Pediasure for kids, sure. But for adults!?
I have been asked more than once whether it is wise to use Pediasure for adults. If you’ve spent time around children you may already know the product, and possibly have even given it to children of your own.
So, if it’s good for kids is it also good for adults? Pediasure is a product created by the company Abbott, which also makes Ensure (there are Ensure alternatives as well), Pedialyte, Similac, etc.
Pediasure was designed for children between the ages of 2 to 13 years old. Adults can drink it, however, there are alternatives that are much better suited for adults.
Why for Kids?
Ages 2 to 13 are when children are eating solid food and growing rapidly everywhere, including their brains which are developing at a rapid rate. Because of this, their vitamin, mineral, and general nutritional needs are vastly different from what any human needs at any other time of life.
Pediasure fills a need in society for children who are picky eaters that aren’t meeting their basic nutritional needs for proper growth and development from their diet alone. Pediasure is a nutritional supplement designed to help children meet their nutritional and growth needs or to serve as a meal replacement or to stimulate appetite as needed for weight gain.
Adults have different nutrition needs than kids, and drinking pediasure as an adult can often lead to weight gain, unexpected calorie intake, too many empty calories in an unbalanced diet, and poor health outcomes.
Pediasure provides about 240 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 27 different vitamins and minerals per serving.
Why Not for Adults?
Pediasure is high in sugar (12 grams) and this can affect adults negatively.
The recommended intake per day of sugar for adults is limited to 30 grams for women and 45 grams for men; many nutritionists will agree that cutting this down further offers better benefits for health. Additionally, there is added sugar in pediasure which is generally best to avoid.
Pediasure also contains milk.
Thus, anyone that has issues digesting lactose, is allergic or sensitive to dairy products, or is vegan will not find the product suitable.
Lastly, it’s expensive and could end up costing over $100 a month if two cartons are consumed daily.
The Importance of Ingredients
Here’s an example of a PediaSure product label:
The most disturbing thing about this product is its primary ingredients – it’s made from corn, soy, safflower oil, sugar, artificial flavors, and tuna oil.
Think of it this way, it is a blend of seed oils, vegetable oils, and sugar. Seed and vegetable oils have been shown to increase inflammation and create imbalances to gut health. Although this might be a stretch, tuna is a known source of high levels of mercury, yet the product label doesn’t state that any tests were done to ensure that mercury is not in the product. Developing minds – as well as adults – do not need an added dietary source of mercury; it may interfere with brain function and kidney function.
Even though the label says the ingredients are non-GMO, its primary ingredients are still questionable. The vitamin sources are also questionable. For example, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate is inactive in the body. It’s the d-alpha-form that is active.
The product is clearly missing zinc from the ingredient list, yet the label states that there is 15% of the daily value in the product. Many people think that zinc could help prevent COVID. Any product that purposefully leaves zinc out of a formulation is very questionable, especially at this time in history! (editor note: Tuna is high in zinc, and other ingredients or nutritional supplements may be responsible for this)
What does this all mean?
The point here is that just because marketing statements claim ’27 vitamins and minerals’ on the packaging doesn’t mean that their product is necessarily good for your body.
Nutrition is all about ratios, and if the ratios aren’t correct or optimal for your current age and body type, then vitamin and mineral deficiencies will be induced.
Are There Any Advantages of Pediasure for Adults?
In a word – no.
There are no advantages to drinking Pediasure for adults.
When it comes to proper nutrition for adults, there is truly only one way to determine what someone needs: run tests to determine your current needs for supplementation, and then supplement exactly what is needed in the RIGHT AMOUNTS. Any nutritionist or registered dietician should be able to help you with this task.
If you’d like to meet with a registered dietician online, check out Nourish which is a platform aimed at providing that exact service.
Back to a multinational healthcare company hoping to profit off your product selections. Any formula that is created by a company is not one that is concerned about your individual needs.
It’s important you eat nutrient-dense foods and limit highly processed foods to ensure good nutrition, and it’s also important to understand where you may be lacking and could use some nutritional supplementation targeted to the needs of your specific body.
You should know that there’s one foundational fact all nutritionists are taught – change the diet in any way and the person will feel different; usually better – for a short time. Change the diet from meat-eating to vegetarian and all the new foods that haven’t been eaten will be filling in metabolic gaps that were never filled before, thus making the person feel different. Change the diet from vegetarian to meat-eating and the same thing happens. And then the deficiencies occur over time.
4 Better Alternatives
You can always go for a canned or packaged nutritional supplement that is supposed to better your nutrition by providing 27 vitamins and minerals but it doesn’t change the flaws of what you are consuming. It’s still a highly processed product. It’s usually made from GMO ingredients. The product still contains artificial flavors that your body doesn’t want and has to detoxify out. It still contains sugar, which causes all types of health problems.
We must raise our standards of what we will and won’t put into our bodies. It’s important that individually, and as a collective, we stop settling for mass-produced products that don’t support healthy digestion and take away from the nutrient-rich foods that are readily available to us in this day and age.
With this in mind, what will you do? What could you try as an alternative to Pediasure?
Here are some ideas…
1. Liver Pate
Ground liver is easy to eat. It’s full of B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and phytonutrients. It should always be grass-fed animal liver and from animals never given antibiotics. Enjoyed with healthy crackers, this is a great, energy-boosting snack.
2. Whole Milk
Whole milk is a good source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It’s best if it’s A2 milk or real cows’ milk. If it’s from cows that are grass-fed, it’s more wholesome and has less opportunity to contribute to degenerative diseases.
By adding dark chocolate and even a little of your favorite sweetener, it’s very possible to enjoy whole milk as a Pediasure alternative. Whole milk will always be better than any dairy protein derivative used in a processed nutritional supplement.
Smoothies are typically recommended to be made of a mixture of whole milk or another nutrient-dense liquid such as orange juice, full-fat yogurt, a few tablespoons of nut butter, fruits, vegetables (powdered forms work as well), and superfoods (Spirulina, medicinal mushrooms, blackstrap molasses, acacia fiber, acerola or acai berries), and other nutritional and flavorful ingredients.
Smoothies contain calories, fat, carbohydrates, and proteins as well as phytonutrients that fill in metabolic gaps. Many of the ingredients are functional foods, which improve the health of the body’s organs.
4. Keto Desserts Made with Added Superfoods
Keto desserts are usually made with nut butters and coconut oil; fats that contain fat-soluble vitamins and calories. These can satisfy a sweet tooth while still being mindful of the ingredients used.
Frequently Asked Questions
What age group is PediaSure for?
PediaSure is typically recommended for children aged 2 through 13.
What are the effects of drinking pediasure?
Recently, a class action lawsuit stating the company behind PediaSure is incorrect in its claims to increase height and weight gain in children was published, furthering the argument that there are no positive effects of drinking pediasure, especially as an adult.
How many different types of pediasure are there?
The various drink pediasure product options, and some of their most popular nutritional supplements, include pediasure grow gain, pediasure harvest, pediasure enteral, pediasure daily, and other specialty pediasure products.
In conclusion, while the idea of drinking PediaSure as an adult might seem tempting, there are undoubtedly better alternatives available that can provide comprehensive and tailored nutritional support.
Embracing a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, exploring specialized adult nutritional supplements, consulting with healthcare professionals, and maintaining an active lifestyle are all essential components of achieving and sustaining optimal health. Oral nutritional supplements and liquid meal replacements often use vegetable and seed oils – I simply believe real food and whole food supplements are better.
Rather than relying solely on a product designed for children, let’s prioritize personalized, informed choices that empower us to meet our nutritional needs in ways that best serve our unique adult bodies. By making conscious decisions about our dietary habits, we can pave the way for a healthier and more vibrant future.
About the Author
Dr. Schwontkowski earned her doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine as well as a master’s degree in Nutrition and another in Herbology. She is an expert in adult nutritional supplements, oral supplements, nutritional gaps, nutritional needs, and popular nutritional supplements for adults of all ages. She’s worked with thousands of patients to improve their nutrition. She was also a journalist for health and fitness magazines for 15 years and an editor of a top health magazine in Sacramento for 12 years. She is now a freelance writer and author.