didn’t help them feel any better or prolong their lives. In the hospital they would send plates of “food” to my brother after he’d just finished vomiting and had sores in his mouth. Why on earth would you send a person southwestern chicken or salmon when they are in that state?!! Send them some soothing broth. Not ginger ale. How about herbal ginger tea instead?! I would make bone broth soup and take it to him. I will never let anyone in my family eat or drink that garbage again. Thanks for sharing this article.

  32. Sherri says:

    There IS A CHOICE! It is called Liquid Hope, it is a new formula, my granddaughter is special needs, and she is tube fed, and they “system” wanted her to stay on what they were forcing down her, until my daughter did her research, and FOUGHT for her to have the right to try this new product, SHE WON THAT RIGHT TODAY! the insurance finally gave in, and said they will pay for it THANK GOD, it is also a Nutritional Supplement for adults,and older generation, just do a search for Liquid Hope,
    (Ingredient list obtained from the Functional Formularies website) Filtered water, organic garbanzo beans, organic green peas, organic carrots, organic whole grain brown rice, organic flax oil, organic whole grain brown rice protein, organic sprouted quinoa, organic sweet potato, organic miso, organic broccoli, organic almond butter, organic kale, organic garlic, organic turmeric, organic rosemary, organic ginger, organic wakame (seaweed), vitamin blend [thiamine mononitrate(B1), riboflavin (B2), niacinamide(B3), pyridoxine hydrochloride(B6), cyanocobalamin (B12), ergocalciferol(D2)]

    Please share this information with those who you know who require meal replacement formulas for weight gain and/or tube feeding.

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  34. claudefm says:

    Decades ago, I was consultant in oncology . It was never possible to evaluate the incidence of theses shakes, puddings and other packed products with chemicals , used as substitute of lunch and snacks. My peers denied any support to make a study with the argument I was “obsessed” by food . Now I can relate that my faithful patients, friends and family who took the risk to heal after their cancers with my nutrition had impressive remission and recovery. My mother in law is going to celebrate her 95th birthday after a T3 colon cancer in 1983, treated with a large surgery and a strict biologique diet. I am posting on line different recipe books to help people to eat “clean” with simple easy recipe to make from scratch at home.When we combine the organic frozen products and the small device, it has never been so easy to cook at home.

  35. Missy Kooistra says:

    There is no need for you to have to eat the “crap” they give you. There are many other resources out there that you can eat that are in shake form that are not full of junk. I am a JP Distributor and I bought my loved ones the shake mix and brought to the hospital and had them mix it with milk ant the hospital for their meals. I would not allow the hospital to feed my loved ones junk. The nurses were very kind and made sure that they were fed what I brought up. A whole food shake. Also brought the JP capsules and put it in their apple sauce so they could still get their nutrition from real fruits and vegetables. I found out that that if you speak up they will listen. I have do e this with two different family members.

  36. southerncrossperusac says:

    Carroll, I am not sure if you have tried using “Hemp” 100% legal CBD OIl, but if you have not, I would recommend that you try it. I am not aware of your total situation, but this CBD Oil has made a mole that I had that looked to be cancerous and very disfigured – back to a normal looking pink mole in 3.5 months. CBD Oil is incredible.

  37. Megan says:

    I’m sorry, but when you’re fighting for your life and can’t get out of bed. Nothing taste right(and I mean nothing) so you don’t want to eat anything, much less cook something. These are those kinds of things that get you through. It’s not meant to completely take over your diet, it’s just there for when you just can’t. Any chemo/cancer survivor nows the feeling!!

  38. We’d encourage anyone seeking whole food tube-feeding nutrition to visit – we make 100% real food MEALS for people on feeding tubes.

  39. Charlie says:

    Hi Carol! Your post was soooo inspiring. I’ve dedicated my life to making real food products, and it’s so hard to compete with all the crap out there and the lack of knowledge propagated by so many different interests. If possible, we’d love to send your hospice free product. We make yogurt from organic 100% grassfed cows with absolutely nothing added. Just real food. Thank you so much for your brave, true, and humorous post. Let the food fight begin!!!

  40. In life, and in death, their is always a choice and for some they choose to drink Ensure. My own choice however, not with cancer, but with anorexia, was to NOT have it. I was on Hospice two years ago now at the end of a 21 year battle and all I had ever been given was ensure as a easy caloric boost and in saving my life without medical or psychiatric care I could not risk raising my blood sugar so high with what amounts to sugar, oil and processed soy with vitamins. I doubled my body weight in a year and blessedly am now well and furthermore my hair, bones, organs and mind are fine. I truly believe I would have passed if it had not been for my well planned high maintenance eating and perhaps I would have made it but not into a thriving body. I do not judge anyone who chooses to drink Ensure, with cancer or without. Matching the calories and nutrition was hard and irregardless of my opinion on the stuff I just want to take a moment to express my gratitude for having the knowledge to choose differently, my ability to change my mind in my own health, and for not having cancer. I made a decision to live and my body followed my intention. Cancer patients don’t always have the same luxury. I don’t like Ensure but I dislike cancer more. Grace and gratitude.

  41. Marilyn says:

    I love your knowledge and desire to only put REAL food into your body. I will pray for God’s best outcome for you in your illness. Thank you for opening eyes everywhere to CARING about what goes into our bodies. We r what we eat, right?!?!
    Be brave. Be strong. But don’t be angry, just determined!! Anger is NOT good for you, either. Hang in there and thanks for your good info!!!

  42. linda says:

    Yes this is very sad. When I spent a brief time working on a pediatric oncology unit, (cancer) unit, I was shocked that the children were fed meals of junk food. When as a nurse I questioned this, I was told that “junk food” is all the kids will eat. Loaded up with chemotherapy and junk food, I don’t know how any of them could get well. This was one of the worst experiences of my life. It is up to the public to speak up and be aware of what we are putting in our bodies. Huge amounts of money are made from the suffering of sick people. Drugs are a billion dollar industry and hospitals and drug companies profit by keeping you sick. Please be wise and eat a healthy diet and stay out of the hospital if at all possible.

  43. Gloria Ball says:

    We all need to be aware of ingredients in any food we buy. Apple juice with no
    Apple juice in ingredients, wow.
    It’s all about the bottom line
    for these companies. Shameful that they feed that crap to dying people or
    healthy people. Read ingredients!!

  44. Rosina Friesen says:

    I totally agree with you, Carroll!

  45. DawnBirdsong says:

    Our hospital makes delicious custard in house. It is delicate, wouldn’t travel well. Also really good housemade chicken vegetable soup, good even in the low sodium version, actually has flavor.

  46. Sara Green says:

    My son’s pediatrician put him on it as a supplement to his low caloric intake. He has severe oral sensory issues. He is now 31 and has 2 a day. His overall health is outstanding! Other than routine check-ups, he rarely sees a doctor. Ensure, while not for everyone, has been a blessing for us!

    • Janice says:

      I agree with Sara wholeheartedly!! My son also has oral sensory issues and had to undergo heart surgery and suffered other post operative problems as a young child, and if not for Pediasure, he would never had the chance to thrive into the young vibrant extremely healthy 17 year old young man with six pack abs and BMI of 18%.

      I realize the “healthy diets” out there criticize sugar and carbohydrates, but in reality, it is the balance of the diet that is the key. These shakes and puddings and made in perfect balance unlike the way most people eat their own so called “healthy” diet which is why obesity is such an epidemic leading to chronic debilitating diseases. Like with Sara’s family, Ensure has been a true blessing to our family!!

      • Jen says:

        “Healthy diets” do not criticize sugar. Science does. And true healthy diets are in no way responsible for diabetes and illness. Your “facts” are very skewed.

    • you can make the same things at home without all of the food additives. I’m glad your son is doing well. That said, there is absolutely no excuse for “prescribing” edible food like substances filled with chemicals. Those food additives are the reason so many of us are sick and suffering in the first place.

      • Agreed. Anything such as Ensure products can be made at home where ingredients can be controlled…more nutritious and less expensive. Plus you aren’t feeding the corporate greed…

      • Cheryl says:

        Hang in there dear! You are on to something big! If we all start eating more fruit, vegetables and less meat and processed foods we’d save more money, feel better, think clearer and then who would they have to sell junk to and pay minimum wage for our precious time! Thank you for speaking up! Peace!

      • Cheryl says:

        Absolutely. The food additives, dairy, excess sugar and GMO’s, are at the root of all our illnesses in America. Ever wonder why every other TV commercial is for food or a drug that can cure you? Because processed food is connected to the illness and the manufactured drug. It’s a racket! Go green and lean and see what happens….

  47. Lynn says:

    I think the reason they feed it to the elderly, is so they do not getthe needed nutrition and finally pass away.After all Hospice is only around to make the last days comfortable, they are not around to sustain life.

    • Hospice nurse. says:

      As a hospice nurse I will tell you that while we are concerned about the patients comfort, we are also concerned about making sure that they have energy to complete the tasks that they, the patient wants to do. We order nutritional substitutes in many cases there is not anyone else available to provide that extra calories foods.

    • Shannon says:

      Wow, what a hideous thing to say about an organization that helps so many through the end. Hospice has been involved in several friends and family members last days and have been absolutely caring and professional. I agree that Ensure (or anything with such ingredients) is a hideous concoction, but not everyone is surrounded with people willing or able to make the natural substitute, as would be my preference if I’m ever in that situation.

  48. Barb says:

    My husband has been on liquid and soft diet for stomach and Colon problems. He eat and drinks ensure I make milkshakes I know he is getting vitamins and calories he needs.

    • Susan stark says:

      He should check out Essante greens and reds. 100% certified organic. No chemicals or additives. One tablespoon of the reds (fruits) is equivalent of 5.5 lbs of fruit. It has an oracle value of 183,000. One tsp of greens equals 5.5 lbs of veggies. My husband had cancer surgery and for 3 years felt the effects of his internal scars. His 12 in scar is disappearing and he no longer feels the aches of his surgery. He takes one scoop of red in the morning and 3 scoops of green during the day. He loves the products.

      • Lynn says:

        Excellent article Carroll.
        The people who feed that toxic mix to their loved ones are just copping out and taking shortcuts.
        Real food is the only way to nourish ones body and soul when going through an illness. A bowl of homemade turkey or chicken broth filled with veggies is pure and healing.

  49. Terri Dumas says:

    Thank you Carroll for speaking out. I agree with you.

  50. This is recommended by dieticians to supplement diets where there has been weight loss its not a “health food’ for dieting quite the reverse and is also used when there are swallow issues speak to a dietician im sure they will give plenty information on why this is used not for everyone and every doeticisn would say for short term use until ‘normal’ food can be tolerated

  51. Janet says:

    And then patients suddenly become diabetic….hmmmmmmmm

  52. Victoria says:

    Been like that for decades, I’m afraid. Try comparing it to a super greens powder for nutrition or better yet, compare prenatal vitamins from the ob-gyn to the prenatal vitamins in a good herb store (no drug, big box or gnc). THEN tackle how pharmaceutical companies can continue to advertise drugs Known to be marketed because of results from fraudulent studies. Or just tackle drug ads altogether. Society does not need them.

  53. Amy says:

    To say that chicken soup can be used as a replacement for Ensure is absolutely ludicrous. A major reason for prescribing Ensure to patients is for the calories, as well as the other nutrients. Almost all of the other ingredients listed on the label are essential vitamins and minerals that a malnourished person, unable to eat a regular diet for whatever reason, needs. I do not disagree that natural foods are best in most cases, but for a severely malnourished person who needs a high amount of nutrition in a small volume, chicken soup just will not cut it.

    • sandy says:

      Not so much chicken soup but bone broth. Bone broth is becoming popular again because it has so many nutrients in it. Too much sugar and GMO in Ensure Yuk!

      • Melissa says:

        Bone broth? Seriously it is not something that is going to give a sick person any type of nutrients. It’s another fad that hipsters and Google university graduates are pushing on people to try and act like they are nutritionalists are they are smarter then the science and doctors . If you are given Ensure you need the things in it more than you don’t need the few things you’re picking out and condemning. Just stop.

    • Amy is 100% correct! Until someone has actually had to try to encourage an elderly person to eat, who has a less than sufficient appetite and won’t eat enough to save a bird, this is when these supplemental drinks are given. They are also given to people who are not able to keep food down (or in), have a some other medical issue that causes them to not be able to eat solid foods, or possibly a digestion issue. Maybe they have a G-tube, NGtube, or even a PEG, where the only nutrients they are getting is where their breakfast, lunch, and dinner is either on a drip or via bolus feedings being poured into a syringe looking end of the bolus feed tubing that drains into directly into their stomach or pushed with a closed syringe through the nasogastric tubing which then leads to the stomach. These individuals HAVE to have some sort of nutrition and you can’t go boil up some chicken broth and pour that in a tube that is susceptible to clogging. Ensure, Ensure Plus, Boost, Glucerna, Pediasure, etc are given for a reason in hospitals, long term healthcare facilities, and by encouragement of their Physician.

      I even had to drink Ensure a few years ago because I had lost 30lbs in a month & 1/2 from not being able to keep anything in that I ate for 10 months of hugging the toilet bowl, in pure agony, because my dr and the ER docs couldnt figure out that my gallbladder needed to be removed. That was the only nutrients I was getting because I was literally in the bathroom 10 minutes after eating anything, including BRAT diet to try to keep as bland and GI tract as calm as possible, which did nothing.

      There is so much more I could go into on why people need these supplements but I believe you get the picture, or at least I hope so! Let me not forget to mention the children and infants that need Pediasure and Pedialyte! Some folks need to seriously learn to do some real homework before spouting off about how healthcare should be ashamed for providing these much needed supplements to an already poor diet. Ask yourselves: What do runners need for energy?-CARBS! What are the things that you’re told to stay away from when trying to LOSE weight? SUGAR, CARBS, and other HIGH CALORIE foods! So, why would those that NEED to actually GAIN weight NOT need this again? No one? That’s right, it’s because they need to gain the weight, have energy, get their vitamins, etc. Most of the ones served to patients in the nursing homes are vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan (favorite of patients). Now, there is also a supplement served as “ice cream” called Magic Cups to encourage it as a snack if they don’t want to drink it.

    • Jennifer says:

      I agree that people have an ax to grind against “fake” foods. They don’t understand people who can’t gain weight on a normal healthy diet, or people who can’t tolerate textures or swallow. I never gave my kids ensure just because they would NOT take it, but it would have helped when they were little. Turned out they have a connective tissue disorder, but they were undernourished and malnourished until they were able to tolerate more foods, and swallow foods correctly. And I make chicken soup, but when they were little, not so much. My life was a blur of steaming veggies and hand-mashing them….end result, calorie deficit. I should have fed them a stick of butter.

    • christina says:

      bone broth has healing properties, and it does contain some fats as well, just don’t skim it if you are looking for more calories. Also, you can make shakes that are high in healthy calories, make a smoothie with bananas, avocados, unsweetened cocoa powder for a little flavor, honey to sweeten instead of chemicals. Coconut milk is super healthy and also has good fats and calories. Make fruit smoothies with some kale or spinach added in, you can’t taste it, but the health benefits of dark leafy greens is essential. There are so many things you can do with food, no need to drink chemicals. It is a shortcut, plain and simple.

      • Laura Porter says:

        Thank you. I can see the need for this stuff in emergencies but if you can avoid things like ensure, etc. then for heaven’s sake, do so. And for emergency, I mean, there is literally no other alternative, you have no access to fresh ingredients to blend, puree, not just that Ensure is more convenient! It is a sin that this non-food, chemical laden crap is being fed to people continuously and then there are people justifying and apologizing for it. I am not sure which is worse. Keep glugging that stuff down and then turn around and wonder why 2/3 are obese, sick and dying of preventable lifestyle diseases. Is Ensure the reason? Of course not, it is the symptom of the overall lack of nutrition, convenience and sugar addiction epidemic our society is currently facing.

  54. Michael Pierce says:

    So true. This stuff is hideous. Here’s an alternative:

  55. Just1derfull says:

    At the end of the day, medical practitioners are not taught about nutrition. There knowledge on health issues is purely through medicinal protocols. Just like a business you can think of doctors as the sales people for the pharmaceutical industry. By no means am I trying to belittle doctors or nurses etc…. They are doing what they are taught. Medicine for the most part only focuses on the symptoms of the disease but does not focus on the actual disease itself. An example of this are diabetic people that pay monthly for their pills. The pills help in making sure their body has enough insulin so that their sugar levels don’t go all out of wack. But through proper nutrition you can actually cure diabetes. Do doctors know this? I am sure that some do but they cannot recommend alternative treatments like proper nutrition because they can lose their license. It’s all about money in the medical industry. They feed the people unhealthy food, people get sick, they give them medicine. It’s the perfect business. We need to take responsibility for ourselves when it comes to knowing the affects of what we put in our bodies. Educate yourselves and be aware of your options.

    • Dw says:

      Please make sure that you understand that not all diabetes can be “cured”. Type 1 diabetic people would really like for there to be more specificity in the world. The “diabetes can be cured” perpetuates the world’s ignorance regarding the disease. Type 2 diabetes can, for the most part but not always, can be cured. Not always.

  56. AllyNguyen says:

    Okay, I am a biochemistry student, although I am also a proponent of getting your nutrition from varied sources, I just want to point out that a lot of these “chemicals” ARE natural, as in they are found in the food that you so prize as being natural. Things like “ascorbic acid” (a fancy name for Vitamin C) and cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B-12), and even the metal-sounding names like Zinc Sulfate are NECESSARY for you to survive. If you broke down the chemicals in kale, you’d be surprised at the long, fancy, chemical names of the compounds that are found there. Just because you can’t understand the name, doesn’t mean you should automatically freak out. Do the research and then make your judgement.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you. May people do not realize that everything is made up of chemicals. I once mentioned that essential oils were Volatile Organic Compounds, VOC’s – very potent chemicals – and was roundly scolded that I obviously did not understand that the word “organic” means “no chemicals”……

  57. Michael says:

    If you had done more research you would have found out 3 important items you left out. 1 prior to the canned nutrition patients were dying in hospitals or at home from tainted food. Yes on the hospital side it was also convienance like TV dinners. If you look at a gastric feeding tube the opening is so small that flakes of pills will plug it.
    Ask any hospital cafeteria about their food and the admit they do the best the can but their job is to supply comfort food not healthy food.
    A university hospital had hardly anything for me because of food allergies our little country hospital caters to all my allergies and ask what they can do better.
    My wife’s family doctor pretty much agreed with your assessment but pointed out my hands would be full keeping my wife alive and I did not need to add special food preparation on top of that. I could not get all of the nutritional value of can of ensure,boost or promote in home cooking and make it liquid with out a lot of work and learning on my part.

  58. Jo says:

    Try Orgain (Organic Protein Nutritional Shake) instead. ( Developed by a doctor who had cancer himself as a healthier alternative to Ensure and Boost. And it tastes good. I had gastroparesis for years, and at several points over the years, I couldn’t use Ensure as it made my gastrointestinal problems worse. Orgain is what I drank when I couldn’t eat for months. It kept me alive; I bought it from Amazon but since then I discovered that The Vitamine Shoppe caries it, as does Whole Foods. I’ve also supplied it to a friend with cancer who used it while on chemo. She found it a vast improvement over Ensure or Boost and said it improved her labs at the time (she’ since died as the cancer she had was simply too aggressive).. I like the Iced Mocha flavor best. My friend liked the Chocolate Fudge and Vanilla flavors best. We both hated the Strawberry as it was too sweet for our tastes.

  59. KB says:

    When someone is puking their guts up from chemo, they need any source of vitamins, calories and protein that they can swallow and keep down. Bone broth is certainly nutritious, but very low in calories. Products like Ensure are meant to be high calorie. I don’t care for the way you belittle caregivers by stating “it takes no more time than it does to make a salad”, as if they are lazy or don’t care about their loved ones. Sometimes that caregiver is a single working mom that is visiting the hospital every day in addition to all of her other responsibilities. Sometimes that caregiver is sick themselves, or elderly. Some people really don’t have friends or family to help them at at all, and chopping veggies for soup is an impossible task when you are that weak. Yes, there are better alternatives for some patients than prepackaged things like Ensure, but for some patients, it is a necessary lifeline. The judgement in the article is off-putting.

  60. Lmhavens says:

    For soo long I have wanted to stand outside any grocery store and offer to read ingredients to people. They need to realize how poisonous most stuff in package s and cans and bottles are. We need a movement to educate folks and give out magnifying glasses so they can read the ingredients! No moe Diet food…use real stuff.

  61. leah Camata says:

    only one can help to ill people raise the glutathion level on his body because glutathion is the master antioxidant in our body lots of Doctor doesn’t know about it.

  62. kellylindbom says:

    Wow, I did Not know what the ingredients of ensure products were. I assume it’s about “bulking up” those who can’t eat for some reason. But I agree that real food with liquid vitamin and mineral supplement would be way better. It just takes time, which most people don’t seem to have anymore. I wish our society would slow,down and and live in the time they have. I’m sorry you are going through this, Carroll.

  63. lisa says:

    Whey is also not great besides all the other chemicals that are in these products. Your body can not digest all the whey protein versus a vegan pea protein

  64. Madame Defarge says:

    You realize most of those “chemicals” are vitamins, right?

  65. Kat says:

    I am stunned to see comment after comment here supporting the practice of giving patients containers of nutritionless, toxic chemicals! There are no foods in these “foods” – no whole fruit, dairy, meat, vegetable, or anything else resembling actual food! Since when is it healthy for ANY living creature to consume chloride hydrochloride, sodium molybdate, GMO corn syrup, sugar, cupric sulfate, cyanocobalamin, etc.!? I can’t help but wonder if the companies who make this poison directed their employees to leave supporting comments here. Either that, or there are a whole lotta folks whose ignorance about health and nutrition is off the charts, and sense of compassion for others is nil! I won’t even go into how I feel about the sociopaths who insinuate that since someone is dying it shouldn’t matter what you feed them! And the indignant fools who defended the “health” professionals’ treatment of their sick infants by giving them cans of carbed up chemicals…? Wow! With parents like that….

    • Mary-Anne says:

      If you ever need a shot of Vitamin B-12, you should tell the doctor no you don’t want any chemicals. Why, because cyanocobalamin is the chemical name for Vitamin B-12. OMG! Vitamins have chemical names?? Because they are chemical compounds! Someone needs to go back to highschool.

  66. Meredith says:

    I am a hospice nurse, we have many patients on ensure or other similar supplements. We don’t supply it to our patients and we are not compensated for “pushing” a certain product. The fact is, these drinks provide lots of calories in a small serving, something our pts are usually severely lacking. They’re not for everyone, but for those people that have otherwise have very little intake, they can be a blessing.

  67. Peggy says:

    Shakeology is a great alternative to the chemical laced ENSURE. It has the soft and yummy texture of a shake but loaded with superfoods Add to whole milk and a banana or any peanut butter.

  68. nonyabizz says:

    actually milk and eggs, while better, aren’t especially good either. Particularly with cancer.

  69. Dinah says:

    all I can say is Agenda 21 and the depopulation is in full swing.

  70. Fred says:

    I start most mornings with an Ensure. I have a lot of food allergies, so I am more familiar with a list of ingredients than most. The “juice” label shown has a lot of ingredients that look scary, but aren’t. A lot of them are the long names for common vitamins. Phylloquinone sounds scary to most of the population and they would never eat it. It is just vitamin K ( Arsenic is easily pronounced.

  71. kathy a says:

    Wow, sadly this is true. I pray that the elderly and sick will hav e concerned loved ones who will not allow them to fall prey to this ignorance or deciet. God bless you and remember that God heals and to him cancer is no big thing ;-). Im a survivor!

  72. Murph says:

    Would you feed this to family or cancer patients???

    1-0-Feruloyl-Beta-D-Glucose, 1-0-Sinapoyl-Beta-D-Glucose, 2-Hydroxy-But-3-Enyl-Glucosinolate, 3-Indoyl-methyl-glucosinolate, Acetyl-Choline, Alanine, Alpha-tocopherol, Ammonia(NH3), Aniline, Arachidonic-Acid, Arginine, Ascorbic-Acid, Ash, Aspartic Acid, Benzyl-Amine, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Citric Acid, Copper, Cystine, Dimethyl-Amine, Folacin, Fumaric-Acid, Glocobrassicanapin, Gluconapin, Glutamic-Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Indole-3-Acetonitrile, Indole-3-Carboxaldehyde, Indole-3-Carboxylic-Acid, Isoleucine, Isopentyl-Amine, Kaempferol, Lauric-Acid, Leucine, Linoleic-Acid, Linolenic-Acid, Lysine, Magnesium, Malic-Acid, Manganese, Methionine, Methyl-Amine, Myristic-Acid, N-Butyl-Amine, N-Methyl-Phenethylamine, N-Pentyl-Amine, Oleic-Acid, Palmitic-Acid, Palmitoleic-Acid, Pantothenic-Acid, Phenethylamine, Porgoitrin, Proline, Quercetin, Quinic-Acid, Serine, Sinigrin, Sodium, Stearic-Acid, Succinic-Acid, Threonine, Toluidene, Tyrosine, Valine

    Sounds scary eh?? That’s the chemical makeup of KALE.

    • MM says:

      This article is disingenuous in its criticisms. Ensure products are definitely manufactured processed foods, which I am not ordinarily a fan of, but to criticize them for being high carb/high sugar is confusing the point bc they are *supposed* to be high calorie . In hospitals & institutions they are routinely given to sick & debilitated people who are losing weight bc they cannot eat enough calories (for various illness-related reasons), people whose weight loss is threatening their health or slowing their recovery from surgery or illness. These are patients who need large amounts of macronutients (calories, protein, & fat) in small quantities because they cannot or will not eat larger portions. Yes, in a private home, making high calorie puddings or shakes is a natural alternative (though maybe not practical in an institutional setting). But the author’s suggestion of chicken broth is ridiculous. Chicken broth is low calorie compared to these calorie-dense supplements. In the label pictured in the photo, the ingredients sugar & corn syrup solids provide calories, the next ingredient whey concentrate provides protein, the rest are all vitamins. It’s not “artificial juice,” it’s calories & protein for people who won’t/can’t eat solid food.

  73. Chris Sandt says:

    I have many patients who actually get worse . Diarrhea and bloating. I suggest soothing teas broth , puddings and custards home made . I wish I could have a delivery of good foods to sick people. I am sorry for your illness but love your message. #OLDCOUNTRYNURSE

  74. Mary Weathers says:


  75. Jen says:

    Its sad that people believe comsuming chemicals means their getting their vitamins. However they are not the same as vitamins in real food.

  76. janet Coutanche says:

    Cheap, convenient and doesn’t spoil. The same trucks that deliver to restaurants deliver to hospitals.

  77. janet says:

    Reading the food comments is just as shocking as what is in ensure. Beef broth & chicken broth have been used for centuries to stregthen the ill. Beef cubes are made from beef bones. This is big corporations making profits and they will use the cheapest filler available and the biggest ad to do so. Blenders will make vegetables a drinkable food!!!

  78. mini2z says:

    Reblogged this on mini2z and commented:
    Homemade Chicken Soup it’s not! Homemade smoothie: milk or juice & fruit & ice

  79. KimGreenrod says:

    Thank you for sharing

  80. Bud says:

    Lost me when she said ‘ice cream is, after all, quite nutritious’.

  81. Monica says:

    The prominent position of sugar and corn syrup in these products are an overload of quick sugar that does not provide any nutrition whatsoever. Cancer cells use up a large amount of glucose (sugar) and refined processed sugars ought to be avoided by cancer patients. If you really want a healthy nutrition boost fresh pressed juicing is the best, particularly of organic veggies. Naturally occurring sugars such as found in carrots, apples, etc also contain phytonutrients and fiber that slows absorption while providing your cells healthy nutrition to support all bodily systems so it can function properly. It’s easy to drink, your body doesn’t need much energy to digest it, and it packs a powerful nutritional punch. Ensure is a processed sugar laiden synthetic approach to nutrition. It’s not real nutrition. It’s even misleading in its graphics and marketing by putting an apple on the front when it doesn’t even contain apple juice. This alone should make buyers beware. Sugar water with a synthetic vitamin pill. How some people think that that is better than whole foods nutrition I’ll never understand.

  82. Susanne says:

    Think some people are missing the point. Criticism is not merely against Ensure or whatever. It’s against the PROGRAM. They have this little formula : it has XY and Z on it for pain, XY and Z on it for nutrition, XY and Z on it for anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. everyone in the situation is relying on hospice because they are all too distressed or ill to take better control. Since hospice is leading the charge in helping the terminally ill, they should be ahead of the curve not behind it when it comes to better ideas and more alternatives. And everyone’s loved ones should realize that if a person didn’t eat that #%^*# when They felt good, they are not going to like it when they don’t feel well.

  83. Ann Dimapilis says:

    So, it’s time for all of these commenters to help take care of dying patients – within the financial and time constraints that hospice organizations have – but those fresh vegetables, prepare the soups and shakes, feed our dying patients. AND do the other duties that our hospice caretakers need to do to keep the patients comfortable.
    Now we repeat for the next patient.
    THESE ARE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS! For when healthy nutrition is not possible because of all the reasons already specified.
    If you are able to get homemade soup and “organic” shakes AND able to keep up with your nutritional needs, that’s great. If not, then don’t feel like you are failing yourself or your child because you use Ensure or Pediasure. Be careful of these comments from people who have received their medical/nutrition/nursing degrees from WedMD College of Google University. They are likely the same people who chastise women who can’t breastfeed and have to formula feed their babies – I guess formula feeding should be considered a form of child abuse!

  84. Linda licata says:

    Dr. Sam Chachoua was on Bill Mayer’s show last night. He had had great sucess with cancers & hiv.

  85. Vicki says:

    Thank you for sharing Carol. I did not know and i am also fighting cancer. I do read label’s though. And try to stay fresh and not out of a can. Frozen can be better sometime.
    Prayers Carol may God walk with you…


  86. Martha Dyer says:

    Disgusting — our fight against cancer is our realization of fake and
    lethal chemicals pushed by greedy,
    heartless psychopaths who have
    no care or conscience about the
    terror of destroying our trust in
    “healthy food”. Crushing headaches,
    irritability, memory loss, anxiety,
    depression, worthlessness, sleepiness,
    confusion are a sample of the
    symptoms caused by the poisons
    in the “food” that is sold by the
    retailers. I will not mention “sugar
    free” substitutes here — but they
    wreck havoc on our brains, nerves,
    muscles, lungs, heart, thyroid,
    liver and kidneys. The only real
    foods are those our true original
    farmers produced —- it is easy to
    see the healthy children who
    have been raised on farms and
    eat real food. Or the people who
    know about the poisonous chemicals in
    hundreds of products and choose to
    avoid them at all COST. No wonder
    cancer is rampant — though the
    real cancer running amok are the
    people who keep promoting garbage
    with slick commercials to entice us
    to have a more fun life with xyz
    products. Really we are trapped
    unless we open our opportunities to
    only eat real nutritious food and
    stay on course, of course.

  87. Kevin Kinney says:

    Hello Carroll Krause, cancer is not an old age illness, it is cure able at all ages. Please look on ebay for “Forbidden Cancer Cures they don’t want you to know about.” Go on for a book called “High Frequency Foods.” And do a “Cancer Cure” search on youtube. Sure, there are hucksters there, but, there are real cures there to based on real research you can do at home. It will take a few days going threw the videos, but you’ll find cures and better search word combinations. And there is more out here, real cures. It’s never to late to learn. FIRST OF ALL, STOP EATING AND DRINKING SUGAR as that is the only thing CANCER EATS. Yeah. Think about it for a moment. There you go, I think you see the big picture now. God Bless

  88. Kevin Kinney says:

    There are cures out here. First, stop eating and drinking sugar. I posted a comment earlier, I don’t see it. Perhaps the cures information, books, websites… was to much for the American people to have. Well one of the first cures was STOP eating sugar. Yep, it was in a study done Decades ago. As cancer cells live by eating that sugar. Stop eating and the cancer starves out in about two months or less. Based on that study I saw. I hope you can find the first comment of mine. Time is short to stock up… God Bless

  89. zeinakhawam says:

    I agree with you that their products are not what we would label as “healthy”. But our priority with these sick elderly patients is to stop their rapid weight loss or gain weight so they can regain some strength and fight whatever illness they have. The best way to do so is with enriched products rich in carbs, protein, and fat. If a healthier high-protein, high-calorie product was available I would certainly choose that over Ensure or Boost, but for the moment they are proven very useful, if not life-saving.

  90. Karen Norman says:

    Wait a minute, I thought you were on to something until I read that you think real food is chicken broth, milk and eggs. Obviously you have bought into your own forms of propaganda. Casein, which makes up the proteins in milk can turn on and off cancer. In fact, the nations with the highest dairy intakes are the nations that consume the most dairy. Not even the dairy industry can say that milk does a body good any more. And eggs!! These cholesterol riddled items are very bad for us. Check out why here. So, before questioning other unhealthy products, make sure your own house is clean first. A whole foods plant based diet is nutritionally perfect for humans. Plants, once thought to be incomplete, have complete proteins. Please educate yourself. Don’t let your own doctrines make you blind to to health issues. Don’t let your own cravings for unhealthy foods kill you. [facebook url="" /]

  91. Holly says:

    Thank you! We should all be our own advocates & NEVER blindly do what so called medical professionals tell us. I appreciate your looking out for the set of us!

  92. Jenny says:

    Here’s an organic, nutrient-dense, doctor-developed alternative (the doctor is a cancer survivor):

  93. You would think that at hospice or a hospital they would always serve homemade meals and desserts but apparently not! ????

  94. My son has a feeding tube. He was born 3 months premature with a congenital heart defect. He’s endured 6 surgeries, including multiple heart surgeries.

    The default diet for a child with a feeding tube is NOTHING but Pediasure! Which has the same ingredients, mostly, as Ensure. Corn syrup and sugar. They think it’s ok for 100% of my son’s carbs coming from corn syrup and sugar is fine. He used to vomit ALL day long. He couldn’t develop because he was throwing up all the time. He couldn’t grow because her was throwing up all the time. He was in the less than 1th percentile.

    I began putting real food through a Vitamix so it would fit through his tube. 3 separate dietitians whose job is to prescribe diets for tube fed children told me there was no benefit to real food that Pediasure didn’t have. BS.

    Once I began feeding him food, the vomiting stopped. He began growing after having not gained an ounce for 3 months.He went from being in the less than 1th percentile for weight to the 50th percentile. He began making lots of progress developmentally. His therapists say he’s like a different kid.

    And yet, most moms of tube fed children have to fight against the medical profession to feed their child food instead of absolutely nothing but Pediasure. Many, many moms are told their child can’t get the nutrition they need without Pediasure. These dietitians honestly believe that a child cannot get their nutritional needs met from food. FOOD!

    Many hospitals have policies against feeding food to tube fed children. I know moms that feed their tube fed children food, but when their child got sick and was hospitalized, the hospital said they had to feed their child Pediasure while in the hospital.

    It’s ridiculous. My son will never have a single drop of that crap again.

    • Wow! Thanks so much for this testament to both your own intuition and to real, actual, FOOD for your beautiful son.

      • It has changed our lives. Shame on ANY medical professional that tells patients or parents of patients that Pediasure and Ensure are good for them. I don’t need a degree that in nutrition to know that diets high in sugar are not good for us. The comments on this article that support Ensure were so, so disturbing to me. It doesn’t matter if the ingredients are big words, I don’t care about that. I do care about someone educated in nutrition telling me feeding my 1-year-old son more sugar than can be found in a can of Coke every single day is good for him. I do not comprehend it.

  95. Andrew says:

    Thank you Carroll for helping people understand how fake, processed, “nutritional foods” like Ensure & other brands are sheer garbage for the body. All of this acidic sugar, maltodextrin, & high fructose corn syrup feeds cancer cells & is extremely unhealthy. We need alkaline Kangen water & natural alkaline whole foods in order for the body to heal & become cancer free….like so many have done.

  96. Tammy McLaren says:

    I took ensure for 3 months through a feeding tube 7 a day when I was going through treatment for my cancer and I thought the same thing .It is so full of sugar and so much junk to this day I have a hard time even looking at it in the store .Bless you Carroll for speaking out 🙂

  97. Jolly says:

    They feed this to people dying from eating disorders and it saves lives and returns health. Could it be better? Yes, but posting this could set back orthorexics and anorexics on their path to recovery and is irresponsible. Why not write to the company or petition for better ingredients?

  98. Heather says:

    Same with baby formula. It’s a true crime.

  99. Anon says:

    This is bunk. Do the homework. The numbers are WRONG. Ensure has a total carb WELL under 50. I’m not FOR ensure, just don’t make stuff up.

  100. Suzanne says:

    Horrible stuff.. It’s been said that cancer feeds on sugar… Hello???

  101. Hello Carrol,
    Love and light! And I must say I agree with everything you have written, you have almost took the exact words out of my mouth. I was working at a seniors home and had been promoted to nutritionist and thought finally I can give the elderly the amazing things a body needs when it’s breaking down…to my surprise it meant me scooping and cutting pies, cakes, jello, pudding, all from packages, and or cans..along with a bottle of ensure. I do not understand. I am as perplexed at the simplicity of the lives and care these elderly or dying people are subjected to.
    I would love to start a meals on wheels geared to the dietary needs of each client and feed them things that would enhance their health not deteriorating it.
    Thank you for validating I may just have to get this going so our seniors and those whose lives are shortened are not subjected to another bottle of what’s called a supplement

  102. Faye says:

    I totally agree that “Ensure” is not a healthy product. But a Hospice is “end of life” care. They are not trying to “cure”, they just want to make you as comfortable as possible.
    But in other circumstances eg. Cancer clinics – hand out Ensure – and yet they are trying to cure – but are giving you more sugar which cancer cells feed on. Now this is wrong!

  103. Heidi says:

    It all boils down to 2 words = POPULATION CONTROL.
    A frightening reality perpetuated by our own government.

  104. Heidi says:

    Soilent Green, anyone???

  105. Lauren Belle says:

    Only a few blogger would discuss this topic the way you do.;**.*

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