• Welcome to Crohn's Forum, a support group for people with all forms of IBD. While this community is not a substitute for doctor's advice and we cannot treat or diagnose, we find being able to communicate with others who have IBD is invaluable as we navigate our struggles and celebrate our successes. We invite you to join us.

Ensure Fasts

David

Co-Founder
Staff member
Location
Naples, Florida
Has anyone here ever done an Ensure Fast? After reading Pen's response in this thread I'm curious. If you've tried it, has it helped?
 

AndiGirl

Your Story Forum Monitor
I've had some terrible flare in which my main meals were Ensure and Slim Fast. I did eat cracker and broth as well. When you feel like your digesting glass shards then those drinks become a nice alternative.
 
I supplemented a low residue diet with Ensure Plus for about 3 weeks, then Ensure Plus only for 3 weeks. I moved to a different elemental drink, Vivonex, for 7 weeks after that (again just the elemental diet.) Ensure does have milk products in it, although it is lactose-free, and I found that that this still caused me bloating. The Ensure also has more fat (which I have problems with) than the Vivonex.
 
Ensure does have milk products in it, although it is lactose-free, and I found that that this still caused me bloating.
Yeah, they all have milk & soy products, as does their competitor "Boost", the main reason I haven't tried this. I'm undiagnosed & would like to find some "baseline" nutrition I can try for awhile, see if my symptoms improve, and then add food items one by one. I still might try the elemental approach, but I think it's pretty expensive.
 
I was put on Ensure a few years ago and I had terrible results! I think the inside of my intestines was damaged to the point where lactose was no longer being digested. Ensure being milk based was a nightmare for me, I bloated up like a hot air balloon, was in really bad pain and farted all day everyday. That was when I was put on the 028 Elemental diet, which also did the same, but not quite so violently.

xxx
 
Ensure Plus for 2 weeks

I just did an Ensure fast. I drank Ensure Plus and nothing else except for water for 2 weeks.

I did this fast after reading the book "Beat Crohn's! Getting to Remission with Enteral Nutrition" by Margaret Oppenheimer. A good book, I highly recommend it. She writes well and cites scientific articles showing evidence of the success with enteral nutrition (e.g., consuming nothing but a formula drink for all of your calories). Independently I have looked up enteral nutrition on pubmed and found articles that show success in treating crohn's with enteral nutrition.

Prior to doing the fast I had been feeling good and having only 2 bm a day. My GI doctor was pleased with my improvement in symptoms (reduced number of bm, no D) and scheduled me to taper off of Entocort and continue on 6 mp. I, however, was not happy that I had upper abdominal pain (my GI doctor diagnosed that as reflux) and I was not happy that after I exercised I felt fatigued. As I started to taper off the Entocort I had one day where I experienced D. Of course, it was after eating a slice of carrot cake, but still!!!

I decided to try an Ensure fast because I was afraid that I might fail the taper off of Entocort. I also wanted to see if it might cure/stop the mucous that I see on my BMs.

While doing the Ensure Plus fast I continued to have 2 bm each day, but the bm were consistently more solid than they have been in a long time. No loose poop in sight! : ) I had no upper abdominal pain (so no reflux) and no fatigue. I felt really good. Anytime I felt a slight bit of hunger I drank another Ensure. I gained 1 lb (which is a good thing since I am still 10 lbs under my typical weight). The Ensure Plus did not stop the mucous (or at least what I think is mucous). I still see white mucous on my bm every few days.

Going forward I plan to eat 1 regular meal a day and drink the rest of my calories from Ensure and/or Ensure Plus. If I feel like I may be starting to flare I might revert back to Enteral nutrition/Ensure fast (i.e., getting all of my calories from Ensure).

When I eat I am also trying to limit intake of milk, sugar, grains.

I wonder if Enteral nutrition (e.g., Ensure Plus fast) works better for some type of Crohn's diagnoses/sypmptoms. I have crohn's Ileitis. My symptoms have been D, fatigue, weight loss, urgent and frequent BM. I have never had joint pain and it sounds like the abdominal pain I have had was reflux not crohn's.

I considered trying an elemental formula, such as Optimental or Peptamen. But they are really expensive (i.e., would cost me about $140-$170 for 3 days worth of drinks). If I start to flare again, I might try one of these formulas.

Feel free to ask me any questions.
 
Ensure and boost are great, but they are made with soy, and there a lot of negative side effect associated with consuming soy products. Look it up but some of them are, increased levels of estrogen, (especially not good for men!) weakened immune system, and can effect your thyroid gland.

But saying that, before I knew all of this, Ensure did help me consume extra calories to help put weight back on when I was really sick.
 

Crohn's 35

Inactive Account
Fog ducker there is also Isopure now, in Canada, for those who dont want soy... but for any thing food or meds, nothing replaces it like natural foods.
 

mikeyarmo

Co-Founder
I was on an ensure/boost only diet for approximately 3 months due to a stricture making it hard for me to eat anything solid. While I was able to tolerate these drinks much better than solid food (less pain/stomach problems) I don't think that this is a good long term solution.

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup make up some of the main ingredients in these types of drinks, which I don't think have been found under any circumstance to be good for people.

For a while I went to a nutritionist who had me making protein drinks instead that used rice or hemp flour. I would mix that with avocado and/or coconut milk (100% pure if you can find it) to get the calorie load and fat content up as well as other vegetables and fruits. I was able to tolerate these types of smoothies/drinks in a similar way to Boost or Ensure and it was likely much healthier.

Enteral nutrition would be a different concept all together than an ensure/boost fast. It is a bit more difficult to set up and to use, but this has actually been found to have much better results. Essentially, what occurs is that you receive all nutrition through a tube you connect through your nose so that vitamins/minerals and such goes straight into your stomach without requiring much digestion.

This has been found to greatly reduce inflammation and active disease, however this usually comes back as soon as normal eating resumes. I know that this has been used to keep people going for a few weeks-months when they are waiting for surgery though.
 
Last edited:
I was on Ensure Pluse/Boost diet for months. I had to drink 3 a day plus 3 meals (of what ever I could get down) just to get back to a normal weight. GI said they are good to get the nutrients you need when you can't eat well and lots of healthier calories to put weight back on.
 
I have been on and off the Ensure diet over the years..
each time I have a flare I know it's time to open the Ensure!
 
My nutritionist suggested Ensure, but I am not comfortable with all of the ingredients, and don't do well with dairy.

Has anyone made their own healthy version of Ensure?
 

Crohn's 35

Inactive Account
Came back to say thanks to Pen on the tip of the Isopure!
I'll have to check that one out! :)
Hey no problem my friend from Brampton area, doesnt like Ensure or boost so her bf got her the Isopure, she was pretty sick.

I bet you know what I will be using next prep for a scope. Why suffer :lol:
 
I was on an ensure/boost only diet for approximately 3 months due to a stricture making it hard for me to eat anything solid. While I was able to tolerate these drinks much better than solid food (less pain/stomach problems) I don't think that this is a good long term solution.

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup make up some of the main ingredients in these types of drinks, which I don't think have been found under any circumstance to be good for people.

For a while I went to a nutritionist who had me making protein drinks instead that used rice or hemp flour. I would mix that with avocado and/or coconut milk (100% pure if you can find it) to get the calorie load and fat content up as well as other vegetables and fruits. I was able to tolerate these types of smoothies/drinks in a similar way to Boost or Ensure and it was likely much healthier.

Enteral nutrition would be a different concept all together than an ensure/boost fast. It is a bit more difficult to set up and to use, but this has actually been found to have much better results. Essentially, what occurs is that you receive all nutrition through a tube you connect through your nose so that vitamins/minerals and such goes straight into your stomach without requiring much digestion.

This has been found to greatly reduce inflammation and active disease, however this usually comes back as soon as normal eating resumes. I know that this has been used to keep people going for a few weeks-months when they are waiting for surgery though.

What were the ingredients/measurements you used for your rice/hemp protein smoothies?? And were you just consuming these shakes, or food as well? How long did you try this and with what results?

Thanks! :)
 
I've done ensure fasts before. I know alot of the ingredients are questionable (cornsyrup, whey protein), and that makes me really wonder if they're suitable for Crohn's patients. I mean, CORNSYRUP?! In truth, I did have some success with them. When I'd feel the worst, I'd go on a diet of ensure alone, or ensure with just a little plain white toast. But I couldn't do it for long. Those things are nasty.

Other times I just added them to my regular meals. Which didn't seem conducive to happiness. I found them really heavy on my stomach. Kinda like drinking whipped cream...
So I kinda reserved my ensure for when I couldn't eat any kind of food.

Either way, they didn't seem to do any substantial good. I'd feel okay for the little that I was on them alone, but as soon as I added food, I was messed up again.

I'm actually about to start a vivonex fast within a week, in hopes that it'd work better.
 
Top