Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Is ensure an addictive substance?

02-11-2012, 02:13 AM   #1
lowone's Avatar
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Is ensure an addictive substance?

Title says it all! Is it addictive?

I am eating enough to not need to add ensure plus to my diet anymore. However I find my body craving it!?! I wonder if I am deficient (other then what i have mentioned elsewhere) in something that is in it that my body is telling me to get from it...

Side note, two of my friends whom are under weight (they just dont eat enough....) and taking the same circuit weights class, I have turned them onto ensure plus as a way to get quick extra calories. So yay good advice here has spread!
DX: Crohn's Dec 2011
Meds: Lialda, Mercaptopurine
02-11-2012, 10:09 AM   #2
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Cat-a-Tonic's Avatar
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Hm, maybe your blood sugar is low or something like that? Ensure has got a fair amount of sugar in addition to the vitamins. I've had Ensure cravings in the past too but don't get them anymore now that I'm in remission. Well, at any rate, there's lots of worse things to be addicted to! Ha ha
02-12-2012, 10:41 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Hi Iowone,

I don't remember ever reading about Ensure being known to be addicting. However, Cat-a-Tonic said, Ensure does contain a lot of sugar, which could be addicting. If your body is used to having a certain amount of sugar each day and then you suddenly drop the amount of sugar you are putting in your body, you might suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Things like strong cravings for sugar, increased anxiety or depression are possible symptoms.

Over time your body should adjust and the cravings should go away.
02-14-2012, 05:26 PM   #4
Mr Bedfordshire
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Always wanted to try ensure, but as 2-3 a time, I didn't want to get hooked and be buying it every week. Don't feel as though I'm under weight, but just feel as though I need a little boost to keep me going through my newly started fitness regime and weight training.
Mr Bedfordshire (Dunstable)

Started with Colitis 2003 after salmonella?!..
J-Pouch from 2005
Crohns Diagnosed 2010
Current meds:
**Started remicade-October 2011**
2g Pentasa Granules
Codeine (the ONLY thing that stops me going a lot!!)
esomeprazole, omega 3 and D Vitamins.
05-06-2012, 11:07 AM   #5
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I think there is something in it that is chemically addictive for sure. I've been drinking them daily for years and recently stopped for a week (travelling in an RV) and became so tired during the day that I felt I was drugged. No amount of sleeping or napping would fix it, it was the strangest thing. And its not caffeine or sugar related either. My sugar intact during this time away from ensure was at least as high as it was while on ensure. After drinking a couple of ensure all the symptoms went away in the next few hours. That was a few weeks ago. Now today I had the same strange symptoms, almost like I imagine carbon monoxide poisoning would feel like- and realized I haven't had any ensures today or yesterday.

So at this point its just a theory, but I think having taken them so long and so regularly my body has become dependent on a high does of "something" that is in them, maybe just a vitamin or mineral like Iron, and switching to all regular food isn't providing nearly enough of this nutrient I've become so dependent on...

I guess my plan now is to slowly get off this stuff, I don't need it any more for my crohns and it concerns me that I might be getting such wierd symptoms without it now.

But once again, I don't know for sure it could be something completely unrelated to ensure. My Crohn's is 100% in remission so I don't think its that...
05-06-2012, 11:36 AM   #6
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Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
I've had a similar experience with Elemental Extra - when I had been on the LOFFLEX diet for a couple of weeks (after 4 weeks solely on Elemental) I was still have 3 cartons a day but was having massive cravings for them. My dietitian said that it was my bodies way of telling me that I wasn't getting enough nutrition from my food alone. As I expanded my diet and increased my portion sizes I found that the cravings did start to go away.
Symptoms from the age of 12. Mis-diagnosed with UC at the age of 13, and later diagnosed with Crohn's in January 2012 at 24 years old. Disease mainly in terminal ileum.

Current meds:
Azathioprine, Allopurinol, Calcichew D3-Forte, Fortijuice, Alendronic acid, Ranitidine

Previous meds:
Augmentin, Doxycycline, Lansoprazole, Asacol, Pentasa, Prednisolone, Entocort, Cipro, Flagyl, Elemental Extra 028
02-03-2016, 12:05 AM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2016
I was prescribed Ensure Plus five years ago and couldn't figure out why I kept craving it. Turns out it contains milk protein concentrate - in other words, casein, what has been found to be as addictive as hard drugs in research studies (see link in comments section). This is a natural ingredient in milk and addictive by nature - it's the way Mother Nature keeps calves from wondering into the woods - but in Ensure, it's concentrated. It's what makes cheese so addictive. Add sugar to the mix as its third ingredient and you have a concoction that you will keep craving it - much more than soda with caffeine.

How did I find out? I was prescribed Ensure Plus after getting Hyperemesis Gravidium (extreme morning sickness, what Princess Kate had). I was unable to gain much weight as I had trouble keeping any food down. After I gave birth I drank 2-3 bottles a day to put on the 20 lbs I was underweight. It worked quickly, as expected, and I put on the 20 lbs in a few months. And kept on working. It's been five years and I'm still on 1-2 bottles a day with another 20 pounds in the last year alone. I eat a healthy diet but with the 350-700 daily calories in fat and sugar it's a losing battle.

Not convinced? My son was underweight and the pediatrician prescribed Pediasure, the children's version of Ensure. He's had a bottle in the morning and in the evening. He's been on it for almost five years as well. After finding out about the addictive quality of casein, I tried to make him stop - but he too craves it. It's hard to force him to break a habit I myself struggle with. We're down to a bottle a day, supplementing his diet with whole-milk yogurt and eggs, a healthier source of protein.

The ingredients listed on amazon's Ensure Plus page do not correspond to the product's actual ingredients: Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soy Protein Isolate with than 0.5% of other ingredients. Amazon's description (as of today) is completely different: "U-D Water, Sugar (Sucrose), Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin (Corn), Calcium Caseinate, High-Oleic Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Corn Oil, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan And Lutein. Vitamins An"

I wanted to put this out there as a warning about this ingredient, if you have been prescribed 2+ bottles a day. It's an expensive habit, difficult to break and there are healthier options out there
02-03-2016, 12:20 AM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2016
The forum won't let me post links. Google "casein cheese addiction" to find the study that finds casein as addictive as hard drugs.
02-03-2016, 12:24 AM   #9
D Bergy
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
The list of ingredients should be enough to keep anyone from drinking that slop.

02-03-2016, 12:25 AM   #10
Join Date: Feb 2016
" Cheese contains a chemical found in addictive drugs, scientists have found... Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure a person's dependence on, scientists found that cheese is particularly potent because it contains casein. The substance, which is present in all dairy products, can trigger the brain's opioid receptors which are linked to addiction."

Source - "Cheese Triggers the Same Part of Brain as Hard Drugs Study Finds. The Independent (UK).

"The cheese-equals-drugs idea came from Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of 'Breaking the Food Seduction.' In an article for, Barnard called cheese "an addiction." 'Actually, it's more accurate to say I'm hooked on casomorphins, the tiny, biologically active compounds produced when my body breaks down milk proteins,' said Barnard. When the body attempts to break down casein, a protein found in all milk products, the amino acids in the protein don't completely separate, resulting in strings of amino acids. Casamorphins are the smaller strings of amino acids. 'Casomorphins attach to the brain's opiate receptors to cause a calming effect in much the same way heroin and morphine do,' said Barnard. And since cheese has a concentrated content of casomorphins, Barnard suggested it may be called dairy crack."

Source: LA Times Cheese Crack Science, October 23, 2015.
02-03-2016, 12:30 AM   #11
Join Date: Feb 2016
The casein (milk protein concentrate) is the mystery ingredient you are looking for. It is as addictive as hard drugs according to scientists. See my post above for more information.

Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Is ensure an addictive substance?
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