How Do Dietary Supplements Stack Up Against “Real” Food?

January 27th, 2012

Undernutrition in the elderly is a serious issue, and drink supplements are often added to the diet to help seniors get the nutrients they need. But how do supplements stack up to real food, and how do the top supplements compare to one another?

Compared to the option of low-fat yogurt and an orange, which has around 206 calories, 12 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fat, 467 grams of calcium, and 71 mg of vitamin C, here’s how some of the most popular supplements weigh in:

  • Boost (8 oz.): 240 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 300 grams of calcium, 0 grams of fiber, 60 mg of vitamin C
  • Ensure (8 oz.): 220 calories, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 300 grams of calcium, 3 grams of fiber, 30 mg of vitamin C
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast Essentials (11 oz.): 250 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 500 grams of calcium, 0 grams of fiber, 30 mg of vitamin C

The clear winner in this scenario is the yogurt and orange option as it is the highest in fiber, calcium and vitamin C. However, the supplements do offer decent nutritional value for those who struggle to meet their caloric intake. Just make sure supplement use is balanced with real fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein for optimum nutrition. For more information on how to ensure seniors are meeting their nutritional goals, contact Visiting Angels in the San Francisco Bay area. Call our offices in Alameda County at (510) 284-0000 or in Santa Clara County at (408) 735-0977.