Ensure and Boost can be thought of as glorified liquid candy, which is why it’s no surprise that these sugary drinks cannot treat GERD in any way.
A lot of GERD sufferers and those with the occasional heartburn or other symptoms caused by acid reflux would like to know if Ensure (or its mimicker, Boost) can help tame the symptoms.
I have no idea where this idea came from, because Ensure and Boost – though touted as healthful – are literally liquid candy.
Just read the ingredients!
“I am not aware of any evidence that those products can cause or help relieve acid reflux,” says Lauren Gerson, MD, board certified gastroenterologist formerly with California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
Dr. Gerson is a nationally recognized researcher in the field of general gastroenterology including management and treatment of GERD.
Don’t reach for the Ensure or Boost to treat your heartburn any more than you’d reach for a candy bar.
People with occasional bouts of acid reflux need to figure out what their trigger foods are and avoid them. Overeating, too, is a trigger.
Dr. Gerson lists the following foods as potential causes of acid reflux:
“Coffee, tea (caffeinated or decaffeinated) and other carbonated beverages; fatty, fried or spicy foods; and other foods such as chocolate, peppermint, tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic and onions.
“If symptoms persist after making these diet changes, it is important to speak with your doctor because there are long-term treatment options that can help.”
Ensure is targeted towards older people who don’t get enough nutrition. Boost is very similar.
These products, though laden with synthetic ingredients, have their place for people who are losing too much weight due to a refusal to eat.
For example, when my mother was disabled by clinical depression, she didn’t want to eat, but found it tolerable to sip through a straw an entire bottle of Ensure or Boost – a quick 350 calories that she desperately needed. Meanwhile she wouldn’t even eat a single slice of bread.
But remember, Ensure, Boost or similar products have no place in the treatment of heartburn or other symptoms caused by acid reflux.
Dr. Gerson passed away in July 2017 after a valiant battle against metastatic melanoma. Dr. Gerson devoted herself to solving her patients’ most difficult and longstanding health challenges.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.