Glucerna For Diabetes: How It Works And Nutritional Facts

Once you try these nutritional shakes, you will wonder why you never considered them before.

Medically reviewed by Rowinda Dimech, RDN
Written by Varsha Patnaik, MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Diet & Nutrition Coach
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Payal Karnik, MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

When you deal with long-term health conditions, there are certain meal supplements that can prove to be beneficial. Glucerna is one such health drink. Glucerna is beneficial for people with diabetes in multiple ways. These vitamin-fortified nutritional shakes can also be included in weight-loss diet plans for people who don’t have diabetes. Going further in this article, we will explore the key features and nutritional facts of Glucerna, along with the pros and cons of including it in your daily diet.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Glucerna

What Is It?
A range of products by Abbott Nutrition that are low in glycemic index.

What Are Its Benefits?
They are a convenient, satiating, and low-glycemic source of food rich in protein.

Who Can Use It?
People with diabetes, prediabetics, or those who want to lose weight can consume it.

How Often?
It can be consumed for one meal daily.

Caution
It contains fructose and artificial sweeteners which may increase uric acid levels in the blood and lead to kidney disease, heart diseases, and high blood pressure.

What Is Glucerna?

Mart shelf with Glucerna products
Image: Shutterstock

The Glucerna line of products, sold by Abbott Nutrition, comes in a variety of flavors of nutritional shakes, snack bars, and powders that can be mixed into liquids. They are formulated with low-glycemic ingredients to help manage your blood sugar levels better and assist in glucose control. Apart from people with diabetes, these health shakes can support your overall wellness and even benefit people with prediabetes and those looking to lose weight. Glucerna is available for purchase online and retails in major pharmaceuticals, health stores, and grocery shops.

Glucerna meal replacement shakes come in five different flavors:

  • Homemade Vanilla
  • Classic Butter Pecan
  • Creamy Strawberry
  • Rich Chocolate
  • Chocolate Caramel

Based on the flavor, they may have different additional ingredients but the key nutrients remain the same overall. Let’s now look at a detailed breakdown of Glucerna’s nutrients in the next section.

Nutritional Facts Of Glucerna

According to the USDA, one 8-oz can of Glucerna provides you with 198 calories along with the following nutrients (1):

NutrientAmount
Calories198
Carbohydrates16 g
Fiber5.46 g
Total Sugars (including NLEA)6.55 g
Protein10.9 g
Total Fat7.64 g
Saturated Fat0.575 g
Calcium273 mg
Iron4.9 mg
Potassium436 mg
Folic Acid109 µg
Vitamin A409 µd
Vitamin C65.5 mg
Vitamin D2.73 µg
Vitamin E3.62 mg

The 8 oz serving bottle of Glucerna shake has about 10.9 grams of protein. Of the total fat content (7.64 g), only about 0.57 g is saturated fats. It also contains 5.4 grams of dietary fiber and relatively low sodium per serving. Along with these key nutrients, Glucerna can provide you with 25% or more of the recommended daily value of calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, vitamin A, D, and B-12.

All Glucerna products are gluten-free and suitable for people with lactose intolerance as well. However, they contain a considerable amount of fructose (a natural fruit sugar), artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohol which may cause potential health issues in people with diabetes. So, does it really work for diabetes?

protip_icon Quick Tip
Glucerna products contain modified maltodextrin, fructose, glycerin, maltitol, soy fiber, and fructooligosaccharides. The body cannot digest a majority of these ingredients, and thus, they do not raise blood sugar levels.

Does Glucerna Work For Diabetes?

Woman making Glucerna shake for diabetes and weight loss
Image: Shutterstock

Glucerna is specifically formulated with low glycemic carbohydrates to help manage diabetes better. For people with diabetes or on verge of the prediabetic stage, it is important to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly to keep them in check. It is better to include dietary carbohydrates that are slow to digest and not easily convertible to sugars (2). Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels increases the possibilities of various other associated health risks like blurry vision, kidney, or nerve damage, weight issues, etc (3).

Additionally, Glucerna is low in unsaturated fats and cholesterol. When included in your weight loss diet plans, this might help you manage your weight better that is key to managing diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes (4). With 10.9 g of protein in each 8 oz serving, it meets a fourth of your daily protein requirements as well. Low carbohydrate and protein-rich diets help you maintain your weight better.

Not to replace a complete meal, but over time, having Glucerna in place of any other fast-acting carbohydrate snack might lead to improvement in the diabetes condition and other associated health concerns as well.

A YouTuber tried the Glucerna shake when her blood sugar level dropped to 65. She states in her video, “There’s only four grams of sugar and it’s very low in carbs. So, when I did drink this, my number went up to about 88, and now it’s pretty steady (i).” She recommends the shake for times when your blood sugar drops and you need a way to raise it without spiking the numbers too much.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Avoid consuming Glucerna if you have low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), insulin shock, or insulin reaction. This is because the carbohydrates and nutrients in it may not help drastically elevate sugar levels as needed.

So what are the key features that set Glucerna apart from other health drinks?

Key Features Of Glucerna

Two scoopfuls of Glucerna vanilla and chocolate flavors
Image: Shutterstock

Glucerna health drinks are popular because of their balanced features that cater to the nutritional requirements of people with diabetes and certain other food restrictions. Some of the key features of Glucerna include:

  • Formulated with CARBSTEADY®, a uniquely made blend of low-glycemic carbohydrates that are slow in digestion and releasing sugar. This helps minimize sudden sugar spikes in your blood sugar levels.
  • It contains 10.9 g of protein per serving (1).
  • It can provide you with 26 vital vitamins and minerals altogether.
  • It is gluten-free.
  • It is suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
  • It is a kosher and halal food product in accordance with certain religious food-related practices.
  • It can make for a good snacking option or substitute any high-glycemic foods.

While the basic features of Glucerna may seem tempting, it’s also important to know about your basic nutrient requirements, especially with type 2 diabetes.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Glucerna products minimize the post-meal spikes in blood sugar. Therefore, anyone starting with Glucerna products may need to adjust insulin dose or timing.

For best nutrition, you should balance your diet with naturally available low-glycemic foods like whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. But, can you have it as much as you like? Is too much Glucerna still helpful? Let’s have a better understanding in the next section.

Pros And Cons Of Glucerna

Woman drinking glucerna from a sipper between workout session
Image: Shutterstock

While Glucerna may help fill in the gaps in your diet and nutrition as and when required, having too much of it is not good. Just like everything else, there are certain pros and cons to including Glucerna in your meals too.

Pros

  • Good Source Of Protein: On average, the daily recommended allowance for protein is 46 g and 56 g for adult women and men respectively. An average serving of 8 oz Glucerna shake can provide you with 10.9 g of protein, equivalent to that found in 1 ½ whole eggs (1)
  • Low-glycemic Food: Glucerna health products have low-glycemic carbohydrates that get digested slowly to prevent any sudden spike in your blood sugar levels.
  • Convenient: Glucerna health drinks and nutritional bars make for a convenient, easily available, and portable option when you’re traveling or don’t have easy access to naturally found low glycemic foods sources.
  • Satiating: People with diabetes often have to stay away from sweets and desserts. Glucerna, with its 5 varieties of flavors, helps satisfy your sweet cravings while keeping your sugar levels in check. The considerable protein content helps you feel full as well.

Cons

  • Fructose Content: The third ingredient listed on Glucerna shakes is fructose (plant fruit sugar). Frequent consumption of fructose may potentially affect the regulation of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and might increase the chances of type 2 diabetes (5).
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Glucerna contains artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols like sucralose and acesulfame potassium. As per a study, having these substances thrice a day might affect the glucose response in non-diabetic people (6).
  • Over-reliance: The greatest possible risk is the possible over-dependence on Glucerna products due to their ease of use and convenience. While Glucerna drink bottles and bars are easy to rely upon as a convenient food option, you should not have them too often as a meal replacement. You should limit their intake to once per day to avoid over-consumption and try to balance your meals with wholesome options.

This graph from a study published in Nutrition and Diabetes shows the effects of two commercially available DSNFs (Diabetes-specific nutritional formulas): Glucerna and ultra glucose control, as opposed to oatmeal, on satiety and hunger hormones, such as amylin, cholecystokinin (CCK), and leptin in overweight people with type 2 diabetes.

Glucerna

Source: Effect of diabetes-specific nutrition formulas on satiety and hunger hormones in patients with type 2 diabetes

Consuming naturally available low-glycemic food along with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle is important to manage your diabetes or weight loss goals better. Glucerna should only be used as a health supplement and should be consumed in moderation to utilize its beneficial effects. Let’s see how you can include it in your diet.

Preparation Of Glucerna

Glasses of different flavors of glucerna shakes
Image: Shutterstock

To prepare a 237 ml serving from the Glucerna powder mix, you need to

  1. Take 200 ml of cool water in a glass.
  2. Gradually stir in 5 leveled scoops (52.1g) of Glucerna powder
  3. Mix until all of it is well dissolved.

An 850 g can of Glucerna powder gives you about 16 servings of 237 ml each.

In case you are having the Glucerna flavored shake bottle, you may need to keep a few things in mind.

  • Keep it refrigerated and have it chilled.
  • Shake well before use.
  • Once you open the packet, seal and store it in the refrigerator and use it within 48 hours.
  • If you drink it directly from the bottle, you should cover, refrigerate and use it within 24 hours.

Infographic: Glucerna: Composition, Dosage, And Precautions For Use

Glucerna health drinks specifically cater to the needs of people with diabetes. These shakes are enriched with many nutrients that positively impact blood sugar levels.

The following infographic provides information about the composition, dosage, and precautions to consider while using glucerna. Check it out!

composition, dosage, and precautions for usage of glucerna (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

You may want to consider using Glucerna for diabetes management. It is packed with proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and has low carbohydrate content. This nutritional supplement is particularly helpful for those keeping a close eye on their weight and blood sugar levels. It is gluten-free, lactose-free, and is considered halal and kosher food. Glucerna products fill your stomach; however, they are dietary supplements and not meant to substitute for well-balanced diets and meals. Moreover, overconsumption of Glucerna products may have unpleasant side effects as they have high fructose content and contain artificial sweeteners. Long-term consumption of these supplements may contribute to blood sugar imbalances. Make sure to check your sugar levels before and after consumption to determine how the supplements affect your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Glucerna can you drink a day?

It is safe to have one Glucerna per day.

What is the difference between Glucerna and Ensure?

While both are meal replacements, Glucerna is specifically for people with diabetes, and Ensure is for everyone.

What is the cost of Glucerna?

There is an average price of $115.10 for 24 bottles of Glucerna, which are about 237ml each.

Is Glucerna good for the elderly?

Yes. Glucerna is fortified with nutrients that are beneficial for the elderly.

Does Glucerna cause diarrhea?

It varies from individual to individual. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Glucerna may cause diarrhea in a few people.

Does Glucerna contain milk?

Yes. Glucerna bars contain milk ingredients. Therefore, always check the product labels.

Key Takeaways

  • Glucerna products are made of low-glycemic carbs, and they are suitable for weight loss and anyone with diabetes or prediabetes.
  • Their shakes contain 10 g of proteins and 26 vitamins and minerals.
  • These products are kosher, halal, gluten-free, and lactose intolerant-friendly.
  • However, they also contain fructose and artificial sweeteners, which are bad for your health.

Are you dealing with diabetes and are wondering how you can treat it better? Learn the 4 superb facts about glucerna and how it can help you manage your diabetes.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Nutritional drink or shake ready-to-drink sugar-free (Glucerna)
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1104507/nutrients
  2. Slow release carbohydrate and the treatment of diabetes | Proceedings of the Nutrition Society | Cambridge Core
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/slow-release-carbohydrate-and-the-treatment-of-diabetes/E098B112417216C62B2AF03F57E4FE74
  3. Hyperglycemia
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430900/
  4. The importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes mellitus
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4238418/
  5. Habitual Fructose Intake Relates to Insulin Sensitivity and Fatty Liver Index in Recent-Onset Type 2 Diabetes Patients and Individuals without Diabetes
    https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/6/774
  6. Impact of artificial sweeteners on glycaemic control in healthy humans – Virtual Meeting | EASD
    https://www.easd.org/media-centre/home.html
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