Ensure Nutrition Shake or Ensure Complete Nutrition Shake?

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Soylent…but it seems likely that it will be sometime later in Q1 2014 before I’ll get my hands on it. In the meantime I’ve been drinking a good bit of Ensure. It is a nice, easy way to get some caloric and nutritional content without a lot of work. How good is it for me? Hmmm…I’m not sure.

I recently saw they had a “Complete” product which is supposed to provide support for muscles, heart, immune system, and bones…but it is significantly more expensive. You can buy a six pack of Ensure for around $9-$10, a four pack of Ensure Complete runs around the same. So which should I buy? I decided to do a side-by-side comparison – and since I’m doing it, I might as well share it with you.

 Product: Ensure Ensure Complete
 Calories:  250  350
 Fat Calories:  50  100
 Total Fat:  6 g  11 g
 Cholesterol  5 mg  5 mg
 Sodium  200 mg  240 mg
 Potassium  370 mg  560 mg
 Carbohydrates  40 g  51 g
 Sugars  23 g  20 g
 Protein  9 g  13 g
 Vitamin A  25%  25%
 Iron  25%  25%
 Vitamin K  25%  25%
 Niacin  25%  25%
 Vitamin B12  25%  25%
 Phosphorus  25%  35%
 Zinc  25%  25%
 Manganese  60%  60%
 Chloride  8%  2%
 Vitamin C  50%  60%
 Vitamin D  25%  40%
 Thiamin  25%  25%
 Vitamin B6  25%  25%
 Biotin  25%  25%
 Iodine  25%  25%
 Selenium  25%  30%
 Chromium  25%  25%
 Choline  15%  15%
 Calcium  30%  35%
 Vitamin E  25%  30%
 Riboflavin  25%  25%
 Folate  25%  25%
 Pantothenic Acid  25%  25%
 Magnesium  25%  25%
 Copper  25%  25%
  Molybdenum  50%  60%
 Amino Acid Metabolite HMB  No  Yes
 Omega 3’s  No  650 mg ALA
 Probiotics  No  Yes

Based on this analysis, I think I’ll stick with the regular nutritional shakes. I wouldn’t mind the Amino Acid Metabolite HMB, Omega 3’s, or Probiotics…but I can get these from other sources. Everything else seems fairly minor or something I don’t necessarily want (e.g. extra calories)…and the lower price of the regular shake makes more financial sense.

Any thoughts? Do you use nutritional drinks? If so, what kind and how frequently? I’d say I use them on average once a day – though sometimes twice…and of course, there are the odd days where I don’t use them at all.

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