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Diabetic Protein Shakes? Rat Chow is Better

Rat chow: that's what Ensure and Enterex Diabetic drinks remind me of. I'm not into protein drinks anymore--haven't been in years--but my parents are elderly and it's hard for them to cook. They're also diabetic, and yet my father's doctor recommended two Ensure drinks per day. That's 80 grams, or 18 teaspoons, of liquid sugar. The main ingredients in Ensure:

Water, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Pea Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil. 

Seriously--the second ingredient is sugar. (Corn maltodextrin in a starchy food additive.) Isn't that a big ol' clue that this isn't suitable for diabetics?

A pharmacist recommended Enterex Diabetic. It has fewer carbs, but 24 grams of liquid carbohydrate is too much at one sitting for many diabetics. The ingredients:

Water, Maltodextrin, Sodium Caseinate, High-Oleic Safflower Oil, Calcium Caseinate, Fiber (Soy Fiber, Gum Arabic, Guar Gum), Canola Oil, Vitamins and Minerals (snipped for brevity)  Natural and Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Sucralose, Sodium Hydroxide, Acesulfame Potassium.

Carrageenan (which my mother pronounces "carcinogen") may be a carcinogen; it gave me sinus pain, upset stomach and a migraine headache last year. I ended up in an ambulance. Carrageenan is used to induce inflammation in laboratory animals.

Laboratory rats eat a diet that's better than Ensure or Enterex Diabetic. The list of ingredients in Purina Rat Diet 5012 contains recognizable food. Granted, the rat chow isn't suitable for humans (it contains wheat, soybean oil, and too many grains and carbohydrates), but neither are the protein drinks mentioned, for similar reasons.

What to do for a protein drink? I suggested my eggnog recipe, but Mom doesn't want raw eggs. The protein shake recipes we found online were all full of fruit. Real food, yes, but not suitable for someone with a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. Instead, she's going to try to hot cocoa recipe from 500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender. Perfect--she's been craving hot cocoa, even though it's summer, and there are only eight grams of net carbs in a cup.

Speaking of chocolate, I'd sooner eat a chocolate bar with good ingredients and limited carbs than a commercial protein drink. Click photo to enlarge.

Alter Eco Dark Blackout (85% cocoa) chocolate bar.


tess said…
Does your mother know about pasteurized eggs? She could use your recipe without the fear of unsafe egg problems. And if she likes broth and/or soups, her possibilities are endless (just thinking about it is making me hungry for gazpacho....
Lori Miller said…
If Mom didn't know about pasteurized eggs, she will now (she reads the comments). She could do simple soups, too, like egg drop.
It should not be so difficult, but unfortunately it so often is for diabetics. I'm sure you will research a few good suggestions out there. Simple soups are an excellent idea.

All the best Jan

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